"The display quality and performance make the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro a fantastic mid-range gaming laptop."
Excellent gaming performance
Gorgeous 1440p display
Satisfactory, accurate keyboard
Thick and chunky
Gaming laptops are getting thinner and thinner. Still, there's plenty of room in the market for gaming laptops that don't forego unbridled performance on the altar of portability.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is one such gaming laptop. Its design is nothing spectacular, nor is the strain you will feel as you lug around.
But for a decidedly old-school gaming laptop, the Legion 5 Pro brings the basics together in a way that will make many performance-minded PC gamers very happy. The affordable entry-level price of $ 1,700 will put a smile on your face too.
The Legion 5 Pro is not an eye-catcher. The oversized Legion logo on the lid isn't exactly subtle, and the sleepy, storm gray color and keycap font come straight from Lenovo's business laptop designs. Add in the ThinkPad-like keyboard and black vent pieces that seem glued on, and it's a bit of a Frankenstein design.
I have no problem with a stealthy gaming laptop that hides its gaming roots – like the Predator Triton 500 SE or even the Razer Blade 15. But the Legion 5 Pro seems torn between the two identities. The name itself seems a bit confusing as it is included in both the Legion gaming line and as a "Pro" laptop. It's less of a mix and more of a mishmash.
The design has its strengths. For example, the super thin bezels around the screen look amazing. Even the lower bezel is relatively small, which makes for a modern design that puts the screen in the foreground. This is thanks to the 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a new trend in gaming laptops. Extra vertical screen space may seem unnecessary when gaming, but it's sure to come in handy when you need to get some work done. Again, 16:10 makes a lot of sense because the Legion 5 Pro hits the line.
The screen is also larger than the average 15-inch gaming laptop, which is 16 inches diagonally. That's the same as the Predator Triton 500 SE, but it's still an unusual screen size for gaming laptops. But here, too, thanks to its small bezels, it does not add any additional size to the overall print.
And that's important because the Legion 5 Pro is by no means small. It weighs 5.4 pounds and is 1.1 inches thick – clunkier than your average 15-inch laptop and most high-end gaming laptops out there. As we'll see later, this extra size makes for excellent thermal performance, especially when compared to the Razer Blade 15, MSI GS66 Stealth, or even the Alienware m15 R4.
The Legion 5 Pro offers an increasingly popular port placement option: the back of the device. This makes the laptop's footprint even bigger, but it does a good job of keeping messy cables out of the way.
On the back you will find HDMI 2.1, RJ-45 Ethernet, a power jack, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports and a USB-C port that supports both USB 3.2 Gen 2 and DisplayPort 1.4.
This leaves only ports on the sides that you really need to access quickly. On the left you will find a headphone jack and another USB-C. There is a single USB-A port on the right.
In terms of connectivity, the Legion 5 Pro supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
The Legion 5 Pro offers an excellent screen for both gaming and standard work. Native resolution is 2560 x 1600 to support 16:10 aspect ratio and can be scaled down to 1920 x 1200 for lower resolution games.
According to my colorimeter, the Legion 5 Pro has one of the best displays I've ever tested on a gaming laptop. First of all, it's unusually bright, reaching a brightness of 550 nits. That's even brighter than the latest MacBook Pro or Razer Blade 15. It's also a decently color-accurate panel that hits 77% of the AdobeRGB color space.
The Legion 5 Pro has one of the best displays I've ever tested on a gaming laptop.
It's rare to see such a bright, vibrant, and well-calibrated screen on a gaming laptop. Like the Predator Triton 500 SE, the Legion 5 Pro also offers that great picture quality alongside a fast refresh rate, although 165Hz isn't as high as the 360Hz panels you can get in 1080p gaming laptops. But let's face it – unless you're a professional esports gamer, you probably wouldn't notice the difference while gaming anyway. The gameplay feels very responsive and fast, especially since you run most of your games in the native resolution.
The increase in resolution is worth the tradeoff, especially with such a large screen. Pixels are disappearing thanks to the sharpness that matches what you get on the MacBook Pro. And thanks to the power you will use the full range of 165 Hz even with native resolution.
As I mentioned earlier, the Legion 5 Pro is a chunky gaming laptop that offers better cooling. The result is pretty amazing gaming performance.
My configuration came with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, Nvidia RTX 3070, 16 GB of RAM and two 1 TB PCIe SSDs. With the exception of the RTX 3060, Lenovo also offers an identical configuration. This saves 150 euros, but the RTX 3070 option should offer a noticeable increase in frame rates. It's not currently available, but Lenovo reportedly also has a confusing mid-tier model with just 1TB of storage but 32GB of RAM. Most gamers will choose more memory and less memory.
|Laptop||3DMark time spy||3DMark fire strike||Assassin's Creed Valhalla (1080p Ultra High)||Battlefield V (1080p Ultra)||Fortnite (1080p Epic)||Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (RTX 3070)||9175||21033||61 fps||73 fps||101 fps||114 fps|
|Asus ROG Strix G15 (RX 6800M)||10504||26800||77 fps||109 fps||108 fps||150 fps|
|MSI GS66 Stealth (RTX 3080)||9097||19175||70 fps||117 fps||140 fps||149 fps|
|Razer Blade 15 (RTX 2080 Super)||7637||16895||58 fps||98 fps||110 fps||134 fps|
I've included the benchmarks in 1080p in the table above to balance the playing field between these different laptops that include both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. The Legion 5 Pro masters all games with over 60 frames per second (fps), including the tough assassin Creed Valhalla. As for the lighter esports tariff, the Legion 5 Pro averaged over 100 fps in Fortnite, with room to use the full 165 Hz range in lower settings.
At native resolution, which is the number of people who will likely be using the Legion 5 Pro, you'll still get over 60 fps in most games. Battlefield V was right on the line at 60 fps, while Fortnite played fantastic at 83 fps. The system slowed down to 52 fps at 2560 x 1600 in Valhalla, so you should probably stick to lower resolutions for heavier titles like this one.
The Legion 5 Pro offers an excellent price-performance ratio.
Although the Legion 5 Pro with RTX 3070 consistently beat the MSI GS66 Stealth with RTX 3080 (and 1440p screen) in 3DMark runs, the MSI device was well ahead in every recent game I have tested. Of course, newer configurations of the GS66 Stealth aren't widely available right now – and if so, they'll get quite a bit more expensive. The same goes for the Razer Blade 15, which will easily cost you at least $ 1,000 more.
All of this makes the Legion 5 Pro an excellent price-performance ratio for the performance it offers. The only problem is the Asus ROG Strix G15, which offers a base configuration for a similar $ 1,650. It's a more powerful laptop, no doubt about it. It's a strength of AMD's new Radeon RX 6800M graphics card that beats the RTX 3070 in every way and challenges the RTX 3080 in some. The performance of the ROG Strix G15 is undeniable. I prefer the design and screen of the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, but it's hard to beat the ROG Strix G15 in terms of price.
During my tests, the Legion 5 Pro turned out to be a well-cooled device. The GPU temperatures never rose above 86 degrees Celsius, while the CPU temperatures were even cooler. The surface temperatures got warm at times, but never quite as hot as on slimmer laptops like the MSI GS66 Stealth or the Razer Blade 15.
All configurations of the Legion 5 Pro feature the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H. It's a powerful 45-watt chip with eight cores and 16 threads. This gives you improved CPU performance over the 35-watt processors found in something like the ROG Zephyrus G14. The Legion 5 Pro had a particularly impressive single-core score of 1430 in Cinebench R23. It also does a lot better than Intel-powered laptops such as the MSI GS66 Stealth.
I also tested the CPU-based video encoding in HandBrake, and the Ryzen 7 was an absolute runabout. In comparison, the GS66 Stealth was 24% slower in the same test. That ensures the Legion 5 Pro is just as good a machine for content creation and heavier CPU-based workloads as it is for gaming.
Still, it's not quite as fast as the Ryzen 9 5900HX that you can find in the ROG Strix G15 or ROG Zephyrus G15.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro doesn't have great battery life. Other gaming laptops have made strides in this area, like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, but the combination of the RTX 3070 and G-Sync panel is a recipe for frequent use of the charging port. The 80-watt-hour battery isn't quite as big as some of the 99-watt-hour batteries you'll find in premium gaming laptops.
Still, the battery life isn't nearly as bad as a laptop like this one has been for years, probably thanks to the efficient Ryzen processor inside. A little more than seven hours of light surfing on the Internet is not a bad thing. However, the second you boot up the discrete GPU, you'll find that it drops off pretty quickly. On the other hand, you probably shouldn't be playing without being plugged in anyway.
I should also mention the massive 300 watt power brick that comes with this thing. It's a tank and adds some weight to the backpack if you plan on traveling with the Legion 5 Pro.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Legion 5 Pro uses a precise, ThinkPad-style keyboard. It's an odd look for the keycaps on a gaming laptop, but it offers one of the best typing experiences you will find. The key travel of 1.5mm is luxurious and the layout is perfect. The backlight is pretty limited with only four adjustment zones (including the number pad) and a disappointing software experience with Lenovo Vantage. The joy of typing more than makes up for the lack of a stylish backlight.
The quality of the touchpad was all the more disappointing. It's the kind of quality you'd find on a $ 400 Chromebook, not a powerful gaming laptop. It's a big touchpad which I appreciate. But the surface isn't very smooth, meaning that clicking and dragging, pinch-to-zoom, or other gestures that require close tracking can skip or feel awkward. It's frustrating, especially on a laptop doing so many things right.
There is a 720p webcam above the screen, which Lenovo fortunately included. It's still omitted from Asus' ROG gaming laptops to allow for a thinner top bezel. However, the laptop does not include any security features, but it lacks both a Windows Hello IR camera and a fingerprint reader. These have become more common lately even on midrange gaming laptops, so it's a shame to see Lenovo force you to rely on passwords and PINs for signing in.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is the real deal. If you're done with gaming laptops trying to be too thin at the expense of the right cooling and performance, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is what you've been waiting for.
Are there alternatives?
Most gaming laptops at this price point cannot be compared to what the Legion 5 Pro has to offer. The Predator Triton 500 SE corresponds to the screen size, but is limited to an RTX 3060.
The Legion 5 Pro's two biggest competitors come from Asus. The all-AMD ROG Strix G15 is the gaming laptop with the ultimate price-performance ratio, while the ROG Zephyrus G15 corresponds to the Legion 5 Pro in almost all specifications for the same price. It doesn't have such a good screen, but the Zephyrus G15 has a sleeker design and options for up to an RTX 3080.
How long it will take?
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro should last at least five years. It's a powerful gaming laptop that can handle the latest AAA games for many years.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro isn't the most stylish gaming laptop in the world, but its performance and display more than make up for the difference.