Lenovo Legion 5: The Kotaku Australia Review

Lenovo Legion 5: The Kotaku Australia Review

The Lenovo Legion 5 is a powerful 15-inch gaming and work machine boasting a range of great features. While it looks like your everyday work companion, it hides effortless performance beneath a minimalist hood. With its hybrid work and play potential, it’s a fantastic option for work or pleasure.

Check out Kotaku Australia’s full review of the laptop below.

Lenovo Legion 5: Specs

Here’s what was under the hood of our review unit sent to Kotaku Australia.

  • Display: 1920 x 1080 120Hz 15.6″ FHD IPS anti-glare screen, 250 nits maximum brightness
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (8c/16t) with Radeon Graphics 2.90GHz
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 500GB
  • Weight: 2.3kg

Alongside these mid-range specs, the Legion 5 sports a minimalist, fetching design with clever and robust features.

Lenovo Legion 5: Design

The Lenovo Legion 5 features a sleek matte grey body great for everyday, hands-on use.

Grease and grit can really ruin a laptop’s aesthetic, but the Legion 5 is equipped with a grease-resistant finish that keeps it looking neat and polished at all times. Touching the keys and lower hand rest leaves no prints, making for an always clean look.

Image: Kotaku Australia

This metal-grey look also gives the laptop a sense of prestige. It’s not too gimmicky or too weird to be used as an everyday laptop, and that’s a mistake gaming laptops make far too often. While it does rock some rainbow LEDs beneath its simple keyboard, this is one of the few subtle ‘gamer’ touches the Legion 5 boasts.

Alongside this neat casing, the laptop has a matte 1080p FHD screen for diffusing reflections. The screen’s 250 nits of brightness isn’t enough to counteract a bright glare if you’re in direct sunlight, and it obviously can’t hold a candle to the clarity of recent laptops with HDR-capable screens. But for regular working environments — and given that the Legion 5 is likely to be plugged in most of the time — the 250 nits of brightness should be plenty for most office work.

The screen has a 0.5cm bezel around the top and sides, with a larger 3cm bezel for the bottom. It’s never distracting and contributes to the laptop’s refined aesthetic.

The most useful feature of the Legion 5 (and the really mind-blowing one) was the placement of the laptop’s ports.

The Legion 5 has a 2.5 centimetre protrusion at its back where the majority of its ports can be found (there’s also two USBs on either side of the front). It means while you’re using the laptop, every extraneous cable is tucked neatly out of sight. If you want to use the laptop lying down in bed (don’t judge, we all do it) it means you won’t have to navigate inconvenient cables at all.

Instead, the two sides are occupied by heat vents for the laptop’s fans. This means any heat is effectively diffused by the vent placement. Having the ports at the back (with some at the front for convenience) makes all the sense in the world. More laptops should be like this.

Lenovo Legion 5: Everyday Use

The Lenovo Legion 5 is great as an everyday machine. While you don’t need to rock a hefty, game-ready processor to get through your workday, it certainly won’t hurt. Having that extra processing power is great for those who need to pull off multiple tasks at once like video editing, Photoshopping, writing, answering emails or just messing around on YouTube when you need some zen time.

After two full weeks of use, the Legion 5 proved to be a workhorse — it actually shaved about 30-40 minutes off my usual duties as a multi-website producer. It’s effortless in everything it does and scarcely makes a noise doing it. You’ll only really get those internal fans going if you flog the laptop with the latest high spec games.

In regular use, the laptop hums away contentedly with barely a whistle. The Legion 5’s benchmarking tests forced the fans into action, but even then they only produced a pleasant whir instead of the heavy, wheezing breath you might hear from other machines.

When you’re done with your work day, it’s a simple matter of switching battery modes (it offers performance, hybrid and battery-saving options) and gaming on well into the night. It functions great in either setting and adjusts easily to both needs.

The only major issue with using the laptop as an everyday machine is its weight and bulk. Stationary, this presents no issues but if portability is a key concern, you’ll have to reconsider the Legion 5. While it’s a great machine, it is a bulky one and weighs around 2.3 kilograms. It’s also fairly large at 15.6-inches, making transportation difficult.

While it’s not as large or unwieldy as other gaming laptops, it’s still not very portable if you need it to travel between places.

Lenovo Legion 5: Battery

Like most Windows laptops, the Legion 5 can switch between performance-heavy and battery saving modes. In off-power higher performance modes, long-term battery life understandably suffers. Playing a mid-intensity game like Fall Guys on half brightness will give you between 1.5 and 2 hours of battery life before needing a charge (about average for your everyday gaming laptop).

If you’re completing everyday work tasks like web browsing, word processing and editing photos, you can switch into ‘better battery’ mode, where you’ll get around 5 or 6 hours of battery — almost a complete work day. Your mileage will also vary depending on how often you use the GPU — if you’re just working in Chrome/Edge/Firefox, and not firing up Adobe Photoshop or anything that needs the GTX 1650 Ti, then you’ll get a bit more juice.

While the results for gaming use are fairly average, the battery saving mode for work use is great and means you’ll be able to use the Legion 5 off-power for a significant amount of time before needing a charge (depending on your everyday needs).

Lenovo Legion 5: Performance

The Lenovo Legion 5 performed well during technical and gaming benchmarks courtesy of its AMD Ryzen 7 4800H/GeForce GTX 1650 Ti combo.

Here’s how it went during the gaming FPS testing across Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry 5 and Forza Horizon 4.

The Lenovo Legion 5 doesn’t have an absolutely whopping GPU — but it still performed consistently well. It ranked highest in Forza Horizon 4 with an average 85 FPS without any massive frame rate drops.

The notoriously gut-busting Shadow of the Tomb Raider FPS tests also went surprisingly well. While some laptops struggle with clipped framerates during this test (particularly around the market scene) the Legion 5 remained stable with an average FPS of 56.2.

While it didn’t hit those highly-desired 60+ FPS heights, it was a consistent effort and ran smoothly throughout. For its price point, the results were impressive.

Should you buy it?

The Lenovo Legion 5 offers customisable builds up to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti and an AMD Ryzen 7 with a 144Hz FHD IPS display. Higher specced builds will add to the cost, but whatever build you choose will still hover below the $2,000 mark.

The version reviewed by Kotaku Australia retails for a very reasonable $1,899.

As far as cost versus performance goes, it’s great bang for your buck and highly competitive in the market. The Legion 5’s nearest mainstream competitor would likely be the Dell G3 (which boasts similar specs, customisations and hybrid appeal) — but this laptop will run you closer to $2,200. That’s a pretty whopping $300 difference, and could be the deciding factor for you.

Overall, the Lenovo Legion 5 is an impressive hybrid laptop at a very reasonable cost. Whether you’re looking at it as a high-powered work machine, a weekend gaming companion or something in between, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for here.

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