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Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review: Faster than it looks

The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro sitting at an angle.

Lenovo Legion 5i Pro
MSRP $2,000.00

Score Details

DT Recommended Product

“The Legion 5i Pro is another winner of a gaming laptop from Lenovo.”

Pros

  • Excellent productivity and creative performance
  • Solid 1440p gaming
  • Great display with variable refresh rate
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Strong connectivity

Cons

  • Awkward aesthetic
  • No Windows Hello support

You don’t want to mess around too much with a good thing. We liked the Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop quite a bit. Its chunkier chassis enabled better airflow and performance — all at a fairly affordable price.

Contents

  • Design
  • Ports
  • Display and audio
  • Performance
  • Gaming performance
  • Keyboard and touchpad
  • Security and privacy
  • Battery life
  • Pricing and configurations
  • Our takeShow 5 more items

Lenovo has updated the laptop for 2022, and the new Legion 5i Pro makes all the right changes without giving up anything significant from the previous model.

I reviewed the $2,000 configuration available at Walmart, with an Intel 12th-gen Core i7-12700H, a 16:10 16-inch IPS display with variable refresh rate (VRR) technology that can ramp up from 165Hz to 240Hz, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. It’s a fast gaming laptop that knows how to leverage its components.

Design

The Legion 5i Pro looks identical to the previous version, outside of dropping the large Legion logo on the lid. The change to the design of the lid is small, but it’s for the better. The new branding is certainly less in-your-face this time around.

It’s a dark grey (Storm Grey) on top and black on the bottom of the chassis, with nothing but some bold (and larger) vents calling it out as a gaming machine. The plastic screen bezels remain small thanks to the 16:10 display aspect ratio, which lends a modern look, but overall, nothing stands out here.

The Razer Blade 17 also doesn’t scream “gaming,” but it’s far more elegant. If you want a slightly more aggressively designed laptop for gamers, look for something like the MSI GE76 Raider with its RGB lighting angular vents. Overall, as we noted in our earlier Legion 5 Pro review, Lenovo wanted to walk a fine line between a businesslike design and a gaming aesthetic and ended up with a little bit of both. That’s not a bad thing, but it doesn’t make for the most consistent aesthetic.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The all-aluminum construction feels robust enough under pressure, with just the slightest bit of flex in the lid and keyboard deck if you try hard enough. It’s not quite up to the standards of the Razer Blade 17, but it’s close enough that I can’t fault its build quality. The lid opens with one hand (unsurprising, given the weight of the chassis), but it also stays in place during intense gaming sessions. Nobody wants a wobbly screen when they’re mashing keys.

The Legion 5i Pro isn’t a small laptop, nor is it light, but Lenovo managed to fit a lot of laptop into a reasonably sized chassis thanks to the taller display bezels. It comes in at 1.05 inches at its thickest point, and it weighs 5.49 pounds. That compares to the Razer Blade 17’s 0.78 inches and 6.1 pounds, and the MSI GE76 Raider that’s over an inch thick and clocks in at 6.4 pounds — although note that both are 17-inch machines.

The HP Victus 16 comes in at 0.93 inches and 5.5 pounds, meaning that compared to another 16-inch machine (albeit one with a 16:9 aspect ratio display), the Legion 5i Pro isn’t overly large. Of course, compared to 15-inch laptops, the Lenovo is larger, but it’s a toss-up whether a 16-inch machine is more comparable to a 15-inch or a 17-inch laptop.

Ports


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The right-hand side of the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro features a USB-A port, a headphone jack, and a on-off toggle for the webcam.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The backside of the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro features two USB-A 3.2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, and an EtherMark Coppock/Digital Trends

The left-hand side of the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro features a lightning USB-C port and another USB-C port.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Connectivity is a strength, and Lenovo positioned quite a few ports along the laptop’s rear where they’re out of the way. Along the left-hand side are two UBC-C 3.2 ports, one with Thunderbolt 4 support, and along the right-hand side is a single USB-A 3.2 port and the 3.5mm audio jack.

Along the back, you’ll find two USB-A 3.2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, and an Ethernet jack.

Wireless connectivity fits the Laptop’s Intel Evo certification at Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1.

Display and audio

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo built the Legion 5i Pro with a 16.0-inch 16:10 IPS display with a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) resolution. What’s most interesting about the panel is that it supports variable refresh rate (VRR) technology, meaning it can scale from its default 165Hz refresh rate up to 240Hz as needed. It’s not likely that the Legion 5i Pro will push many modern titles at decent graphics settings beyond what 165Hz can handle, but the extra headroom is there if needed.

Subjectively, the display is bright and colorful, with deep blacks for an IPS display. I enjoyed using it during my review, and its high dynamic range (HDR) support was excellent. It’s one of the few laptops where I could turn “real” HDR on and not have an otherwise washed-out display.

My colorimeter found this to be a very good display for productivity workers and gamers, albeit with colors that are average for premium displays and not quite wide enough for creators. To begin with, the Legion 5i Pro’s display was very bright at 502 nits, much brighter than the Razer Blade 17 at 313 nits and the MSI GE76 Raider at just 273 nits. It also had great contrast for an IPS display at 1,330:1 (we like to see better than 1,000:1), compared to the Blade 17’s 890:1 and the GE76 Raider at 1,000:1.

The Legion 5i Pro is an excellent display for gamers.

The Legion 5i Pro’s display covered 76% of the AdobeRGB gamut and 99% of sRGB, the former making it less than ideal for creators. The Blade 17 was better at 90% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, while the GE76 Raider was similar at 78% and 100%. The Legion 5i Pro had a color accuracy of Delta-E of 1.35 (less than 1.0 is considered excellent), compared to the Blade 17 at an excellent 0.84 and the GE76 Raider at 1.09.

Overall, the Legion 5i Pro enjoys an excellent display for gamers with tons of brightness, deep blacks, and more than enough colors to keep your eyes happy. Its VRR technology lets it ramp up from 165Hz to 240Hz if necessary, and its HDR support is superb. It maybe not be the best display for serious creators, but it’s an excellent display for just about anyone else.

Lenovo touts its Nahimic 3D Audio for gamers, providing good surround sound. However, the audio was incredibly lacking in volume — even when turned up all the way, it barely filled my small home office. The sound was nice and crisp, with a bit of bass and excellent mids and highs; there just wasn’t enough of it. Pair it with a good set of Bluetooth speakers or use headphones.

Performance

One significant difference from the previous version that we reviewed is that this model equips Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs, in the case of our review unit, the 14-core (six Performance and eight Efficient), 20-thread Core i7-12700H. That’s proven to be a solid performer in productivity and creative applications that a machine like this is likely to perform along with its core gaming tasks.

Let me start by mentioning Lenovo’s Vantage utility, which includes a setting that adjusts the CPU voltage and fan speed for either quieter and slower or louder and faster performance. The results listed in the table are with the Legion 5i Pro set to balanced mode, and as we’ll see, the utility can have a significant impact. Lenovo claims to have done a lot of work on the thermals with its new Legion ColdFront 4.0 technology, with 40% thinner fans and a better heat pipe setup.

Nevertheless, the CPU did throttle under heavy loads, hitting up to 98 degrees Celsius. Although that didn’t seem to hamper performance in our benchmarks, it could be a concern for long-term working and gaming sessions.

Lenovo squeezed out some excellent performance from the components, especially in performance mode.

Even in balanced mode, the Legion 5i Pro was competitive. In Geekbench 5, for example, it fell behind the Razer Blade 17 with the faster Core i7-12800H in single-core mode but matched it in multi-core mode. When I switched to performance mode, the score increased to 1,712 and 12,882. In our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Legion 5i Pro tied for first place, and in performance mode, it was the fastest in our comparison group at 62 seconds.

In our final synthetic benchmark, Cinebench R23, the Legion 5i Pro came in second place behind the MSI GE76 Raider with its Core i9-12900HK, and in performance mode, took the lead in multi-core performance at 18,417.

I also tested the laptop with the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and can utilize a discrete GPU for better performance. It scored 793 in balanced mode, lower than the MSI Creator Z17 running the same CPU and GPU. In performance mode, the Legion 5i Pro hit 957, a much more competitive score (the Creator Z17 scored 984 in its performance mode).

Lenovo squeezed out some excellent performance from the components, especially in performance mode. The Legion 5i Pro can handle demanding productivity and creativity tasks when it’s not being used for gaming.

Geekbench (single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)

Cinebench R23 (single/multi)
Pugetbench for Premier Pro
PCMark 10 Complete
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro 
(Core i7-12700H
1,625 / 11,543
72
1,725 / 14,135
793
7,430
MSI Creator Z17(Core i7-12700H)
1,744 / 11,750
88
1,805 / 11,266
897
6,951
Razer Blade 17(Core i7-12800H)
1,808/11,843
73
1,697/13,218
969
7,303
MSI GE76 Raider
(Core i9-12900HK)
1,855/13,428
72
1,872/16,388
1,120
7,691
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro(Ryzen 7 5800H)
1,460/7,227
99
1,430/11,195
N/A
n/a
Razer Blade 14
(Ryzen 9 5900HX)
1,448/7,243
101
1,434 / 11,226
N/A
6,612
Gigabyte Aero 16(Core i7-12900HK)
1,915/13,482
73
1,915/12,969
1,115
7,864

Gaming performance

The Legion 5i Pro’s strong performance carried over into gaming, although performance mode made only a few frames per second (fps) difference in most games and settings. Much of this has to do with the fact that Lenovo is delivering 150 watts to the RTX 3070 Ti. Its 3DMark Time Spy score was strong, even beating the RTX 3080 Ti in the Gigabyte Aero 16.

Lenovo managed to get the most out of the components and build a highly capable gaming machine.

It performed well in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 1200p and ultra-high graphics, coming in third behind the Razer Blade 17 and MSI GE76 Raider with RTX 3080 Ti GPUs. It maintained 60 fps (or close enough) at 1440p and ultra-high graphics, hitting 58 fps.

Civilization VI was also a strong title for the Legion 5i Pro, with it finishing in second place and beating the MSI GE76 Raider at 1080p and ultra graphics. This is one title where performance made more of a difference, with the laptop managing 196 fps with that switch flipped. At 1440p and ultra graphics, it ran at 147 fps (162 fps in performance mode).

Fortnite followed the same pattern, with the Legion 5i Pro coming in just behind the MSI GE76 Raider to take second place. It hit 68 fps at 1600p and epic graphics.

The Legion 5i Pro is capable of solid 1440p gaming in modern titles with graphics turned up. Again, Lenovo managed to get the most out of the components and build a highly capable gaming machine.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (1080p Ultra High)
Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
Fortnite (1080p Epic)
3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro 
(RTX 3070 Ti)
80 fps (12oop)
177 fps
103 fps
10623
MSI Creator Z17
(RTX 3070 Ti)
60 fps
N/A
85 fps
8763
Razer Blade 17(RTX 3080 Ti)
83 fps
193 fps
104 fps
12643
MSI GE76 Raider
(RTX 3080 Ti)
93 fps
169 fps
121 fps
12421
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro(RTX 3070)
61 fps
114 fps
101 fps
9175
Razer Blade 14
(RTX 3070)
60 fps
111 fps
96 fps
8605
Gigabyte Aero 16(RTX 3080 Ti)
n/a
156 fps
n/a
9833

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo uses its TrueStrike keyboard in its gaming laptops, including the Legion 5i Pro. I’ve used the same keyboard in some other Lenovo laptops, such as the Yoga Slim 7i Pro, and found it much better than Lenovo’s other non-ThinkPad keyboards. TrueStrike offers more travel and snappier switches, with a crisp bottoming action that lends precision. It’s a great keyboard, especially for gamers with its 100% anti-ghosting, and it offers 4-zone RGB lighting.

I’d rank it pretty close to the best general-purpose laptops like the HP Spectre and Dell XPS lines, but gamers might prefer a more gaming-oriented keyboard with mechanical switches or more attention-grabbing keycaps.

The touchpad is larger than before but still not huge for a 16-inch laptop. There’s plenty of space on the palm rest for a larger version. Nevertheless, it was comfortable and precise, supporting Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers and reliable multitouch support. The display was non-touch, as is common with gaming laptops.

Security and privacy

There’s little in the way of security and privacy features with the Legion 5i Pro, including no support for Windows Hello password-less login through either an IR camera or fingerprint reader. That’s disappointing. It’s still not standard on gaming laptops — but there’s absolutely no reason it shouldn’t be.

The only nod to privacy is a switch on the right side of the chassis that turns off power to the webcam.

Battery life

The Legion 5i Pro is pure gaming in one respect at least, and that’s battery life. It has an 80-watt-hour battery, which isn’t huge for such a powerful machine with a large display, and the laptop didn’t act as if it cared about conserving battery life. It led the pack in the Intel-based laptops in our comparison group, especially in our video test that loops a local Avengers trailer, but it fell behind the AMD-powered machines by a fair margin.

With just 4.5 hours in our web browsing test that cycles through a series of popular websites, you’re not going to get a full day of work out of the machine. The 300-watt power supply is enormous, so be prepared to take along some extra weight when you’re on the go.

Web browsing
Video
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro 
(Core i7-12700H
4 hours 32 minutes
7 hours 9 minutes
Razer Blade 17(Core i7-12800H)
3 hours 11 minutes
3 hours 41 minutes
MSI GE76 Raider
(Core i9-12900HK)
3 hours 41 minutes
N/A
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro(Ryzen 7 5800H)
7 hours 10 minutes
N/A
Razer Blade 14
(Ryzen 9 5900HX)
8 hours 17 minutes
11 hours 7 minutes
Gigabyte Aero 16(Core i7-12900HK)
3 hours 18 minutes
4 hours 1 minute

Pricing and configurations

My review unit is an upcoming $2,000 Walmart-exclusive configuration with an Intel Core i7-12700H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. That’s the only known configuration as this review is being published, and Walmart hasn’t yet produced a product link.

You’ll still find 2021 models out there, which include 11th-gen Intel processors and max out at RTX 3070. These configurations also included cheaper starting models with either an RTX 3050 or RTX 3060.

The standard Lenovo Legion 5 Pro model (without the “i” in the name) from last year came with Ryzen 5000 processors. While an update to this model hasn’t been announced yet for 2022, it’s expected to launch with the latest Ryzen 6000 processors.

Our take

The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro is a performer, keeping up with laptops sporting faster CPUs and GPUs. It’s a solid 1440p gaming machine that can also handle demanding productivity and creativity tasks. Given its conservative (if somewhat jumbled) aesthetic, you could use the laptop in the workplace without standing out. At $2,000, it’s also a relative value given its powerful components, too.

Are there any alternatives?

There aren’t many direct alternatives right now, as Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs are only beginning to make their way to gaming machines. I don’t know of any that are at the same price as the Legion 5i Pro, giving it a window where it’s the best game in town.

You could consider either the Razer Blade 15 or the Razer Blade 17, depending on whether you want to go a little smaller or larger. Each will perform well, look great, and provide a thinner chassis and a more premium experience. Both will also cost more money.

If you’re okay with 1080p gaming, the HP Victus 16 will save you some money. We reviewed it with an Intel 11th-gen CPU, but an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U configuration with an RTX 3060 Ti will save you about $600. It’s worth considering if you’re short on cash.

How long will it last?

The Legion 5i Pro is completely up-to-date in terms of its hardware. It should last for years before it’s no longer able to keep up. The one-year warranty is the industry standard and, as I like to point out, disappointing as usual.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Legion 5i Pro is a gaming, productivity, and creativity workhorse at an attractive price.

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