This is our detailed review of the mid-2022 7th-generation update of the Lenovo Legion 5 series, in the Legion 5i variant built on 12th-gen Intel hardware and Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics.
The Legion 5s are Lenovo’s offer in the mid-tier gaming segment, where most value-oriented buyers are going to shop, and a more affordable alternative to their
Legion 5i Pro models.
Furthermore, for the 2022 generation,
Lenovo had updated the series in a few ways, bringing a new design that borrows lines and elements from the higher-tier Legion 7 models, while also updating the internals and software package in order to cope with higher-tier specs and power settings.
This review configuration is the excellently balanced i7 + RTX 3060 model, the kind you can get from around $1350 in the US and 1400 EUR in Europe. Our unit does get a few extras over what you will normally get at those price points, such as extra storage space and the higher-tier QHD screen, but we’ll touch on all the other important options and details in this review, so you’ll know whether this is the right buy for you or not.
Specs as reviewed– 2022 Lenovo Legion 5i
Lenovo Legion 5i 15IAH7H 2022 (Gen 7)
Screen 15.6 inch, 2560×1440 px, 16:9, IPS, 165 Hz, matte, 3ms,
300-nits, 100% sRGB colors
several FHD panels also available
Processor Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake, Core i7-12700H, 6PC + 8 Ec/20T
Video Iris Xe + NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM 115-140W,
with MUX, Advanced Optimus, and GSync
Memory 16 GB DDR5-4800 (2x 8GB DIMMS) – 2x DIMMs
Storage 512 GB M.2 gen4 NVMe (Micron 3400) – 2x M.2 2280 PCIe gen4 SSD slots
Connectivity WiFi 6E (Intel AX211), Bluetooth 5.2, Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111)
Ports Left: 1x USB-C 3.2 gen1 (always on), 1x USB-C 3.2 with Thunderbolt 4 (on this Intel model)
Right: 1x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 1x audio jack, 1x eShutter button
Back: LAN, 1x USB-C gen2 with DP, power up to 135W; 2x USB-A 3.2 gen1, HDMI 2.1, DC-In
Battery 80 Whr, 300 W charger, USB-C charging up to 135W
60 Whr battery also available, smaller chargers on 3050Ti models
Size 358.8 mm or 14.13” (w) x 262.4 mm or 10.33″ (d) x from 19.99 or .79” (h)
Weight 2.48 kg (5.46 lbs), + 1.15 kg (2.54 lbs) for the charger+cables, EU version
Extras white or optional 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard, HD or FHD webcam with E-shutter kill switch, stereo 2x 2W bottom speakers, Phantom Blue or Storm Grey color options
You can find this in stores in multiple variants, starting with i5-12500H +
RTX 3050Ti specs with FHD screens and 60Wh batteries, and going up to Core i7-12700H and RTX 3070/3070Ti 140W configurations with QHD screens and 80Wh batteries.
Design and construction
As mentioned already, the mid-2022 Legion 5i chassis is different in a few ways than the previous generation, as Lenovo are trying to impose a unitary design language with their entire Legion lineup. As a result, the Legion 5i looks a fair bit like the top-tier Legion 7i, on a first glance, at least. However, once you get to spend a little more time with it you’ll start noticing the differences, as expected from a more budget-oriented product.
Lenovo offers this in two color options, Phantom Blue with a grey underside and Storm Grey with a black underside. Our unit is the latter, and what you’ll mostly be able to find in stores around the world. It’s a fine-looking color scheme, and a friendly one with daily use, as it does an excellent job at hiding smudges and fingerprints. Lenovo also implements a grey keyboard, so you don’t have to worry about smudgy keycaps either.
The aesthetic lines are clean and simple, with the standard Lenovo branding on the lid, armrest, and under the screen. You also get some stickers on the armrest, and I took most of them off on this unit.
Two important design details differentiate the Legion 5i series from the 5i Pro and 7i models. The most notable is the fact that only 16:9 displays are offered at this level, while the others get 16:10 screens, as well as some brighter and/or higher-tier panel options. That means you’ll have to accept a thicker bezel under the screen, as well as a panel that doesn’t look as nice as the others. As long as you stay away from the base-level FHD 144 Hz option, though, the others are fine for this class.
Nonetheless, here’s a picture of the Legion 5 next to the 5 Pro and 7 lineups, for a comparison of the screen formats and overall design between them.
The other are the overall materials and build quality of this series. Metal is only used for the lid cover, while everything else is polycarbonate plastic. It’s a good-quality ABS polycarbonate with a matte and practical texture, but the chassis does flex a bit in the middle and feels cheaper than what you would get with the higher-tier Legions, especially the Legion 7s. That can’t be a surprise, though, and the Legion 5s are surely competitive in terms of looks and quality against other options in their price ranges, such as the
Acer Nitro 5s or the Asus TUF Gaming F15 and TUF A15 models, which is what matters.
I’ll also add that the 2022 Legion 5 lineup is a bit thinner than before, but we’re still looking at full-size laptops here with a weight of 2.4 to 2.5 kilos between the available models. In comparison, the previously mentioned alternatives are more compact and lighter-weight, so if you’re looking for something to easily lug around to school or work every day, these might not be the right choice for you. Especially when you also have to account for the bulky 300W charger, which adds an extra ~1.2 kilos to your backpack.
I do find this design to be more practical than most others, as I’ll just mention some of the details that add up to this conclusion: the simple looks, the smudge-friendly materials, the excellent grip on the desk provided by the rubber feet, the dulled edges and corners that don’t bite on your wrists, as well as the good hinges that allow the screen to go back to 180-degrees. I don’t think there’s another design in this segment that checks all these boxes.
And then there’s also the IO, which offers almost everything you would possibly need, except for a card reader or some sort of Lock. You get USB-A and USB-C ports (with iGPU or dGPU DP connections, and changing), Lan, a full HDMI 2.1, and an audio jack. Furthermore, the IO placement is excellent, with most of the ports tucked away on the back, behind the screen.
As far as other small complaints go, I’ll mention that there’s still an always-on light in the power button here, placed just under the screen. However, it’s a small and dim LED and won’t bother you that much even when using the laptop at night. There’s no finger-sensor in that power button as on other Legions, though, and in fact, there are no biometrics at all for this series.
Overall, the 2022 Legion 5 is a balanced and practical offer. The design and a couple of details have been refined from the previous model, but this remains a rather big and heavy full-size laptop, despite the fact that it’s been slimed down for this generation. In comparison, some of the other laptops in this niche are perhaps not as practically polished, but they are smaller and especially lighter.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and clickpad are standard for the Legion models, but with some differences between the tiers.
The layouts are identical and among the best you’ll find in a mid-range laptop these days. The main set of keys are full-size, the arrows are also all full-size keys and spaced out from everything around, and there’s also a NumPad section, with slightly narrower keys, but still perfectly usable. Of course, some of you might prefer a centered keyboard design without a NumPad, and if that’s the case, you’ll have to go with something else instead.
The keyboard is a good typer, even if there’s a little more flex in the deck on this Legion 5i chassis than on the other Legions. The feedback seems to be somehow a little firmer than on the 5i Pro keyboard I’ve tested recently, even if the two are supposedly the same.
This implementation is the white-backlit variant and not the RGB with 4-zone control. From what I can see, Lenovo mostly offers the Legion 5s with the RGB keyboard, and you’ll find my impressions of that one in the
Legion 5i Pro review.
The LEDs on this white variant get bright and punchy, while staying fairly uniform between zones. A significant amount of light creeps out from underneath the keycaps, though, and some of it reflects into the bottom screen bezel, in a way that’s quite distracting when using the laptop at night. That’s especially noticeable if you’re keeping the screen at a lower brightness, which I expect you would for night use. So at least make sure to only set the keyboard on its first brightness setting for this kind of use.
For mouse, the 5 series gets a mid-sized clickpad, similar in format to the other 2022 Legion models and larger than on the previous-gen Legion 5. The surface is plastic, as Lenovo are only offering glass clickpads on
the Legion 7 models, but it feels alright to the touch and works well. It does rattle a bit with firmer taps, and the physical clicks are somewhat clunky.
The clickpad is centered on the Space key with this design, and thus shifted towards the left side of the chassis. If you’re coming from a centered keyboard design, this will take some time to get used to. Plus, due to how it is placed, your left palm ends up swiping over the surface with daily use – I haven’t noticed any ghost swipes or clicks during my time with this laptop, though, so Lenovo seem to have gotten their palm-rejection in check over the last year or so.
As for biometrics, there are still none on this series.
Lenovo offers a 15.6-inch 16:9 WQHD IPS matte screen on the 2022 Legion 5 series, with mostly the same panel options as in the 2021 generations. Those are:
FHD 1920 x 1080 px 144 Hz with 300-nits brightness, 800:1 contrast, and 45% NTSC color coverage;
FHD 1920 x 1080 px 165 Hz with 300-nits brightness, 1000:1 contrast, and 100% sRGB color coverage, with Advanced Optimus and GSync;
FHD 1920 x 1080 px 60 Hz with 300-nits brightness, 1200:1 contrast, and 100% sRGB color coverage, with DC dimmer;
QHD 2560 x 1440 px 165 Hz with 350-nits brightness, 1000:1 contrast, and 100% sRGB color coverage, with Advanced Optimus and GSync;
I would go for either the 2nd or the 4th option for general use and gaming. Out unit the latter, the QHD panel, with the higher resolution.
It’s fine for daily use and well-suited for gaming, with the good refresh and response times, as well as GSync and Advanced Optimus support. It’s rather dim, though, so you’ll want to keep this laptop indoors, even if it proved brighter in our tests than on paper. It also only offers 100% sRGB color coverage. The majority of the other panels available on Legion laptops are 100% sRGB only, but the 16-inch variants get brighter at around 500-nits, and that allows for an overall punchier and more vivid impression than what you will get with the panel on this Legion 5i.
Here’s what we got in our tests,
with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
Panel HardwareID: CSO T3 MNF601CA1-3;
Coverage: 97.0% sRGB, 71.6% DCI-P3, 73.8% AdobeRGB;
Measured gamma: 2.16;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 373.58 cd/m2 on power;
Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 7.237 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1100:1;
White point: 6300 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.34 cd/m2;
Response: to be tested.
Our sample came out somewhat well calibrated out of the box, and proved uniform once further tweaked with our calibration run, with only some DeltaE color imbalances in the top-left and bottom-right corners. Bleeding uniformity is excellent on this panel, though.
I’ll also mention that the Fn+R shortcut doesn’t do anything on this laptop. It was supposed to change between 60 and 165 Hz screen refresh rates, helping to extend runtimes on battery use, but it just doesn’t work here. Instead, you need to go and change the refresh manually in the settings. I’ve run into similar issues with the Legion 5 Pro models as well, and this seems to only work on the Legion 7 models at this point. I would have hoped Lenovo figured it out by now.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a mid-specced configuration of the 2022 Lenovo Legion 5i, built on an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, 16 GB of DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel, 1 TB of GB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3060 dGPU with 6 GB of vRAM and the Iris Xe iGPU integrated within the Intel processor.
Disclaimer: This is a retail unit provided for this review by Lenovo, and it runs on the software available as of early-Sept 2022 (BIOS J2CN40WW, Vantage 220.127.116.11, GeForce 512.64 drivers). Some aspects might still change with later updates, even if this is a mature software package.
Spec-wise, this 2022 Legion 5i is built on the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware available to date. The
Core i7-12700H is the mainstream performance option in Intel’s Alder Lake 12th-gen platform, with 14 Cores and 20 Threads. It is a hybrid design with 6 High-Performance and dual-threaded Cores, and 8 extra Efficiency cores, which work together in the various loads. The design and thermal module of this Legion allow the processor to run at 95-100W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads.
For the GPU, the 2022 Legion 5i series is available with RTX 3000 and RTX 3000 Ti graphics chips. What we have on this sample is the mid-tier RTX 3060 running at up to 140W with Dynamic Boost. In comparison, the 2021 Legion 5 RTX 3060 model allowed up to 130W of GPU power.
A MUX is offered here, with several modes including dGPU-only or Advanced Optimus (several Hybrid modes). Switching to dGPU requires a restart, while opting between the Hybrid modes does not.
For the RAM and storage options, the laptop still comes with two accessible memory DIMMs and two M.2 SSD slots. Our unit is a 16 GB of DDR5-4800 RAM configuration, with a fast PCIe 4.0 Micron 3400 SSD. The 512 GB variant of this SSD isn’t quite as fast, but still excellent for daily use.
Getting to the components requires you to remove a few Philips screws, all visible around the back, and then pull up the D-panel. I used a suction cup to pull this out from one of the sides, but you can also open it up with a plastic pin and a little bit of force. The plastic caps are snug, but overall this is easier to open up than the other Legion models. Inside, the RAM and SSDs are covered by radiator shields, so you’ll have to take those out as well to get to the components, adding an extra step in the upgrade process. Those shields do have a role, though, so no complaints!
For the software, my unit came with the standard Lenovo software package, and you’ll want to uninstall some of it or put a fresh Windows install on it. The Lenovo Vantage app is a must-have for accessing the power profiles, updates, and other settings.
The power profiles are Quiet, Balanced, and Performance, and you can select them from Vantage or switch between them with Fn+Q. Performance is only available with the laptop plugged into the wall. These profiles apply different power settings to the CPU/GPU and different fan profiles, as well as switch the color of the LED in the power button. Here’s a table that shows what each mode does:
Balance + Ai(white)
up to 140W*
up to 140W
*Balance with Legion Ai performs similarly to Performance mode in most demanding loads. Regular Balance without Legion Ai mode runs at lower GPU power settings, but also quieter fans.
The settings are similar to the other Legion laptops tested lately.
This series also offers a quick dGPU Overclocking toggle, which applies +100 MHz Core, +200 MHz Memory settings. We’ve used these settings for all our tests, but further tweaking is also possible if you want to.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 seconds delay between each run.
The Core i7-12700H processor stabilizes at ~95-100W of sustained power on the Performance setting, with the laptop sitting on the desk. Lenovo applies 100W PL2 and 135W PL1 power limits for this processor on this power mode, and the CPU is capable of mostly running at these settings, even if it is still slightly thermally throttled and running at temperatures in the very high 90s Celsius.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans allows the processor to stabilize at the same 100W of PL2 power, but with slightly lower temperatures in the low-90s.
Switching over to the Balance profile translates into the CPU stabilizing at the 60W PL2 setting, with quieter fans and cooler temperatures. The Cinebench performance takes a 25% hit over the previous mode.
On the Quiet profile, the CPU runs at only 25W, with sub 30 dB noise levels and temperatures in the 50s C.
Finally, the CPU runs at ~25 W on battery as well, on the Performance profile. Details below.
Overall, these profiles are fairly well-balanced here.
The laptop runs hot on the Performance mode, but at around the designed power settings, and the middle-ground Balance profile is a fair balance of CPU performance, average temperatures, and medium fan noise. Nonetheless, you’ll have to go with the Performance mode for any serious work, And I would recommend opting for some sort of stand or cooling pad to help lower the CPU temperatures as much as possible.
To put these findings in perspective, here’s how this Core i7-12700H implementation fares against other mid-tier laptops in this test, both Intel and AMD, as well as the previous-generation Legion 5 2021. It is one of the best i7-12700H implementations we’ve tested this year, and slightly faster, by a few percents, than the direct competitors.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender – Classroom, which resulted in similar findings to what we explained above.
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Performance and Balanced profiles.
Finally, we 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 passed it just fine, which means there’s no performance throttling with longer-duration sustained loads.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the Performance profile in Vantage, the MUX set on Hybrid mode, and on FHD screen resolution for consistency with our other tests. Here’s what we got:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 21472 (Graphics – 22998, Physics – 29199, Combined – 11336);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5379;
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9614 (Graphics – 9202, CPU – 12892);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5687;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 16770;
Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 64.59 average fps;
PassMark 10: Rating: 5865 (CPU: 31428, 3D Graphics: 17976, Memory: 2869, Disk Mark: 38653);
PCMark 10: 7430 (Essentials – 10044, Productivity – 9979, Digital Content Creation – 11109);
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1711, Multi-core: 12604;
CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2870 cb, CPU Single Core 263 cb;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 7116 cb, CPU Single Core 685 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 18614 cb (best single run), CPU 17782 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 1805 cb;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 23.92 s.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Performance profile:
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 2m 17s (Performance);
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 25s (CUDA), 13.9s (Optix);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 23s (Performance);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 49s (CUDA), 27.5s (Optix);
Pugetbench – DaVinci Resolve: 1120;
Pugetbench – Adobe After Effects: crashed;
Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 990;
Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 1006;
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 89.47 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 55.71 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 92.14 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 22.20 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 294.56 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 31.35 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 17.72 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 193.40 (Performance).
V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 12509 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 943 vpaths, GPU RTX – 1273;
This performs pretty much as expected and is one of the most capable RTX 3060 laptops in the mid-tier segment. At the same time, other current options that we’ve tested in this niche, such as the
Asus TUF F15 or the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro are almost identical in performance, and that’s normal since they are pretty much identical configurations and even very similar cooling designs. The 2022 Acer Nitro 5, on the other hand, is a slightly lower GPU model, at up to 125W, and slightly slower in CPU multi-threaded performance as well.
As far as the AMD version of this 2022 Legion 5 goes, expect that to perform on par with the
AMD-based Asus TUF A15 reviewed here, so fairly similar in GPU benchmarks, within 5-20% slower in CPU loads, and within 5% slower in some games, due to the differences between the Intel and Ryzen platforms.
The gains in CPU performance are more significant when looking at this 2022 Legion 5i vs the
AMD-based 2021 Legion 5 tested in the past, and this generation shows a 7-10% increase in GPU performance as well.
With that out of the way, some of you might not appreciate the loudly spinning fans on the Performance mode, which ramp up to 48-49 dB at head level. Thus, if you prefer sacrificing the performance to some extent for quieter fan noise, here’s how this Legion 5i does on the Balance profile with the Legion AI option disabled in Vantage, which limits the fans at sub 42 dB at head level.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 19552 (Graphics – 21221, Physics – 28773, Combined – 9443);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8603 (Graphics – 8175, CPU – 12243);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5095;
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1635, Multi-core: 11234;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6061 cb, CPU Single Core 662 CB;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 26.30 s;
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 6m 34s (Balanced).
The CPU performance is hardly impacted on the shorter activities, but the 60W PL2 limit eventually kicks in with demanding loads, and that decreases the performance by about 20%. The GPU runs at 95W in this mode, which results in a 5-10% performance hit from the Performance mode. Thus, for general everyday use, this Balanced profile makes a lot of sense.
If you tick the Legion AI option in Vantage, the laptop is going to perform pretty much as on Performance, with the fans at 48 dB noise levels. Hence, this mode would defeat the purpose of lowering the fan noise.
There’s also the Silent mode to consider here, which keeps the fans at sub 35 dB in sustained loads, but this significantly limits both the CPU and GPU, so I wouldn’t recommend that for anything intensive.
Let’s look at some games now.
We tested a couple of different types of games on the Performance and Balanced profiles at QHD and FHD resolutions, all with the MUX set on the discrete GPU mode. You don’t necessarily have to go with dGPU mode here, as Hybrid mode yields similar results, because this laptop implements Advanced Optimus, which doesn’t impact the gaming performance in the same way as regular Optimus does.
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 95-140W
without Legion AI
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 107 fps (59 fps – 1% low)
110 fps (61 fps – 1% low)
144 fps (53 fps – 1% low)
132 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 39 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
41 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
62 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset) insufficient vRAM
212 fps (154 fps – 1% low)
194 fps (132 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA) 71 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
71 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
94 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
86 fps (51 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 95 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
129 fps (98 fps – 1% low)
115 fps (84 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 48 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
61 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 73 fps (55 fps – 1% low)
101 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 77 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
79 fps (55 fps – 1% low)
118 fps (74 fps – 1% low)
107 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4) 84 fps (65 fps – 1% low)
91 fps (73 fps – 1% low)
112 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
107 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
Battlefield V, Cyberpunk, Doom, Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
Far Cry 5, 6, Metro, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX titles with and without DLSS.
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 110-135W
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF) 53 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
87 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS ON) 60 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
94 fps (60 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced) 41 fps (30 fps – 1% low)
58 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Quality) insufficient vRAM
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows) 65 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
76 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra) 43 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
67 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
The gaming performance is just what you can expect for a high-power RTX 3060 laptop in 2022, and on par with other RTX 3060 140W implementations in the same segment.
Lower power RTX 3060 laptops are going to fare a little slower, and the performance differs in some titles between Intel or AMD platforms as well. For comparison, the 2022 Legion 5i is about 5-10% faster than the 2021 Legion 5 (Ryzen + RTX 3060 130W), and at the same time, and within less than 10% faster than the i7 + RTX 3060 100W configurations in the
Asus TUF Dash F15 or the Lenovo Legion Slim 7i. That means the extra power doesn’t translate into significant gains in gaming abilities.
With that out of the way, let’s go over some performance and temperature logs.
The Performance mode ramps up the fans to levels of ~48 dB with the laptop sitting on the desk. That keeps the CPU at around 70-75 degrees Celsius between the tested titles, but the GPU runs at between 83-86 degrees and close to the 87 C throttling limit. In comparison, the RTX 3060 130W ran at sub 80 degrees C in the 2021 Legion 5.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans leads to a 3-7 degrees drop in the CPU/GPU temperatures, with the CPU now running at high-60s C, and the GPU in the very-low-80s C in this case. These are good temperatures for this sort of hardware and design, and suggest that you should use this laptop on a passive raiser-stand or even an active cooling pad for long gaming sessions.
The fans are perceived a little louder with the back of the laptop bumped off the desk, at around 49-50 dB.
There’s also the option to switch over to the Balance mode.
With Legion Ai Engine disabled, the fans slow down to about 42 dB at head-level and the framerates take a 7-12% toll from the Performance mode, as the GPU power is limited at around 95W on this mode. The temperatures are excellent on both the CPU and GPU, in the 70s on the CPU and mid to high 70s on the GPU with the laptop sitting on the desk, or lower with its back bumped up. Balance mode is excellently suited for gaming on this design.
With Legion Ai enabled on Balance, on the other hand, the laptop performs just as on Performance mode, with 48 dB fans and the GPU pushed to 135-140W. Hence, I don’t see the point of this setting, when you can opt for Performance mode instead.
As for the Quiet mode, it keeps the fans at sub 35 dB levels and it’s still somewhat usable at FHD resolution and medium settings. This mode limits the GPU to only around 50-55W of power, though.
The laptop’s performance on battery power is lower than Quiet mode explained above, with a 40W GPU setting and around 55W combined. FHD with medium settings should still be doable in most games, but don’t expect more than 1 to 1.5 hours of gameplay.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
This Legion 5i gets Lenovo’s standard thermal module design, with a two fans, found radiators, and four heatpipes. Compared to the previous Legion 5 generation, an extra heatpipe was added on the GPU side.
Radiator shields are also mounted over the RAM modules, SSDs, and even the wifi card, making for a more complex thermal module than you’ll normally find in the mid-tier niche. And that translates in mostly good internal and external temperatures.
Sure, the fans are still choked up by the slim feet design with the laptop sitting on a flat surface, just like on all the other Legions, and bumping up the back of the laptop helps lower the internal temperatures. On the desk, the CPU runs at fair temperatures, but the GPU gets toasty and close to the 87 C throttling limit. Still, as long as you’re placing this on a stand, Performance mode is going to be perfectly fine.
Balance mode, on the other hand, is an even better profile for gaming and combined loads, with quieter fans, lower temperatures, and roughly a 10% drop in framerates vs. Performance mode.
One other aspect to mention here is that dust easily goes inside this laptop due to its open-back design, as Lenovo are not isolating the thermal module from the rest of the motherboard with foam, so the dust freely goes all over the place. Hence, I’d recommend opening up this laptop from time to time in order to clean it properly and prevent the dust from clogging in.
As far as the fan noise goes, we’re looking at 48 dB at head-level on the Performance mode, 42 dB on Balance mode (without Legion Ai Engine), and sub 35 dB on Quiet mode, all with demanding activities. With lighter use, you’ll hardly hear the fans on Balance or Quiet, and they’ll even idle with casual loads on battery mode. I also haven’t noticed any coil winning or electronic noises on this unit.
As far as temperatures go, no complaints. With daily use, the hottest spot reaches temperatures in the mid-30s at the top left part of the interior, and high 30s C on the underside.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet profile, fans idle or sub 30 dB
With games and with the laptop on a flat surface, the hotspots are still around the top part of the chassis and close to the exhausts, but won’t go over the mid-40s on either Balance and Performance. The WASD and arrow regions stay in the mid-30s, and the plastic construction does a good job at isolating the heat, unlike the conductive metal chassis of the other Legions.
On the back, around the thermal module, you’ll see temperatures in the mid-50s, so don’t run games on the lap without some protection.
*Gaming – Balance– playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~42 dB
*Gaming – Performance – playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~48 dB
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 through an Intel AX211 chip on this laptop, as well as wired Gigabit Lan. The wireless proved fast and reliable during my time with the laptop.
Audio is handled by two speakers placed on the bottom of the chassis, and they’re smaller and tinnier than what Lenovo offer with their other Legions. Hence, these sound just meh. At least the grills are on the angled D-shaped lateral of the underbelly, and they can’t be muffled and covered as easily as on the other Legion designs.
Finally, I’ll mention the camera placed at the top of the screen, and flanked by microphones. My sample gets the standard HD camera of the past, with fair image quality in decent light. Lenovo also mention an option for the FHD camera that’s offered with the Legion 7s, but I doubt that will make it to most configurations.
I appreciate the electronic shutter offered on the right side of the laptop, which lets you electronically kill both the camera and the microphones when you don’t need them.
You can get either a 60 Wh or an 80 Wh battery with the 2022 Legion 5i, and our model is the latter.
The system still doesn’t automatically switch the screen’s refresh from 165 Hz to 60 Hz when you unplug the laptop, as other devices do, and the Fn+R shortcut doesn’t do anything either. Hence, you will have to manually switch between refresh modes in the settings if looking for the best battery life results.
It’s also important to set the laptop on Hybrid-Auto or Hybrid-iGPU only modes in Vantage in order to disable the dGPU with battery use, otherwise, the system will keep waking up the dGPU and that will noticeably impact your runtimes.
So here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness) and either 60 or 165 Hz refresh.
14 W (~5-6 h of use) – 165Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
12 W (~6-7 h of use) – 60Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
14 W (~5-6 h of use) – 165Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
12.5 W (~6-7 h of use) – 60Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
14 W (~5-6 h of use) – 165Hz, 4K Netflix with Dolby Vision, fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
12.5 W (~6-7 h of use) – 60Hz, 4K Netflix with Dolby Vision, fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
20 W (~4-5 h of use) – 165Hz, browsing in Edge, Balance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
75 W (~1 + h of use) – 165Hz, gaming – Witcher 3, Balance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
Opting between the 60 and 165Hz refresh makes a difference here, and with the right settings, the runtimes are pretty good for an
Intel Core H 12th-gen platform.
I’ll also add that Lenovo pairs this configuration with a chunky 300W power brick, a dual-piece design with long cables, and a total weight of around 1.2 kilos. You can also charge the laptop via USB-C at up to 135W, in case you don’t want to bring along the main charger, just be aware that it’s not going to run at full capabilities on USB-C power.
Price and availability- Legion 5i
The Legion 5i is available in stores in most regions of the world at the time of this article.
The Intel i7 + RTX 3060 configuration reviewed here is curently listed at Lenovo’s US store at $1329 (down from $1669 MSRP), with 16 GB of RAM , 512 GB SSD, and the 80Wh battery, but the FHD 165 Hz panel option. The same specs, but with the QHD display, are listed in Europe at around 1500-1700 EUR between the different countries, without accounting for the occasional discounts.
Other options are available as well, starting at sub $1300 for the 3050Ti model and going over 2K for the 3070Ti variant. The 3060 configurations are the better-value options in this chassis, but the others are interesting as well, at the right price.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
For what is worth, the AMD-based 2022 Legion 5 models are also available in stores, starting at around $1200 MSRP. At this exact moment, though, the AMD RTX 3060 model is more expensive than the Intel variant, yet that can change over time. Generally, I expect the AMD Ryzen 6000 configurations to sell for at least $100 less than a similarly specced Intel mode.
Final thoughts- 2022 Lenovo Legion 5i
For the last years, the Legion 5 has been one of the highest-rated multi-purpose laptop series in the mid-range price segment, and that’s not going to change for the 2022 model year either.
In fact, Lenovo were able to polish some of my nits with the previous design, particularly around the unrefined power profiles and quirky wireless. On top of that, the 2022 Legion is a fresh design with cleaner looks and improved ergonomics, as well as an updated set of specs, now running at higher power than before and capable of increased capabilities in demanding loads and in games.
That’s especially the case for the Intel-based Legion 5i models, where the generational leap in performance from last year is massive; the AMD model is not as powerful this year, but is the more power-efficient option and the more affordable choice for budget-conscious buyers.
At the same time, this laptop remains a full-size design weighing around 2.5 kilos, so mostly suited for desk use, especially when you consider that massive 300W power brick in the mix. Most other laptops in this space are lighter, such as the
Acer Nitro 5 or the Asus TUF Gaming series, or the MSI Katana GF66s. Some are a little bit more compact as well, although if portability is important to you, much smaller RTX-based alternatives are available, and they’re fairly close in performance despite running lower-power hardware implementations. Among those, the TUF Dash F15 or the ROG Zephyrus G15 come to mind, from the ones we’ve tested in the last months.
On top of these, you should also consider in your decision the competing 16-inch options available in this space out there, and especially the excellent Legion 5 Pros with the brighter panels and the slightly higher-quality construction. For me, these are worth a premium over the regular Legion 5s, which are only available with rather dull-looking and dim 16:9 300-nits screens. Between regions and sales offers, that premium can be $100 or $500, and around the $100-$200 mark I would favor getting the 5 Pros over the regular 5s if possible.
So all in all, the 2022 Legion 5i is still an excellent performance and gaming laptop in the mid-tier category, but I feel that not necessarily as dominating in its niche as in the past. On one hand, the Legion 5 Pro series is a tough contender at the right price, and on the other, competing products from other brands have improved a fair bit over their previous generations, fighting the competition in this space. You’re not going to be wrong going with a Legion 5, but this is not necessarily ideal for everyone.
This wraps out my time with this 2022 Lenovo Legion 5i series, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series and feedback on my review, so get in touch in the comments section down below.
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