Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Review

There’s nothing special or noteworthy about the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro’s exterior, and on paper, its specs look like a good gaming laptop, with the potential to be great. As it turns out, I have to learn to stop judging a laptop by its cover. The Legion 5 Pro is the workhorse. Simple and clear.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – Pictures

Specifications

Here are the specifications of the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro I was testing:

  • Model: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16lAH7H)
  • Monitor: 16 inch WQXGA 165 Hz (2560 x 1600)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7–12700H 3.5GHz (24M cache, 4.7GHz Max Turbo)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU, 8GB GDDR6
  • Memory: 16GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Webcam: 720p with electronic shutter
  • Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C, DisplayPort 1.4), 2 x USB-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4), 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x e-Shutter switch, 1 x 3.5mm Headphone/microphone combo, 1 x HDMI, 1 x RJ45
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6E 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Dimensions: 14.17 x 10.4 x 1.05 inches (W x D x H)
  • Weight: 5.49 pounds

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – Design

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro feels like a cross between your dad’s work laptop and a gaming laptop. The 5 Pro comes in a Storm Gray color that is close to Apple’s space gray offering. There is a Legion logo on the outside of the cap, and that’s it. There isn’t any of the fancy stickers or designs that have become popular with most gaming laptops.

Opening the lid, you’ll find a 16-inch screen with thinner bezels on the vertical sides of the screen and a thicker bezel that extends across the top, and it houses a 720p webcam.

On the surface of the laptop, just above the keyboard is the power button with an indicator light in the middle of it. It turns white when the laptop is running on battery power, and turns red while charging.

There is a full-size keyboard with a number pad on the right side, with chiclet-style keys flat-edged on three sides and a rounded bottom. There are four different RGB lighting zones behind the keyboard that you can customize to suit your mood, with a total of three different profiles available to switch between in the Lenovo Vantage app.

The trackpad is in the middle with the keyboard, or off-center on the left side of the 5 Pro housing. It’s smooth and easy to use, save it for the fancy font on your trackpad where it records any interaction as a right-click instead of a regular click. I had to consciously remind myself, several times during testing, to move up and more left on the touchpad in order to use it without the wrong right clicks.

The 5 Pro has a long list of ports, most of which are located on the back of the laptop case. There is a little splash on both sides and a unique switch on the right initially baffled me. Let’s start with this switch – it’s the e-Shutter switch that turns the webcam on or off. There is a small icon that appears on the 5 Pro’s screen when switching modes, letting you know the current camera status.

When the camera is off, the switch is red to allow you to easily view the status of the camera. Next to the switch is a 3.5 mm microphone and headphone jack. Finally, there is a standard USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port on the right side.

Flanking the left side of the case is a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port with DisplayPort 1.4 support near the front, and a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port behind. There is a Thunderbolt icon next to the rear port that lets you know that’s what you want to use for faster transfer speeds, if your external hard drive supports it.

On the back of the laptop casing is an Ethernet port (RJ45), another USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port with DisplayPort 1.4 support and up to 135W of power to charge the laptop. Next to the USB-C port is an HDMI port, followed by two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. Finally, there’s the charging port that uses the Lenovo Power Adapter. This is the charging port you’ll want to use during gaming or resource-intensive tasks as it delivers 300W of power when paired with the included power supply.

My favorite aspect of the port arrangement on the 5 Pro is that you’ll find stickers above the ports on the back of the laptop, making it possible to tell which port is where you look down on the laptop sleeve.

As I said earlier, there is nothing fancy or unusual about the Legion 5 Pro’s design. It’s a gray laptop with a logo on the lid and ports on three sides. Looks good.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – Performance and Games

Inside the Legion 5 Pro is an Intel Core i7–12700H processor with 14 cores and 20 threads, an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, a 512GB NVMe SSD for storage and 4800MHz DDR5 memory. This is a respectable component list for any gaming PC, let alone a laptop. Other than the storage capacity of 512GB, ie. I filled out the 512GB of storage after installing a few games and benchmark apps, which meant reorganizing the apps and games that were installed during testing. Ideally, 1TB of storage is where all gaming setups should start.

But what surprised me was the amount of performance packed into the 5 Pro, especially when I compared its benchmark scores to more expensive high-end systems with objectively better specs. When you compare the results against systems like the MSI Raider GE76 with the i9-12900HK and RTX 3080 Ti, or the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 with the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX and RTX 3080 Ti, it’s clear that the Legion 5 Pro is a match for and often outperforms both systems.

For example, when comparing the 5 Pro’s Borderlands 3’s score of 101, you’ll notice that it roughly matches the GE76’s score of 108 and beats the Duo 16’s score of 93. The total score is 11916, outperforming both laptops compared. GE76 was close to 11742 and Duo 16 was behind that at 10768.

Gaming on the Legion 5 Pro was fun. The speakers provide plenty of output to beat the fans without making you feel like you’re making a lot of noise. For my first few Fortnite games, I let the 5 Pro’s AI decide whether to run it in performance mode, based on the app or open game. With all the settings cranked up high – oops, epic – in Fortnite and the resolution set to 1920 x 1200, the 5 Pro averaged 123 fps.

When I manually switched the 5 Pro to performance mode with the same settings, it averaged 113 fps. Chances are, right? I think the AI ​​could do more than just turn performance mode on and off, it also seems to be optimizing the system to get all the performance it can out of it.

Finally, I tested at a full 2560 x 1600 resolution, which brought the average frames per second down to 84.

Outside of gaming, the Legion 5 Pro handled any task I threw at it. Between using Edge with many tabs open, and alternating between a Twitch stream or one of my daily playlists from Spotify, it never slowed down. I’ve done some light photo editing with GIMP as well, and I don’t have anything bad to say about how the 5 Pro handles it.

My gripe is the overall brightness of the screen. Unless the brightness level is about to max, say 90% or higher, it’s too dark for my eyes. At the 50% threshold, which we use to run all of our performance and battery tests, I had a hard time seeing what’s on the screen. Don’t get me wrong, the concept is visual – only dark. Very dark. I had hoped that HDR support for the screen would translate to a bright, vibrant picture at all times, but that’s not the case.

What about when the brightness is increased? Well, it looks good. The color saturation is on point and the clarity of photos and videos is crisp and clear.

I’m not a huge fan of keyboard keys, only because I found myself getting lost while gaming more than I usually do.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – Battery Life

Lenovo’s spec sheet lists an estimated five hours of battery life for the 5 Pro. This is a respectful and honest appreciation.

In everyday use, the Legion 5 Pro’s battery life was good enough for casual operation for several hours before needing to be plugged in.

Running PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery benchmark, the battery ran from 100% to empty in 2 hours 39 minutes. That’s a decent amount of time, but it falls short of Lenovo’s estimate as well as the performance we’ve seen from the GE76 and Duo 16.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – Software

There is not much pre-installed software on the 5 Pro. There’s Lenovo Vantage, which I’ve found useful for setting lighting profiles, checking for updates or adjusting system settings like turning off Hybrid GPU mode that switches between integrated and custom GPUs based on the application you’re using.

There’s also an option in Vantage to overclock your GPU in just a few clicks. There is, of course, a warning when you first enable the feature, but once you skip past you can set the GPU Clock and VRAM Clock. Once you set it to your liking, you can enable overclocking with the push of a button.

McAfee LiveSafe is preinstalled, and after setting up my computer, I immediately received a warning that my free trial coverage had expired.

In addition to unnecessary McAfee bloatware, the Vantage app had a few ads at the bottom of the homepage. There was an advertisement for “smooth gaming,” a 10% discount for Lenovo support, and a reminder to sign up for the laptop.

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