Lenovo have refreshed their gaming laptop lineup with AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 Zen 3 processors and Nvidia RTX 3000 series graphics, but there’s more than just a spec bump here, let’s have a look.
Lenovo Legion 7 16” with Ryzen
Let’s start off with the Lenovo legion 7, their highest tier gaming laptop, as that’s had some pretty big changes. The most notable of which is the move from Intel to AMD processors. The new 2021 Legion 7 will be available with up to 8 core Ryzen 9 5900H processor and up to Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics, so on paper these specs should be able to offer an excellent gaming experience.
Not only that, but the Legion 7 is also going to be a 16” gaming laptop, an uncommon size, and they must also be using a new panel, because it sounds great. It’s got a 165Hz refresh rate, 16:10 aspect ratio and a 2560 by 1600 resolution, so both high refresh rate and more pixels than 1440p. It’s also got G-Sync and 100% of sRGB colour space.
Previously the Legion 7i was offered in 15 or 17 inch sizes, so this middle of the road 16” version will be interesting, I just hope they’ve fixed the battery drain issue with the iCue software that I noted in my full review. I can only assume there will also be an Intel model once Intel 11th gen H series processors are out, but based on rumours those are apparently still a couple of months away, which is probably why Lenovo have made the jump to AMD here.
The options would either be wait for Intel 11th gen, have this weird transitionary period where you sell Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics with 10th gen CPUs, or just do what everyones asking and make high end Ryzen laptops with high end Nvidia graphics, and that last one seems to be the move Lenovo are going with for the Legion 7.
Lenovo Legion 5 - Still the best?
Now let’s talk about everyone’s favorite Legion 5. I said this was the best Ryzen gaming laptop of 2020, so I can’t wait to check out the new 2021 model once it’s here. This year the Legion 5 will be available with up to 8 core Ryzen 7 5800H processor and Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics, so not quite as high as the higher tier Legion 7, but this should still offer more power compared to last gen.
Apart from that CPU and GPU spec bump, the Legion 5 will also be available with up to a 165Hz 1080p screen, so just a little extra over the 144Hz option available last gen. Unfortunately no news about this model using the new 1440p high refresh rate screens that I tested in this video, and like last generation, the Legion 5 is available with both 15 inch and 17 inch models, though the 17” one only seems to go up to 144Hz screens, while the 15” model gets that faster 165Hz.
Another change is they’ve added in Type-C charging, a nice bonus that wasn’t available previously.
Otherwise, outside of the spec bump to CPU, GPU and screen, it doesn’t look like there are that many changes here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Again, I said the Legion 5 was the best Ryzen gaming laptop of 2020, so don’t fix what isn’t broke I guess.
It’s really going to depend on how the competition reacts to the Legion 5 from last year. Maybe they’ve caught up and made improvements, and perhaps the Legion 5 isn’t the best anymore. We’ll have to wait and see once all of these new models are available for review. If other companies aren’t making good improvements then the Legion 5 might just need that little spec bump to stay ahead of the pack.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
Lenovo also have the Legion 5 Pro, which offers the same 16” 16:10 QHD display as the Legion 7 covered previously, but like the Legion 5 goes up to Ryzen 7 5800H and Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics. Again it’s got G-Sync or FreeSync support with a claimed 3ms response time. It’s going to be interesting to put that claim to the test and see if it lives up to it.
Unfortunately at this time I don’t have too much information on the Legion 5 Pro, but it sounds like it’s a beefed up 16” version of the Legion 5. Same maximum CPU and GPU specs, but with a little better screen.
Lenovo Legion Slim 7
The Legion Slim 7 also makes a comeback this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get this model to test out in 2020, but this thinner design will be available with up to 8 core Ryzen 9 5900H processor and Nvidia RTX 3060 Max-Q graphics. And it will have a 15.6” screen with either 1080p 144Hz or 4K 60Hz.
Basically the idea of this model is to keep it lighter and more portable, hence the Max-Q graphics, though realistically given 2060 Max-Q from last generation could easily handle pretty much all AAA games with decent settings, I’d expect 3060 Max-Q to do just fine too. Lenovo have quite a few other machines coming this year in their ideapad and thinkbook series for instance.