REVIEW | Lenovo Legion 5i – a rugged notebook for performance seekers

The Lenovo Legion 5i is Lenovo’s gaming notebook focused on performance for gaming and professional applications. It comes equipped with high-performance processors from the Intel Core or AMD Ryzen line and Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics chips. Other differentials include the screen with 120Hz refresh rate and a robust cooling system to maintain high performance of the components.

Lenovo Legion 5i official website
Notebook purchase link on KaBuM! with RTX 3060
Notebook purchase link on KaBuM! with RTX 3050

Main specifications of the tested model:

– Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
– Intel Core i7-11800H
– 15.6″ IPS display, 120Hz ,Full HD, 100% sRGB, adaptive Sync
– 2x8GB DDR4 @3200MHz
– 512GB SSD M.2
– From BRL 8,990.00
– Dimensions: 36.25 x 26 x 2.2-2.57 cm
– Weight: 2.4kg
– Link of this configuration

– Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
– Intel Core i7-11800H
– 15.6″ IPS display, 120Hz ,Full HD, 100% sRGB, adaptive Sync
– 2x8GB DDR4 @3200MHz
– 512GB SSD M.2
– From BRL 8,990.00
– Dimensions: 36.25 x 26 x 2.2-2.57 cm
– Weight: 2.4kg
– Link of this configuration


design

The Legion 5i is a heavy-duty notebook. Different from models like the Ideapad Gaming 3i, in which the company brings a more portable design, the Legion 3i is focused on performance and brings a more robust size to ensure high performance of the components. At 2.5 kg, it is heavy, with a similar size to the Dell G15, and heavier than the ASUS TUF (2.3 kg) and the Gigabyte G5 GD (2.1 kg).

The Legion 5i is a notebook with robust cooling, but also heavy

The notebook’s look brings an image of quite robustness, with the use of straight lines and an intentionally very rectangular shape, practically without any detail besides the hinge cutout and the Lenovo logo with a shiny effect on the side of the top cover on one side, and the Legion cut out on the other side.

Like other more robust models, Lenovo moved the cooling and air circulation structures to the back of the notebook, with an extra portion of frame behind the display hinge. Something interesting that the company did was to concentrate the vast majority of connections on this back, a good request to help organize the table and also avoid cables tangling along the sides of the notebook.

Speaking of connectivity, the Legion 5i is above the market average in this regard. In addition to the RJ45 network cable, the audio headphone/microphone jack and an HDMI 2.1 jack, the notebook has two USB Type-C connectors and four USB Type-A connectors operating at 3.2 Gen1. And both USB Type-C ports support Thuderbolt 4, which also makes these connections compatible as video outputs via the DisplayPort protocol. Really, not bad!

With so many connectivity options, just missing a card reader, that may be lacking for some professionals who use cameras and equipment that uses these storages. In the wifi part we have support for Wi-Fi6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

The Legion 5i is an easy to upgrade model. Just remove the 10 screws from the base to remove the entire bottom cover, giving access to the main components of the notebook. The two RAM slots are under a metallic shield which is easily pulled out with some soft instrument – to avoid damaging the mainboard – while the two M.2 slots for SSDs are under another metallic shield fixed with three screws. In addition to protecting the storages, these covers have thermalpads and help with the heat dissipation of these SSDs.

Hardware

The Legion 5i has a wide variety of components, with models equipped with Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors, as well as GeForce RTX 3050 and 3060 graphics cards. Let’s comment specifically on the model we received for testing.

Our model is identified as Legion 5i 15ITH6H, and comes equipped with the excellent Intel Core i7-11800H processor, one of the most powerful currently available in the gaming notebook market, and with the powerful 8-core, 16-thread configuration. Legion has a good dissipation structure, and in our tests it managed to keep this CPU close to 4GHz in many moments.

The video card is the GeForce RTX 3060, one of the best options in the balance between cost and performance for those who want a high performance notebook, but it does not intend to spend a budget that exceeds the barrier of 10 thousand reais.

Something to keep an eye out for is that the Legion is sold both in versions with 16GB (2x8GB) of RAM as much as 1x8GB, something that should be avoided as much as possible as we have already set foot in this analysis here. If you save money with just 8GB, make it a priority to upgrade to a second 8GB module, something that is not expensive and will make a big difference in performance.

Tests – Applications

CineBENCH

V-Ray

Adobe Premiere


3DMark

The traditional benchmark tool provides an overview of the system’s performance facing heavy cycles for both graphics chip and processor. We ran two variations, which include the traditional Firestrike and the more modern Time Spy, which makes use of the new DirectX 12 API.

Tests – Esports

Competitive style games are demanding both on the graphics chip, which needs to make the frames, and on the processor, which needs to have high performance to handle high frame rate gameplay.

To help you understand the following graphics: in competitive games the ideal is to aim for the highest frame rate, preferably above 100fps

Counter Strike: Global Offensive
The competitive game is based on DirectX 9 and, despite the low performance requirements on the graphics card, because it is an eSport, the ideal is to reach very high frame rates – something that brings high load to both CPU and GPU.


Rainbow Six Siege
The game received an update that made the Vulkan APU available. Despite being light, it is a CPU demanding game to achieve high frame rates.


Tests – Heavy Games

To help you understand the following graphics: above 60fps is ideal for monitors that operate at this frequency. The closer to 30fps, the worse the fluidity becomes and below 30 the game starts to become “unplayable.”


Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ubisoft’s open world game is very demanding on hardware, both in the complexity of cities and their stress on the processor and in the details of the models and their load on the graphics card. It is based on the AnvilNext 2.0 graphics engine, the same initially implemented in AC: Unity.


GTA V

Grand Theft Auto V is among the biggest successes of the last few years, bringing good graphic quality among its highlights. It is one of the games that uses the most CPU, being a great test to see the behavior and difference between this component.


Red Dead Redemption 2
RockStar game, with beautiful graphics and a good reference to measure the behavior of systems. Our test considers the game running on the Vulkan API, which behaved better on both AMD and Nvidia cards.


Autonomy

Gaming notebooks are not impressive when it comes to autonomy, due to high consumption components, but the Legion 5i does not fare badly.

In our autonomy test that uses PCMark 10 in office mode, where it is simulating actions such as surfing the internet, making video calls and writing documents, the notebook reached 4h28min of battery life, something in the same ballad as models like the Dell G15.

Heating and noise

The Legion 5i copes well with the heat level of the GeForce RTX 3060 chips and especially the Core i7-11800H processor. In addition to the robustness of the cooling system, Lenovo and its resource allocation system seem to have slightly reduced the performance of the RTX 3060 compared to other models with this graphics chip, but on the other hand the notebook has been operating at slightly lower temperatures than those of rivals. This is quite positive considering the high demand of a high frequency octa-core processor like the 11800H, much of the time bordering on 4GHz during our gameplays.


software

Legion comes with an embedded management application, Lenovo Vantage, which aggregates various notebook operating settings, component status information, and other utilities.

The interfaces are not difficult to navigate, although some texts are not as clear as I would like. Below is a good example: even reading the description of what Over Drive would be, the description “speed up your screen’s response” doesn’t make it clear if we’re changing the monitor’s response time or the refresh rate, for example. The GPU’s hybrid mode also doesn’t clearly describe what happens whether it’s on or off.

Something that can be very useful is the assignment of macros on the keyboard, making it possible to use elements such as the numeric keypad or key combination as automated shortcuts, something useful for both gamers and workers.

In general, I think Lenovo Vantage is a good addition, with several informational screens, features such as automating notebook drivers and software updates and component operating information, being a great choice for those who want this in a clearer and already functional interface, while instead of focusing on the installation and interfaces of software like MSI Afterburner or HWMonitor.


Analysis video


Conclusion

The Legion 5i is a consistent choice of high performance notebook. Like the Dell G15, it takes the approach of bringing a chunky cooling system to achieve high performance, but on the other hand, it’s a heavier model.. Its 2.4 kilos is not something for anyone to carry on a daily basis, but this size has made it possible for this model to reach 4GHz on the CPU at high load and nail some of the highest results in competitive games, those with high frame rates.

Legion 5i’s performance was as expected in most tests, excelling in high frame rate competitive games, performance merit of the Core i7-11800H, and the efficiency of the notebook’s AI system distributes power and cooling resources between CPU and GPU depending on the application load in use. This adjustment seems to have affected some more GPU-bound scenarios, with it being something like 10% behind other models with RTX 3060. Considering that it is a robust project, I would like to see it appearing in the best models with this graphics chip, but at the same time At the same time, it was not far.

The combination of Core i7 and RTX 3060 results in a notebook capable of using the 120Hz screen very well for competitive games, and running games in Ultra resolution at 1080p for franchises with heavier graphics. In addition to gaming, the Legion 5i’s performance was especially positive in professional applications, at which point the Core i7-11800H “shone through” and delivered some of the best render times for 3D, videos, and other professional applications.

The Lenovo Legion 5i is a good notebook for those looking for high performance and don’t mind the slightly larger and heavier size to achieve this.

Because of these characteristics, the Lenovo Legion 5i is an interesting choice for those who are looking for a high-performance notebook and don’t mind having a heavier device for it. It does well with its good 120Hz screen, good performance from the Core i7 processor and has among its highlights the good amount of available ports, serving those who need an extra amount of USBs or even Thunderbolt 4.

PROS
Good performance in professional games and applications

Good 120Hz screen

Lots of USB connections and also two Thunderbolt 4 with DisplayPort support

Updated with WiFi6

Brazilian standard keyboard with numerics and customizable lighting

CONS
Chunky design and a little heavy

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