The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is one of my favorite gaming laptops of 2021. It’s been a few years since I last worked on a Legion gaming laptop, as I always linked Lenovo with its ThinkPads for business or school use, much like Dell’s were back in the day. As a result, I never considered it a contender in the gaming laptop scene. But boy was I wrong.
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 (140W) 8GB GDDR6
Memory: 16GB, 8GBx2, DDR4 3200MHz
Display: 16-inch QHD IPS, 16:10, 500 nits, 165Hz / 3ms response time
Resolution: 2560 x 1600
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Battery: 6-Cell 86 Wh
Connectivity: USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4), Headphone / mic combo, USB 3.2 Gen 1, 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4, power delivery), HDMI 2.1
OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Dimensions: 1.1 x 14.01 x 10.4 inches
Weight: 5.4 lbs
Warranty: One year limited
The Legion 5 Pro config that arrived for review was pretty stacked for only $1,650. However, the SSD is only a 512GB model, which is a bit small given how big game installs are getting. It’s a tough call to make when it comes to hard drive size vs. overall cost, but at least an SSD can always be upgraded.
The 16-inch QHD IPS display deserves mentioning early on, as it’s a wildly bright and colorful 500 nits IPS panel, a dream to use for work and play. I’ve oddly been using it to watch the NY Mets hold their first place position all week because I like how the colors on the uniforms popped, and the fact that the Mets are in first is objectively fantastic. The reds in Fights in Tight Spaces or the cyberpunk neon lighting in Necromunda Hired Gun look great even when watching my war dog tear about some gangster scum.
One of the Legion 5 Pro’s most underrated features is that it crams an entire number pad on the keyboard. At first, I was concerned that the full keyboard would feel too crowded, but while the enter key has felt the squeeze a bit, it did not hinder my typing ability during my time with it.
Folks have always gushed about how good Lenovo keyboards are; I always ignored them because I don’t trust people that are too into keyboards. But, I will admit, I think I get it. The rounded bottom keycaps have a nice feel to them. Add that with the large 4.7 x 3-inch touchpad, and you’ve got yourself a lovely work laptop that plays games well. I wish other laptop makers would take advantage of the added space of 17-inch gaming laptops and use it to make our lives easier.
The added screen space from the new 16:10 aspect ratio and 2560 x 1600 resolution manages to fit more on-screen, making browsing the internet and doing work stuff much more effortless.
For gaming, the 2560 x 1600 resolution does take a little getting used to, but it can mean you can see more of what’s going on around you. No other gaming laptops we’ve looked at recently boast a native 1600p resolution right now, so for comparison reasons we decided to run our gaming benchmarks at 1080p.
If you’re curious, playing at 1600p gives hits mostly over 60fps, with the primary exception, Metro Exodus, which performs in the 50-55fps range. If 1600p just isn’t for you, you can always switch to 1440p. For example, I got a steady 100+fps in the multiplayer medieval dismember simulation Chivalry 2. I mean, if you’re going to cut an enemy archer’s head skillfully, you need to do it at a high frame rate.
As expected, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and AMD Ryzen 75800H laptop found themselves in the middle of the pack in both CPU and GPU. It outperforms the Gigabyte Aorus 15G’s Core i7 10870H/RTX 3070 config, at least. On the other hand, it only edges out the new Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5, which shares the identical Ryzen 7 5800H CPU but comes with just an RTX 3060, a card seemingly happy to keep up with its bigger 3070 cousins.
If anything knocks the Legion 5 Pro, it would have to be its rather underwhelming speakers and microphone combo. Anything with a hint of bass tends to suffer, which is a shame. The microphone was another surprising disappointment. My voice, I was told, sounded distant and quiet during work calls, which paired with a mediocre 720p webcam doesn’t make for the best 2021 laptop experience. I will commend the Legion for fitting a webcam on a screen with such a small top bezel though—A for effort.
The Lenovo Legion Pro 5 made me believe that Legion laptops deserve a spot at the top, being one of the more impressive AMD-powered laptops we’ve gotten our hands on this year. From the bright, colorful screen to the great feeling full-sized keyboard, The Legion Pro 5 has everything you want in a gaming laptop for less than $2000.