Windows Central Verdict
I loved last year's Legion 5 Pro, and this year's Legion 5i Pro is just as good. The 12th Gen Core i7 CPU and RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU absolutely shred, and the updated cooling system has no problems keeping the laptop out of thermal danger. AMD systems are also available, offering better battery life at the cost of overall performance.
Improved thermals and overall stable running
New QHD+ display option with HDR and Dolby Vision
Comfortable keyboard and huge touchpad
Plenty of ports in an accessible layout
High-end gaming performance for modern titles
Camera is 720p
Battery life isn’t outstanding
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Lenovo's Legion lineup of gaming laptops has been a mainstay for PC gamers for years, with most models hitting their seventh generation this year. I reviewed the sixth-gen Legion 5 Pro with AMD hardware last year and was quite impressed with the stable, cool performance, overall build quality, and reasonable price. This review was originally written for the Intel-based Legion 5i Pro, earning 4.5 stars and a Windows Central Recommended Award. I now have the AMD-based Legion 5 Pro in for review to see how it compares to the Intel model and, ultimately, whether or not it’s worth your money.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7): Price, availability, and specs
Lenovo supplied Windows Central with review units of its 16-inch Intel-based Legion 5i Pro (Gen 7) and AMD-based Legion 5 Pro (Gen 7) gaming laptops, which were announced at CES 2022. My Intel review unit has inside a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H processor (CPU), an NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti Laptop graphics card (GPU) running at 150W, 16GB of DDR5-4800MHz RAM, a 512GB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 16-inch QHD+ display with 165Hz refresh rate.
My AMD review unit has a Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 32GB of DDR5-4800MHz RAM, a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and a 16-inch QHD+ display 165Hz refresh rate. Compared to the Intel mode, there’s twice as much RAM, twice as much storage space, and the AMD CPU. I’ll keep this in mind when benchmarking the laptop.
I reviewed the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (Gen 6) with AMD hardware last year, calling it "one of the best gaming laptops Lenovo has ever released."
Compared to the older model, the Gen 7 version I now have in for review comes with some changes.
- New 12th Gen Intel Core H-Series or AMD Ryzen 6000 processors
- Up to an NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU (150W)
- New 16-inch QHD+ display option with 240Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, G-Sync, and X-Rite Pantone color calibration
- New Legion logo on the lid
- Improved ColdFront 4.0 system with larger exhaust, larger heat pipes, thinner fans (for quieter running)
- Slightly thinner chassis
Intel models currently start at about $1,330 at Lenovo for a config with Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and 165Hz QHD+ display. There are a bunch of configurations available, with prices jumping up to $2,030 for a model with Core i7-12700H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 32GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and the same QHD+ 165Hz display. The cost for the exact Intel configuration I reviewed is about $1,860.
AMD models currently start at about $1,440 at Lenovo for a config with AMD Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, 512GB SSD, and 16-inch QHD+ display with 165Hz refresh rate. The exact model I’m reviewing here, with Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD costs about $1,940. That’s more expensive than the Intel model, which makes sense due to it having twice as much memory and storage.
Here's a look at the exact specs found in my review unit.
|Category||Lenovo Legion 5i Pro 16 (Gen 7)||Lenovo Legion 5 Pro|
|OS||Windows 11 Home||Windows 11 Home|
|Processor||12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H||AMD Ryzen 7 6800H|
|Row 2 - Cell 0||14 cores, 20 threads||8 cores, 16 threads|
|RAM||16GB DDR5-4800||32GB DDR5-4800|
|Row 4 - Cell 0||Dual-channel, upgradeable||Dual-channel, upgradeable|
|Graphics||NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU (up to 150W)||NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU (up to 150W)|
|Storage||512GB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD||2TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD|
|Row 7 - Cell 0||Two M.2 slots, upgradeable||Two M.2 slots, upgradeable|
|Display||16 inches, 16:10 aspect ratio, IPS||16 inches, 16:10 aspect ratio, IPS|
|Row 9 - Cell 0||2560x1600 (QHD+), 500 nits, AG, 165Hz, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision, DisplayHDR 400, G-Sync||2560x1600 (QHD+), 500 nits, AG, 165Hz, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision, DisplayHDR 400, G-Sync|
|Ports||Thunderbolt 4, two USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), three USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm audio jack||Three USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), three USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), HDMI 2.1, RJ45 Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Audio||Dual 2W Stereo speakers, Nahimic Audio||Dual 2W Stereo speakers, Nahimic Audio|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Camera||Front-facing 720p, E-shutter||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Battery||80Wh, 300W AC adapter||80Wh, 300W AC adapter|
|Dimensions||14.17 x 10.41 x 0.78 inches||14.17 x 10.41 x 0.78 inches|
|Row 16 - Cell 0||(360mm x 264mm x 20mm)||(360mm x 264mm x 20mm)|
|Weight||5.49 pounds (2.49kg)||5.49 pounds (2.49kg)|
|Color||Storm Grey and Black||Storm Grey and Black|
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7): Design and features
The seventh-gen Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro look a lot like the previous generation. My review units have a Storm Grey lid and keyboard area, with a black bottom panel and black rear port hub. The Legion logo on the lid has changed to now spell out the brand, and it's reflective instead of having any built-in RGB. The finish feels nice to touch and doesn't pick up too many fingerprints. If you'd like to avoid smudges altogether, I recommend checking out the Glacier White colorway.
Lenovo was able to shave off just a couple of millimeters of thickness here, though you'd be unlikely to notice the change if you're coming from an older (but recent) model. It's not the thinnest gaming laptop on the market, but it's also not particularly chunky. The body is made up primarily of aluminum for a solid feel; there's almost no flex to the body and the lid isn't far behind.
Like all Legion laptops, there's a port hub on the back that houses the majority of cables that you'll have plugged in most of the time when you're not on the go. These include the proprietary AC adapter plug, HDMI 2.1, RJ45 Ethernet, USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), and dual USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2). The slight inset along the row of ports means you can leave a 2.4GHz dongle or small USB drive plugged in without worrying about it snapping off during transport.
The ports are flanked along the rear by large exhaust vents; there are two more exhaust vents on the sides of the laptop. You're going to feel some air on your hand if you're using an external mouse in a cramped spot. The Intel laptop’s left side has Thunderbolt 4 and standard USB-C, while the right side has one USB-A, a 3.5mm audio jack, and the camera's E-shutter toggle switch. If you need to expand connectivity with extra Thunderbolt ports, you can always check out one of the best Thunderbolt 4 docks.
The AMD model lacks Thunderbolt 4, replacing it with a third USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) port. It would have been nice to see USB4 here, giving users extra options for expanding connectivity. Like the Intel model, the AMD system uses a proprietary charger for the 300W AC adapter.
Set forward on the body is the lid, held in place by two narrow hinges. Despite their size, they hold the display firmly in place. The screen should remain fairly stable even if you're gaming in a car or train. There are two microphones along the bottom of the display and a front-facing 720p webcam in the top bezel. Lenovo has gone with an E-shutter for the camera due to a lack of space. Camera quality is OK, but I'd love to see a jump up to 1080p at this price.
The bottom of the laptop has an enormous intake vent spanning the dual fans and heat pipes, with raised rubber feet to allow air to pass through. The laptop seemed to have no issues getting enough air when sitting flat on a desk. Fan noise wasn't loud enough to overwhelm the speakers, but I think they could be louder. I had volume cranked all the way up when listening to music and gaming; there was no crackling or distortion. Nahimic Audio is on board with plenty of improvements, including 3D spatial audio and the ability to set up a surround sound system with other Bluetooth speakers.
Lenovo's TrueStrike keyboard makes a return here, seemingly unchanged since the last generation. A full number pad is included, as are dedicated navigation keys and media controls. The keys are slightly cupped with just a bit of grip to them. With 1.5mm of key travel, normal typing is quite comfortable. This isn't a mechanical keyboard, but you can feel a definite actuation point and a soft bottom. It's also 100% anti-ghosting to help with frenetic gameplay. My review units have the four-zone RGB lighting, though you can also get a full white or blue backlight to save some money.
Below the keyboard is a huge Precision touchpad that tracks perfectly. The click is a bit hollow, but I suspect most gamers are going to be using a PC gaming mouse instead of the touchpad. A bump up to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 helps with wireless connectivity.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7): Display
The Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro (Gen 7) move forward with the same 16-inch display size and 16:10 aspect ratio. They have a slim bezel around all four sides for a modern look, and the taller ratio means you get a bit more screen real estate while gaming or working.
Lenovo lists in some documents up to three different display options, though it seems like the North American region is limited to just one. Luckily, it’s the top option for both Intel and AMD platforms.
The screen has a 2560x1600 (QHD+) resolution for the IPS panel, as well as Dolby Vision support, VESA DisplayHDR 400, and 165Hz refresh rate. NVIDIA G-Sync is on board to reduce screen tearing and stuttering, and there’s TÜV Rheinland low blue light certification to help protect your eyes. If you plan on using the laptop for some design work, know that it comes with X-Rite Pantone color calibration out of the box.
The screens on both laptops look outstanding while gaming, with deep contrast and extra features to boost compatible games or media. I tested color and brightness with a SpyderX Pro colorimeter, coming back with 99% sRGB, 78% AdobeRGB, and 80% DCI-P3 coverage on both. Brightness got down to just 1.1 nits at its lowest (something I love when gaming late at night) and went up to 528 nits at its brightest.
No complaints here, and as long as you don't want 4K you should find something you can use.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7): Gaming
Like the previous generation, Lenovo has equipped the Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro (Gen 7) with its AI Engine that helps automatically tune performance when it senses a game has launched. Furthermore, it's been equipped with specific tuning profiles for 16 games, including CS:GO, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (and assumedly Warzone), Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite, League of Legends, and more.
Q Control makes a return as well, allowing you to quickly swap between custom Lenovo power profiles. These work in tandem with Windows 11's own power controls. The "Performance" Q Control plan takes over completely, but using the Balance or Quiet Q Control profiles still lets you tweak Windows 11 performance. I tested system performance and battery life in a number of different power combinations, which I cover more broadly in the next section.
As it stands for gaming, the Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro (Gen 7) are stable, cool, and powerful. This is pretty much what I've come to expect from Lenovo's modern gaming laptops. The aforementioned AI Engine does a wonderful job of balancing power and heat, letting the CPU and GPU run up to a certain point just below where thermal throttling would begin.
I ran a full system stress test (including CPU, GPU, SSD, and memory) for 20 minutes with the GPU Overclock setting enabled in the Lenovo Vantage app. There was no thermal throttling in either laptop while using the Balanced Q-Control and Performance Windows 11 setting. The Intel CPU sat comfortably at 72 degrees Celsius (161.6 degrees Fahrenheit), pulling about 45W of power at 2.4GHz, with the GPU pulling 100W at 1.1GHz.
On AMD’s side, the CPU leveled off at 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) while pulling about 45W of power at 3.0GHz and GPU pulling 100W at 1.75GHz.
Bumping the Q Control up to Performance (meaning the laptop is going all-out), there was still no thermal throttling. The fans got a bit louder to help deal with the heat, but certainly nothing egregious. The Intel CPU jumped up to about 85 degrees Celsius (185 degrees Fahrenheit) and pulled about 55W of power, while the GPU hit 135W of power. During this test, the PCIe 4.0 SSD hit about 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit), well within operational range.
On the AMD system, the Ryzen 7 6800H leveled off at 82 degrees Celsius (179.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and pulled about 45W of power. The GPU hit 141W, likely a bit higher than in the Intel system due to the Ryzen 7’s lower power draw and available headroom. As for the SSD, it topped out at about 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).
The work Lenovo did to improve cooling with its ColdFront 4.0 system seems to have paid off. The heat pipes are comparatively much larger this time around, with thinner fan blades and larger exhaust. The system heats up when under full load, but it never got uncomfortably hot.
I ran some 3DMark benchmarks to see how the Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro (Gen 7) compare to each other, as well as other laptops we've recently tested.
The Legion 5i Pro edges out the 5 Pro in these tests, no doubt thanks to its more powerful processor. Intel made some huge gains with its 12th Gen chips and hybrid architecture, and that’s on display here.
I also tested the Legion 5i Pro (Gen 7) using modern AAA games with built-in benchmarking software. I tested each game with the maxed in-game settings using the native QHD+ resolution, with DLSS and RTX off unless otherwise specified. The following numbers are the average FPS. Keep in mind that there's plenty of tweaking you can do to maximize frame rates; these are what the laptop can do with games turned all the way up.
- Intel Performance
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla: 71 FPS
- Far Cry 5: 109 FPS
- Red Dead Redemption 2: 70 FPS (DLSS Off), 86.6 FPS (DLSS Balanced)
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 99 FPS (DLSS Off), 136 FPS (DLSS Balanced)
- AMD Performance
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla: 68 FPS
- Far Cry 5: 100 FPS
- Red Dead Redemption 2: 59 FPS (DLSS Off), 60 FPS (DLSS Balanced)
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 129 FPS (DLSS Off), 138 FPS (DLSS Balanced)
The systems I tested here are near the top of what Lenovo offers. There is a Core i9-12900H listed in some Lenovo reference documents, though it doesn’t seem to always be available in all regions. On the AMD side, a Ryzen 9 6900HX chip is also available. In both systems, the RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU is as high as it goes. There are also RTX 3070, RTX 3060, and RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPUs available if you'd like to save some money.
Storage and RAM are both upgradeable in each laptop, allowing you to check out with a lesser config and upgrade yourself after buying some RAM or storage on the cheap.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7): General performance and battery
The Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro (Gen 7) are primarily gaming laptops, but their mature design and powerful performance hardware also make them good candidates for those who need a capable PC for work during the day.
Performance in this regard is, as expected, stellar, especially on the Intel side. The 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H has 14 cores to work with, split up into six Performance cores and eight Efficient cores for the new hybrid big.LITTLE architecture. It’s more than enough to pull ahead of the Ryzen 7 6800H’s eight cores in all tests we performed, as noted in the graphs below.
Both systems have two SODIMM slots for dual-channel DDR5 RAM and speedy PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage, allowing this laptop to crush productivity work and also handle some specialized work.
The Geekbench 5 results I included above were achieved using the Performance Q Control setting. I also ran the test with Balanced Q Control and Performance Windows 11 profiles, coming back with a 1,796 single-core score and a 6,353 multi-core score on the Intel system and a 1,541 single-core score and a 9,785 multi-core score on the AMD system.
With the Intel chip, PCMark 10's Modern Office rundown hit 7,527 with the Performance Q Control profile, dropping down to 7,248 with the balanced profile. AMD’s Ryzen 7 dropped to 7,318 with the same balanced profile. From these results, it seems like the AMD chip is better set up to perform when the laptop isn’t set to go all out. In any other circumstance, the Intel system beats AMD.
The Core i7-12700H CPU outperforms even 11th Gen Core i9 desktop-class CPUs in a bunch of tests, and the RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU available in both PCs is also quite powerful. These laptop are going to crush anything you throw their way, and keep their cool while doing it.
Performance is great, but what about battery life? I ran PCMark 10's Gaming battery rundown test first with the laptops set to Balanced Q Control and Performance Windows 11 profiles. The Legion 5i Pro (Gen 7) lasted just 1 hour and 7 minutes in this test. The AMD-based 5 Pro hit 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Moving on, I ran PCMark 10's Modern Office rundown test (which runs video conferencing, spreadsheets, etc.) with the laptop set to Balanced Q Control and Balanced Windows 11 profiles. The Intel laptop lasted 3 hours and 17 minutes in this test; the AMD system lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes.
Finally, I tested battery life again using the same PCMark test, this time with Quiet Q Control and Power Saver Windows 11 profiles. The Intel laptop lasted 3 hours and 43 minutes in this test, while the AMD laptop lasted 5 hours and 5 minutes.
The high-end specs draw a lot of power, and neither AMD or Intel laptop will really deliver all-day battery life without some serious concessions. This is a gaming laptop, and you should be prepared to carry along the AC adapter when away from a desk. The upside here is that the battery charges quickly. Having it plugged in for about 10 minutes will get you back to about 50% capacity.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7): Competition
I reviewed the Lenovo Legion 7i (Gen 6) earlier this year, a few months before the Gen 7 models were announced. These models have now launched, available for those who are looking to go all-in with an RTX 3080 Ti, Intel HX-Series or AMD Ryzen HX-Series CPU, a larger 99.99Wh battery, fingerprint reader, and 1080p camera. It also has much more RGB lighting, including per-key on the board.
The Razer Blade 15 is another perennial favorite here at Windows Central. The screen isn't quite as big, but the actual laptop is about as thin and light as can be. It's available with myriad high-end display options and the best performance hardware currently available. You will pay dearly, but the Blade 15 is definitely one of the best gaming laptops out there.
Alienware's m15 R7 is now available, and it comes with a lot of the same hardware options as the Legion 5i Pro. 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs, NVIDIA RTX 30-series GPUs (up to a 3080 Ti), and high-end 15.6-inch displays are all available. Prices start at $1,470 and climb from there, so not a bad place to look if you can't find Lenovo's laptop for sale and want something a bit more affordable.
Should you buy the Legion 5i Pro & 5 Pro (Gen 7)?
Who it's for ...
- Those who want high-end performance without overheating
- Those who want a 16-inch display with high-end specs
- Those who like the mature Legion look (available in two colors)
Who it isn't for ...
- Those who want the most RGB possible (check out the Legion 7/7i series)
- Those who want to stick with a 4K display
- Those who want an RTX 3080 or 3080 Ti in their laptop
Lenovo's 16-inch Legion 5i Pro and 5 Pro (Gen 7) seem well equipped to deal with the heat created by the high-end CPUs and NVIDIA's RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU. The improved ColdFront 4.0 system with larger heat pipes, thinner fan blades, and larger exhaust is able to keep up with cooling, and Lenovo's AI Engine keeps the system from running away with thermal throttling.
The Core i7-12700H CPU is a monster, delivering better performance than an 11th Gen Core i9 desktop chip. Combined with PCIe 4.0 storage and DDR5 dual-channel RAM, it's able to power high-end gaming and absolutely crushed productivity. More importantly, it beat the AMD system in nearly all tests and in-game benchmarks. And considering Lenovo's pricing fluctuates so much, you can likely get the Intel system for cheaper now (if not at the next sale). You'll miss out on some battery life afforded by the AMD model, but most gamers will push for better performance over DC runtime.
Lenovo's Legion 5i Pro gets a big performance upgrade that's matched by a bigger cooling system. It's the better option if you want more performance than the AMD system and don't want to spend big on the Legion 7 series.
The AMD-based Legion 5 Pro offers better battery life at the cost of overall performance. Considering it often costs more the Intel model, most people will likely stick with the Legion 5i Pro.
Changelog October 31, 2022
Updated full review with new information about the AMD-based Legion 5 Pro (Gen 7).
Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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