This is our detailed review of the mid-2022 generation of the Lenovo Legion 7i, the top-tier performance and gaming laptop in the Lenovo Legion family.
I’ve used this laptop for the last few weeks and gathered my thoughts and impressions down below.
While not obvious on a first look, the 2022 Legion 7 (the 7th generation) updates the
previous Legion 7 models in a few ways. It’s still a premium and fairly compact 16-inch chassis with excellent IO and inputs, but now the internals have been bumped to Intel Alder Lake HX platforms and higher power Nvidia RTX 3000Ti dGPUs, while the cooling module has also been slightly beefed up in order to accommodate this hardware. Furthermore, Lenovo have also bumped the battery to 99.9 Wh, the largest capacity possible on a laptop.
Our review unit is the highest-specced configuration with the
Intel i9-12900HX processors and RTX 3080Ti graphics, one of the most powerful laptop configurations available in stores right now. However, we’ll also touch on the better-value i7 + RTX 3070Ti model in the article down below, as that’s what most potential buyers should be looking at, given the i9 + 3080Ti goes for 4K USD/EUR, at least for the time being.
AMD-based Lenovo Legion 7 models are also available, but we’ll cover those in future reviews.
Specs as reviewed– 2022 Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 7
Lenovo Legion 7 16IAX7 2022 (Gen 7)
Screen 16 inch, 16:10 format, 2560×1600 px, IPS, 165 Hz, matte, 3ms
Processor Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake HX, Core i9-12900HX, 8PC + 8 Ec/24T
Video Iris Xe + NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080Ti with 16GB GDDR6 VRAM 150-175W,
with MUX, Advanced Optimus, and GSync
Memory 32 GB DDR5-4800 (2x DIMMs), up to 64 GB
Storage 1 TB PCIe gen4 (Micron 3400 MTFDKBA1T0TFH) – 2x M.2 2280 PCIe gen4 SSD slots
Connectivity WiFi 6E (Killer 1675i), Bluetooth 5.2, 2.5 Gigabit Lan
Ports Left: 2x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
Right: 1x audio jack, 1x eShutter button, 1x USB-C 3.2 gen1
Back: 2x USB-A 3.2 gen1 (one with always-on 5V2A), 1x USB-C 3.2 gen2, HDMI 2.1, DC-In, LAN -RJ 45
Battery 99.9 Whr, 300 W charger, USB-C charging up to 135W
Size 358 mm or 14.1” (w) x 264 mm or 10.374” (d) x from 19.5 mm or .76” (h)
Weight 2.53 kg (5.58 lbs) + .1.15 kg (2.54 lbs) for the charger+cables, EU version
Extras per-key RGB keyword with 1.5 mm stroke and WASD force sensors, FHD webcam with E-shutter switch, fingerprint reader in the power button, stereo 2x 2W bottom speakers, Storm Grey color
As per Lenovo’s specs sheets, this series will be available in a few other variants, starting at an i7-1080HX with RTX 3070Ti 150W. Our model is the highest-specced available configuration.
Update: If interested, here are my thoughts on the updated
2023 Lenovo Legion Pro 7i and Pro 7 models. And here’s my detailed review of the 2023 Lenovo Legion Pro 7i series in the RTX 4080 model, as well as our review of the top-specced RTX 4090 Legion Pro 7i variant.
Design and construction
For this model year, Lenovo have updated the Legion 7 series, creating a slightly more compact and thinner chassis and polishing up the materials and the overall design elements. The result is one of the best-looking and feeling notebooks on the market.
Perhaps “dense” and “material” is how I can best summarize the impressions this notebook gives with daily use. It’s strong and sturdy, without any flex or squeaks anywhere, and looks compact with the 16:10 display and the small bezels around it. However, this is by no means a portable design.
It’s about the same size as other performance laptops of this generation, such as the Asus ROG Scar 15 or the MSI Raider GE67, somewhere in between them in terms of weight at 5.6 lbs for the reviewed unit, and slightly thinner. Add in the weight of the 2.5 lbs 300W charger, and this is not necessarily the ideal travel laptop, as you’ll feel its weight in your backpack. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, the metals, the battery, and the internals required to cool the hardware add up to the weight.
As far as looks go, the Legion 7 is entirely made out of pieces of aluminum, with a matte finishing for the lid and interior, and machined-milled edges. Just like on the
Legion Slim 7i reviewed earlier, with whom the Legion 7i shares most design characteristics, the edges on this Legion 7i didn’t dent or scratch or show any use-markups after using this for the last weeks, not even around the left side near my watch buckle.
Lenovo also keeps the branding elements muted and clean, but unlike the other Legion models, this series integrates a few RGB elements: several light bars around the sides and the front, and an RGB LEGION logo on the lid. By default, they’re tied to the keyboard’s illumination setting, but they can also be customized independently in Lenovo’s Spectrum app available as part of Vantage – we’ll touch on it in the Keyboard section below.
You do get is the option to easily switch off the LEGION RGB logo with FN+L, if you want to. However, I couldn’t find a way to disable the lightbars independently of the keyboard, though – not sure if that’s not an option, or I just couldn’t figure it out. You can manually customize each light zone in Spectrum, but there’s no OFF option of any kind.
Update: As Joel suggested in the comments, settings the lightbars to Always Color=Black in Spectrum should allow to tame down the RGB on this series, although that’s definitely not an ideal solution.
There’s also the always-lit power button on this series, which lights up in different colors based on the power profile in use. Not a fan due to its placement just under the screen, which makes it slightly annoying when using the laptop at night. I don’t find much use for knowing the active profile in this way, but at least Lenovo redesigned it and made the lit edging narrower than on the previous generations, so I can live with it. The power button integrates a finger-sensor in it, btw.
As for those grills to the right and left side of the power button, they’re for ventilation purposes and don’t hide speakers underneath. Audio still fires from the bottom on the 2022 Legions, and the audio quality remains one of the weakest points of these lineups, including the Legion 7i here.
On the other hand, this laptop is one of the friendlier and carefree designs in its class, with the gray color scheme doing an excellent job at hiding smudges and finger oil, which means you won’t have to bother cleaning this as often as a darker design. The keycaps are color-matched with the chassis, thus smudge-resistant as well.
Ergonomics are fine here as well. Strong hinges keep the screen in place without it wobbling or moving during use, plus allow it to lean back flat to 180 degrees. Lenovo also puts a reversed notch at the top of the display, which acts as both a level for you to pick up the screen and open it up, but also as a placeholder for a camera and microphones.
On the underbelly, properly sized and grippy rubber feet offer good stability on the desk, and ample space is reserved for the open-back ventilation – we’ll go over this in the Thermals sections further down.
Lenovo also made some effort to dull off the front lip and corners. However, these still feel a bit harsh on the wrists, as they are a bit more aggressively tapered than on the Slim 7i design and the front of the laptop sits higher overall, due to it being a slightly thicker chassis. For desk use, the ample armrest ensures that your wrists will rarely come in contact with the edges, but for lap and cramped spaces use, you might find these uncomfortable in certain situations.
As far as the IO goes, the ports are spread around the edges and the back, and include USB-A, HDMI 2.1, USB-C ports, a LAN port, an audio jack, and a camera eShutter. The only things missing are a K-Lock and a card reader. That’s a bit odd, given that a card reader is offered on the slimmer Legion Slim 7i model, but here it was replaced by a hardly useful USB-C gen1 port.
As far as video output capabilities go, the HDMI port on the back hooks into the dGPU. The USB-C ports on the left side offer Thunderbolt 4 support with DP via the Intel iGPU, while the USB-C on the back supports video straight from the Nvidia dGPU, for uncompromised gaming performance on an external monitor, as well as USB-C Power Delivery at up to 135 W of power. None of the other USB-C ports support charging here.
All in all, the Lenovo Legion 7 remains one of the best designs in the full-size performance laptop niche, with excellent build quality and refined aesthetics for this generation, as well as good ergonomics and IO. This is nonetheless a full-size and heavy laptop, though, so don’t expect anything else.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Legion 7 series implements a complex keyboard developed alongside Steelseries.
The layout is identical to the other Legion laptops, with a main deck of full-sized and fine-spaced keys, plus a smaller NumPad section at the right. The main set of keys are shifted to the left side, as a result, in comparison to a centered layout without NumPad. The directional keys are full-size and well-spaced out from everything around.
The keycaps are made from a slightly softer-feeling plastic on the Legion 7i in comparison to the
Legion 5 models, and have a small ditch in them. The stroke depth is 1.5 mm, a bit shorter than on other gaming laptops, but the feedback is excellent, with little wobbling on the keycaps and the ability to easily record actuations even when not pressing the keys in their center.
Overall, this is a very good typer, with excellent and forgiving feedback, as well as quiet presses.
As a novelty for this year, Lenovo implements Force Sensors in the WASD keys, as well as offers an extra set of switches and keycaps (white, glossy) that you can replace the standard ones with. The idea is that you can set-up the keys to react differently based on how deep you are pressing them, and you can customize the behavior per each game, which can come in useful in certain simulators or driving games, among others.
I tried swapping the keycaps for the white ones, as explained on the how-to guide included, and it’s a pretty simple process with the included tool. I didn’t get to look much into how these switches actually work in games, though. They seem to work fine, but I’m not that much of a pro-gamer to tell it for sure. You should look into other reviews for more details on this aspect.
The lighting is RGB on this keyboard and one of the better in the space. Bright and uniform LEDs are placed under each keycap, and very little light shines out from underneath the keys. Per-key RGB control is possible, and Lenovo ditches the buggy iCUE software used in the past for their in-house Spectrum app, now part of the Lenovo Vantage main control software. It allows for easy customizations per each key and lighting zone, and you can create six different profiles that you can switch between with Fn + Space. Plus, the LEDs offer three brightness levels, controlled with FN + up/down arrows.
My only complaint with the Spectrum software is that I couldn’t find a way to manually set the lightbars off. There’s the option to manually customize each light zone, but there’s no OFF option of any kind or at least none that I could figure out. The idea was to set up a profile with a backlit keyboard, but with all the lightbars disabled, in order to save up battery life with everyday use. I couldn’t figure out a way to set this up.
On the other hand, I must add that Lenovo also implements here that neat functionality we’ve seen on MSI laptops in the past, by only lighting up the active keys when pressing Fn. This way, it’s easier to find the required shortcut, and there are quite a few of them for different things, such as FN+Q for switching between power modes or Fn+R for switching between 60/165 Hz refresh, etc.
Other details worth mentioning are the fact that you get useful physical indicators for CapsLock, FnLock, and NumLock on this layout. However, there’s still no way to set up a timeout period for the keyboard’s lighting, which means you’ll have to manually enable/disbale the lights when needed. Not a deal-breaker, but an oddity for Lenovo keyboards nonetheless.
The clickpad on this laptop is an averagely-sized glass surface with Precision drivers, similar to the one of the Slim 7i. It’s perhaps not as spacious as other implementations, but it feels smooth to the touch and works just fine with everything you will throw at it. The surface doesn’t rattle with firmer taps either, and the physical clicks feel fine, just a little bit clunky.
I didn’t have any issues with palm rejection during my time with the laptop or any other recent Legions, but due to how the clickpad is placed towards the left of the chassis, your left hand ends up swiping over its surface and it might lead to occasional fake swipes or clicks. These were reported when Lenovo first introduced this touchpad design last year, but in the meantime, they seemed to have updated their software and they’re no longer an issue. Nonetheless, Derek mentioned these on his 2021 Legion 5 Pro laptop,
and explained here how you can address them if needed.
Finally, for biometrics, you get a finger-sensor in the power button here, but there’s no IR capable camera.
There’s a 16-inch 16:10 display in the 2022 Legion 7 series, just like on past generations.
Two panel options are available, but they’re almost the same with 2560 x 1600 px QHD resolution, 500 nits of brightness, and 100% sRGB colors. The difference is in the refresh rates, with the base-model panel being 165 Hz, while the other is capable of variable refresh rates between 165-240Hz, alongside GSync.
The panel on this review unit is the former, the fixed-refresh 165Hz option from BOE. The same panel is also available on the 2022
Legion 5i Pro.
This is fine for daily use. Despite only covering the sRGB gamut, colors appear punchy on this panel, especially when you pump up the brightness. Nonetheless, I would have hoped that Lenovo would update to the 500-nits 100% DCI-P3 panel available in devices such as the
ROG Zephyrus M16 reviewed here, or even better the miniLED QHD+ panel available in a few other laptops now, including the ROG Flow X16 and their own Legion Slim 7i series (at a future date). At least for the time being, though, those are not an option for the 2022 Legion 7s.
This panel is also well suited for gaming, with a 165 Hz refresh rate and fast response times. The Legion series also offers a MUX and GSync support, in either the Hybrid – Advanced Optimus or dGPU modes. We’ll get in-depth on these in the next section of this review.
Here’s what we got in our tests,
with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
Panel HardwareID: BOE BOE0A1F (NE156QDM-NY1);
Coverage: 96.6% sRGB, 70.0% DCI-P3, 72.0% AdobeRGB;
Measured gamma: 2.21;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 424.15 cd/m2 on power;
Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 6.22 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1304:1;
White point: 6800 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.32 cd/m2;
Response: ~7.6ms GtG (
Our sample came out a little dimmer out of the box, but after calibration, the brightness jumped closer to 500 nits and addresses the skewed White Point. Brightness and color uniformity are alright on this panel, but you will notice some light bleeding at maximum brightness.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a top-specced configuration of the 2022 Lenovo Legion 7i, built on an Intel Core i9-12900HX processor, 32 GB of DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel, 1 TB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3080Ti dGPU with 16 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 late-August 2022 (BIOS K1CN31WW, Vantage 18.104.22.168, GeForce 512.33 drivers). Some aspects might change with later updates.
Spec-wise, the 2022 Legion 7i is built on the latest and most powerful Intel and Nvidia hardware available to date. The
Core i9-12900HX is the top-performance mobile processor in Intel’s Alder Lake 12th-gen platform, with 16 Cores and 24 Threads. It is a hybrid design with 8 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 up to ~115W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads.
For the GPU, the 2022 Legion 7i series is available with full-power RTX 3000 graphics chips. What we have on this sample is the top-specced Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti 16GB running at up to 175W with Dynamic Boost. An RTX 3070Ti 150W configuration is available as well. Both can be easily overclocked with a click of a single toggle in Vantage or the BIOS.
A MUX is offered here, with Advanced Optimus. Vantage also allows for a couple of power modes. Hybrid enabled Advanced Optimus and should cover most needs as long as the laptop is plugged in. For battery use, though, you should opt for Hybrid-Auto or Hybrid-iGPU mode to prevent the dGPU from waking up and affecting your runtimes. A dGPU-only mode is also available, and this requires a restart to enable.
For the RAM, the series offers two DDR5 DIMMs. Our unit is a 32 GB of DDR5-4800 RAM (2x 16 GB) configuration. Lenovo also offers the option for DDR5-5600 overclocked memory for this series, but that won’t be available everywhere.
For storage, there are two M.2 2280 PCIe gen4 slots on this series, and this sample comes preconfigured with a fast gen4 Micron drive.
Getting to the components requires you to remove a few Philips screws, all visible around the back, and then pull up the D-panel. You’ll need a plastic pin and some sort of suction cup to pull out the bottom panel, as it is fairly snugly attached to the main chassis – it’s not as snug as on the Legion Slim 7i, though. Inside, everything is encapsulated, the RAM is covered by a metal shield, and the SSDs and wifi slots are also covered by thermal radiators. You’ll need to remove those on order to access the components.
For the software, this unit came with Windows 11 preinstalled and the standard set of Lenovo apps – you might want to uninstall some of them. I like the predefined wallpaper, it looks so much nicer than what most OEMs offer these days.
The power profiles are Quiet, Balance, Balance with Legion Ai, and Performance, and you can select them from Vantage or switch between them with Fn+Q. 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 175W**
up to 175W
*The PL settings for the Performance mode are not a proper indicator of the real-life performance, because the CPU is thermally throttled around 110-115W in sustained loads, with the laptop sitting on the desk, as you’ll see in a bit.
** Balance with Legion Ai allows the GPU to run at up to 175Wjust like on Performance mode, but with the same kind of noise levels. Regular Balance without Legion Ai mode runs at lower power settings, but also quieter fans.
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.
Before we jump to the performance section, here’s how this laptop handles everyday use and multitasking on the Quiet/Balance profiles, unplugged from the wall.
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.
With the laptop sitting on the desk and on Performance mode, the Core i9-12900HX processor kicks in aggressively at 150+ W, but quickly drops and stabilizes at 115-120W of sustained power. The CPU is thermally throttled in this sort of load, and hence the applied power and frequencies drop in order to deal with the heat.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans allows the processor to stabilize at marginally higher sustained power of around 120W, with similar noise levels and ~48Db, and a minimal increase in the Cinebench scores. With more demanding prolonged CPU stress loads such as Cinebench R23 and Blender, the system ends up power-limiting the processor at 115W, with temperatures around 92-95C – in this case temperatures are no longer the limitation, but keep in mind that these settings are only possible with the back of the laptop raised up. On the desk, the system cannot support 115W sustained in these tests, as you’ll see further down.
Switching over to the Balance profile translates into the CPU running at between 45 and 60W stabilized with Legion Ai switched Off, or 60W with Legion AI enabled. Both allow for quieter fans than on Performance, and temperatures in the 60s, but with a notable decrease in scores. The scores for Balance and Quiet modes are most likely wrong here, though, as this sample is not performing as expected at these lower power settings – we’ll explain why further down.
On the Quiet profile, btw, 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 Balance profile. That’s a very aggressive power limitation in comparison to other 12th-gen Intel laptops, but similar to other Legion laptops tested recently. Details below.
Overall, I feel that these profiles could be further tweaked.
The laptop is thermally limited on Performance mode, and then aggressively power capped on the other modes, so there’s no proper middle-ground profile for those interested in running sustained CPU loads at average temperatures. You’ll have to go with the Performance mode for any serious work, but that means you’ll have to accept the high CPU temperatures, which isn’t ideal. I surely recommend opting for some sort of stand or cooling pad while running demanding CPU loads on this laptop.
To put these findings in perspective, here’s how this Core i9-12900HX implementation fares against other performance laptops in this test, both Intel and AMD.
First off, here it is next to the similar i9-12950HX in the ROG Scar 17 SE. It shows what the processor is capable at higher power, and what it should return on a mid-power setting. That’s why I’d expect the Balance profile on the Legion 7i to score around 2300 points with more mature software, and not what we got on this sample.
On the other hand, this 16Core i9 implementation is no match for other Intel or AMD current platforms. For what is worth, the Ryzen 9 6900HX Legion 7 should also score around 2400 points in this test, so nowhere close to the Intel HX models.
A comparison between the Ryzen 9 6900HX and the Core i9-12900H processor si available here.
It’s also way faster than the previous generations of the Legion 7, both Intel and AMD. In fact, even the mainstream i7-12700H Legions are now way faster in multi-treading performance than the previous-gen Legion 7s.
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. These show how the CPU ends up power limited at 115W with longer sustained loads, and how bumping up the laptop off the desk helps the performance and temperatures to some degree.
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Performance and Balance profiles. These are short-duration tests, though, and not indicative of the sustained difference in performance once the system stabilizes at 60W on Balance.
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 with the MUX set on Hybrid mode and dGPU Overclock ON, and on FHD+ screen resolution for consistency with our other tests.
Here’s what we got:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 28606 (Graphics – 32570, Physics – 31099, Combined – 14072);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 8571;
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 13792 (Graphics – 13576, CPU – 15165);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 8277;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 25376;
Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 71.42 average fps;
PassMark 10: Rating: 8893 (CPU: 37784, 3D Graphics: 26624, Memory: 3379, Disk Mark: 33177);
PCMark 10: 7689 (Essentials – 10731, Productivity – 10244, Digital Content Creation – 11233);
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1870, Multi-core: 16004;
CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 3375 cb, CPU Single Core 277 cb;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 8193 cb, CPU Single Core 737 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 21208 cb (best single run), CPU 20112 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 1916 cb;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 21.56 s.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Performance profile:
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 1m 58s (Performance);
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 25s (CUDA), 10.3s (Optix);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 4m 33s (Performance);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 32.3s (CUDA), 19.3s (Optix);
Pugetbench – DaVinci Resolve: 1273;
Pugetbench – Adobe After Effects: crashed;
Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 1127;
Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 1052;
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 143.71 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 77.69 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 101.22 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 28.50 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 340.37 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 40.12 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 23.51 (Performance);
SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 260.86 (Performance).
V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 14643 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 1374 vpaths, GPU RTX – 2037;
We haven’t properly reviewed other Intel HX laptops at this point. I did test the
ROG Scar 17 SE, but ran into some software issues that are preventing us from properly sharing our final results with you until we get another sample to retest. There are also some reviews of the HX-based MSI Raider laptops out there, which suggest higher sustained power settings for those as well.
Nonetheless, the Intel HX i9 can score higher in benchmarks than on this Legion 7i if allowed to run at higher power. By comparison, the Scar 17 SE allows for 175W peak and around 150W of sustained power, which translates in roughly 10-12% higher multi-threaded scores in shorter loads such as 3DMark, and around 5-10% in longer loads such as x265 or Blender. Asus are also overclocking the i9-12950HX by default, pushing it to 5.2 GHz single-clock Turbo, and that also positively impacts the single-core scores by about 2-3% compared to what we got on this Legion 7i.
Even so, the i9-12900HX in this Legion 7i is the 2nd fastest mobile CPU in our tests, and by a big margin over any other platforms. That’s because of the 16C (8P+8E) design, which is not available with other CPUs.
The i7-12800HX variant of this laptop performs pretty much similarly to the reviewed i9, as te i7 only a slightly gimped variation of the i9, running at 4.8 GHz max Turbo (vs 5.0 GHz on the i9). Hence, I see no reason why you wouldn’t go with the i7 over the i9 if given the option. However, that’s only available on the 3070Ti configurations, which we’ll discuss next.
On the GPU side, this 3080Ti 175W configuration is one of the fastest performance/gaming laptops on the market, about on par with the similarly powered Scar 17 SE and marginally faster than the
165W 3080Ti in the Zephyrus Duo. At the same time, we’re looking here at dGPU scores up to 10% higher in 3Dmark or Uniengine than on the 2021 Legion 7 3080 150W models, either the Intel or AMD variants, but less with real-life use.
As for the 3070Ti 150W version of this laptop, I’ve tested that dGPU implementation in the 2022 Legion 5i Pro chassis, and here’s a brief comparison between the two (with more the follow in a future article) – you should expect similar GPU results for the RTX 3070Ti Legion 7i, but higher CPU and combined scores, of course, with the HX platforms.
i9-12900HX + 3080Ti 175W
2022 Lenovo Legion 7i
i7-12700H + 3070Ti 150W
2022 Lenovo Legion 5i Pro
3DMark – Fire Strike 28606 (G – 32570, P– 31099, C – 14072)
24586 (G – 27922, P – 27957, C – 11838);
3DMark – Port Royal 8571
3DMark – Time Spy 13792 (Graphics – 13576, CPU – 15165)
11672 (Graphics – 11546, CPU – 12445)
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme 25376
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 32.3s (CUDA), 19.3s (Optix)
37s (CUDA), 22.6s (Optix)
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 143.71
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 340.37
Aside from the GPU performance differences between the two, of between 15-20%, you should also consider that the 3080Ti comes with 16 GB of vRAM, while the 3070Ti is only 8 GB, and that might matter for certain workloads. As far as gaming goes, though, the two dGPU configurations are not that far apart, and overall the 3070Ti is surely an option worth considering on the Legion 7, given the huge price difference up to the 3080Ti mode.
All in all, the 2022 Legion 7i is an excellent performer and definitely a step-up from the previous 2021 generations. The culprit are the high CPU thermals in sustained loads, as well as to some extent the fact that this design is not as CPU-powerful as other Intel HX models from other brands.
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 dB at head level. Thus, if you prefer sacrificing the performance to some extent for quieter fan noise, here’s how this Legion 7i 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: 26852 (Graphics – 29363, Physics – 33456, Combined – 13862);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 11791 (Graphics – 11326, CPU – 15373);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: crashed;
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1827, Multi-core: 14793;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6289 cb, CPU Single Core 699 CB;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 23.45 s;
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 9m 49s (Balance).
The CPU takes a hit in longer loads, as it drops to inly 45-60W sustained, and the GPU performs at about 85% of what it can do at higher power, as it only runs at 115W on this profile. Overall, Balance mode is usable on this design, especially for combined loads and gaming, but less so for heavy CPU chores, as explained earlier.
The Legion 7 is the top configuration in a gaming-oriented series, so let’s look at some games now.
We tested a couple of different types of games on the Performance and Balance profiles at QHD+ and FHD+ resolutions, all with the MUX set on the discrete GPU mode. You don’t 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 3080Ti Laptop 140-175W
dGPU, on desk
QHD+ Balance, no Ai*,
dGPU, on desk
dGPU, on desk
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 138 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
142 fps (53 fps – 1% low)
119 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
185 fps (83 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 54 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
55 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
34 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
79 fps (60 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset) 222 fps (108 fps – 1% low)
232 fps (112 fps – 1% low)
174 fps (101 fps – 1% low)
303 fps (152 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA) 86 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
87 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
78 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
108 fps (66 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) crashed
158 fps (113 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 76 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
55 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
94 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 96 fps (68 fps – 1% low)
96 fps (67 fps – 1% low)
77 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
120 fps (88 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 107 fps (70 fps – 1% low)
110 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
83 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
138 fps (80 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4) 121 fps (84 fps – 1% low)
129 fps (87 fps – 1% low)
107 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
160 fps (101 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
*I’ll explain why we’ve tested Balance mode with the Legion Ai setting disabled further down.
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX titles with and without DLSS.
+ RTX 3080Ti Laptop 140-175W
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF) 84 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
123 fps (69 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS ON) 93 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
129 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced) 55 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
78 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Quality) 165 fps (111 fps – 1% low)
226 fps (118 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows) 75 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
85 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra) 68 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
94 fps (62 fps – 1% low)
This configuration can easily handle all the modern games at FHD+ and QHD+ resolution and Ultra settings, with or without RT. 4K is also possible with most games, if you plan to run this on an external monitor, but titles with Cyberpunk or Far Cry 6 will demand a drop in settings at that resolution for 60+ fps.
The gaming performance on this Legion 7i is similar to other high0power 3080Ti laptops we’ve reviewed, for matching settings (dGPU MUX mode, similar OC options). Compared to the 2021 3080 Legion 7 models, we’re looking at up to 10% higher framerates in some titles, but around 5-7% with most.
In comparison, the 3070Ti 150W configuration is going to return around 8-15% lower framerates in the tested games. I’ll link to the 3070Ti review when up.
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 80-85 degrees Celsius between the tested titles, while the GPU runs at between 83-86 degrees. The components are running toasty, but within their design temperature limits, and thermal or power throttling is never an issue here.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans leads to a noticeable decrease in CPU/GPU temperatures, with both now running in the 70s. These are excellent 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.
Keep in mind that 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 15-25% toll from the Performance mode, as the GPU power is limited at around 115W on this mode. The temperatures are excellent, in the mid-70s with the laptop sitting on the desk, or in the mid to high 60s 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 similar fan settings and the GPU pushed to 175W. 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 usable at FHD+ resolution and medium settings. You’ll still get playable framerates, even if this limits the GPU at around 55W of power.
The laptop’s performance on battery power is somewhat similar to the Quiet mode explained above. Hence, FHD+ with medium settings should be doable in most games. Don’t expect more than 1 to 2 hours of gameplay, based on how much are you willing to limit the fps cap.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
This Legion 7i gets Lenovo’s most advanced thermal module design, with a large vapor chamber, two high-capacity fans, and four radiators (two on the back and two on the sides). Radiator shields are also mounted over the RAM modules, SSDs, and even the wifi card.
For the most part, this cooling module works well here, but the fans are choked up by the slim feet design with the laptop sitting on a flat surface, and that leads to high internal and eventually case-level temperatures on the Performance mode. On the other hand, Balance mode is perfectly usable even with the laptop on the desk, with quieter fans and a toll in framerates and capabilities.
Overall, though, lifting up the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans leads to a significant decrease in internal and external temperatures. Hence, you should use this with some sort of pad for demanding work/gaming sessions.
One other aspect to mention here is that dust easily goes inside this laptop due to its open-back design, and unlike other brands, 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 – they never idle, but keep almost silent at levels that are barely noticeable even in a perfectly quiet room. I also haven’t noticed any coil whining or electronic noises on this unit.
As far as temperatures go, no complaints with daily use. The hottest spot reaches temperatures in the high-30s, and it’s around the power button, so out of touch. The back rarely goes over mid-30s either.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet profile, fans sub 30 dB
With games and with the laptop on a flat surface, the hotspots keep around the top of keyboard, towards the middle and the left side, where the GPU is placed. Over there we’re looking at temperatures in the 50s on Performance mode with the laptop on the desk, but the arrows and the WASD regions stay in the high-30s to mid-40s. The back hits close to 60s, though, and overall the entire chassis can get uncomfortable to the touch with long gaming sessions.
*Gaming – Performance – playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~48 dB
Hence, you’ll want to bump up the back of this laptop or place it on some sort of cooling pad to lower the internal, and thus, the external temperatures.
You’re still looking at 50+ C around the power button and close to 60s C on the back in this case, but the overall the chassis temperatures around the WASD region and left-side of the armrest drop in comparison, so the laptop feels a more pleasant to use in long sustained sessions.
This laptop is going to feel cooler when running games on Balance mode, though, with quieter fans as well.
Down below is what we got with the laptop on a flat surface, and placing this on a stand will lead to a further decrease in surface temperatures.
*Gaming – Balance– playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~42 dB
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 through an Intel-based Killer 1675i chip on this laptop, as well as 2.5 Gb 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, which seem to be slightly different than what Lenovo put on the previous Legion 7s. Due to how they’re placed on the flat underbelly, you’ll need to be careful not to cover and muffle them when not using the laptop on a desk.
These get very loud, at around 85 dB max levels, and the audio quality is so so, still lacking in the lows and somewhat in the mids. Overall, though, these speakers on the 7s are better than what you’ll find on other Legion models, but still, nothing to brag about.
Finally, I’ll mention the camera placed at the top of the screen, and flanked by microphones. The ensemble does what it’s supposed to, and the camera is FHD resolution and a wide angle, so a little better than what you’re normally getting on laptops these days. I also 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.
There’s a 99Wh battery inside the 2022 Legion 7i, which is the largest possible in a laptop.
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, but I could cycle between the 60 and 165 Hz modes by hitting Fn+R.
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.
20 W (~5 h of use) – 165Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
17 W (~6 h of use) – 60Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
17 W (~6 h of use) – 165Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
21 W (~5 h of use) – 60Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
20 W (~5 h of use) – 165Hz, 4K Netflix with Dolby Vision, fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
15.5 W (~6-7 h of use) – 60Hz, 4K Netflix with Dolby Vision, fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
25 W (~4-5 h of use) – 165Hz, browsing in Edge, Balance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
22 W (~4-5 h of use) – 60Hz, 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.
However, runtimes aren’t much on this Intel HX platform, and that shouldn’t really come as a major surprise. If you’re interested in excellent runtimes, you’re probably better of with an AMD-based Legion instead.
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 7i
The Legion 7i is available in stores in most regions at the time of this article.
The Intel i9 + RTX 3080Ti configuration reviewed here is listed at Lenovo’s US store at $3299 (down from the $4099 MSRP), while over here in Europe you can get it for around 4500 EUR (and I’m not seeing any discounts yet).
The Intel i7 + RTX 3070Ti model was listed for around $2500 in the US store (but currently is around $2970), while here in Europe it goes for around 2750 EUR.
Lenovo tend to offer discounts and rebates all the time, so you can realistically expect to get the 3080Ti model for around 3K in the US, while the 3070Ti could drop to around 2.2-2.3K. Over here in Europe, though, the price difference between the two configuration is huge at this point, making the 3080Ti non-competitive for that kind of money.
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 7 models are also available in stores, starting at around $1800. We’ll cover those in a separate article.
Final thoughts- 2022 Lenovo Legion 7i
If you’re in the market for a premium-feeling powerful laptop that can handle everything that you can possibly throw at it, the 2022 Lenovo Legion 7i remains one of the best options for you, much like the past Legion 7s were.
The pristine build quality and aesthetics, the fairly compact footprint for what this laptop is, the excellent inputs, ergonomics and IO, the 16:10 display, and the overall balanced capabilities with demanding loads are the main selling points of this series.
At the same time, there are some other aspects that you must understand and accept before going with this one.
First off, it’s going to run toasty with games and continuous demanding loads, so you should most likely use this with a stand or an active cooling pad. Then, this is only available with a standard-gamut display, which while fine for everyday use, is not on par with competing options and might not suffice for certain creative activities, where a higher-gamut panel would have been appreciated.
Then, you should acknowledge that this Lenovo implementation of the Intel 12th-gen Core HX hardware is not as powerful as some of the others out there, so if you plan on getting a laptop specifically for the CPU performance of the XH platform, other options might make more sense, such as the bigger 17-inch ROG Scar 17 or MSI Raider and Titan models.
On top of that, battery life isn’t much with this Intel HX configuration, which shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone. Thus, if you need a laptop that will be used unplugged from the wall more often than not, once more, this might not be for you.
The AMD-based version of the 2022 Lenovo Legion 7 should address the runtimes to some extent while selling for a more competitive price. However, Lenovo only offer AMD Advantage configurations for the 2022 Legions, and that means you can only pair AMD processors with
AMD Radeon 6700M and 6850M graphics, and there’s no longer an option for AMD processors with Nvidia graphics. For the most part, the AMD Advantage models should be competitive within their price segments, but not necessarily a match for the Intel + Nvidia models in demanding loads.
That aside, there are also a few other laptops you could consider in the performance space, such as the Asus ROG Scar units or the MSI Raiders at the highest-tier 3080Ti specs, or the excellent-value Lenovo Legion 5i Pro series at the 3070Ti level.
Nonetheless, this model-year Lenovo Legion 7i is a competitive performance laptop and faster and nicer polished than past models, but not ideal for everyone and every need.
This wraps out my time with this 2022 Lenovo Legion 7i 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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