Lenovo’s Legion series of gaming laptops are very popular among gamers who want the best performance with a premium design, it continues to deliver modern specs without compromising on performance. So, Lenovo sent us its Lenovo Legion 5i (2021) variant with 11th Gen Tiger Lake-H processors and RTX 30-series GPUs.
Lenovo’s Legion, Acer’s Nitro, ASUS’s TUF or ROG Zephyrus, all of these gaming laptops have totally changed the Indian gaming laptop market as a whole. While Lenovo is totally focussing on the opportunity to lure more Indian gamers in this ever-expanding Indian market.
What stands out for the Lenovo Legion 5 series of gaming laptops is its incredible design, good specs and yes, it acts as a complete everyday laptop that can be used more than a “typical gaming laptop.” However, the prices of these Lenovo Legion laptops are a bit expensive over others, this variant that Lenovo sent us retails for ₹119,990.
For the price, it features Core i7-11800H, RTX 3050, 120Hz FHD display, 16GB RAM/512 GB SSD, well, the specs are quite good on paper, however, the laptop is on the expensive side. Still, let’s find out whether it’s worth paying the extra price for the Lenovo Legion 5i? Here’s our complete review:
- Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i7 – 11800H | Speed: 2.3 GHz (Base) – 4.6 GHz (Max) | 8 Cores | 16 Threads | 24MB Cache
- Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080) | IPS Technology | 120 Hz Refresh Rate | 250Nits Brightness
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6 Dedicated Graphics with max TGP 95W | Boost Clock 1500/1740MHz
- Memory and Storage: 16GB RAM DDR4-3200, Upgradable upto 32GB | 512GB SSD
- AI Engine : Upto 15% more FPS and Best performance with Auto Detect Mode (Top 16 AAA Titles) and Auto Optimisation Mode | Q Control 4.0 to select between Quiet (Blue), Intelligent (White) and Performance (Red) Modes
- Cooling: Legion Coldfront 3.0 with Quad Channel Exhaust System with Copper Fins
- OS and Pre-Installed Softare: Pre-Loaded Windows 10 Home with Lifetime Validity | MS Office Home and Student 2019
- Audio: 2 x 2W HD Stereo Speakers | Nahimic Audio with Surround Sound, Sound Tracker, Night Mode, Sound Sharing and Content Profiles Camera (Built-in): HD 720p with E-camera Shutter which acts as physical kill switch for 100% privacy protection | Integrated Dual Array Microphone
- Keyboard: White Backlit Legion TrueStrike Keyboard with 100% Anti-Ghosting, Anti-Abrasion and Soft-Landing switches | 1.5 mm Key Travel | Large Arrow Keys | Large one piece Track Pad
Design & Build
The Lenovo Legion 5i retains its premium design and build quality from its predecessors, it still retains a strong hinge and you can open the gaming laptop with one hand. Though Lenovo doesn’t use metal on the laptop’s design, however, it has a premium plastic design that gives a metal feeling.
Though it has some flex but looks subtle and has that gaming vibe, while it still bears the “Legion” series design, I want Lenovo to make it more premium this year. The Legion 5i’s design and build is justified for a budget gaming notebook, but when you cross that Rs.1 lakh price range, you expect more quality.
While the design is still great even in 2022, the build quality needs to improve a bit especially seeing the competition from other companies especially ASUS in the same price range.
The Lenovo Legion 5i comes with a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with a 120Hz refresh rate, however, this display is not one of the best in terms of quality. With up to 250 nits of peak brightness and covering only up to 61% sRGB color gamut, you expect more from a laptop’s display that costs over Rs.1 lakh.
Though the quality of the display is not so bad as the results you see on paper, because at full brightness when you game, the visuals are quite good. The smooth 120Hz refresh rate also works fine with no lags or stutters during gaming, also, during media consumption, though colors are not as punchy as you would have liked it to be, still, it’s fine.
Here are some tests we ran on the Lenovo Legion 5i’s display with our Datacolor SpyderX Pro:
As you see in our tests, the display covers only 61% sRGB, 45% AdobeRGB, 45% DCI-P3 and 43% NTSC color gamuts. This is one of the worst color accurate displays I have seen on a gaming laptop and in terms of peak brightness, the display has a peak of 261 nits as per the
As the results tell and from a practical standpoint, even though the Legion 5i has a good display but for the price, the quality of the display is not justified frankly. Instead, you can opt for the AMD-powered Legion 5 with Ryzen 7 5800H and RTX 3060 along with 2TB SSD, covering 100% sRGB color gamut for only ₹1,31,990, a mere Rs.11k more than this Intel-powered variant.
Here, in this department, the Legion 5i boasts a powerful 8-core Intel Core i7 – 11800H processor with up to 4.6 GHz boost frequency. Indeed it’s one of the fastest gaming CPUs for laptops out there, however, newer 12th Gen processors have more cores and are more valuable but they will take some time to land on laptops.
However, these Intel processors are indeed powerful and give the best gaming performance, however, they draw immense power, making the laptop hot easily in most cases. While Lenovo has tried its best to keep this beast well within limits, however, in terms of efficiency, the Ryzen 5000H powered ones are far better.
So, if you are buying the Lenovo Legion 5i, bear in mind, you are buying it for its extreme performance and all the Intel benefits, because of this the battery life is very poor as well. Here are some of the benchmarks we ran on this Legion 5i gaming laptop:
Here are some of the 3DMark benchmarks for your reference:
As you see in benchmarks, the RTX 3050 does really struggle to give good results with its limited 4GB GDDR6 memory, however, light productivity workloads won’t be an issue on this laptop.
In terms of SSD speed, I am astounded with the phenomenal read speeds, thanks for being a PCIe gen 4 SSD, however, the write speeds do suck. Here, you see as much as 6409MB/s read speed and up to 1149MB/s write speed, however, 512GB in 2022 is very less, so you need to upgrade down the line.
Overall, in terms of performance, the Core i7-11800H performs really well, however, the weaker GPU really struggles for a gaming laptop that costs Rs.1.2 lakh. Undoubtedly, being an Intel-powered laptop raises the price, if you are ready to spend more, then better go for the premium Legion 5i Pro.
The Lenovo Legion 5i is a good performer overall, however, at the end of the day, it doesn’t deliver the best price-to-performance ratio.
In gaming, the RTX 3050 is not the most powerful laptop GPU option out there, but if you pay Rs.2k more, you might get the RTX 3050 Ti variant, however, this GPU doesn’t perform that bad. For FHD gaming, the RTX 3050 performs really well, thanks to the strong Core i7-11800H, it makes for a weaker GPU.
Here is a wide range of gaming benchmarks on the Legion 5i:
As you see, in most triple-A titles, the laptop performs exceptionally well even with an RTX 3050 and give good frame rates, well over 60FPS in Battle Royal games. However, at the highest settings, it might struggle a bit, but if you have the option of DLSS, you get some more FPS without any massive difference in quality.
Thanks to a powerful processor inside along with RTX 3050, the FHD gaming experience is quite good on the Legion 5i, however, if you have some more money to spend go for the RTX 3050 Ti or RTX 3060 if you want to use the gaming laptop for some years down the line.
Thermals & Upgradability
For thermals, you have Legion Coldfront 3.0 with Quad Channel Exhaust System with Copper Fins that really makes a difference during heavy loads. Though if your system uses the full resources in high-end games for a prolonged period of time, you will hear the fans spinning but not very loud that it would be too noticeable even while gaming.
Lenovo does boast that its cooling is very robust one to sustain maximum clock speeds with zero throttling over long sessions, thanks to its dual-fan design, it is in fact true. Among a lot of gaming laptops I tested last year, the Lenovo Legion 5i, has in fact one of the best thermals, close to the ROG Zephyrus M16, which was crowned the best gaming laptop of 2021.
There are 2x 8GB SO-DIMM DDR4-3200 RAM, so, you can replace them if you want to and expand up to 32GB DDR4-3200. I am glad to see Lenovo giving gamers enough upgradable options to use their gaming laptops for a long time.
The Lenovo Legion 5i supports up to two drives, 2x M.2 SSD, one of them being PCIe gen 4 compatible with up to 1TB storage and the other one with up to 512GB storage support. You can remove the existing one and use a higher 1TB SSD and use another 512GB SSD to expand your storage in future.
Keyboard & Trackpad
Lenovo is known to provide some of the best keyboards on its laptops and it retains that word on the Legion 5i as well. As I type this review on this gaming laptop, the typing experience is really smooth as the keycaps are tactile and mushy, overall, you will get the same comfort of typing you get on the Lenovo’s ThinkPad series.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is not the smallest, yet, not the biggest as you see on MacBooks, however, the size is very usable. The quality of it is really good, one of the bests on a gaming notebook, though cannot be replaced with a mouse, however, for general use I enjoy using the Lenovo Legion 5i’s trackpad.
Ports & Connectivity
Being a gaming laptop, the Lenovo has flooded the Lenovo Legion 5i with a lot of ports, while most of them are at the back which is a real plus point of this laptop. There are a total of 4 USB 3.2 Gen 1 (1 port – Always On), 2 Thunderbolt USB 4 (Supports Display Port 1.4, 1 supports power delivery) and an HDMI 2.1 port.
While most of them are at the rear end of the laptop, one of the Thunderbolt ports and the headphone jack is on the left-hand side while another USB port is on the right-hand side.
Now, in terms of connectivity, you have the latest Wi-Fi 6 11AX (2×2) & Bluetooth® 5.1 combo and for modern gaming that’s enough, I faced no issues while downloading or playing games with high speeds. In terms of Wi-Fi speeds I was getting as much I get with all of my Wi-Fi 6 based devices and faced no issues while connecting to multiple Bluetooth devices.
Audio & Webcam
The Lenovo Legion 5i features two 2W HD Stereo Speakers, which brings support for Nahimic Audio with Surround Sound, overall, the sound experience is quite good. Be it for gaming or casual YouTube or Netflix, the audio on this laptop is pretty loud and accurate.
In terms of webcam, you are still stuck to an HD 720p camera with E-camera Shutter for privacy, the quality is decent, nothing extraordinary, however, the face tracking is quite accurate.
One of the worst things about the 11th Gen Tiger Lake-H processors is its high power consumption, be it any laptop by any manufacturer, even though you will get good performance, but the battery life of that laptop will be really bad. As you see in my usage stats at first, I tried using this laptop on battery mode, I got an average of 2:30 hours battery life.
For a gaming laptop in 2022, it is ridiculous and I have no idea if that would improve with 12th gen processors or not. In this regard, better go for the efficient AMD processors that will become more efficient with 6nm this year, overall, if you are buying the Legion 5i, do note that the battery life will be very bad.
However, with Rapid Charge and the 230W Slim Tip brick, you can charge this laptop fully in just over half an hour, which is one of the fastest charging speeds I have ever seen on a gaming laptop. Even without Rapid Charge, the Lenovo Legion 5i charges rapidly and in terms of charging or its speed, you won’t find any issues.
The Lenovo Legion 5i is undoubtedly a good gaming laptop that provides robust gaming performance even in 2022 and as it’s getting upgraded with new hardware this year, performance won’t be an issue. With solid thermals, exceptional upgradability options, this laptop can be used for over years especially with the fantastic warranty options that Lenovo provides.
However, Lenovo needs to work on the display of the laptop and the pricing to be more specific, the price-to-performance ratio is poor here. In terms of battery life, you are left disappointed, only you expect a good performance that’s it, however, gaming laptops have come a long way to be just another gaming laptop only.
One expects more from modern gaming laptops, so, Lenovo needs to work on that and in India, it needs to get the prices correctly. Rest, as a whole package, the Lenovo Legion 5i is worth the buy if you are a gaming fan, however, bear in mind the pros and cons of being an Intel-powered laptop.