REVIEW: Lenovo Legion 5i – Stuck In The Middle With You

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Rating
8

A solid mid-tier gaming laptop with Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics and an 11th-generation Intel CPU, the Legion 5i is a decent pick but doesn't stand out from the pack.

• Fast, bright IPS display
• 11th-gen Intel processor with Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics
• Surprisingly good performance at native 1080p resolution
• Good port selection

• Bland design
• Some loss of fidelity with DLSS enabled
• Lacklustre audio

Lenovo’s Legion laptops run the gamut from entry level to top end, with the latest generation Intel-powered Legion 5i sitting in the middle of the pack at $2499. It’s a solid entry in the series – but having tried it out, it lacks that bit of extra pizzazz that would make it shine brighter than the rest.

Design and Features

The Legion 5i won’t be winning any Most Audacious Design awards. A deep blue lid is matched with a black body, the former embossed discreetly with the Legion logo on one edge. There’s no RGB lighting to be found anywhere – which is fine by me, though it may be a deal-breaker for gamers who like the aesthetic – with the Lenovo TrueStrike keyboard featuring only plain white lighting you would be more likely to see on a business machine.

legion 5i back 1024x520 REVIEW: Lenovo Legion 5i – Stuck In The Middle With You

It has a nice array of ports: two Thunderbolt 4, four USB-A 3.2, Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm audio, and a full-sized SD card reader. The battery is 80Wh with fast charging; Lenovo says it can charge up to 50 per cent in 30 minutes.

Display and Sound

A zippy 144Hz FHD IPS display is what you’ll get with the Legion 5i, and it certainly impressed – image quality was good, and I was pleased with how smooth it was in games like Final Fantasy XIV, where I noticed no motion blur or lag while moving around. It’s bright, too, with 300 nits luminosity, as well as anti-glare technology to protect your peepers.

The sound was, unfortunately, a bit lacklustre, like with most laptop speakers: they fire downwards and are kind of tinny. Stick with headphones.

legion 5i front 1024x520 REVIEW: Lenovo Legion 5i – Stuck In The Middle With You

Performance

The Legion 5i is powered by 11th-gen Intel Core i5 silicon, coupled with a Nvidia RTX 3060 mobile graphics card. It performs actually a little better than some other 3060 machines I’ve tested, running at around 40-50 frames per second at maximum visual and ray tracing settings in legendary GPU-buster Control, which pleasantly surprised me.

Unfortunately, I was less pleasantly surprised by its performance in Control with DLSS on: while it did bump the frame rate above 60 as per usual, it shaved off a bit too much fidelity in the finer details, which meant I struggled a bit to sort through some puzzles that required looking at tiny images.

Verdict

The Lenovo Legion 5i is a perfectly good mid-tier laptop – it just doesn’t have a whole lot that makes it stand out from all the other perfectly good mid-tier laptops you’ll find at around the same price point. You can certainly do worse, though, and it’s a decent enough pick if you want an affordable RTX 3060-powered machine.

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Rating
8

A solid mid-tier gaming laptop with Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics and an 11th-generation Intel CPU, the Legion 5i is a decent pick but doesn't stand out from the pack.

• Fast, bright IPS display
• 11th-gen Intel processor with Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics
• Surprisingly good performance at native 1080p resolution
• Good port selection

• Bland design
• Some loss of fidelity with DLSS enabled
• Lacklustre audio