Gaming laptops have always been viewed as these huge, chunky laptops with average battery life and far less performance capability than their desktop counterparts, but that’s all changing due to smarter design choices and new technology.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is the first laptop in the new AMD Ryzen Mobile 5000 H-Series line of Legion laptops (which range from super slim to all-out performance) and it manages to deliver the best of both worlds. It provides a somewhat slim laptop, one of the best screens that I’ve ever used for gaming and performance that I’d be more than happy to use as my daily driver, both for work and high-end gaming.
The laptop itself can’t reasonably be described as thin but chassis design has certainly come a long way in the last five to ten years. Measuring 2.7cm at its thickest point and weighing 2.45kg, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro doesn’t feel like a brick to lift and actually feels premium in its design and build quality. As far as weight goes, it’s definitely still heavy, so if you’re looking for something ultra light, this probably isn’t it, but it’s definitely better than other laptops that I’ve used. It differs from Lenovo’s previous laptops in the sense that it has a Storm Grey design, which is made from aluminium and embellished with a newly designed illuminated Legion logo on the back.
Opening the laptop is where things really start to get impressive. The screen on this laptop blows any other laptop screen that I’ve used out of the water and displayed better colour accuracy than my high-end TV. The Legion 5 Pro has a 16-inch display with a 16:10 ratio, which means you’re getting some extra pixels at the top and bottom of the screen. It displays at a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 with a buttery smooth 165Hz refresh rate. It’s also capable of 500-nits of brightness (along with Dolby Vision), meaning you still won’t get the best HDR quality, but it’s a hell of a lot better than you’ll get with most gaming monitors.
This all sounds impressive on paper but you can also see it in action whether you’re simply scrolling social media and web browsing or playing a brand new game like Outriders. The high refresh rate makes using this screen a genuine joy and the slim bezel coupled with the high brightness and accurate colours is extremely immersive. I’d genuinely struggle to go back to any other laptop screen now.
Lenovo laptops have always been applauded for their keyboards and this one is no different. Whilst the keys are a little low for my liking, they’re accurate and don’t feel like they’ll break over time. There’s a larger trackpad than what we’ve seen on previous Legion laptops, which seems to be one of the main criticisms of the laptop’s design. You’ve also got a full-sized Numpad, which I personally don’t use, but I know is a must-have for many users.
As far as ports go, there’s little room for improvement and you’d be hard-pressed to find any essential connections missing from this design. On the back of the chassis, you’ve got the AC power port, 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port (one that’s always on), an HDMI 2.1 port, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port and an ethernet port. On the right side you’ve got 1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port your manual webcam shutter switch whilst on the left side you’ve got your headphone/mic port and 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port.
The new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro absolutely blew me away when it came to performance. I use a 3080 in my daily desktop driver and was surprised how well the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro compared, considering it’s a laptop.
The laptop has Lenovo Q Control 4.0 which allows you to change between three modes on the fly by pressing the FN + Q buttons. Quiet mode is exactly that. You’ll forgo the roaring fans to have a silent experience that seldom comes with owning a gaming laptop. The balanced mode takes advantage of NVIDIA Advanced and allows you to let your system decide whether to use the GPU or CPU to provide a great balance between performance and battery life.
You’re also able to use Nvidia Experience to set up their version of Whisper Mode and battery life-saving modes, which will limit frame rate in games to have your laptop sounding quieter or preserving the battery.
Performance mode is where the laptop really shines and what you’ll want to be using when gaming. It’s only available when the laptop is plugged into the AC adapter and this will bring higher CPU voltage, higher fan speeds and naturally, the laptop will be louder (imagine two PS4 Pros strapped together) but it will also deliver full use of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and 140w NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU.
All of the below benchmarks were measured while playing in performance mode at the laptop’s native resolutions (2560 x 1600 / 1920 x 1200). All games were set to Ultra High and both ray-tracing and DLSS were turned on where possible.
The biggest takeaway from using this laptop for gaming is that we’re finally at a point where this laptop could become your all-in-one gaming device. The fact that I was able to get almost 60FPS whilst playing games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Watch Dogs Legion at 1600p means that I really wouldn’t need to have any other gaming device. The fact that I could play Horizon Zero Dawn at well over 60FPS whilst having the game look 10x better than it did on PS4 is still unbelievable to me.
NVIDIA has been pushing DLSS in a big way and it’s clear at this point that it is the future of gaming. DLSS uses deep learning to upscale lower resolution images to provide more stable frame rates without losing too much image quality (this is getting better over time). With DLSS enabled, I was able to get over 130FPS with Outriders at 1080p, which definitely impressed me. I’m really not sure how a laptop of this size can reach these highs on a technical level, but our friends over at AusGamers have done a really great deep dive into the tech behind the RTX 30 series laptop GPUs.
Whilst playing in quiet mode, there was a drop in performance but honestly nowhere near as much as I expected. Playing Control and Watch Dogs Legion, the drop in frames was somewhere between 4-6 FPS, so if you’re somewhere where you’d need to be quiet, I could definitely see this being useful. Obviously, if you’re playing less intensive games such as Celeste or Among Us, you’ll be more than fine staying in this quiet mode for extended gaming sessions.
I was impressed with the battery life, at 50% brightness and just going about my day as normal, I was seeing roughly four hours of battery life on quiet mode. Obviously, whilst gaming and utilising the dedicated GPU, the battery percentage is going to go down a lot quicker. It’s worth mentioning that there is quite a significant external power brick, so it’s not as simple as just throwing the laptop in your bag with a small charger.
The speakers on the laptop can get fairly loud. There’s not a huge amount of bass but the laptop comes inbuilt with Nahimic software which instantly makes it sound better. You can change between custom presets and turn on virtual surround sound which instantly made a difference, providing a more fuller sound.
All-in-all, if you’ve waited until this year to buy a gaming laptop, you’ve made a great choice and you’ll enjoy the advancements in tech that have evolved over the last year or so, not to mention you’re going to get a much better bang for your buck.
WE LOVE BRINGING YOU THE BEST GAMING AND TECH BARGAINS. WE MAY GET A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE SALE THROUGH AFFILIATE PARTNERSHIPS
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop feels like a genuine improvement on other gaming laptops that I've used. It has a fantastic screen that impressed every time I opened the lid and the laptop delivered great performance on a range of games. I have no doubt that it'll only get better over time as DLSS is improved upon and incorporated into more new releases.