Lenovo Legion Pro 5i review: a solid gaming laptop
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Two-minute review
Unlike the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i that was released earlier this year, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i is a much more affordable gaming laptop that offers excellent performance for its price point. It comes in two separate types: the Legion Pro 5i outfitted with an Intel CPU and the Legion Pro 5 which comes with an AMD CPU.
Both versions use an Nvidia 4000-series GPU, as AMD The cheapest configuration you can nab without having to customize one yourself is about $1,259.99 / £1,410 (including VAT) / AU$2,499, which is far more affordable than most of the best gaming laptops on the market while still commanding respectable specs.
Just as many of the other desktop replacements we’ve seen in 2023, this one comes in the standard black color with nothing particularly interesting about its shape and design. The chassis feels decently sturdy, with a nice metal finish on the top of the laptop. Opening it, the keyboard keys are more uniquely shaped, with a roundness to them you normally don’t see. It makes typing a bit weird at first until you adjust to it. The trackpad is pretty solid in terms of sensitivity, and I’m always a fan of mechanical feedback versus haptic feedback.
It has an excellent, well-balanced 16-inch WQXGA (2560x1600) display, with a choice to upgrade to HDR and from 165Hz to 240Hz refresh rate. For most gamers, the difference doesn’t matter, and if you’re purchasing this laptop in particular to save money, then you can do without the pricier upgrade. I also enjoy the fact that there’s a manual switch to turn the webcam off and on, which is lacking in the vast majority of laptops, though I wish it linked up to a physical shutter instead.
There are two downsides to the Legion Pro 5i, however. The first is the audio, specifically how low it is. Of course, you could mitigate this by simply using a headset, but the fact that the speakers are so quiet compared to every other laptop I’ve reviewed in 2023 so far is a huge inconvenience. The second issue is the placement of the keyboard and trackpad. Both feel like they’re too far to the left, requiring you to adjust to the orientation. Until you do, typos and mis-presses are commonplace. This isn’t much of an issue if you use a controller or mouse, but for those who use a keyboard for gaming or productivity work, this could be an issue.
I received two personal review units — the first came with the Intel Core i7-13700HX and the second with an AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX. Both come with an Nvidia GPU, as AMD hasn’t yet released gaming laptops with mobile processors. The Intel and AMD CPUs are mostly comparable in theory but in practice, the Ryzen 7 7745HX completely blows the i7-13700HX out of the water in every benchmark.
Despite these differences, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i’s gaming performance is excellent, handling any of the best PC games easily, including Cyberpunk 2077 at max settings and ray tracing on while maintaining 60fps on average. Other titles like Final Fantasy VII Remake and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered also look and run great, with very little slowdown at max settings. The former is able to lock in at 60fps when the option is chosen, while the latter consistently stays above that with the proper frame rate settings.
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Price & availability
Starting at $1,259.99 / £1,410 (including VAT) / AU$2,499
Available in the US and UK, and Australia
The Lenovo Legion Pro 5i sits firmly in the affordable market of gaming laptops — never quite dipping down to budget levels but still a well-rounded choice for those wanting great gaming performance for a solid price. The price is especially impressive for a gaming laptop with a 4000-series GPU and a 13th Gen CPU.
It’s available in the US, UK, and Australia, with a nice range of configurations for each region. The US has the most choices, with several models available for purchase as well as an option to customize your laptop, while the UK and Australia only have the preset models.
It’s difficult to compare to other gaming laptops in the 2023 market, as many of them are meant to either be super expensive desktop replacements or ultra-cheap laptops. The Legion Pro 5i is meant as an affordable option that sits in mid-range pricing. The closest are the Alienware m18 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16, which are nearly double the price but feature the best specs in return.
Price score: 5 / 5
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Specs
The specs for the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i review unit sent to me are as follows: Intel Core i7-13700HX CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 8GB GDDR6 GPU, 16GB DDR5 RAM, 512GB SSD of storage, and a 16-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display with 100% sRGB, 300 nits, and 165Hz.
I was also sent a Lenovo Legion Pro 5 for comparison, which features the following specs: AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 8GB GDDR6 GPU, 16GB DDR5 RAM, 512GB SSD of storage, and a 16-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display with 100% sRGB, 300 nits, and 165Hz.
Like the Pro 7, the Legion Pro 5 comes in two main types: the Legion Pro 5i outfitted with an Intel CPU, and the Legion Pro 5 with an AMD CPU. The Lenovo Legion Pro 5i comes in several configurations depending on the region. The main difference in configurations will have you choose between Intel Core i5-13500HX and i9-13900HX CPUs, between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 and RTX 4070 GPUs, RAM, storage, and displays.
Only those in the US can configure their laptop based on several specs. Those in the UK and Australia can only choose from the available models, with no customization options.
Specs score: 4.5 / 5
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Design
Great port selection
Great display, average keyboard and touchpad
The sound is very low
Like many affordably priced gaming laptops, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i is rather plain looking from the outside. Its chassis has a nice metal finish, and its weight is hefty but not unmanageable. The size of the display makes it a little tricky to carry around in bags, but a large enough one won’t struggle with the five-pound weight as well.
It has an excellent port selection with a wide selection of slots including four USB Type-A ports, two USB Type-C (both with DisplayPort 1.4), one HDMI port, one ethernet port, one headphone/microphone combo jack, and one power connector.
Many of the ports are located in the back but are thankfully labeled, making it a breeze to know which port is what without having to turn around the laptop. Unfortunately, there’s no SD card reader, which is a shame as that’s one of the most useful ports for a laptop to have.
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The display is a thin-bezel beauty 16-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) with its brightness between 300 to 500 nits, 100% sRGB coverage for creatives and editors (which pairs perfectly with the gaming-level GPU and CPU), and a choice of either 165Hz or 240Hz refresh rate, as well as a screen that supports HDR.
It would be nice if the HDR support was included and we had a choice for an OLED screen instead, which many other gaming laptops have been offering. Rounding that out is a handy manual switch on the side for the largely average webcam, which is always preferable to a key press, but a physical shutter for the camera would have made things even sweeter.
Though I always appreciate the RGB backlighting of the keyboard and the unique shape of the keys that afford more space to type on, the keyboard and touchpad are positioned in an odd way. They’re a little more to the left than normal, which requires a period of adjustment that can cause mistyping and missed presses on the touchpad in the meantime. This could be an issue for those who heavily rely on both for work and gaming. Otherwise, feedback from the keys and pad is perfectly serviceable and shouldn’t hamper gamers who use a controller and gaming mouse instead.
Ventilation is probably the biggest issue with this laptop, which is strange considering it has more than enough vents. The largest ones are located at the bottom – a standard gaming laptop design, but for some reason, they aren’t quite up to snuff when it comes to encouraging airflow properly. I found myself having to prop up the laptop using the cable itself, giving it just enough wiggle room to cool down. You may have to invest in a cooling pad or prop if you have these issues too.
Design score: 4 / 5
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Performance
Gaming performance is excellent
CPU performance is fine
But underperforms in benchmarks
Alienware m18: Benchmarks
Here's how the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Night Raid: 52,244; Fire Strike: 21,729; Time Spy: 8,869; Port Royal: 4,834
GeekBench 5: 1,825 (single-core); 8,126 (multi-core)
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 10,450 points
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 80 fps; (1080p, Low): 227 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 44 fps; (1080p, Low): 63 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 40 fps; (1080p, Low): 131 fps
25GB File Copy: 15.0
Handbrake 1.6: 3:37
CrossMark: Overall: 2,017 Productivity: 1,916 Creativity: 2,148 Responsiveness: 1,945
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 6,854 points
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 3 hours, 28 minutes
At this point, it’s difficult to directly compare the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i to other gaming laptops in 2023, as most of them are running on high-end GPUs like the RTX 4070, 4080, and 4090. However, comparing benchmark scores between those and last-gen laptops give us a better range of how well the Legion Pro 5i performs. I’ve found that the RTX 4060 scores quite high on its own merits, far surpassing the 3000-series and merely 30K points behind the two most powerful GPUs.
This, in turn, is well reflected in its general gaming performance and frame rate stability. When maxing out Cyberpunk 2077’s settings and turning on both tray-racing and DLSS 3, the laptop was able to maintain a stable 60fps. On Final Fantasy VII Remake, I chose to lock in gameplay at 60fps while maxing out the graphic setting, and it ran beautifully with no slowdown to speak off. And Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered also runs incredibly well, staying above 60fps at all times, even during the more intensive web-swinging sections.
Testing out the Intel Core i7-13700HX CPU, however, and the results aren’t nearly as impressive. Benchmark scores across the board for the 13th Gen Core i7 are far lower than any of the laptops with a 13th Gen Core i9. Even worse, many of the scores are comparable to the 12th Gen CPUs. I also tested out the AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX CPU in my other review unit, and in benchmarks like Geekbench, Cinebench, and PCMark10 the results were definitively superior to the i7-13700HX.
When testing out how this translated to creative and productivity performance, however, I found no slowdown or sluggishness in either model, with responsiveness that never waivered no matter how many tasks were going off at once. But if you’re looking for which is the better-performing processor, the AMD version is the way to go. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test which version has the better-performing Nvidia 4000-series GPU, since the Legion Pro 5 uses a 4070 instead of the 4060 in the Legion Pro 5i.
Performance score: 4 / 5
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Battery
Terrible battery life
I regret to inform you that, as with most other desktop replacement gaming laptops, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i’s battery life is horrible. At most, it lasts about three and a half hours for productivity and creative work, less than half a standard workday and about the same amount of time if you’re streaming videos or movies instead.
Keeping this baby plugged in at all times is the way to go, especially for intensive gaming sessions that will drain the power even faster. Its saving grace is the fast charge time, which will give you a full battery in about an hour.
Battery score: 2.5 / 5
Should you buy the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i?
Buy it if...
You need great gaming performance
For its pricing, the gaming performance is quite great, maintaining a solid framerate even on the highest settings.
Don't buy it if...
You need a high-volume audio system
For some reason, the audio is extremely low and you'll most likely have to purchase a headset or headphones to get anything adequate.
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i: Also consider
If the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...
How I tested the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i
I tested two models of the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 for several weeks
I tested it using both benchmark tests and video game benchmarks
I stress-tested the battery using the TechRadar movie test
First, I tested the general weight and portability of the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i by carrying it around in a laptop bag for a day. After I set it up, I ran several CPU and GPU benchmarks to thoroughly test out the graphics card's performance and how much it affected processing performance. Finally, I used a variety of programs and applications to test out both battery life and general performance during work-like conditions, as well as gaming benchmarks to test the RTX 4060 GPU.
The Lenovo Legion Pro 5i is an average desktop replacement for gaming, meaning it's meant to be used for hardcore gaming sessions. I made sure to thoroughly test out this laptop in that regard, to make sure it reached certain levels of performance. I also tested out the CPU to see how it fared against the current competition.
I've tested plenty of gaming PCs and laptops, making me more than qualified to understand benchmark test results and how to properly stress test machines to see how well they perform as a work machine.
First reviewed May 2023