MOST of the laptops that come across my desk are running Intel processors, so it’s nice when the opportunity arises – as it has here – to test something with an AMD processor under the bonnet for a change of pace.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop is one of the latest systems from the gaming brand, and features a gunmetal grey finish with a glowing Legion logo on the back just in case people around you weren’t sure which brand of gaming laptop you’d chosen.
Specs-wise, the review unit had an AMD Ryzen 5800H processor, 16GB RAM, a Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card and a 1TB SSD.
The unit has a 16in screen with a 2560×1600 resolution with 165hz refresh and it is very nice indeed – it’s really sharp and vibrant, even if it is in an unusual resolution.
The actual design on the Legion 5 Pro is worth mentioning too, because it’s very well made. The metal chassis has a solid but not chunky feel to it, the backlit keyboard is comfortable to use, and while the unit weights 2.45kg it’s not really something you’ll be carting around a lot, for reasons I’ll get into shortly.
The SSD has very good performance too – I ran Crystal DiskMark 8 on it and it returned a reading of 3435MB/s read and 3102MB/s write, which is excellent.
There’s almost a Jekyll-and-Hyde thing happening with the Legion 5 pro with regards to gaming performance, though.
When it’s plugged it, the unit is top-rate and plays pretty much everything beautifully. I tested it with Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition, Borderlands 3 and Control, and in the first two cases it was running above 80fps with all settings maxed out and RTX on, while in Control’s case it ran at 42fps with all settings maxed out and RTX on in 2560×1600, rising to a max of 60fps when I switched to 1920×1080 – so still in line with what I’d expect from the system.
The 3D Mark tests backed all this up too, with the laptop scoring 10,577 in the Time Spy benchmark and 6,565 on the Port Royal benchmark – excellent results on both counts.
It stayed remarkably cool, even under full load for more than an hour, and the keyboard was nicely responsive too – not to mushy, not too clicky, well spaced out and comfortable to type on both for gaming, word processing and general social media use too.
Between the quality screen, solid processor and decent graphics card, gaming with the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro plugged in to mains power was a great experience – I was a little concerned that 16GB RAM might be a bit lacking, but my concerns on that front proved unfounded.
As soon as I unplugged the laptop from the AC adaptor, however, the wheels fell off spectacularly from a gaming perspective.
Even with the power mode set to “Legion Performance” (which one would think would be the best option for gaming on a battery), frame rates on all three games at max settings plummeted to an unplayable 15-18fps for Borderlands 3, an atrocious 7-10fps for Control, and a barely playable 28fps at best for Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition.
The battery also lasted about an hour and a bit before waving a little white flag and going off for a nap.
It was a different story when using the laptop for General Computer And Internet Stuff on battery, however. Even on Legion Performance mode, I got an easy two and a half hours of watching Netflix, kicking around the internet, and scrolling social media – an excellent and very useful amount of battery life, helped by the Legion Vantage software clearly telling you how much battery life you have left too.
If you activate Quiet Mode, you can easily get another hour on top of that out of the laptop for general use, too – which opens up a lot of work and study possibilities, as long as you don’t mind taking 2.5kg of laptop around with you.
Still, the gulf between on- and off-battery gaming performance had me scratching my head and is definitely something to keep in mind if you’re planning on getting the system with an eye to gaming while out and about.
It’ll hold up well in a lecture or work environment for note taking, word processing and some cheeky social media use, though, so it’s not utterly without use when you’re operating on battery power.
Off-mains gaming performance aside, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a very good gaming laptop and offers the sort of high-end performance you’d expect from Legion. Between the great screen and excellent performance, it’s a pleasure to game on and ticks a lot of boxes in general.
If you’re looking for something to game with while you’re on the bus or the train, or otherwise more than about 2m from a power point, though, I would suggest you keep searching as this isn’t the laptop you’re looking for.
However, if you do most of your gaming near a wall socket – and that’s most of us these days –then there is a lot to love about the Legion 5 Pro. It’s pretty much everything you’d want from a mid-range gaming laptop, offers a solid gaming experience, and adds in effective thermals to sweeten the deal too.