I was looking to get my hands on what is over here a very good value full-size laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16, and I was able to snag one for an excellent price this Black Friday.
This is similar to the IdeaPad 5 models that I’ve tested in recent months, but also a superior design in several crucial ways.
The construction is entirely metal, Lenovo no longer skimped on the screen and included a 16-inch 16:10 matte panel with ~100 sRGB color coverage, and internally this is built on a full-power Ryzen platform with optional Nvidia graphics, as well as a large 75 Wh battery. Throw in a USB-C charger, an excellent selection of ports, and a webcam with IR, and this is unrivaled at the ~650 EUR that I paid for my unit.
Sure, this here is only a Ryzen 5 5600H configuration, but with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of fast SSD storage, so plenty for everyday use and multitasking. Higher tier models are also available going up to a Ryzen 7 5800H processor and Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics, but the better value is in this affordable model here. Especially since the thermal design is similar between all configurations, and it allows for quieter fans and excellent temperatures on the configurations without a dGPU, such as this one.
Now, there are still some aspects that might steer you towards something else, such as the poor audio quality, the only average inputs, and the fact that this is a full-size 16-inch computer, so not necessarily an ideal travel companion. But if you’re OK with these, the IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 could be your next laptop, as long as available and competitively priced in your region.
Specs as reviewed – Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16
||Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 16ACH6
||16-inch 2.5K 2560 x 1600 px IPS, 16:10, 120 Hz, non-touch, matte, Lenovo LEN8A93 panel
||AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, 6C/12T (up to Ryzen 9 5900HX, 8C/16T)
||AMD Radeon Vega 7, 7 CUs, 1.8 GHz, with optional Nvidia GTX and RTX graphics
||16 GB DDR4-3200 (soldered)
||1x 512 GB SSD (SK Hynix) – single M.2 2280 slot
||Wireless 6 (Mediatek MT921), Bluetooth 5.1
||2x USB-A 3.1 gen1, 2x USB-C 3.1 gen2 with data, DP, charging (??), HDMI 1.4b, SD card reader, headphone/mic
||75 Wh, 95 W USB-C charger
||356 mm or 14.02” (w) x 251 mm or 9.88” (d) x 17.5 mm or .69” (h)
||1.92 kg (4.23 lb), .42 kg (.92 lbs) power brick, EU version
||white backlit keyboard, 2x 2W stereo speakers, HD webcam with IR
There’s also a more compact and lighter IdeaPad 5 Pro 14-inch that you could consider if you plan to bring your laptop to work/school every day. That’s not as competitively priced, though, only gets a 56 Wh battery, and a more basic single-fan thermal design. For a dual-fan 14-inch design, you’d have to upgrade to the more expensive Yoga Slim 7 Pro.
Design and build
You’ll know what to expect from this IdeaPad 5 Pro in terms of design if you’ve seen an IdeaPad laptop from recent years: simple looks, clean branding, and plenty of stickers on the arm-rest, that I’d recommend to peel off as soon as you get the computer.
Lenovo does offer the series in two colors option, this standard silver variant that I got here, and a darker-gray model. I haven’t seen that one in person, but it looks more interesting from the pictures than this one, which I personally find rather bland. That darker model will show off smudges and finger-oil far easier than this silver variant, though, so will require extra maintenance. Plus, I’d also expect that to show eventual scratches and dents easier as well.
Compared to the regular IdeaPad 5 models, the 5 Pro is entirely made out of metal and feels somewhat sturdier and more premium to the touch. I’d say the construction and overall quality are on par with the Yoga/IdeaPad Slim 7 lineups, with the only material that looks a bit cheaper being the textured plastic used for the bezel around the screen.
Speaking of, Lenovo puts a 16-inch 16:10 display on this laptop, taller than the 16:9 panels previously available in this mid-range segment. That allows for extra screen real-estate and somewhat smaller bezels. Don’t expect an ultra-compact format here, though, as you can tell from the pictures. I do appreciate that there’s a camera at the top, with included IR for signing into Windows and a set of microphones right next by.
Now, you should also be aware that this IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 is not an ultraportable product, due to its overall footprint and the total weight of almost 2 kilos, plus .4 kilos for the charger. At the same time, considering the sturdy build and everything inside this laptop, this is nonetheless a fairly-balanced product in terms of overall size, thickness, and weight.
As far as the ergonomics go, grippy rubber feet on the bottom allow for good stability on the desk and sturdy hinges keep the screen in place as set-up, and allow to pick it up and adjust it with a single hand, as well as push it back to almost 180-degrees.
I’m not a fan of the sharp lip around the interior chassis though, that can bite into your wrists in certain cases. There’s also an always-on light in the power button, but at least it’s very dim and hardly noticeable even in a dark room.
The status LEDs are on the side, though, where you’ll also find an almost complete set of ports, with two USB-Cs, two USB-As, a full-size HDMI port, an SD card reader, and an audio jack.
There’s no lock or Thunderbolt support, but the USB-C ports both allow for data, charging, and video (further look into this, though, a few users have reported that video via USB-C is not working properly on their unit). There’s no fingerprint reader either, and an SD card only fits in halfway into the reader.
Keyboard and trackpad
The inputs on this 5 Pro lineup are borrowed for the regular IdeaPad 5 series, and that means they’re OK, but do not excel in any way by today’s standards.
The layout is alright, with a full-size deck of main keys, smaller and still well spaced-out arrow keys, and a narrower format for the NumPad section. The keycaps are a rather ordinary kind of plastic, and not as smooth or nice to the touch as what Lenovo offers on their higher-tier products.
As far as the typing experience goes, this is a shallow typer with mushy feedback. I’m fine with it since I’m already used to this sort of keyboards from other ultrabooks, but even for me, the experience is not as reliable or fast as on other keyboards. Furthermore, if you’re coming from a different kind of laptop it might take you a while to get accustomed to this one. At the same time, this is a very quiet typer, including for the Space key.
This keyboard is also backlit, with two intensity levels to choose from. The LEDs are bright enough and do their job, but plenty of light creeps out from underneath the keycaps. The illumination doesn’t seem to time-out either, unlike on other IdeaPad models – there might be a setting that I’ve missed, will look into it. I also appreciate that the layout includes physical indicators for CapsLock and NumLock.
The clickpad is larger than on other Yoga/Ideapad models and felt alright with daily use during my time with this laptop. It’s plastic, though, so not as smooth to the touch as other implementations, and is also flimsy, as it rattles with firmer taps. The clicks are clunky and noisy as well.
Lenovo also aligns this under the Space key, so to the left-side of the arm-rest, and that might lead to occasional miss-clicks or swaps with the palm of your left hand. I haven’t noticed any during my time with this laptop, but I only have skinny averagely sized hands.
As for biometrics, there’s no finger-sensor on this unit, but you do get an IR camera with Hello support, and it works well. This might be an extra option in some regions and not be available with all configurations, though.
The screen is one of the major selling points of this IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 series, as it’s a 16:10 format with a high-res IPS matte panel.
What we have here is a 2.5K IPS panel with 2560 x 1600 px resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 350+ nits of brightness, fair blacks and contrast, and almost 100% sRGB color coverage.
This is well-balanced for every use, multitasking, and work/school apps, but it’s not wide-gamut and it might not be bright enough for outdoor use or bright office environments. Blacks are also a little washed out at high brightness levels.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with a X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: Lenovo LEN8A93 (LEN160WQXGA);
- Coverage: 97.4% sRGB, 71.4% AdobeRGB, 73.3% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.12;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 368.54 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 2.72 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1239:1;
- White point: 6100 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.29 cd/m2;
- PWM: 25K and <50% brightness;
- Refresh rate: 120 Hz;
- Response: 16 ms GtG (source).
The panel can be further calibrated from the default settings and proved uniform once updated. We also noticed very little light bleeding around the edges.
It’s also worth mentioning that this panel gets very dim on the lowest brightness settings, something to consider if you use your laptop at night, in the dark. As per NBC’s tests, PWM was used at sub 50% brightness levels at a 25KHz frequency on their unit tested around August 2021, which is the kind that nobody will actually notice during use, not even those ultra-sensitive to flickering.
I’ll also add that with the 120Hz refresh rate and middling response times at around 16 ms GtG, this panel is fairly competitive for gaming as well, even if there’s no sync technology. Our configuration is the Vega-only variant, so not much in terms of gaming abilities, but there are also some variants with entry-level Nvidia dGPUs that you could consider for occasional gaming in your spare time.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is an entry-specced configuration of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH6, with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, 16 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, 512 GB of fast SSD storage, and Radeon Vega 7 graphics embedded into the AMD APU.
Our review unit is a retail model bought locally, running on the software available as of late November 2021 (BIOS GSCN29WW, Lenovo Vantage 188.8.131.52).
Specs-wise, this generation of the IdeaPad 5 Pro is based on the full-power 2021 AMD Ryzen 5000 H45 hardware platform, with options starting with the 6C/12T Ryzen 5 5600H processor – on this unit, and going up to the 8C/16T Ryzen 7 5900HX.
Graphics are handled by the Radeon Vega chip with 7 EUs and frequencies of up to 1.8 GHz in the 5600H. Configurations with either GTX 1650 35+W or RTX 3050 35+W dGPUs are also available in this chassis if you’re looking for superior graphics performance. This review goes over a Ryzen 7 + 3050 configuration in a similarly sized laptop, if interested in the kind of performance available with those higher specs.
The memory is DDR4-3200, soldered on the motherboard, and tops up at 16 GB. It’s not upgradable, so better go with a 16 GB variant.
The storage on our configuration is a fast 512 GB SK Hynix drive. This can be upgraded, and there’s a single M.2 2280 SSD slot on this laptop.
Accessing the components is a basic task, you just need to pop out the back panel that’s held in place by a handful of Torx screws. There are no warranty stickers over the screws on this unit.
As far as the software goes, everything can be controlled through the Lenovo Vantage app, which offers access to the power profiles, keyboard customization options, system updates, battery settings, etc. I find this unified implementation one of the better system control apps in this segment.
There are three performance/thermal profiles to choose from Battery Saving, Intelligent Cooling, and Extreme Performance, and you can switch between them by pressing Fn+Q.
I’ve kept my unit on Intelligent Cooling most of the time and only switched to Extreme Performance for benchmarks and gaming. The fans rest completely silent with light use on Intelligent Cooling, but quietly kick in with multitasking.
The next part of this article goes over this laptop’s performance in demanding loads, benchmarks, and games.
We start by testing the CPU’s sustained performance by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run, on the Performance mode.
On the Extreme Performance profile, the Ryzen 5 5600H processor in our unit peaks at 65W and then quickly stabilizes at 54+ W, with clock speeds of ~3.8 GHz, temperatures of 95+ degrees Celsius, and fan-noise levels of around 41-42 dB. The CPU runs at full blast in this laptop, but also at very high temperatures.
On Intelligent Cooling, the system limits the fans at around 40 dB at head-level, and the CPU stabilizes at 45W with clocks around 3.6 GHz and temperatures in the mid to high 80 degrees C. This is a better-balanced profile, and returns only 2-3% lower scores in this multi-core test.
You can also opt for the Battery Saving mode, with greatly limit the power, so we didn’t test it here.
Finally, the same Ryzen 5 processor runs at 35W on the Intelligent Cooling mode with the laptop unplugged, which is excellent power and performance for a portable design. All these findings are detailed in the chart below.
To put these in perspective, here’s how this Ryzen 5 5600H implementation fares in the Cinebench loop test against other AMD/Intel mid-tier and portable 14-16 inch laptops. This is competitive against other 6C models, about 20% slower than the 8C Ryzen 7 5800H implementations, and a major step-up over the 4C Intel 11th gen H35 models.
We then ran the 3DMark CPU profile test, where the R5-5600H in this chassis scored very well.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender- Classroom
We also ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit easily passed it, which means there are no significant performance losses that might be caused by thermal throttling on this laptop.
Next, here are some benchmark results. We ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the Extreme Performance profile on this Ryzen 5 5600H configuration, with the screen set on FHD+ resolution, for consistency with other laptops tested in the past. Here’s what we got.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 3208 (Graphics – 3475, Physics – 20002, Combined – 1132);
- 3DMark 13 – Nigh Raid: 14019 (Graphics – 14725, CPU – 11026);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1266 (Graphics – 1114, CPU – 5698);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 2237;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 671;
- Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 35.75 average fps;
- PassMark10: Rating: 5408 (CPU: 18558, 3D Graphics: 2431, Disk: 29204);
- PCMark 10: 6214 (E – 10839, P – 9681, DCC – 6207);
- GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1414, Multi-core: 6353;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1601 cb, CPU Single Core 225 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3680 cb, CPU Single Core 535 cb;
- CineBench R23 (best run): CPU 9465 cb, CPU Single Core 1368 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 41.13 fps;
And some workstation benchmarks, on the same Extreme Performance profile:
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 4m 24s;
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 11m 26s;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – 3DSMax: 15.14;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Catia: 10.31;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Creo: 27.73;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Energy: .8;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Maya: 47.55;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – Medical: 8.3;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – SNX: 32.58;
- SPECviewerf 2020 – SW: 24.75;
- V-Ray 5 Benchmark: CPU – 6630, GPU CUDA – 156.
These are good results for a mobile Ryzen 5 5600H implementation, made possible by the high CPU power settings which also allow the Vega iGPU to run at full blast all the time. Of course, that doesn’t mean much in performance, not compared to the Iris Xe chips in the current Intel i7 processors, and definitely when compared to even an entry-level modern dGPU such as the Nvidia RTX 3050.
If you’ll opt for an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H configuration with Vega graphics, expect up to 20% extra performance in multi-threaded CPU loads and up to 10% extra in GPU loads, thanks to the extra EUs and higher clocks of the Vega 8 chip. For everyday use and multitasking, the Ryzen 5 configuration should do just fine.
As far as the potential gaming experience goes, well, don’t expect much. However, if you’re OK with lowering the resolution to 1200p and the graphics details to low, you can expect 60+ fps in older titles, and 15-35 fps in the more recent AAA games. Demanding games are a challenge for this sort of hardware. I haven’t run all the tests here, but you can find framerates in a couple of titles in this review of the Ryzen 7 5800H Yoga Slim 7.
The logs down below show the CPU/GPU clocks and temperatures in a couple of games, on the Extreme Performance profile.
The Ryzen hardware runs somewhere in the 35-45W of power between the tested titles, with the GPU maintaining its maximum clock of 1.8 GHz all the time. As for the temperatures, we measured between 70 to 85 C on the CPU and 60-65 C on the GPU in the tested games.
Lifting up the back of the laptop from the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans helps shed between 1 and 5 degrees of the components. Expect an even greater impact on the configurations with a dGPU.
You could also opt to run games on the Intelligent Cooling mode, which slightly lowers the fan noise with barely any impact on the temperatures and performance.
Finally, I’ll also mention that you can run games while unplugged with almost the same performance as when the laptop is connected to the wall, and expect 1.5 hours of runtime.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
The thermal module in this laptop is designed to cope with the Ryzen H hardware and a 35+W GTX/RTX dGPU, thus oversized for this configuration that only relies on the Vega integrated graphics.
As a result, both the internal and the external temperatures are excellent on this configuration, with low noise levels in most loads.
The fans are not noticeably choked on this Ryzen 5 configuration, with the laptop sitting on a desk. However, that will most likely change with the dGPU configurations, where the thermal module would need to cope with a higher combined power envelope and higher internal temperatures.
As far as the noise goes, with demanding combined loads (games, video editing, etc) the fans spin at 38-42 dB at head-level on the Extreme Performance profile and between 34-40 dB on Intelligent Cooling. At the same time, reviews of the Ryzen 7 + GTX 1650 configuration mention up to 52 dB of fan noise in combined loads, so make sure to further research those dGPU configurations if interested.
Back to our unit, the fans run quieter with general use and multitasking, normally at under 32 dB on both profiles. Furthermore, they shut off entirely with video streaming and light use, allowing for a silent experience. I also haven’t noticed any coil whine or electronic noises on this unit.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Intelligent Cooling Mode, fans at 0-32 dB
*Gaming – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Extreme Performance Mode, fans at 41-42 dB
For connectivity, there’s the latest-gen WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 with a MediaTek chip on this unit. It performed well with our setup and the signal and performance remained strong at 30-feet from the router, with obstacles in between.
The audio is handled by a set of stereo speakers that fire through grills on the underside. They’re placed on the sides, and the rounded shape of the D-panel allows the sound to bounce off the table and prevents you from easily covering and muffling the grills when using the computer on the lap.
The sound quality isn’t much at all, though, with low volumes of up to 70 dB at head level, and very little base. These speakers are my number one nit with this series. What’s funny is that the 14-inch IdeaPad 5 Pro gets up-firing speakers and slightly better audio. Not this one, though.
The camera quality isn’t much either, but at least there’s a working camera placed in the right place, at the top of the screen, and flanked by some decent microphones. IR support for Windows Hello is included as well.
There’s a 75 Wh battery inside this IdeaPad 5 Pro 16-inch series, above average in size for the class. The screen runs at 120 Hz all the time, though, which slightly impacts the runtimes. For some reason, FN+R doesn’t work on this laptop, but you can switch over to 60 Hz manually, from display settings.
Here’s what we got on this unit, with the screen set at around 120-nits (60% brightness).
- 12.5 W (~6+ h of use) – 120Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Intelligent + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 8.3 W (9+ h of use) – 120Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Intelligent + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6.5 W (11+ h of use) – 60Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Intelligent + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 8 W (9+ h of use) – 120Hz, Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Intelligent + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6.2 W (12+ h of use) – 60Hz, Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Intelligent + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14 W (~4-6 h of use) – 120Hz, browsing in Edge, Intelligent + Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
These are above-average runtimes.
The laptop ships with a 95W charger that plugs in via USB-C. It’s a dual-piece design with an averagely sized brick, but long and thick cables that add up to about .42 kilos in weight. A full charge takes about 2.5 hours, with quick charging at the beginning.
Price and availability- IdeaPad 5 Pro 16
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 is not worldwide available at this point.
Over here in Europe, this Ryzen 5 + 16 GB RAM + 512 GB SSD configuration goes for around 650 EUR, which is very competitive for what this is. The same starts at 750 EUR in Germany, but comes with Windows preinstalled, while over here it does not.
Updating to Ryzen 7 and 1 TB of storage will set you back around 850-900 EUR, and there are also configurations with a GTX 1650 dGPU selling for around 950 EUR. Newer models with an RTX 3050 dGPU are also listed in some regions such as the UK, at around 1000 GBP.
At the same time, this IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 series appears as discontinued on Lenovo’s US, UK, and Canadian websites, at least at the time of this article. You can find it from various other stores, though, such as BestBuy, Microsoft Store, Amazon, or other local venues, so follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Final thoughts- IdeaPad 5 Pro 16
As an all-around full-size laptop for daily use and multitasking, the IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 is unbeatable over here in Europe at the current price levels.
This ticks important boxes such as the sturdy build quality and clean design, the versatile 16:10 high-resolution screen, the complete IO, the competent specs and thermal design, and the long battery life, only skimping on audio quality and inputs to some degree.
I’d primarily look into these configurations without a dGPU, such as this one tested here, as the better balance of everyday performance and thermal/fan noise. You are significantly sacrificing the GPU and gaming performance this way, though.
I’d also make sure a full-size laptop with this sort of specs and weight is what you’re looking for, as there are also some lighter and less powerful models to consider as well if you’d be OK with a U-type processor and/or smaller battery. Up to you.
The competition in the 16-inch segment also includes many other interesting options, of which we’ve reviewed the Acer Swift X 16, as well as the higher-tier and more expensive Acer ConceptD 3 16 or LG Gram 16. All struggle to match the overall value per money of this 16-inch IdeaPad Pro series, though.
Anyway, this wraps up our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 16ACH6, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and feedback down below, so get in touch.
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