Lenovo Legion 7 Review - Best Ryzen Gaming Laptop of 2021?

Lenovo Legion 7 Review – Best Ryzen Gaming Laptop of 2021?


The new Lenovo Legion 7 gaming laptop offers some excellent improvements over last years model, but its not perfect Theres still at least one major issue that you need to know about. So lets see what changes have been made in this detailed review. The first change is the move over to AMDs Ryzen 5000 processors. Ive got the highest specced configuration here with full powered, Nvidia, RTX, 3080 graphics and 32 gigs of memory, but its available with lower specs too. You can find examples and updated prices with the links down in the description.

Oh and the Legion 5 Pro also just arrived, so make sure youre subscribed for the review on that. One Overall build quality feels nice, both the top and bottom panels are aluminum, while the interior seems to be a hard grey plastic, no sharp corners or edges

The laptop alone weighs 2
5Kg or 5.5lb, then about a kilo or 2.3lb heavier with the large 300 watt power, brick and cables. The dimensions really arent too different compared to most 15 laptops and thats because of the unique screen Its 16 inches with a 165Hz refresh rate, but its using a 16:10 aspect ratio with a resolution above standard 1440p.

This means that theres more pixels compared to your traditional 16:9 screen Theres more space vertically, so basically theyre able to fit a bigger panel inside a 15 size machine.

It gets quite bright at full brightness over 500 nits. However, this drops off sharply as you lower it. The Lenovo Vantage software, the control panel for the laptop lets you enable or disable optimus aka, hybrid mode, With optimus enabled the screen still has FreeSync and with optimus disabled youve instead got the option of G-Sync so best of both worlds. However, you run it
The Vantage software gives you the option to enable or disable panel overdrive which affects screen response time By default.

Mine was set to off, but you can turn it on with one click, to improve average grey-to-grey response time to around 4.4ms, which is quite nice when compared to other laptops below the 6ms for transitions to occur within the refresh window. I wouldnt say there was any backlight bleed in my unit. The small imperfections were never noticeable in practice, but this will vary between laptops.

Theres, a 720p camera above the screen in the middle, no Windows, Hello support, though
There wasnt room for a privacy shutter over the camera due to the bigger screen and thinner bezels, so theres, instead a switch on the right which physically disconnects the camera.

This is what the camera and microphone look and sound like and heres what it sounds like to type on the keyboard. The Legion 7 is also the first laptop to offer. Tobii Horizon support, basically its able to track your head movement with the camera and in supported games like Assassins Creed. Valhalla actions like trying to look around the corner will actually affect the game, but you can of course, turn it off if you prefer.

I have actually been playing a lot of Assassins Creed lately, and I have noticed that, while sneaking up on enemies, I do do the try to look around the corner with my head thing, without even realizing.

So there is some merit to this idea. The keyboard has per key RGB lighting and all keys and secondary functions are illuminated.
Its got 3 levels of brightness, which can be adjusted with function and the up and down arrows I liked typing on it. It feels similar to others from Lenovo. So a nice subtle, clicky feel That said my partner didnt like typing on it.

She thought that it was too much effort to type anything and you had to press harder than usual to get the keys to actually trigger, but that wasnt my experience, so your mileage may vary. The lighting is controlled with the Corsair iCUE software.
Now, theres a lot to discuss with the keyboard and lighting By default, you can hold function and press the spacebar to cycle through 5 built in effects or turn it all off as the 6th option.

These effects are part of the firmware, so they could change with updates. This means when you power on the laptop, it will remember what youve set the keyboard to and show the effect without any software running.

A lot of people asked me about this because last years model would just spew RGB by default until the iCUE software loaded in Windows and applied your changes. But now you can change the effect or even turn it off completely without software

If you customize it with the iCUE software, though the default firmware lighting effect will be in use during boot, until Windows and the iCUE software loads and overwrites it iCUE takes priority once loaded. This seems to lead to other issues with an iCUE effect in place. Using function plus spacebar no longer works unless you remove the iCUE effect or close the iCUE software to go back to the built in effects. Theres also a light bar that runs along some of the left right and front sides, as well as lighting in all four air vents and lighting in the letter O on the lid, all of which can be customized through the iCUE software.

You can also turn off the lid light with function, plus L, but again only if youre using a default built in effect rather than iCUE, with a custom effect on this does not work. Currently.

One of the LEDs, in my light bar appears to be stuck regardless of what colors I set its only really obvious if its, in contrast to the other colors, though with an RGB effect, I cant notice it. But then, if I set all lights to red or black so off it becomes apparent.
This isnt just my unit either as a Legion, 7 customer emailed me with the same problem, hopefully its just a software issue that can be patched

The Legion 7 has already had at least one keyboard firmware update during my testing and that fixed a different issue that I had so its definitely possible that any of the lighting behavior discussed previously could change with a future update.

Lenovo says that the glass precision touchpad is 23 % larger than last years model and its certainly bigger It clicks down anywhere was nice to use, and, unlike the previous generation, the touchpad doesnt flex below the chassis when pushed down on the older model left a gap On the left from the back theres, an air exhaust vent USB 3
2 Gen2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support and 3.5mm audio combo jack. The right just has the camera disconnect switch another Type-C port, though this one is 3.2 Gen1 and theres an air exhaust vent on this side too.

The rest is on the back between the two air vents on the corners from left to right: theres, gigabit, ethernet, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port again with DisplayPort 1.4 like the one on the left. But this one also lets you charge the laptop. Otherwise there are 3 USB 3.

gen1 Type-A ports, HDMI 2
1 output and power input on the far right. There are icons above the rear ports that light up, so you can easily see where youre plugging into when sitting in front of the laptop no need to turn it around, and you can optionally turn these lights off. With the function and U shortcut a nice touch, The power LED is white between 91 % and 100 % charge, otherwise amber means 90 % or below Both the left and back Type-C ports with DisplayPort support and HDMI connect directly to the Nvidia, discrete graphics, which makes Sense, given we have the option of disabling optimus anyway, The front has a little section that sticks out in the middle, which makes it very easy to open up, and the screen goes the full 180 degrees back for sharing.

The plastic interior feels nice and smooth so easy to clean off any dirt and fingerprints. The hinge is an area that a lot of people asked me to cover and Lenovo have confirmed that there are more reinforcements between the hinge and the top lid in this generation.

The Lenovo parts list website provides photos heres last years 7i and basically it appears that this metal section is stuck to the lid without further reinforcement, which seems to be what led to problems that many users have reported online.

This is the new 2021 model, its hard to see exactly whats, going on with the image, but its definitely different and again. Lenovo have noted improvements to me Its difficult to say how this will hold up long term without actually using it for a long time. Hopefully, these changes have addressed the issue check out this article by CodeHusky. If you want more information on the hinge,
In any case, there wasnt too much flex to the screen owing to the metal, lid and keyboard flex, wasnt too bad either, while pushing down hard, definitely not noticeable at all during normal use.

The bottom panel is aluminum and clean. Just air intake vents towards the back and we can see theres nothing obstructing it that whole rectangle section at the back is holes. Getting inside requires removing 10 Philips head screws and the 4 down the front are shorter than the rest. Opening was easy using the tools linked in the description. Unlike the ASUS Scar 15.

The light bar is part of the main chassis, so you dont have to worry about ribbon cables connecting to the bottom panel.

Inside the storage, WiFi and memory are covered by metal plates. The ones on the sides have three Philips head screws, while the memory one just pries off Weve got the battery down the front two M.2 storage slots above on both left and right. Two memory slots in the center and WiFi 6 card to the right of that Both of the metal plates over the M
2 slots have thermal pads too

The speakers are underneath down the front on the left and right sides.

They definitely sound above average for a gaming laptop with some bass and theyre still clear enough at full volume. The latencymon results were looking decent as well. The Legion 7 has a 4-Cell 80Wh battery
Ive tested it with all RGB lighting off background apps, disabled and screen set to 50 % brightness. As the Vantage software lets us enable or disable the iGPU aka optimus aka hybrid mode, Ive tested both configurations.

Now, in last years model I mentioned that the Corsair software resulted in heavy battery drain and, unfortunately, thats still the case with this new model too Its not just iCUE alone, though closing that doesnt change anything, you need to also stop the Corsair Service in Windows, but I found that needed to be running in order to use iCUE and actually modify the RGB lighting With the Corsair Service running.

The laptop is pulling about 50 watts of power from the wall, while just sitting there doing nothing. But then, when I close iCUE and stop the Corsair Service its using about 15 watts, so a pretty significant drop

Ive, provided these details to Lenovo and Im waiting to see what they come back with From what Ive heard so far, though they dont think that this should be happening. Interestingly, the battery was actually lasting longer with optimus disabled and only using the Nvidia graphics compared to optimus enabled with the Corsair software running a clear bug. Given the corsair, software was still active with optimus off in this test. Stopping the Corsair software lasted for much longer and is giving me about what wed expect to see and then battery life could be further improved by changing the screens refresh rate down to 60Hz, Unlike ASUS models.

The legion 7 doesnt swap to 60Hz automatically when you unplug from wall power. It stays at 165Hz, which you probably dont, need on battery. But the Legion 7 does at least have this helpful shortcut to quickly change and save power, which is why Ive also tested it.

For the purposes of comparing against others, though, I use the default values rather than manual changes, so 165Hz screen in the case of the Legion 7, Its not doing too bad, but there are definitely other laptops with smaller batteries lasting for longer. You can also enable conservation mode through the Vantage software, which keeps the battery at a 55 to 60 % maximum charge to help improve battery lifespan.

Some other notes about the battery when, on battery power like right now, you cant use the highest performance mode. It needs to be plugged in to wall power for that and by default, when you run it on the lowest quiet mode on battery power, all of the RGB lighting will turn off

But you can turn it back on like Ive done here, if you prefer that sweet sweet glow at the expense of run time,
Its also got flip to boot this wasnt on by default, but it makes the laptop power on when you open. The lid Lets check out thermals next Lenovo have told me that all Ryzen based Legion, 7s globally, will be using vapor chamber coolers. From what I heard with last generation, that was only the case with higher specced configurations. Lenovo have also confirmed that liquid metal is not used with the Legion 7.

Despite the original CES announcement in January. Mentioning this, I asked why theyre not using liquid metal as other companies like ASUS, are doing that on their Ryzen laptops.
Basically, the reasons were a combination of it not holding up very well long term leading to diminishing returns over time and it being easier for most customers to replace standard paste. If they were doing liquid metal, it would be automated at a factory, so any on site. Support solutions that require removing the vapor chamber would instead result in the laptop needing to get sent to a service center to have the liquid metal reapplied and that takes more time and results in a poor customer experience compared to an on the spot fix.

They also noted that the entire vapor chamber and fans are one whole assembly which results in direct airflow with far less leakage compared to other laptops that have gaps between the heatsinks and the fans. As you can see, pretty much everything is covered by the cooler, including VRM, and some air is brought in through the keyboard area. There appear to be some vents above it. The Vantage software lets us change between different performance profiles, which, from lowest to highest, are quiet, balance and performance.
Balance mode also has a checkbox.

We can select to automatically tune the system, so Ive tested that too

You can quickly swap performance modes with the function and Q shortcut and the color of the power button changes to show you the current mode, a simple feature I wish all laptops had, Unfortunately, theres still no way of adjusting fan. Speed Lenovo told me that they dont want to expose the end user to things like specific RPM controls, as that might be confusing. If you dont know what youre doing. However, I really want to see the shortcut to simply set the fans to max speed. Come back, That was a thing last generation and I cant really see the argument to not having it when you just press it.

If you want it,
If you dont want max fans, then dont press, the shortcut I dont know better to have it than not in my opinion, but let me know what you think, maybe theyll add it back in Anyway. Lets get into those thermal results. The idle results down. The bottom were cooler compared to most others. Ive run stress tests with both the CPU and GPU loaded up to represent a worst case, as well as playing an actual game.

The GPU represented by the green bars, was never hitting thermal throttling, despite being a full powered laptop 3080, The CPU wasnt doing too bad either. Most Ryzen laptops seem to cap out at around 95 degrees Celsius and, although were close to that in balance and performance modes, using the cooling pad linked below in the description was able to help out. These are the clock speeds for the same tests just shown Over 4GHz on all 8 cores in the stress test is a great result – Quiet mode, wasnt too much lower in the stress test, but it was far lower comparatively when actually running this specific game.

The game was still playable, but definitely not as smooth granted watch. Dogs 2 is fairly CPU.

Heavy a GPU bound game may do better. We can see this when looking at the power limits. The CPU was running at under 10 watts in the game, with quiet mode. For some reason, despite the stress test constantly sitting at 25 watts In balance mode, the CPU seems to boost to 45 watts, but the GPU is capped at 115 watts. However, with the auto tune on the GPU is able to go up to its full 150 watt limit, which is why it also got hotter.

The GPU power in this particular game was a bit lower, but I think this is more to do with the game. Im testing with Regardless its not running at 115 watts, as others have said, granted it could vary based on workload.
Heres, how an actual game performs with these different modes in use Performance mode was doing the same as balance mode with the tune box checked. Otherwise, even quiet mode is still able to hit above 60 FPS at max settings in this one.

This test is more GPU heavy, so lower processor power limits in quiet mode, likely matter less Heres how the different modes perform in Cinebench R23 Theres, not too much difference in multicore results, honestly above 10 thousand for the lowest mode, is still great.

Granted the single core performance is capped heavily. There
The Legion 7 has broken the record out of all laptops, Ive tested with this newer version of Cinebench, at least in multicore, though the difference in single core is small compared to the other Ryzen 9 laptops tested

Some performance is lost when running on battery power. However, its still doing quite well relative to the same selection of laptops, The keyboard was in the low 30s when idling normal stuff compared to others and cool to the touch With the stress tests. It rises to the low 40s in the center and was only a little warm feeling in the middle Balance. Mode was warmer getting close to 50, I wouldnt say its hot or at all.

Uncomfortable though

The exterior is cooler with the auto tune setting enabled, but as youll hear next, the fans are louder too. Performance mode is similar. Just a warm keyboard right up, the back is uncomfortable, but you dont need to touch. There. Lets have a listen to fan noise.

The fan was still audible when idling, though its quiet and its louder, with the stress tests running as youd, expect Balance mode wasnt much different. That is, until you enable the auto tune where its basically maxed out and the same as the higher performance mode. The total sound level actually lowers with the cooling pad because we cant change fan speed. The system is now cooler, so the fans slow down as a result.
Now lets find out how well this top end configuration of Lenovo Legion, 7 gaming laptop, performs in games and compares against other laptops.

Ive run these tests at 1080p as thats. Just what Ive got data for for the purposes of comparing

Ive tested Battlefield 5 in campaign mode at ultra settings and the Legion 7 is highlighted in red. The results are very impressive. This is the second highest score Ive ever seen from any gaming laptop in this game, at least in terms of average FPS, though the 1 % low is still definitely up there too, Keep in mind. This is basically the top end spec of the Legion 7, but still the results are promising compared to other 3080 laptops, Ive tested.

So Id expect the lead to also translate down to the 3070 or 3060 models too, when compared to others with those GPUs

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games benchmark tool with the highest setting preset, and the Legion 7 moves down just one position here and is only a few frames behind a larger 17 laptop with the same CPU and GPU Regardless. It is still one of the best results Ive ever recorded from any gaming laptop thanks to the combination of high end specs high power limits and the ability to disable optimus

Far Cry 5 was also tested with the games benchmark tool at max settings. The Legion 7 moves down a bit further here. This test generally depends more on the processor. However, at the same time it looks like it might also favor Intel systems, given those take up.

The top 5 spots, In any case, the Legion 7, is only just slightly behind the same specced but larger Prometheus 17
Setting the laptop to 1080p in Windows adds black bars above and below, but with pretty much all games running at 1080p. It just stretches the game out a bit to fill the whole screen. It depends on the game and if it supports setting aspect ratio When stretched out, I could notice it, but it depends on the game. You could also run regular 1440p with black bars too

Ive also tested the Legion 7 in 13 different games like Cyberpunk and Red Dead Redemption 2 at the native 16:10 resolutions, Ive done 1920 by 1200 and 2560 by 1600, so check out this article. If you want to get an idea of how well the Legion 7 actually performs with its native resolution,
Now, for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark just pause.

The article, if you want a detailed look at these results, Adobe Premiere was tested with the Puget Systems benchmark. The results from the Legion 7 are now the best Ive ever seen from any laptop in this test, its ahead of other laptops with the same CPU and GPU like the ASUS Scar, 15 Adobe Photoshop generally depends more on processor performance and the Ryzen 9 5900HX is Doing great here too, though, the same processor in the Clevo and Tongfang units was doing a little better here.

Davinci Resolve is more GPU heavy and the high wattage RTX 3080 is doing well here, though, interestingly slightly behind a 3070 just above it, but regardless its only a small difference. At this point,
Ive also tested SPECviewperf, which tests out various professional 3D workloads The drive speed for the 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD was doing well for both reads and writes, and you could always install a second one if you want The BIOS has more options than your average laptop granted.

Many of the options are also presented through the Vantage software, but there are also some extras like enabling GPU overclocking From what I can tell this just gives you the option of applying an overclock in software like MSI Afterburner. Otherwise, we can apply a GPU overclock in the BIOS itself.

Theres an option for CPU overclocking, but Ive been advised that this doesnt currently do anything. It would be nice if we got power limit control with AMDs HX series processors, but thats pure speculation. On my part, I booted an Ubuntu 20 live CD to test Linux.

Support Out of the box, the WiFi keyboard, touchpad and camera work, but the speakers and screen brightness didnt, so youd probably need to install some extras or updates Keyboard. Rgb lighting can still be adjusted as the base effects are baked into firmware and dont need software.
Now lets discuss pricing. This will change over time, so check out the links in the description below. If you want to see how much it currently goes for At the time of making this article the Legion 7 isnt available in most regions, yet Ive only seen pricing data on the Singapore site so far, Given Ive got the higher specced Ryzen 9 and RTX 3080 Configuration I would expect this one to be on the more expensive side, but there are also Ryzen 7 and 3060 and 3070 options as well.

Alright, so with all of that in mind, lets summarise both the good and the bad things about the Legion 7 and help you decide if its a laptop worth. Considering Overall, I think yeah, the Legion 7 is a pretty great gaming laptop. The changes improve almost every issue with last years model such as the touchpad hinges and keyboard lighting on boot. The exception is the battery drain, which seems to be a result of the Corsair software, but at least thats an easy fix by disabling it, which resulted in fairly good battery life.

Granted, keeping it disabled does mean that you cant customize the RGB but hey.

If youre satisfied with the default firmware effects, maybe thats fine
Normally, at this point, Id say something like. Hopefully, a future update will fix this problem, but given this problem, first appeared with the Legion 7i last year when I first reviewed it over 8 months ago. Now, Im not confident in assuming that, but, like I said earlier, Lenovo do at least seem to agree that this doesnt seem like normal behaviour, so well just have to keep an eye on the situation. Unfortunately, this review unit has to get sent back eventually, so, unless thats fixed in the near future, it might not be something I can personally test. If I do get any updates Ill leave, an update pinned in the comments below Performance was otherwise excellent.

The processor was doing well compared to other 5900HX laptops, Ive tested and the option of disabling optimus gives us a speed boost in games.

The bright 16 panel, with high refresh rate and decent response time, has both FreeSync and G-Sync, which is a nice bonus. Most laptops only have one or the other. Build quality is decent theres RGB for days with plenty of customization and theres, just not too much else. For me to complain about except that battery drain issue, Let me know if you think I should compare the Legion 7 against the legion 5 Pro down in the comments and, if youre new then make sure you get subscribed for the upcoming full review on the Legion 5 Pro Come and join us in Discord and get behind the scenes articles by supporting the channel on Patreon.

This is getting awkward running out of hands Check out this one. If you want to see how well the Legion 7 actually performs in different games at its native resolution, so Ill see you over in that one. Next,

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