Not long ago, buying a gaming laptop was something only a small fraction of PC users could justify. Some notebooks were too big and bulky. Others were too expensive, or flaunted obnoxious designs that even the most hardcore of gamers will struggle to appreciate, much less like.
But today’s portable gaming PCs are different. Well, a lot of them are, anyway. Lenovo‘s latest 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-11400H Legion 5i is certainly not your ordinary laptop refresh. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the new Legion 5i, and we’re sharing the top reasons you should consider it as your next gaming PC, if you haven’t already. Scroll down for this gaming laptop’s biggest attractions.
Pleasingly discrete gaming machine
Ever since Lenovo rebadged its midrange and premium gaming laptops to the Legion series a few years ago, we’ve been fans of the line’s clean and moderately aggressive styling that will appeal not only to gaming enthusiasts, but users who are looking for a productivity workhorse as well. The new Lenovo Legion 5i is certainly no exception, as you can probably tell.
Its design is similar to the Legion Y530, but with a few visual tweaks here and there to make it easier to differentiate. Notably, it offers a more generous keyboard area with RGB backlighting for the keys (plus software control via Lenovo’s own app). Although some might find the overall look to be a little tame, we actually prefer it to the garish and crude design language adopted by some of Legion 5i’s competition.
Not to mention, the build quality of Lenovo’s gaming notebook is one of the better ones on the market at the moment, featuring a solid construction that inspires confidence and will likely stand the test of time. The iridescent Legion logo on the lid that subtly changes color depending on where you’re looking at it is also a nice detail.
We should mention that the Legion 5i is fairly compact and portable for a gaming rig with a 15.6-inch display, which we’ll highlight in a bit. It’s not super lightweight like an ultraportable laptop, but it’s portable enough to comfortably carry around if you need to play or get work done in another room in the house, or if you ever need to bring it while commuting or traveling.
Speaking of getting work done, the Lenovo Legion 5i boasts a full number pad on the right-hand side of the keyboard. It’s not all the time we see a full numpad on a 15.6-inch model, though it should help users who deal with spreadsheets and text documents on a daily basis.
We enjoyed our typing experience on the Legion 5i, even during particularly busy days. The keyboard is backlit across four customizable zones for convenient typing in dim environments and includes soft-landing switches that are silent and allow for deeper strokes. Gaming laptops don’t always have great keyboards, so it’s nice to see that Lenovo didn’t cut corners where others would have.
The trackpad is also pretty spacious and responsive. If you prefer to use a mouse over your laptop’s trackpad, you’ll be pleased to know that Legion 5i comes bundled with a wired Lenovo Legion M300 RGB Gaming Mouse with every purchase of the laptop.
As for the webcam that sits up top, the Legion 5i’s built-in camera offers decent picture quality, so you don’t have to purchase an external webcam for online meetings and virtual conferencing. It’s likewise located centrally along the top display bezel, which is ideal for most use cases.
Need for speed
Inside, our review unit packs an 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-11400H processor with six cores and twelve threads, to go along with 16GB of DDR4-3200 memory, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 memory, and 1TB of SSD storage.
The latter is plenty enough for today’s game requirements and should be sufficient for the video-editing requirements of most users. We’d avoid gaming laptops with 256GB SSD configurations; they’re way too skimpy for large file types, and you don’t want to find yourself struggling with moving from one storage device to another because you skimped out on additional native storage. Trust us, we’ve been there. The memory that ships with our unit is adequate for heavy multitasking, too.
But the real star here, of course, is the combination of Intel’s 11th Gen Core™ i5 chip and RTX 3060 GPU inside this laptop. The pair delivers strong performance regardless of the task that it’s given — in-game and outside of gaming — and relatively efficient at that sometimes.
The ultimate purpose of a gaming laptop is to play games at high settings, and the Lenovo Legion 5i succeeds on that count. We fired up Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade for PC and averaged around 100 fps at 1080p resolution with the graphics maxed out. The game ran smoothly on the Legion 5i’s 165Hz panel; we didn’t encounter any odd graphics issue during our multiple playthroughs.
For Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, our test model managed between 60 fps and 70 fps with the resolution at 1080p, graphics set to High, and DirectX Raytracing (DXR ) enabled for more accurate reflections at the cost of frame rate. Those are solid numbers considering our Xbox Series X cannot lock the game to 60 fps even with the graphics turned down in Performance mode.
We ran both games with the Legion 5i plugged to its hefty power brick and Performance mode turned on (by pressing the Fn and Q keys), so expect to see significantly lower frame rates when playing away from a power socket.
Next up was working in Adobe Premiere Pro. We were able to export a 7-minute 4K video in 5 minutes, which is impressively fast for a Windows machine built primarily for gaming.
The Legion 5i boots Windows 11 out of the box with a free trial to Microsoft’s Game Pass for PC service. In case you’re not familiar, Game Pass is basically the Netflix for gaming and includes over 100 high-quality PC games, with Xbox Game Studios titles like Forza Horizon 5 joining on release day. We had our copy of Guardians of the Galaxy installed through Game Pass.
Meanwhile, Windows 11 probably needs no introduction at this point. Microsoft’s latest operating system has been out for months and brings a bevy of new features, a major visual overhaul, and more. Windows 11 is also designed to improve latency in games and adds Auto-HDR, DirectStorage, and more Xbox app features to the platform.
Equally fast screen
Our test unit sports a 15.6-inch IPS panel with a WQHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate, DC dimming, and full sRGB coverage. As expected, the screen also supports Dolby Vision as well as G-Sync to minimize flickering, stuttering, and other display issues.
We found it to be an excellent screen for gaming indoors, while the anti-glare coating makes the Legion 5i suitable for use outdoors as well. The high refresh rate is a welcome addition, as it makes games look visually smoother and feel far more responsive than on a regular laptop or PC monitor.
The Lenovo Legion 5i is a beast internally, so it’s good to know that it has the display specs to match what its CPU and GPU can do. Our test model was able to live up to the challenge of playing games at our desired frame rates — all with zero or minimal screen tearing and frame stuttering. Adequately bright at roughly 300 nits, the display is also great for watching videos and performance-driven tasks like photo editing and video editing.
The Lenovo Legion 5i’s fast day-to-day and gaming performance is rounded out by an expansive port selection, which too many laptops come up short on. You get an Ethernet port, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream with always-on charging capabilities, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI 2.1 port, a headphone/microphone combo jack, and a power connector.
Whew. That’s quite a list. We’re highlighting this, because most M1-based Apple computers — at least the ones we use regularly — have a shortage of ports. Heck, even our Mac mini, which is technically a workstation computer, only comes with a pair of USB connections.
More ports is always better, and in this case, the extra ports on the Legion 5i can be used not just for gaming accessories such as a wired mouse and headphones, but also for external hard drives and card readers when editing pictures and videos.
Premium Care for your premium laptop
As a bonus, every purchase of a Legion 5i laptop comes with Lenovo’s Premium Care service. This includes up to a three-year warranty coverage, as well as pickup and return courier services, international warranty upgrade, replaceable unit service, onsite support, and free annual checkups on your unit by Lenovo experts to help you avoid problems down the road.
You also get a free annual PC health check, Lenovo’s Accidental Damage Protection service, which covers accidents beyond the system warranty, such as drops, spills, and even electrical surges.
The Lenovo Legion 5i’s price starts at P75,995 (around $1,452) in the Philippines and is available at Legion Exclusive Stores and authorized resellers nationwide. You may also purchase it from Lenovo’s Legion flagship stores on Lazada and Shopee. Be sure to follow Lenovo Legion Philippines on Facebook for future updates and product releases.
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