Review of the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 9

Review of the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 9

In comparison to Lenovo’s more expensive Legion 7 and Legion 9 gaming laptop lines, the company’s new Legion Pro 5i Gen 9 (which starts at $1,369.99 at the time of writing) offers remarkable performance for the money. Consider the base model pictured here as a somewhat larger-screened competitor to the slightly larger-screened Acer Nitro 17 and Asus ROG Strix 17, or as a chunkier alternative to our favorite midrange gaming setup, the Editors’ Choice award-winning Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8. Arrive for the snappy operation and comfortable keyboard; stay for the unexpectedly extended battery life.

Configurations

With its 14th generation Intel Core HX processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 series graphics card, the 16-inch Legion Pro 5i Gen 9 fits comfortably into the midrange gaming laptop segment. An RTX 4060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive, a Core i7-14650HX processor, and an IPS screen with a refresh rate of 165 Hz are all included in the entry-level variant.

Strangely, our test device had a 512GB SSD rather than a 1TB drive, which put it somewhat below the baseline configuration. We attempted customizing it on Lenovo’s website, but the cost increase when compared to prefab systems is significant—it came to $1,593 instead of $1,369.99 for a base model with 1 otherwise identical TB of storage.

Upgrades to other pre-built configurations include 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, an Intel Core i7-14700HX or Core i9-14900HX CPU, and a GeForce RTX 4070 GPU. Additionally, you can buy a quicker display—the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 9’s 240Hz panel is amazing. The price of an updated and fully loaded rig is $1,929.99. The Pro 5i employs DDR5 memory and has two M.2 storage slots, allowing expansions after purchase, if you are not a fan of factory upgrades.

Design

Lenovo has maintained the appearance of its gaming notebooks in recent years with its Legion Pro model. It is sufficiently slim for a gaming laptop, even if it is not one of the company’s Slim models, and it incorporates additional cooling and connectors through a rear piece that extends past the display hinge. With a slightly lower cost of materials, the Legion Pro 5i Gen 9 shares aesthetics with the Legion Pro 7i Gen 9, while its metal lid gives it a slightly more upscale appearance. Even with the plastic cover, the laptop seems quite substantial. There is some flex in the frame, but not enough to cause concern.

While the Pro 5i settles for simpler multi-zone lighting, higher tiers in the Legion family offer RGB keyboard lighting per key. It brightens the keycaps efficiently but offers milder effects and less subtlety. The keyboard is thoughtfully designed, with a full-size, offset cursor arrow key set aside to prevent interference with the rest of the keyboard and a somewhat reduced number keypad at the right.

Lenovo integrated a little touchpad into the palm rest of the Legion Pro. Although it is not as big and opulent as some of the most contemporary laptops, it still has plenty of space for the majority of uses.

This Legion is anything but little, even though larger gaming setups are available. Its dimensions are 1.05 by 14.3 by 10.3 inches, and much of its thickness is attributed to the large rubber feet it rests on. These feet give you a firm hold on your desk and create a sizable airflow channel beneath the laptop. However, they may also make it more difficult to fit the computer into a backpack or carry sleeve. The Lenovo is not particularly heavy for a computer with a 16-inch display, but its size and 5.39 pounds make it less portable.

Although the screen on our review device is not the best Lenovo has to offer, it is still ideal for gaming. Its 2,560-by-1,600 resolution maintains clarity at normal viewing distances, and its 16:10 aspect ratio offers it lots of vertical real estate. Although a 240Hz screen is offered, as previously said, moderate gamers should be satisfied with a 165Hz refresh rate. Although the screen is only rated for 300 nits of brightness and 100% sRGB color coverage, it still supports G-Sync and Dolby Vision. In comparison, the 240Hz display is rated for 500 nits of brightness and 100% DCI-P3.

The laptop has a respectable 1080p webcam that performs well even in low light and takes reasonably crisp pictures and movies. Moreover, its broad range of vision helps guarantee that you are in the frame. Sadly, the Legion lacks any kind of biometrics for logging in—it has neither a fingerprint reader nor a facial recognition webcam, like many gaming machines.

Graphics and Gaming Tests

We evaluate gaming laptops using both artificial and real-world benchmarks. The former contains two game simulations for DirectX 12 from UL’s 3DMark: Time Spy, which is more demanding and best suited for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs, and Night Raid, which is more subdued and appropriate for computers with integrated graphics. In addition, we execute the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which uses off-screen testing to account for variations in native display resolutions when evaluating OpenGL performance. Better performance is indicated by higher frames per second (fps).

We test our real-world games using the in-game standards of Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Formula One 2021. These three titles, which are all benchmarked at 1080p resolution, are competitive/esports shooter, open-world action-adventure, and simulation, in that order. We execute Valhalla and Siege twice, using presets for Medium and Ultra quality for the first run and Low and Ultra quality for the second. We run F1 2021 twice at ultra-quality settings, both with and without the performance-enhancing FSR and DLSS capabilities enabled by AMD and Nvidia.

Lenovo’s Legion family of products has shown great skill in maintaining hardware at peak performance, allowing the system to run at a high level without losing efficiency. With the best GPU performance among the bunch, the Legion Pro 5i won both the GFXBench test and 3DMark’s Time Spy benchmark. It only lagged behind the Asus and MSI in Night Raid, a game that may support a more powerful CPU because it is less taxing on the GPU.

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 9

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 9 Gaming Laptop, 16″ WQXGA 240Hz Display, Intel 24-Core i9

In our gaming tests, the Pro 5i’s graphical advantage held, keeping the system at the top of the group or close to it. At maximum settings, Rainbow Six Siege was an anomaly, but considering our other findings, that might have been a glitch in the testing process. These systems indicate that the GeForce RTX 4060 is nearing its full capacity, and the Legion Pro 5i Gen 9 outperformed its competitors at a lower cost.

Battery and Display Tests

We play a 720p video file that we have locally stored (the Blender movie Tears of Steel), setting the audio level to 100% and the display brightness to 50% to test the battery life. Before the test, we make sure the battery is completely charged and that the keyboard backlighting is off.

We measure the color saturation of a laptop screen—that is, the percentage of sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—as well as its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter) using a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Windows software.

Conclusion

Although the Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 9’s base display and build quality are not the best, it is still a good gaming laptop for the money. If you can live without a Thunderbolt 4 connector, it offers a strong design, a sharp and smooth screen, an excellent keyboard, and performance that is either class-leading or near to it. Though each of the options has advantages of its own, the Pro 5i is a midrange gaming option that may only be surpassed by Lenovo’s Legion Slim 5.

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