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Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review

A nearly perfect gaming laptop

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is hands down one of the best gaming laptops we've ever tested, showing that the Legion line can absolutely go toe-to-toe with its better known peers. Where it falls short of the very best, it still outperforms the rest in its class, and taken overall, its reasonable price makes it hard to find a better value.

For

  • Incredible gaming performance
  • Fantastic QHD display
  • Excellent hardware controls
  • Great value for the price

Against

  • On the heavy side
  • Fairly generic design
  • Runs noticeably hot

Two-minute review

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop is easily one of the best gaming laptops we've ever gotten our hands on. While it doesn't quite have the same gaming chops as true desktop replacements running desktop-class hardware like the Gigabyte Aorus 17X, it outperforms other gaming laptops in its class like the Asus Zephyrus G15 and Gigabyte Aorus 17G.

When it comes to gaming performance from a laptop, there are two main areas to consider. Obviously, there's performance, and here the Legion 5 Pro absolutely shines. It has some of the highest scores we've seen for a mobile RTX 3070 laptop, and the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H can handle just about anything you can throw at it, and even if it falls a bit short of the Zephyrus G15's Ryzen 9 5900HS, it doesn't do so by a whole lot.

There is also the issue of battery life, with the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro putting in a respectable showing, but isn't quite best in class. For gamers who don't plan to spend too much time away from an outlet, this shouldn't be a problem, but based on our experience, you're not very likely to get through a cross country flight with it unless you travel all fancy and have a charging outlet under your seat.

The other major thing to consider is design, and here the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is somewhat of a mixed bag as far as we're concerned. On the plus side, you do get an HD webcam, which isn't always an option on a gaming laptop. 

You also get a full-sized, tenkey keyboard which is a nice thing to have if you use a numpad a lot for work or for gaming macros. The display is a gorgeous QHD (2,560 x 1,600p), 16:10 IPS screen with up to 500 nits of brightness, Dolby Vision, and up to a 165Hz refresh rate with 3ms response time. Finally, there are lots of ports to take advantage of, so it has just about everything you'll need without having to tote around a dock.

All in all, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro definitely deserves to be in contention for one of the best gaming laptops out there, though it has stiff competition. It really will depend on your needs, but it's definitely one laptop that every gamer should at least check out.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 16-inch, 2560x1600p, 16:10, 165Hz, 3ms, 500 nits
Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
Ports: 4 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (Data, DP 1.4), 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (Data, Power, DP 1.4), 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x 3.5mm combo
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Camera: 720p with E-Shutter, Dual Array microphone
Weight: 5.4lbs (2.54kg)
Size (W x D x H): 14.01 x 10.4 x 1.1ins (356 x 264.2 x 26.85mm)
Battery: 80WHr with Rapid Charge

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro model we reviewed is the only configuration available at this time and is now on sale in the US for $1,599 (about £1,135 / AU$2,075), with UK and Australia availability coming soon.

This is $200 less than the Asus Zephyrus G15 configuration we reviewed, and while the Legion 5 Pro's Ryzen 7 5800U is a step below the Ryzen 9 5900HS found in the Zephyrus G15, the specs are essentially the same otherwise. 

As we'll get into in our performance section, the Legion 5 Pro is better value against the Zephyrus G15, as configured in our review, so the Legion 5 Pro's price tag is definitely a major point in its favor. Its limited availability at the moment isn't specific to this laptop though, since every laptop with RTX 30-series hardware is generally tough to come by.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Design

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a solidly-built gaming laptop that doesn't really take any risks with its overall design. The look is your standard gaming laptop aesthetic, with the lid of the laptop looking like the hood of a sports car with an RGB Legion logo in the center.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

On the flipside, literally, the air intake isn't as expansive as on Gigabyte Aorus gaming laptops, for instance, and with the RTX 3070 running full-steam, expect that this laptop is going to run hot under strain.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of form factor, the Legion 5 Pro isn't exactly thin. Weighing in at 5.4lbs / 2.54kg and 1.1-inches / 26.85mm thick, it's not going to be the most portable gaming laptop your going to find, especially with its rather large power adapter. 

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The larger form factor does leave room for a full-sized keyboard though, which is definitely a plus. That does lead to the keys being somewhat cramped, but it's not so much that we would take points off for it. 

The keys also have good travel and overall the keyboard and trackpad are the kind of quality you normally get in a Lenovo laptop, which are generally excellent.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

So normally we take issue with downward firing speakers, but in the case of the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, the chassis is thick enough that they aren't downward firing as much as they are sideways firing, which definitely helps the audio quality.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Given the size of the Legion 5 Pro, Lenovo didn't have to make many sacrifices when it comes to ports. The only thing that you could argue is missing is an SD card slot since gaming laptops are increasingly popular with creatives, but the Legion 5 Pro isn't meant to be a creative workstation, so we won't hold that against it.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

Benchmarks

Here is how the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark Night Raid: 44,061; Firestrike: 22,031; Time Spy: 9,583; Port Royale: 5,936
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p): 170 fps (Low); 74 fps (Ultra)
Metro: Exodus (1080p): 132 fps (Low); 71 fps (Ultra, no ray tracing); 61 fps (ultra with ray tracing enabled)
Blender Fishy Cat: 4 minutes 53 seconds; Classroom: 9 minutes 23 seconds
GeekBench 5: 1,371 (single-core); 7,126 (multi-core) CineBench R23 (Multicore): 11,506
PCMark10 Home: 7,024
Battery Life (PCMark10 test): 6 hours 29 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 6 hours 31 minutes

When it comes to gaming performance, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is about as good as you're going to find in an RTX 3070 gaming laptop. Even without any hardware performance optimization courtesy of Lenovo Vantage , the Legion 5 Pro outperforms the Asus Zephyrus in terms of pure gaming performance - both in graphics benchmarks and actual gaming experience.

In our 3DMark tests, the Legion 5 Pro consistently beat the Asus Zephyrus G15. In Night Raid, the Legion 5 Pro scored 44,061 to the Zephyrus G15's 43,645; in Fire Strike, it won 22,031 to 21,211; in Time Spy, the Legion 5 Pro won, 9,583 to 9,333; and in Port Royal, the Legion 5 Pro edged out a win with 5,936 points to the Zephyrus G15's 5,723.

Granted, the Zephyrus G15 isn't getting blown away here, but in our Total War: Three Kingdoms and Metro: Exodus benchmarks, the Legion 5 Pro consistently gets between five and 10 more fps than the Asus Zephyrus G15, regardless of graphics settings.

Where the Legion 5 Pro does come up short against the Zephyrus G15 we reviewed is its CPU performance. That isn't much of a surprise, considering the Zephyrus G15 is rocking an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS and the Legion 5 Pro runs an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U. Still, even though the Legion 5 Pro comes up short in these tests, it doesn't fall far short of the Zephyrus G15.

In the end, though, this is a gaming laptop, and so on those terms the Legion 5 Pro is a better gaming machine, even if the difference isn't one that you're really likely to notice unless you are rigorously scrutinizing the two, side by side. What's more, the Legion 5 Pro is a good bit cheaper than the Zephyrus, making it a better value if what you are going for is strictly gaming performance.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life

This is one area where the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro falls short the rival Asus Zephyrus G15. The 80WHr battery in the Legion 5 Pro does an admirable job, but the Zephyrus G15's 90 WHr battery simply can't be beat.

The Legion 5 Pro only makes it six hours and 29 minutes in our PCMark 10 battery life test, compared to eight hours and 56 minutes for the Zephyrus G15. In our HD movie test, the Legion 5 Pro lasted just slightly longer with six hours and 31 minutes, while the Zephyrus G15 made it eight hours and 22 minutes.

That being said, the Legion 5 Pro is still a gaming laptop with some high-performance hardware, so saying that it "only" lasts for six and a half hours in our tests feels a bit cheeky. While we can't say the Legion 5 Pro has the best battery life out there, it's still generally excellent.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Webcam and microphone

The webcam on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a pretty standard 720p, but it at least does have one, unlike the Asus Zephyrus G15. It also has an e-shutter controlled by a physical switch on the side which is better than a lot of other laptops out there. 

This is one area where Lenovo really gets it right, and at this point it'd only be noticeable if Lenovo didn't have some kind of privacy shutter on their cameras. There's also a dual array microphone so audio so whether you're doing a video call or streaming to Twitch, you're going to sound great, at least as good as you can expect without using a professional mic setup.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Software and features

We're pleased to note that there isn't a whole lot of bloat on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (other than perennial offender McAfee), so there won't be a whole lot here that you're going to need to uninstall.

The one thing you must absolutely not uninstall is the Lenovo Vantage software. Typically, these kinds of control centers are marginally useful and largely just a way to manage the laptop's RGB lighting (which you can also do here). But in the case of the Legion 5 Pro, the hardware controls can make a dramatic difference in gaming performance.

We keep these controls set to "balanced" in all of our laptop reviews, and the scores above reflect these settings for the sake of consistency across different systems. Turn these settings up to "performance" in Lenovo Vantage, however, and you easily end up adding several thousand points to the 3DMark Night Raid score, with similar boosts across the various benchmarks.

This also gives you a healthy boost to your fps while playing games, and by healthy, we mean very noticeable. Games just play smoother in a way that other "performance" modes on other systems don't quite achieve. 

This comes at the expense of battery life, heat management, and noise level obviously - full performance mode makes the Legion 5 Pro sound like a small, handheld vacuum - but if you're playing at a desk, table, or other surface that isn't your lap while plugged into a wall outlet, using anything other than this setting is almost criminal.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want a workhorse of a gaming laptop
When it comes to gaming, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is about as good as it gets.

You want a full sized keyboard
The tenkey on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a fantastic addition to an already fantastic gaming laptop. 

You want to really tweak your hardware settings
Most gaming laptop hardware controls offer some tweaking options for the hardware, but the Legion 5 Pro's really do make a noticeable impact on performance for both battery life and graphics performance. 

Don't buy it if...

You want a portable gaming laptop
At 5.4lbs / 2.54kg, put this in your backpack and do a couple of laps if you're looking for some endurance training.

You want full day battery life
Gaming laptops aren't known for their battery life and the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro puts in a respectable performance at six and a half hours, but you're still going to need to bring your charger with you.

John Loeffler

John (He / Him / His) is TechRadar's Computing Staff Writer and is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn


Currently playing: Back 4 Blood, Metroid Dread, EVE Online