I’ve been a desktop PC stalwart for as long as I can remember. I’ve used plenty of gaming-focused laptops in the past for one reason or another, but never felt compelled to go out and replace my Microsoft Surface or MacBook Pro with something more performant, or choose portability over just building myself a half-capable desktop rig. After spending a couple of weeks with the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro (Gen 8) though, I’m really starting to come around on what a “gaming” laptop is actually capable of and how far performance and features have come in a relatively manageable form factor.
The version of the Legion 7i Pro I tested retails for $5499 AUD and packs a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU, NVIDIA RTX 4080 Laptop GPU, 32GB of DDR5-5600MHz memory and a 1TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4, making it easily one of the most expensive and power-packed gaming laptops I’ve had the pleasure of using.
Despite all of this, it manages to look quite understated and nowhere near as “Hello I am a gamer” as I was expecting given the under-the-hood specs. It’s certainly got the angular flourishes and prominent grilles you’d associate with a gaming laptop but it’s an overall very premium aesthetic that I absolutely wouldn’t feel weird about breaking out in a meeting or at my local coffee shop.
Review Unit Specifications:
CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX
GPU: RTX 4080 Laptop 12GB GGDR6
Panel: 16″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600), IPS, HDR400, 240Hz
RAM: 32GB DDR5-5600MHz
WLAN: Killer 802.11 2*2 AX + BT5.1
Keyboard: Per-key RGB
In terms of exterior hardware features, The Legion 7i Pro is well-appointed with the left side of the laptop packing a USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB-C® 3.2 Gen 2 port, the right side hosting a combined headphone/mic jack and another USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a healthy row of ports lining the back with ethernet, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.1, two more USB 3.2 Gen 1s and the power connector. One thing I’ll always love about power-focused portable machines is the generosity of ports, and that’s thankfully more than accurate of this one.
I will admit, the way that all of these ports sit alongside rows of conspicuously-port-shaped fan outlets on the sides and back had me embarrassingly trying to shove connectors into the laptop’s fans when I wasn’t looking properly, but I feel like that’s potentially more of a me problem than anything else. It all feels nicely sturdy at least, aside from a little more flex in the lid/display than I’d like.
Moving to the bits you’ll spend the most time looking at, I have a lot of love for the keyboard on this thing. The per-key RGB lighting is certainly attractive on first boot, but may or may not be something you further customise/switch off entirely depending on your tastes. It’s about as well laid-out as laptop keyboards go, with the 16″ form factor allowing for a numpad without things feeling too cramped – and I love a numpad. Key presses feel nice and tactile and satisfying with a nice sense of travel and bounceback for laptop keys. The track pad is similarly good, nice and generous in size, satisfying to press and in all of my use it’s been responsive and picks up gestures well.
Then of course, we move to the gorgeous 16″ IPS 240Hz display on the Legion 7i Pro, which is fantastic. I’ve played with more than a few high refresh rate IPS panels before, but as someone who spends most of their gaming time on an LG C2 OLED telly it’s usually an adjustment going to a comparatively dull IPS display. That’s why I was surprised and ecstatic to see some very impressive, vibrant images here with a nice amount of contrast and – although I’m far from an expert on the subject of how accurate they are – some fantastic-looking colours. My gut instinct was to plug the laptop into my TV to fire up some games, but after seeing it in all of its glory I actually spent quite a bit of time using just the Legion 7i Pro’s display. Cyberpunk 2077 in particular, with the ray-traced, neon-soaked streets of Night City, came up an absolute treat.
And of course, with this machine packing a cutting-edge NVIDIA RTX 4080 Laptop GPU with 12GB of GDDR6 memory, playing Cyberpunk 2077 with all of those graphical bells and whistles turned on is absolutely a possibility. Lenovo’s special AI-powered performance engine with its own proprietary chip dedicated to balancing and optimising performance based on long-term use is a hard one to cover off in a time-limited review, but whatever Lenovo’s doing under the hood is definitely working as the Legion 7i Pro is an absurdly performant bit of gear.
CD Projekt’s troubled open-world action RPG was an obvious choice to christen my experience with the laptop, and immediately came up a treat, putting up performance generally above the 60 FPS range at 1080p, with the Ultra visual preset with ray-tracing turned on and the RTX 4080’s fancy DLSS 3 image reconstruction tech turned off. Switching DLSS 3 on I could comfortably push the resolution up to match the laptop’s 2560×1600 WQXGA native display resolution and still hover around a whopping 100 FPS, at which point Night City truly sprang to life in a way that I was yet to witness from a “portable” machine.
Similarly, throwing anything somewhat demanding that I had on hand like Red Dead Redemption 2, Death Stranding, Control, Far Cry 6 and more all resulted in the Legion 7i Pro spitting out frames faster than the bars in Worldwide Choppers Song. Whether you’re playing on an external display or on the laptop’s gorgeous internal one, you’re going to have a great time gaming on this thing (there’s a reason it costs in excess of $5k). Tobii Eye Tracking is included as well, which not only adds a neat level of immersion to some games but can be used for various quality-of-life and privacy features in Windows 11.
With all of this gaming power, naturally, comes incredible productivity performance as well. Packing a 13th Generation Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU there really wasn’t anything I could throw at this thing to make it sweat. While I didn’t run it through any specific productivity benchmarks, I spent some time in various Adobe Creative Suite applications like Photoshop and Premiere and found working with large, complex files and rendering out 4K video to be as painless as I could hope. Given how much my personal desktop can struggle with media processing it was actually hard to part with the Legion 7i Pro when it was time to send the review unit back.
Battery life, as expected with the kinds of performance and cooling solutions packed into this beast, is nothing too impressive. You’d be extremely lucky to get more than an hour and a some change of untethered gaming, and with general day-to-day use at a medium display brightness I wasn’t getting more than a handful of hours of use before needing to reach for the bulky charging brick. This is, unsurprisingly, a “desktop replacement” in every sense of the term. At 2.8kg, it’s not the kind of thing I’d consider throwing in my backpack for a day trip, anyways.
If I have to leverage any genuine criticism in all of this, it’s that the Legion 7i Pro does get pretty hot and loud. If you’ve spent even 10 minutes researching your next gaming laptop purchase, that will in no way surprise you, but it’s quite considerable here. It’s not hot enough to be uncomfortable to use on a desk, and not loud enough to drown out its own (reasonably good) speakers if you crank the volume a bit, but it’s definitely noticeable and potentially among the more offensive I’ve come across in my limited time testing gaming laptops. Not a deal-breaker by any stretch, but worth mentioning all the same.
It’s also worth mentioning that alternate configurations of this machine are available, including a considerably more affordable RTX 4070 model that’ll no doubt still push out some impressive performance, and both are discounted on Lenovo’s own store at the time of writing.
The Lenovo Legion 7i Pro (Gen 8) is an incredibly-capable gaming laptop that offers astonishing performance in a form factor that's as stylish and premium as they come. It gets a touch hot and loud, and battery life is as weak as you'd expect, but fantastic physical design and plentiful connections coupled with a gorgeous display make this a top-notch desktop replacement.
Premium looks with a great keyboard and lots of ports