Lenovo’s New Legion 7 Gaming Laptops Pair Brawn With Beauty

Lenovo’s New Legion 7 Gaming Laptops Pair Brawn With Beauty

Lenovo is best known for its ThinkPad business laptops, but its Legion series has birthed some of the best gaming systems I’ve used in the past few years. Today, the laptop maker is replacing the old with a new fleet consisting of the Legion 7 and Legion Slim 7, each available with either AMD or Intel (denoted with an “i” in the model name) processors.

Along with the latest processors and graphics cards from the two main chipmakers, these gaming rigs sport multiple 16-inch display options, a bevy of ports, massive batteries, and some fun RGB lighting. Consistent across all systems is an understated design with pops of colourful lighting, 1080p webcams, and high-res panels.

Lenovo Legion 7 and Legion Slim 7 release date and price

Before we dig in, let’s talk pricing and availability. The Legion 7i will start at $3,144 when it launches later this month. Its AMD sibling, the Legion 7, comes in at $3,059 and will be available in June.

The Legion Slim 7 models are less expensive, though remain in the premium category; the Slim 7i, running on Intel chips, will cost $2,024 when it arrives this month while the Legion Slim 7 with AMD Ryzen processors is expected to go on sale in June for $1,614.

These are only starting prices, so you’ll pay extra for upgrades to the processor, graphics card, and display. I’m afraid the price of these systems, which is already high at the base models, could quickly get out of hand once you’ve configured them to your liking.

Lenovo Legion 7 and 7i

While the Slim models are designed for portability, the Legion 7 and Legion 7i are all about performance. These two systems can be configured with the latest processors from AMD (Legion 7) and Intel (Legion 7i): up to a Ryzen 9 6900HX or Intel Core i9-12900HX, respectively. They each support up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM (16GB x 2) and up to a 2TB SSD.

Lenovo Legion 7 (Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo)

On the graphics front, the Legion 7i’s Intel CPUs pair with Nvidia GPUs in the form of either an RTX 3070 Ti (8GB of RAM) or an RTX 3080 Ti (16GB RAM). The AMD model goes all in on Team Red with either a Radeon RX6700M or RX6850M GPU.

Turning to the design, the Legion 7 and 7i have a simple, understated unibody chassis made from aluminium and magnesium. Two noteworthy design elements include a CNC metal trim around the edges and some dazzling RGB lighting bordering the deck, glowing through the vents, and illuminating a full-size keyboard with a numpad and WASD Force Sensory keys that let you accelerate an in-game character based on the force you apply.

Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

At 14.1 x 10.4 x 0.76 inches and 3 kg, the Legion 7 isn’t the most portable gaming laptop, but it isn’t a stationary beast, either. I wouldn’t want to bring it onto a flight, but a quick jaunt to a nearby cafe won’t result in any trips to the chiropractor.

In a way, the thickness pays off with the wide array of ports this laptop offers: on the left side are two Thunderbolt 4 (or two USB 3.2 Type-C and a USB4 Type-C on Legion 7i) ports; on the right side are a USB Type-C connection, a webcam shutter switch (for a 1080p webcam), and a headphone jack; and on the rear are two USB Type-A ports, another USB Type-C port, an HDMI 2.1 connection, an RJ45 Ethernet port, and a power jack. Sorry content creators, no SD card slot here.

Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

There are a few display options available for the Legion 7, but one, in particular, sounds promising. Opt for the premium screen and you get a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a 3-millisecond response time, and — take note, gamers — a variable refresh rate that scales from 165Hz to 240Hz. The other option is identical except with a standard 165Hz refresh rate. They are both certified to VESA DisplayHDR 400 and Dolby Vision specs.

Wrapping things up is a spec we don’t see too often: a 99.99Whr battery. Add another hundredth and Lenovo would risk getting in trouble with the TSA, the folks who set the capacity limits for batteries allowed on planes. What that means for runtimes is unclear. What I can tell you is that, with “Super Rapid Charge,” the Legion can juice up from dead to 100% in around 80 minutes.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 and Slim 7i

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to decipher the differences between the Legion Slim 7 and the standard model. These are, you guessed it, more portable versions for folks like students, professional gamers, or creative pros, who need to work or play away from their desks.

I’ll get right to it: the Legion Slim 7 and Slim 7i weigh 2 kg and measure 14.1 x 10.1 x 0.67 inches, meaning they are considerably lighter and thinner than their full-size counterparts. You won’t find an Ethernet port on these, but there is an SD card reader

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 (left); Lenovo Legion 7 (right) (Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo)

What do you lose in the downsize? To start, a bit of power. While you can get up to the same Core i9-12900HK or Ryzen 9 6900HK CPUs, the Slim 7i and Slim 7 start with Core i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs.

More options certainly isn’t a bad thing, since you can bump up the CPU power to match the non-Slim versions. Where the non-Slim version has the advantage is with the GPU; the Slim 7i starts with an RTX 3050 Ti and goes up to the RTX 3070, but can’t reach up to the RTX 3080. Similarly, the Slim 7 can be equipped with a Radeon RX 6800S GPU, but no 6850M. You also drop memory from 32GB to an unorthodox 24GB (8GB onboard and a 16GB slot). Storage, however, still goes up to 2TB.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 (Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo)

Another key difference is the screen options, and here is where the fine print really matters. The Legion Slim 7i with Intel chips can be equipped with a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel mini-LED display with a 165Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. Available later in the year, this panel option peaks at an eye-watering 1,250 nits and is VESA DisplayHDR 1000 and Dolby Vision certified. Mini-LED, by the way, is a fairly new technology that sits somewhere between LED and OLED, delivering outstanding contrast, black levels, and brightness.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 (Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo)

I assume that display upgrade will cost a pretty penny; if it’s out of your price range, you can go with a standard IPS display with a 165Hz refresh rate. Interestingly, the AMD model doesn’t get the mini-LED treatment and instead mirrors the options available on the standard version: a 2560 x 1600 IPS panel with a 165 to 250Hz variable refresh rate, or a similar panel with a flat 165Hz refresh rate.

Lenovo did, however, find a way to pack that 99.99Whr battery in the Slim model as well. I can’t promise you long battery life, but you do at least get Super Rapid Charge for getting the battery to full in under an hour and a half.