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Review | Lenovo Legion 5i Gen 7

One Chonky Boi

A few weeks back I covered the Lenovo Legion Slim 7 AMD model.  They also sent me the intel version, though it’s a slightly lower spec.  Similar to the Slim 7 it is a decently thin yet powerful laptop.  One major difference is this desktop replacement trades off efficiency for brute force.  A 300-watt power brick is matched by loud fans that pump out a ton of heat in this Intel & Nvidia CPU/GPU combo.  It performs really darned well for the price, especially in any ray traced title. Here’s a full breakdown of my month and a half using this similarly (to the Slim 7) stellar device.

Specifications

The i5 I was sent was equipped with the following:

  • CPU: Intel 12 Gent i7-12700H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
  • 16GB of RAM running at 4800mhz
  • A 15.6” WQHD (1440p) Display running at 165hz
  • A 1TB m.2 PCI-E Gen 4 SSD
  • Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
  • 3 x  USB 3.2 Gen 1 (One Always On for Charging)
  • 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (1 fast charge, 1 data and display out)
  • HDMI Out
  • A Thunderbolt 4 Connector

Audio-wise this one sounds a bit better than the Slim 7. The system chassis is noticeably thicker and the base sounds far better overall. The keyboard was the full per-key RGB suite and it looked fantastic. The battery is only 80 Watt Hours and it was noticeable.  A few hours was the most I could get for most activities with roughly 5 hours of battery life for office work when I dimmed the display.  It is their rapid charger though, so 30 minutes will see you back up to 80% battery life. Finally the listed weight is a hefty 5.3 lbs, and it felt every part of that.  This is one chonky boi.

Display & Performance

Off the bat, I missed the 16:10 aspect ratio of the Slim 7, but otherwise, the display looked fantastic.  Color accuracy felt good out of the box, and the high refresh rate made it a silky smooth experience.  I used this machine to host an episode of The Xbox Era Podcast and do a video review for Evil West.  The NVENC encoder is still the best out there overall, and it chewed through my high-bitrate 4k footage like it was nothing. 

The CPU felt nearly as performant as the higher-priced Slim 7 AMD one, but the GPU definitely lagged behind its AMD rival.  The 3060 is a mediocre card in a full desktop, and this laptop variant wasn’t the most impressive.  I had to lower the graphical quality in most games to be able to take advantage of the high refresh rate. One area that was a letdown was the noise level in high-performance mode.  This thing is a tiny Jet Engine and while the fans aren’t high pitched it was loud enough to be easily audible through my headphones while playing Overwatch 2 on the machine.

To benchmark the performance I took a look at three games available on Xbox Game Pass (which this laptop offers up three months of the PC version that will add on to your existing sub).

First up for the benchmarks is Forza Horizon 5

Left is the Legion 5i and Right is my personal Desktop
Left is the Legion 5i and Right is my personal Desktop

Unlike the Slim 7 and my Desktop, the system defaulted to mostly High settings with no Ultra.  Ray-tracing was set to medium. This did offer up a steady 81 fps, which isn’t far off the Slim 7 though with slightly lower fidelity.  NVIDIA does have a huge advantage in base ray-tracing performance, and with DLSS resolution enhancements on you can make up for that a bit.  The system did get quite hot on me, and the keyboard was noticeably warm after a few runs of the benchmark.  It’s a controller game for me so I wasn’t bothered, but it is something to note. My PC (5800x CPU, 6700xt GPU) is roughly the same price as the laptop at MSRP and outperformed it by a solid 25 fps with fully maxed settings at 1440p.

Benchmark Results for Gears 5:

Left is the Legion 5i and Right is my personal Desktop
Left is the Legion 5i and Right is my personal Desktop

The Coalition’s mastery of Unreal Engine 4 was on full display here. Running at a consistent 68FPS on nearly maxed settings with the 4k texture pack enabled the game looked fantastic.  The main issue was how hot the keyboard got and how loud the fans were.  Despite the very loud chainsaw bayonets and screaming grubs being chopped apart I knew that this PC was going at full blast with the cooling.  Still, it was an impressive showing with only the 3060 holding things back. This CPU could run the game at far higher framerates if paired with a beefier GPU. Once again my PC trounced this at an actually cheaper price point now, easily breaking 100 fps at fully maxed-out settings.

Benchmark Results for Hitman 3:

Left is the Legion 5i and Right is my personal Desktop

Last up is the Hitman 3 Dartmoor Scene. The game set itself to a mix of High and Medium settings and averaged 76fps. Running maxed out my PC was able to hit 105 fps. While it is impressive to see these types of numbers it does feel like the high refresh rate of the display gets wasted.  Unless you’re willing to go down to 1080p and medium settings in these games while using DLSS where available to upscale it back to 1440p you are never getting anywhere near that 165 fps cap in and good looking newer title.

Build Quality, Keyboard, Trackpad, and More

Much like it’s Slim 7 cousin the Legion 5i is an absolute unit.  Pushing down on the keyboard as hard as I felt comfortable doing I couldn’t get the deck to flex at all. The keyboard is similar as well with a short throw and light click design that was easy to be accurate with and comfortable.  You get a full keyboard layout and a large, smooth trackpad.  That large trackpad means the chassis is spaced well enough to let your wrists rest comfortably as you type instead of hanging off.

One disappointment is that I couldn’t get Windows Hello facial recognition to work as I had on the Slim 7.  It looks nice enough and has the same e-shutter to hard turn it off but I missed using it to log in to the machine quickly.  The overall I/O package is stellar, offering up a Thunderbolt 4 jack because it is an Intel after all.  Value wise there have been a lot of sales on this model and its variations lately both before and after Black Friday.

Final Impressions

Featuring a great display, solid performance, and a great keyboard there is a lot to love here.  Short battery life and loud cooling setup do make it tough for any on-the-go usage.  This beast will need a quick charge often, and if you’re gaming and want to use the performance mode everyone around you will hear it.  Still, with all the great deals going on right now for the holidays it’s an easy recommendation if you want a Lenovo Legion with an Intel/Nvidia combo CPU and GPU.  I used it to run podcasts and create reviews for this site and I’m sad to have to finally send it back to the company.

Review Unit provided by Lenovo and returned after this review

Jesse 'Doncabesa' Norris

Proud father of two, lucky to have a wife far too good for me. I write a ton of reviews, am a host on the You Had Me At Halo podcast, and help fill out anywhere I can for our site.

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