In this world of silicon shortage and scalping of CPUs and GPUs, many are looking at the laptop space to provide them with desktop PC replacement devices. The Lenovo Legion 7 aims to be one such device, packing the fastest AMD Ryzen Mobile CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU on the market currently. This laptop being fast should come as no surprise to anyone, but can it truly be a desktop replacement? And more importantly, is it worth the asking price of Rs. 2,39,990? Well, I am going to find that out and more in this deep dive review and give you the complete picture about the Legion 7.
So without further delay let’s get into the review.
Lenovo Legion 7 (2021) Review
Below you will find what I thought about the Legion 7 in detail. If you want to jump to any particular section you can use the table below to reach it quickly.
Lenovo Legion 7 Specifications
|AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
|32GB Dual-channel 3200 MHz DDR4 Memory, Max 64 GB support
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Laptop GPU 165 Watts Max TGP
|300W Slim Adapter @ 870 g
|WD SN 730 Gen 3 NVMe SSD 1TB
|16-inch WQXGA IPS 2560 x 1600 16:10 165 Hz G Sync
|14.01″ x 10.27″ x 0.93″ (356 x 261.04 x 23.5 mm)
|1 x USB Type-C (USB 3.28 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4)
1 x Audio Jack
1 x USB Type-C (USB 3.28 Gen 1)
1 x E-Shutter Button
3 x USB Type-A 3.28 Gen 1 (1 x Always-On 5V)
1 x USB Type-C (USB 3.28 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4, Power Delivery)
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x RJ45 Ethernet
|WiFi 2×2 802.11 ax
|4 cell, 80Whr
|720p with E-camera Shutter
|2 x 2W HARMAN Speaker with Nahimic Audio
Lenovo opts for an aluminum chassis for the construction of the Legion 7. The company calls the color of the device ‘Strom Gray’. The chassis has a smooth matte finish, with side and underside vents for cooling. Build quality feels very premium with negligible flex. There are also no sharp edges on my test device. Long-term Lenovo users will feel right at home with familiar build philosophy compared to last year’s model.
Legion 7 has a dimension of 14.01″ x 10.27″ x 0.93″, which is fairly standard for a device with a 16-inch screen. The weight of the device is on the heavier side, at 2.5Kgs. Moreover, the laptop also comes with a beefy 300-watt power brick. At 870g the power brick is on the heavier side and the whole package stands at around 3.4Kgs. However, the weight distribution is solid and you can open it one-handed with ease. Also, the hinges of the display are firm and it can tilt to a maximum of 175 degrees.
The design is discreet enough to pass it off as a work laptop, but it packs the RGB punch if you are into that sort of stuff. Synced RGB is present on the keyboard, the side vents, and the bottom edges. The inbuilt firmware or Corsair iCUE controls all things RGB in this device. The ‘Y’ inside the ‘LEGION’ logo on the display can also be controlled through the firmware or iCUE.
Most of the I/O is located behind the screen and is backlit. I like this design aspect as it makes it easier to plug things into the laptop when you are in front of the device and using it. The power button is surrounded by perforations that act as intakes for the system. The cooler is a vapor chamber (more on that later) and liquid metal is used as the thermal compound.
The internals of the laptop can be accessed by removing all 10 screws on the underside. The cover needs to be removed with a help of a flat spatula. There is a free SSD slot that is PCIe Gen 3 capable. You can upgrade the RAM if you want to, but since both the slots are populated you will need to replace both sticks.
The Lenovo Legion 7 packs one of the better screens I have seen in a gaming device. It has a 16 inch 2560×1600 WQXGA screen running at 165 Hz. Being IPS in nature the screen has good viewing angles and the matte finish makes it good for outdoor environments as well. The screen feels fast while gaming and the advertised 3ms response times appear to be true. There was no ghosting during gaming and the Blur Busters UFO Test also confirmed this fact.
Lenovo claims that the screen supports 100% sRGB and for the most part it appears to be true. The videos and movies I streamed on the screen looked natural and there was no blue hue that many ‘gaming’ screens suffer from. However, there is a slight backlight bleeding present, with the ‘LEGION’ text of the wallpaper being present on the screen even after sleeping the device or shutting it down.
One of the big positives of this device is the fact it supports FreeSync and G-SYNC both. So whether you are on the iGPU in hybrid mode or using the RTX 3080 in discrete mode, you have Variable Rate Refresh (VRR) available to you. The Display is also VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified and has a peak brightness of 500 nits, meaning you can use it for basic HDR media consumption.
The Lenovo Legion 7 packs the highest-end components one can imagine in a gaming laptop. My test machine packs the AMD Ryzen 9 5900 HX which has 8 cores and 16 threads with a base clock of 3.3 GHz and a max boost of 4.6 GHz. It also features the full power NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop featuring 6144 CUDA Cores, 48 RT cores, and 192 Tensor cores. It also features 16 GB of 14Gbps GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit wide memory bus. As such I had very high hopes for the performance of this system and for the most part, it does deliver.
There is a Vega 8 iGPU in the system which can be disabled using the Legion Vantage software. The laptop has also been tested on the ‘Performance Mode’ with the charger plugged in. For comparison, I have used an MSI GP66 Leopard with an i7 11800H + RTX 3070(140 watts) and an Asus G15 Advantage Edition featuring the Ryzen 9 5900HX + RX 6800M (145 watts). The Asus G15 data has been taken from Jarrod’sTech YouTube channel.
As for the tests, I ran a number of them to push the GPU and CPU of this device. For testing the CPU I ran Cinebench R23, Blender, 3D Mark Firestrike, and 3D Mark Timespy. The rasterization performance of the device was tested using Counter Global Offensive, Rainbow Six Siege, Assassins’s Creed Valhalla, The Witcher 3, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Ray Tracing and DLSS were tested using Cyberpunk 2077 and Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition. Since both the competing devices had 16:9 screens, I ran all the gaming benchmarks at 1080p instead of 1600p.
Cinebench R23 Multithread
First up is Maxon’s Cinebench R23. It is a pretty intensive CPU test that pushes all 3 systems pretty hard. The Intel 11800H is faster but the Ryzen 9 is not far behind. Interestingly the Ryzen 9 in the Asus G15 ends up being the fastest.
UL 3D Mark Firestrike
3D Mark Firestrike is a relatively old DX 11 based benchmark. The RTX 3080 Legion 7 took the lead over the GP66 but for some reason, it’s still behind the Asus G15 Advantage edition.
UL 3D Mark TimeSpy
The newer 3D Mark Time Spy shows an expected result, the Legion 7 leads the pack without any issue.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Valve’s 2012 shooter is still very popular and demands high fps for a competitive edge. The Legion 7 has no issue powering this game, delivering well over 400 FPS with every setting cranked to the max.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ubisoft’s 2020 entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise is a very taxing game. I tested it at the Ultra High settings. The Legion 7 performs well but is rather underwhelming in this test. I suspect the limited PCIe lanes that Ryzen Mobile CPUs provide with the higher overhead of the NVIDIA DX 12 driver path limits the performance of this system.
CDPR’s 2020 RPG is a perfect showcase for RTX and is the first game on this list to feature the new technology. The first test is a pure rasterization test, with no RTX or DLSS. The Legion trails the G15 by a slim margin but is beating the GP66 with ease.
In the RT test, we see the power of Ampere come to life. The Legion 7 beats everyone and decimates the 6800M in the G15. The DLSS test pushes the 3080 to even greater heights, which the 6800M cant match as it has no support for DLSS and this game does not support AMD FSR.
Rainbow Six Siege
This 2015 Ubisoft shooter is one of the most popular esports right now. I used the max settings and the Vulkan render path to test the performance and the Legion 7 had no problem maxing the refresh rate of the panel it ships with.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s 2019 masterpiece is up next. RDR2 is known to brutalize systems, but the Legion 7 had no issues. Tested at 1080p with everything set to the highest and the super taxing ‘Full Resolution Ambient Occlusion’ turned to ON.
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition
Metro Exodus was one of the first RTX ON titles NVIDIA showcased back in 2018. In 2020 4A Games released the Enhanced Edition of the game. Therefore, I tested it at Ultra Settings and Ultra Settings+DLSS ON, and in both instances, the Legion 7 blew away everything else.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
2015 Game of The Year, The Witcher 3 is still a beautiful game to look at and can tax your system pretty well. At Ultra Settings @ 1080p, the Legion 7’s limited PCIe bandwidth again limits its performance. It Falls behind the GP66 and G15 and turns its weakest result in my testing.
Other than the above tests I also ran the PudgetSystem’s Adobe Premiere Pro test and the Adobe Photoshop test. The Premiere Pro test turned in a score of 715 and the Photoshop test was at 990. Blender BMW was also super fast on the laptop with just over 3 mins to complete the render.
The included SSD is no SN 850 but it held its own. The speeds it achieved were more than enough for a fast boot and app startup experience.
Overall I can’t complain about the performance of the device. My day-to-day usage included office work (including this review), having tons of chrome tabs open, playing games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, and The Witcher 3 in my off time along with video streaming on Disney+, Netflix, and YouTube. My gaming sessions lasted for about 4 hrs minimum and the laptop did not slow down or have thermal throttling issues during these sessions.
Coming to the thermals, the Ryzen 9 5900HX and the RTX 3080 are the two most powerful chips present on the planet right now and as such require a robust cooling solution to keep them under control. Lenovo has deployed what they call Coldfront 3.0 to cool this beast. It is a vapor chamber cooler with liquid metal as the thermal compound. For the most part, it does work. The temperature of the internal components was recorded using MSI Afterburner and the chassis temps were tested using a Fluke 59 MAX IR thermometer.
The GPU sits around 75 °C under full load, be it while gaming or rendering. This is a very good result as it means the GPU can hit its boost clocks and maintain it with ease. The CPU though does get hot to alarming levels. I measured 90 °C on many occasions be it Cinebench or while gaming. Ryzen Mobile CPUs cannot be undervolted and the laptop offers no manual fan control other than the 3 modes controlled by the firmware. These limitations mean that other than disabling the boost clocks there is pretty much no solution to this problem.
Further, I also tested the laptop on a Cosmic Byte Meteoroid cooling pad. It did drop the GPU temps to 71 °C but the CPU was still around the 88 °C mark. I have to point out in either configuration the CPU did maintain core clocks of around 4300 MHz while gaming and 3900 Mhz in CPU-only stress tests, so it was not thermal throttling.
As for the chassis, the side vents were reporting temps of around 62 °C with the IR thermometer. You also feel the heat while using the keyboard during gaming. The keyboard area was reporting temps of around 45 °C and the power button bay with the top facing intake vents reported temps of 51 °C. Overall it did get a little uncomfortable using the keyboard, especially the ‘W’ and ‘R’ keys.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Coming to Keyboard the Legion 7 has what Lenovo calls a Trustrike Keyboard. It has soft landing keys and is primarily focused on gaming. Typing on it was good, and pretty much top of the line for gaming devices. Due to the solid construction of the chassis, there is 0 flex in the keyboard bay. I am however not a fan of the number pad, as yet again I kept on hitting the ‘Num Lock’ or ‘/’ while trying to type. The keyboard is RGB enabled and requires iCUE software from Corsair to control it with granularity. I am also not a fan of this software as it has a very high impact on battery life (more on that later) but if RGB is your thing you will love it.
The Trackpad is a 16:10 glass trackpad. It’s good enough for day-to-day operation but is not suitable for gaming. Its placement is a bit odd, due to the Numpad. This is one aspect I did not like about the design. The trackpad also supports windows gestures and has no metallic cling to it, a big problem I found with the MSI GP66 I use daily.
The Legion 7 comes with a fair amount of software pre-installed. Some of them are pretty useless and just slow down the whole experience. McAfee Total Protection is included with the laptop. It was one of the first apps I uninstalled. It also comes with the Legion Vantage control center which is required to disable the iGPU of the laptop and also to change the performance profile.
Next up we also get iCUE from Corsair, this is needed to control all the RGB the laptop packs. I stopped the app and did my testing but if you want the RGB and don’t mind losing 5% of frame rates keep it open. In any case, it should not be uninstalled.
We also get Tobii experience pre-installed which is necessary if you want the eye-tracking features of the laptop.
Last but not the least, for Audio we have the pre-installed Nahimic Audio Suit. It provides various modes, however, none of them do much of anything and it is best to use a headphone with this device.
Overall it’s not the most bloated laptop out there but I would very much appreciate it if they stopped bundling in McAfee and Norton with every laptop I open up.
Audio and Webcam
Audio of this device is handled by 2 down-firing 2W Harman speakers. The speakers are ok for the most part and have a little less bass compared to what I was expecting. It’s perfectly fine for video streaming and music. However, you would want a pair of headphones if you are planning on running heavy games. The fans in the Legion 7 spin very high while gaming and have a very noticeable humming sound. This overwhelms the audio coming from the speakers and honestly is a bit distracting as well. The audio driver part is handled by Nahimic.
LatencyMon tests show the device is not very suitable for video audio production when the fans are engaged. This is no surprise as the fans are quite audible under load.
The Webcam is a 720p one. It is okay in proper lighting with lots of noise during low-light settings. This is to be expected and I was kind of hoping, the Legion 7 would pack a 1080p standalone Webcam as the G15 Advantage Edition does. I do like the E shutter that Lenovo packs for added security. It is a nice touch in my opinion and should be present in all laptops from my point of view.
The Legion 7 has most of all the ports one can ask for. The left side of the device packs a USB Type C Gen 2 with Display Port 1.4 capabilities and a headphone microphone combo jack. The right side contains a USB Type C Gen 1 and the E Shutter button. The rear contains all the major ports. There are 3 5 volts always-on USB 3 Type-A, 1 USB Type C Gen 2 with Power Delivery and Display Port,1 HDMI 2.1, 1 RJ45, and the DC power in.
Overall the port selection is plenty in the Legion 7. Thunderbolt obviously will not be present as this is not an Intel device. Creators looking to use this device would also feel a bit disappointed by the lack of an SD Card reader but with so many USB 3 Type-A ports available, a dongle is not a bad solution.
The built-in WiFi is good, as I did not experience any drops during gaming or video streaming on a modest 40 Mbps line. the 5.1 Bluetooth also worked seamlessly with my Ambrane Dots Slay. Overall good performance on the wireless front.
Battery and Charging
The battery is a decent one in the Lenovo Legion 7. It is a 4 cell, 80 WHr battery. The specs are pretty typical for a gaming laptop and bigger than the one found in the MSI GP66 Leopard. There are 2 charging modes, the normal charging mode takes 1hr and 50 mins to charge the device while the fast charging reduces it to 1 hrs and 20 mins.
Moving onto the battery life, we find that like most gaming laptops, it is mediocre and will only last you about 3 Hrs with light use. The media consumption test with ‘Tears of Steel’ running in a loop and 5 chrome tabs open with ‘Prioritize Battery Life’ settings on yielded a result of 2 hrs and 40 mins. However like mentioned before, having iCUE on has a drastic effect on battery life, the RGB lighting consumes the battery like a carnivore and leaves the usage time to 1hr 10 mins. iCUE also cuts into framerate while gaming by around 5% so it’s best to turn it off for performance and battery.
Lenovo Legion 7: The Bottom Line!
- Display: If you want a relatively bright, matt display with a 1600p resolution this one will not disappoint, The refresh rate is also pretty good at 165 Hz. The display also supports HDR and VRR such as GSYNC and Free Sync.
- Performance: Packing the highest end silicon from AMD and NVIDIA it’s no surprise that the Legion 7 is a chart-topper. It is pretty much the fastest laptop money can buy.
- Warranty: The 3-year warranty that Lenovo provides is very impressive. It gives the user a certain peace of mind that their device is well supported by the manufacturer.
- Audio: For music and video the included speakers are fine, the inbuilt mic is clear during zoom calls and the Nihamic audio drivers are good for anyone who wants to tinker with their audio settings.
- Ports: You get lots of ports, with multiple USB C ports even. The only ports missing are Thunderbolt and SD Card reader.
- RGB: If you love RGB and want granular control over it, this device will not disappoint. Corsair iCUE provides a lot of options to the end-user.
- Portability: Weighing at 2500 g this laptop is not meant for carrying around. Your back will kill you if you plan on carrying this and the charging brick all day.
- Battery Life: As with all gaming devices, this laptop has pretty mediocre battery life. But If you are using this in a static environment it’s fine. But with just above 3 hrs of battery life, you are not running this through a whole workday without charging.
- Price to Performance: It is the fastest laptop I have tested by far, but it is also the priciest. Costing nearly 70,000 rupees over the GP66 11UG it does not provide that much of a performance leap. In most cases, it’s around the 10% mark.
The Legion 7 has certainly impressed me a lot. It has some of the most impressive specs crammed in a laptop form factor. From my testing, this 16-inch laptop performs nearly the same as an RTX 2080Ti PC. That is very impressive in my opinion and speaks volumes about the scalability of both AMD Ryzen and NVIDIA RTX 3000 that power it. It certainly works as a desktop replacement device and won’t make you feel like you are playing on a portable device (somewhat) if you hook it up to a monitor.
Priced at 2,39,990, the Legion 7 is a pricey product for people looking for top-of-the-line performance with no compromises. To be fair none of the RTX 3080 laptops are price to performance champions. It is a fact of electronics, the higher you go the less return you will get out of your rupee. But that does not mean this device is not worth buying? Well, this is the pinnacle of laptop performance, and to get it you have to pay a premium.
If you are someone who is looking for a device with a similar build but with a better price to performance ratio, the Legion 5 Pro is for you. It is priced at 1,69,900 and packs the same screen in the same form factor. It has a traditional heat pipe setup for cooling and packs 16 GB of RAM instead of 32 GB. The 140 Watt RTX 3070 is also very capable on its own and should only be marginally behind its bigger brother.
AMD fans also have a very good device to consider with the ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition. Priced at Rs. 1,54,500 this device gets very close to the Legion 7 in performance (as shown above). It packs a smaller 15.6-inch screen with 16GB of RAM. The laptop also has liquid metal and vapor chamber cooling. The efficient 7nm Radeon GPU yields better battery life than the Legion 7 as well. The only negatives seem to be some driver optimization issues and the lack of a MUX Switch to enable discrete GPU operations.
And with that, we come to the end of the review of the Lenovo Legion 7. I like this device and can wholeheartedly endorse it to people who have the budget for it. Sound off in the comments below about your thoughts on this device and whether you would consider buying this over the RTX 3070/ RX 6800M options.