Lenovo Legion 5i (2024) Review – Still Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptop?

Lenovo’s Legion 5 is back in 2024, but is it still the go-to mid-range gaming laptop king that it used to be? And what are the differences between the Legion 5 and Legion Slim 5? Let’s find out in this review! The 2024 Legion 5i comes in Lenovo’s Luna Grey

finish. It looks kind of plain and simple, but personally I prefer this stealthier look compared to some other flashy gaming laptops. Lenovo includes an extra piece of plastic to customize the back of the laptop with. You can take the default black plastic cover off the back by unscrewing

2 phillips head screws. I found it quite hard to unclip, but once you get it off you can put the included extra one on with blue accenting for a bit of a different look. I had a hard time getting the new one to clip back in, but once

I put the screws back in place it didn’t budge. There’s some flex to the plastic interior if you’re pushing on it, but it felt sturdy enough using it normally. The aluminum lid has a normal amount of flex, but it doesn’t really wobble, it’s fairly sturdy. The middle of

the lid sticks out, making opening extremely easy, and the screen goes the full 180 degrees back for sharing. The hinges feel smooth and sturdy even when ripping the

lid open fast. So overall build quality is right where you would expect for a mid-range gaming laptop. Perfectly adequate, but

not winning any awards. It’s very similar to Lenovo’s Legion Slim 5, which is actually a different laptop compared to this Legion 5 – just to make things confusing. The new Legion 5 is almost the same size as Lenovo’s Legion Slim 5, the Legion 5 is just slightly deeper

and thicker. The laptop alone weighs just under 5 and a half pounds or 2 and a half kilos, increasing to 7.4lb or almost 3.4kg with the 230 watt charger included. There are plenty of heavier 16 inch laptops out there, but it is a little heavier compared to the

Slim 5. My configuration has Intel’s Core i7-14700HX processor, Nvidia RTX 4070 graphics, 32 gigs of RAM and a 16” 165Hz screen. But it’s available for more or less money depending on how you configure it with the link below. My Legion 5 has a 4 zone RGB keyboard that

lights up all zones and secondary functions, but there’s also a white lighting only option. You can press the function and spacebar shortcut to swap between 4 different lighting presets. These get customized through the Spectrum section of Lenovo’s Vantage software, which is the control panel for the laptop. Unfortunately

there aren’t any keyboard shortcuts to change the keyboard brightness, so you have to go into this software to do it, and you only get 2 levels of brightness customization. Most other laptops have 3 or 4. The keyboard has 1.5mm of key travel and felt fine to type with,

no problems there. That goes for the plastic touchpad too. It clicks down anywhere and works well. As for ports, the left side has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port right at the back, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, but no mention of Thunderbolt support, and a

3.5mm audio combo jack closer to the front. The right has two more USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a MicroSD card slot, camera disconnect switch, and gigabit ethernet at the back. The back has HDMI 2.1 on the left and the power input on the right, and there are

port icons to help you see where the cables go without the need to look behind or turn the laptop around. But unlike the higher tier Legion 7 series, they do not light up. I don’t like how forward the USB Type-A ports on the right are, because if you

plug anything in they’re just going to get in the way of right handed mouse users. And I also don’t really understand why they’re using a smaller MicroSD card slot instead of a full size SD card slot. This is a thick 16 inch gaming laptop, it should be able

to fit it. But hey, I suppose it’s preferable to not having any at all. The Type-C port closest to the front can be used to charge the laptop with up to 140 watts. And both of the Type-C ports on the left have DisplayPort 1.4 support for connecting screens,

and they both connect directly to the Nvidia graphics whether optimus is on or off. So none of the ports on this laptop connect to the Intel integrated graphics. HDMI always connects to the Nvidia graphics, and it could run our LG B9 TV at 4K 120Hz 12-bit with G-Sync.

Alright, we need to talk a bit more about how this Legion 5 differs from the Legion Slim 5. Honestly when they announced the Legion 5 was coming back in 2024 I kind of just assumed that they were dropping “Slim” off the 2023 model. Because like I mentioned in

my review of the laptop, it’s not exactly what I would call “Slim”. But that’s not the case, because the Slim version still gets a new gen 9 refresh in 2024. Which means the Legion 5 is available alongside the Legion Slim 5. And the main differences seem to be

that the Slim version is actually slightly slimmer than the non-slim. And it also weighs slightly less, but not much. I think the Slim version is available with AMD Ryzen processor while the non-slim version is Intel only. And they both also have a different port layout. Personally I prefer

the ports on the Slim version, which is kind of crazy considering the non-slim version we’re covering in this video doesn’t use space on side air exhaust vents, so you would think it’s got more room for ports. The Slim version has more ports on the back and out of

the way. So yeah apart from those minor differences there aren’t really any big changes between the Legion 5 and Legion Slim 5. Getting inside requires unscrewing 10 Phillips head screws, all the same length. It was easy enough to open, but I needed pry tools. I’ll leave a link

to the ones I use below. Inside we’ve got the battery down the front, two memory slots just above near the middle, the two PCIe Gen 4 M.2 slots, with the installed SSD in the right slot, and the Wi-Fi 6E card on the left. The speeds from the 1TB

PCIe Gen 4 SSD were good, but the MicroSD card slot was kind of slow. My v90 card is capable of going beyond 200 megabytes a second in sequential tests, and we’re way below that here. The SD card does not click in, but it sits a fair way into

the machine, so not much risk of bumping it. Wi-Fi performance was fine but not anything special, similar to most of the other laptops recently tested that have 6E cards. The upgradeability score is good for a 16 inch laptop with no major drawbacks, just like last year’s Legion Slim

5, which as mentioned isn’t really that different. It’s ahead of last year’s more expensive and higher tier Pro model as that couldn’t fit double sided M.2 drives in both slots. Technically the Legion 5 can, but its second slot is a little snug with the Wi-Fi antenna cables. The

speakers are found underneath on the left and right sides towards the front. They sound ok, but aren’t anything special. They’re still clear enough at max volume but the bass is only minor. The latencymon results were bad. The 5i is powered by a 4-Cell 80Wh battery. The vantage software

also lets you enable adaptive refresh rate, which lowers the screen’s refresh rate down to 60Hz when you unplug the charger to save power. The screen flashes black as the refresh rate changes, and it automatically goes back up when you plug back in. You can manually do this at

any time with the function plus R shortcut. You can also enable conservation mode in Vantage. This limits the maximum charge level between 75 and 80%, helping battery longevity. You can’t use it at the same time as rapid charge, and you’ve also got the option to charge the battery

slower overnight, again to help longevity. The battery life is above average for a laptop with an Intel HX processor, almost lasting for 6 hours in the YouTube video playback test. Very close to the higher tier Legion 7i, despite that having a 25% higher battery capacity. Perhaps due to

its extra E cores from the higher tier i9 processor. Meanwhile the Slim 5 from last year but same sized battery lasted for even longer, and again it has yet an even lower tier processor, though still certainly capable, just not as many cores bolted on. Let’s check out thermals

next. The 5i has two fans inside with heat pipes shared between the cpu and gpu, and there are holes above the fans for air intake. Lenovo is using a new cooler design this year. The idea is the two fans spin in opposite directions to guide cool air inward

through a central chamber. The chamber has a seal, ensuring hot air only exits out the back, which means no hot air blasting your hands as there aren’t any side vents. The Vantage software lets us change between different performance modes, which from lowest to highest are quiet, balance, performance

and custom. Balance mode has the usual AI option for boosting FPS in games, while custom mode lets you set the fans to max speed or customize them, and you can customize things like CPU and GPU power and temp limits. Any time we’ve tested custom mode, we’ve set everything

in here to maximum for best results. There’s also this extreme checkbox option within custom mode, more on that shortly. This GPU overclock option was also enabled for all testing, as we figured it such an easy option on the home page of Vantage most people will probably use it.

We left it on default settings, and the overclock does not apply in quiet mode. If you enable Legion optimization through the BIOS then it unlocks the CPU overclocking menu in the Vantage software. This gives you some undervolting options, and by default the extreme checkbox for custom mode enables

both CPU and GPU overclocking, but it stops you customizing fans and power limits. We also did all our extreme testing before enabling CPU overclock in bios. You can also hold the function key and press the letter Q to cycle between all performance modes. The power button changes color

to reflect the performance mode so you can quickly see what mode you’re on at any time. Custom mode only gets included if you allow it in Vantage. The internal temps were ok when sitting there idle. The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU stress tests

which aim to represent a worst case full load scenario. The results aren’t bad, 90 degrees Celsius worst case on the CPU is starting to get up there, but hey, it’s not 100 and it’s not throttling. Custom mode with the extreme checkbox checked was warmer than manually setting all

sliders and fan speed to maximum. Interestingly, closing the lid was a little cooler on the CPU, though warmer on the GPU, but not much difference so no problem if you want to dock the laptop. Temperatures actually get worse with the cooling pad, and this happened with this year’s

Legion 7i too as the new cooling design doesn’t seem to benefit from it. Clock speeds were the same with the lid closed or open, confirming no issue when docking the laptop. The cooling pad makes no difference to performance, other than making the laptop a little warmer, so not

worth using with this laptop. Custom with extreme mode enabled was reaching a higher CPU clock speed than custom mode with all the power sliders manually maxed out. This is because extreme mode allows the CPU to run up to 85 watts, or 10 watts higher compared to what’s possible

in custom mode without the extreme checkbox. 85 watts is quite high considering the RTX 4070 is maxed out at 100 watts. Nvidia’s control panel reports it as a 140 watt GPU, but due to their voltage limit in most games and workloads we only see 100 watts. This is

completely normal from a full powered 4070 mobile GPU. I need to note that during 3 hours of stress testing for thermals the battery charge level dropped from 100 to 80%. That’s not great, but most games also won’t be maxing out both the CPU and GPU continuously, so it

should be less of a problem in practice. Here’s how an actual game performs with the different performance modes. FPS was around 60 in performance and the two custom modes, despite the CPU power limit difference noted in the stress tests of up to 30 watts. We run this test

at the native resolution of the screen, so the processor performance matters less than the GPU. As usual, we didn’t find the AI boost option to make a difference in this single game. The CPU can use much more power if the GPU is idle, like in Cinebench. Custom mode

with the extreme checkbox ticked had a little edge here when it came to multicore performance as the CPU is fed more power. Otherwise manually setting everything to maximum in custom mode wasn’t any different to performance mode. This is the first i7-14700HX processor we’ve had, but it’s still ahead

of a couple of higher tier Legion laptops from last gen that have more cores and threads. Performance lowers if we unplug the charger and instead run off of battery power, but it’s still a good result compared to most other laptops. That was the case with Lenovo’s new Legion

7i too, so it seems like these new Legion models perform better on battery compared to what we’ve seen in the past. Most laptops I test are in the low 30 degrees Celsius range on the keyboard at idle, and the 5i was a little cooler than this, a good

result. It gets warmer with the stress tests running, but it’s not hot and still feels fine, just a little warm in the middle. The higher balance mode ends up slightly cooler despite performing better, as the fans ramp up to account for the extra power. This goes for performance

mode too, it’s louder but it doesn’t feel hot at all. Maxing the fans out in custom mode was still fine, and even ticking the extreme checkbox to further boost the CPU power limit wasn’t much different – it’s only a little warm, but it’s quite loud now too, let’s

have a listen. The fans were mostly completely silent when just sitting there idle, but they did kick on for a little bit every minute or two which is why I’ve included two results. The fans get faster and louder in the higher performance modes, as expected, and performance mode

also seemed to change between two levels. Custom mode with the extreme checkbox maxed out the fan in this workload, so yeah it’s quite loud if you want full performance. But as we saw in a game earlier, at the native 2560 by 1600 screen resolution, you can still get

the same result in performance mode while also running a fair bit quieter. Total fan noise was louder with the cooling pad, and as we saw earlier, internal temps were actually warmer too, so it’s not worth using one with the 2024 Legion 5i’s new cooling design. Alright, let’s talk

display. The Legion 5i is available with two different screen options. There’s a faster 240Hz panel that gets brighter, or the cheaper and slightly slower 165Hz panel that mine has. Both advertise 100% of sRGB coverage, so the color gamut probably isn’t too different, and it’s fine for gaming, but

I’d want better for content creation. My screen went a little above the rated 350 nit mark, but this will vary a bit between every panel, and it can get super dim at low brightness levels. It’s a different panel compared to last year’s Slim 5, but both are the

same resolution and refresh rate and end up with about the same brightness. It’s not super bright, but better than the 300 nit baseline I want to see, so spend more money for the 500 nit panel if that’s important to you. If I had to guess, it’s probably the

same panel they use in the higher tier Pro versions. Backlight bleed wasn’t an issue, but this will vary between panels. The display overdrive mode has moved. In Vantage, you need to go to E-Sport and then set dynamic response time to on to get a faster screen response time.

It’s off by default, which results in a 7.5ms average grey-to-grey response time, slower than the 6.06ms needed for transitions to occur within the 165Hz refresh window. It’s faster with the dynamic response time option enabled. This adds a little overshoot and undershoot, but not much, and is worth enabling.

Again it’s much the same as last year’s Legion Slim 5 in this regard, while the faster 240Hz panel found in the higher end Pro models were around a millisecond faster. So if you want the fastest screen, you’ll be spending extra for that 240Hz panel. But honestly this sort

of difference is very small, 4ms is still a great result, even for competitive players. The total system latency is the amount of time between a mouse click and when a gunshot fire appears on the screen in Counter-Strike 2. It’s one of the best RTX 4070 results so far,

basically tied with this year’s higher tier Legion 7i, and only beaten by laptops with higher end GPUs as they typically spit out more FPS. The Legion 5i has a MUX switch. You can enable it by setting dGPU mode in Vantage, but that requires a reboot. It’s got advanced

optimus too, so you can enable or disable optimus without a reboot through the Nvidia control panel. G-Sync is available with optimus off, but it still has adaptive sync when optimus is on. There’s a 1080p camera above the screen, but there’s no IR for Windows Hello face unlock. There’s

also a camera disconnect switch on the right for privacy. Here’s how the camera and microphones look and sound, and this is what it sounds like while typing on the keyboard. Now let’s find out how well Lenovo’s Legion 5i performs in games. We’ve tested it with these settings for

best results. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested with our own custom test run, and I’ve got the Legion 5i shown by the red highlight. At 1080p it’s one of the best results from an RTX 4070 laptop tested so far, which I suspect is in part a result of the high

CPU power limit that’s possible in custom mode. It’s still performing well relative to other RTX 4070 gaming laptops at the higher 1440p resolution. You’re only going to get a noticeable boost by spending more on an RTX 4080 or above laptop. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the

game’s benchmark. At 1080p the Legion 5i was again one of the better RTX 4070 results. Some degree of this could just be silicon lottery, aka luck. At the end of the day the FPS difference between many other 4070 laptops is minor and not something you’d actually notice when

playing. The gap between the 4070 and 4080 is bigger at 1440p, because a higher pixel count can better put the higher end GPU to work. Control is a GPU heavy game, but it’s still the best 4070 result, and with the highest 1% low too, which means fewer dips

in performance and is again likely a result of that high CPU power limit. That’s still the case at 1440p as well. It’s close to Lenovo’s Legion 7i from a couple of years ago with RTX 3080 Ti graphics, though that has 16 gigs of VRAM, so it will be

interesting to see if that lasts longer years from now. Here are the 3DMark results with the addition of the new steel nomad test. The Legion 5i was one of the better RTX 4070 results when it comes to content creation too. Many of these would absolutely benefit from the

higher CPU power limit, and the fewer E cores from the i7 processor compared to i9 doesn’t seem to matter too much. Lenovo’s BIOS has a lot of extra options that many other laptops like ASUS, Razer and Acer simply do not have. It’s only really beaten by Dell/Alienware and

MSI’s advanced BIOS, which has an insane amount of customization available. Linux support was tested with an Ubuntu 24.04 live CD. By default the keyboard, touchpad, camera, speakers, ethernet and Wi-Fi all worked fine. Keyboard shortcuts for changing performance mode, keyboard lighting effect, screen brightness, and volume adjustment all worked

too, a great result. Pricing and availability will change over time, so check the link below the video for updates and current sales. And if the Legion 5i does have a good sale, we’ll be sure to add it to our gaminglaptop.deals website. We update that everyday with all of

the latest sales, so make sure that you check it out regularly to save money on your next gaming laptop. At the time of recording, the RTX 4060 configuration is available for $1350 USD, which isn’t very good at all considering you can get last year’s higher tier Legion Pro

5i for the same price with RTX 4070 graphics and faster 240Hz screen. The 2024 Legion 5i with RTX 4070 graphics that we’ve covered in this video goes for $200 more, which also isn’t really worth it compared to last year’s model. Yeah last year’s model has an older 13th

gen CPU, but 14th gen is basically just a rebrand with higher single core performance. A 13th gen i9 has similar single core performance to a 14th gen i7 anyway. This year’s Legion 5 is much more expensive on Lenovo’s website right now, but they do give you the option

to customize the specs, so price will vary. The current sale just isn’t very good, but again this will change over time, you’ll have to check out the gaminglaptop.deals website with the link below this video. We’ve got way better RTX 4070 laptops deals right now. Ultimately Lenovo’s Legion 5i

is a decent gaming laptop, but it suffers the same problem as most 2024 laptops – which is they cost more money compared to their older 2023 equivalents without offering that many more improvements, but I’ve done a whole video about that over here. Look, if the price is right

by all means go for the Legion 5, it’s a good mid-range option and I don’t have too much to complain about. It’s just that you want the price to match a mid-range laptop, not a high-end laptop. Alternatively, if you are willing to spend more money to get a

higher end laptop then I suggest checking out Lenovo’s Legion 7i next. That laptop is thinner, lighter, and it has nicer build quality. Yeah, it does cost more money, but hey maybe that’s something you’re looking for, I’ll see you in that one next!

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