In the world of High Performance Laptops, Lenovo Legions are highly regarded. But, while the 5 series might represent a second tier (with a few limitations compared to the superior 7 series) they’re capable of packing a punch while offering a decent combination of design, features, value and performance. With some of the latest and greatest components inside, the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro appears to be very impressive, so how good will it be?
Table of Contents
- Lenovo Legion 5i Pro specs
- Design and Handling
- Price and value
- Conclusion: Should you buy the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro?
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro specs
16-inch, matte, 165Hz, 2560 x 1600, matte, IPS display; 3.5-4.7GHz Intel Core i7-12700H CPU; 16GB RAM; 1TB HDD; Nvidia GeForce 3070 Ti RTX graphics; 80Wh battery; Dimensions (WxDxH): 360 x 264 x 20mm; 2.28KG. SKU: 82RF00JHAU. Full specs here.
Design and Handling
The Legion 5i Pro’s ‘Dark Storm’ grey, aluminium chassis might lack some of the more-ostentatious flourishes of the 7 series, but it’s more Aston Martin than lead pencil – very cool and sophisticated. It’s even got some flared, black grilles over the side-mounted air vents which feel a little like flared wheel arches on a sports car. It shouldn’t raise any eyebrows in a corporate environment… assuming your stuffy colleagues don’t question the large, Legion moniker emblazoned on the lid.
It feels very solidly built and not far behind the recent rugged laptops we recently reviewed – but don’t try using this on the beach or in the rain. Opening it up reveals a very bright, 16-inch screen which has thin borders on either side. The lid that protects it flexes very little when a lateral twisting force is applied.
The screen itself is impressive. Lenovo has squeezed a 16-inch display onto a chassis we’d expect from a 15-inch laptop. It has a UHD, 2560 x 1600 resolution which displays a very crisp Windows Desktop plus all the details you could want in multimedia and games. The 500-nit, matte (reflection free) screen gets incredibly bright to the point where you can think about using it outdoors. It also helps deliver excellent contrast with details remaining visible in both bright and dark areas. This is great for gamers who don’t like enemies hiding in shadows or coming at them from out of the sun, but also multimedia buffs: it supports Dolby Vision to make your favourite Netflix (et al) shows look that bit better. Colour performance is decent in that they are well saturated and accurate, but they’re not the most vibrant and they don’t quite pop-out of the screen – few will complain, though. Meanwhile both colour gradients and even monochromatic transitions manage to stave-off stepped banding and blockiness to an impressive degree.
The Legion 5i Pro’s screen also sports a speedy 165Hz refresh rate and this, along with a fast pixel response time, means that all motion is rendered silky smooth. The display is also X-Rite Pantone factory calibrated for colour accuracy, supports Nvidia G-Sync and has TÜV Rheinland, low blue-light filtering – so office workers, designers and gamers will all find favour with it. Ultimately, it’s one of the best screens on the market.
Above the screen is an HD webcam. While we’d prefer a Full HD unit in this day and age, it’s one of the best-performing modules we’ve encountered: offering sharp detail and good low-light performance. While there’s a TPM 2.0 security chip built-into this device, there’s no Windows Hello face recognition, to support it.
Beneath the Legion 5i Pro’s screen is the four-zone, RGB keyboard. The lighting isn’t the brightest and is hard to see in daylight plus, it’s not configurable beyond being turned on and off and switched into pulsing or a sweeping effects. Still, these are very minor issues. The uniquely shaped keys may be a little firmer than rivals but their low-travel (1.5mm) actuation is very accurate to use and comfortable to type upon for extended periods. We’re also delighted to see a number pad and a full-sized keypad included. Our only gripe, and this is a new one to us, involves the palmrest: the relatively sharp edge of the robust chassis can dig into your forearms in some typing positions. Perhaps we could have a beveled edge in future versions?
The Legion 5i Pro’s trackpad is smooth and accurate and the integrated buttons are well-weighted and not noisy.
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The twin, 2-Watt speakers get impressively loud for such a thin (2cm) laptop and there’s decent fidelity from top to bottom – including a bit of bassy punch.
Inside the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro is a 12th Gen, 3.5-4.7GHz Intel Core i7-12700H CPU which has six performance cores and eight efficiency cores. It’s flanked by 16GB of DDR5 RAM (note that our review spec is supposed to have 32GB but we don’t expect this to make a major difference to our scores) plus a 1TB hard drive. Note that there are many SKUs of this laptop and many have a measly 512GB capacity.
Nonetheless, everything combined to score 8400 in our general PCMark 10 test and that’s the fastest score we’ve ever seen on a laptop! It wasn’t quite the same story with the Cinebench rendering tests with scores of 2699 and 17,137 being achieved in R15 and R23 respectively. The big Core i9s and top-end AMD Ryzens, with their extra cores, will usually win here…. but these scores are not to be sniffed at.
When it came to gaming performance, the Legion 5i Pro’s beefy Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti GPU scored an impressive 7318 in the difficult 3DMark Port Royal ray-tracing test which is an average of 33.9fps. In Time Spy it managed 12,154 (average 73.3fps) and in Fire Strike Extreme it scored 14,349 (average 65fps). It’s one of the best gaming machines we’ve tested – only MSI’s latest-and-greatest 17-inch Raiders can beat it.
It should be noted that top performance requires the Legion 5i Pro’s Thermal setting to be changed to Performance Mode in the Lenovo Edge performance application. Otherwise performance can be degraded by around 10-50 per cent depending on what you’re doing. While this pushes the fan noise up somewhat, the impressive, new Legion Coldfront 4.0 thermal system keeps everything to a quiet, consistent swoosh which is very impressive. We also ran some Bitcoin-mining torture tests which saw it hit a consistent 39.1MH/s hashrate at an impressively cool, 71 degrees Centigrade. That’s impressively cool and efficient.
Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E plus Bluetooth 5.1. Ultimately, it’s got some of the best connectivity on the market.
The aluminium chassis is incredibly robust and we expect the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro to easily survive life on the road or at a LAN. However, only time will tell whether the flared grille covers on the sides provide additional protection or are a decorative addition that might come loose later on – we expect the former to be the case though.
The four-cell, 80Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for an impressive 6 hours 40 minutes which is almost a full day out of the office – that’s not something we’re used to saying about a ‘gaming laptop.’ It also supports ‘Super Rapid Charge’ which can provide up to a 40 per cent charge in 10mins and 80 per cent in 30mins.
The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro tipped our scales at 2.28KG which is impressive considering the robust 360 x 264 x 20mm chassis and what’s inside it. We were also pleased to see that the powerful, 300-Watt PSU was reduced in size and ‘only’ added another 1.05KG to the mix. That’s a lot for any power brick, but those that come with comparable rivals are much larger.
Price and value
The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro has a sticker price of $4,599 which is expensive, but very good value considering the performance and features involved. However, right now it’s on sale for $3,049(!) which represents fantastic value. Note too that this SKU actually comes with 32GB RAM rather than the 16GB in our test unit.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro?
Basically, yes. At $4,599 it’s the third-best laptop we’ve seen – behind the extraordinarily powerful 17-inch MSI Raiders which are much larger and much more expensive. However, if you can get it for $3,049 it’s the best value high performance laptop we’ve ever tested. It functions brilliantly for any task, whether it’s office work, design work or competitive gaming. So, unless you demand the absolute fastest possible laptop performance (and price is no barrier to you) the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro is the model to buy.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Scores
The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review is a fantastic laptop for office workers, designers and the most-demanding demanding gamers.