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Lenovo Legion 7i Gaming Laptop Review

The Lenovo Legion 7i continues a nice tradition and while it doesn’t introduce any cutting edge features, it improves upon what’s already good. Read on to find out more about the Legion 7i gaming laptop.

Legion is staying true to their clean design and their much-anticipated follow-up to their Legion Y740 series laptop is upon us in the Legion 7i. But along with a new series name, we also get a couple of changes that mark the start of Legion’s path to finding their signature in the gaming laptop world. This marks the demarcation point where Lenovo’s gaming brand finally gets its foothold in the gaming scene and finally comes to blows with the mainstay of the market.

We’ve reviewed both variants of the Legion Y740 when they came out. Today is a bit more refreshing as Lenovo Legion drummed up their PR war drums to usher in a branding change that I feel ultimately defines and marks a good start that’s picking up where the Legion Y740 left off and continuing that older line which is already half-a-decade old which started with the original Lenovo Y700.

The new Lenovo Legion 7i features some welcome upgrades from its predecessors. Focusing on refining their offerings, the Legion 7i doesn’t come with any gimmicks and sheds much of what made the Legion Y740 a polarizing option. That being said, the Legion 7i may be new but the style remains symbolic of Lenovo’s lineage: a clean, elegant machine aimed to deliver a performance experience that is not only reliable but defines the Legion brand’s new motto:

“Stylish outside. Savage inside.”

In this review, we’ll take a look at the top config SKU for the Philippine market, the Lenovo Legion 7i 15IMH05 featuring a 6-core Intel Core i7-10750H with 16GB of memory, 1TB of NVMe SSD storage, and features an NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super Max-Q wired to a 240Hz 1080p display panel. That display is capable of HDR400 with a 500 nits rating as well as full 100% sRGB coverage. This particular configuration is available for PHP134,995.

Specifications

Specifications
Manufacturer Lenovo
Brand Legion
Model Legion 7i 15IMH05
Size 360 x 259 x 19.9mm
Weight 2.25 Kg
Processor Intel Core i7-10750H 6-core
2.6Ghz (5Ghz Turbo)
Chipset Intel HM470
Display 15.6″ 1920×1080 240Hz IPS 100% sRGB HDR400 Dolby Vision, 1ms (overdrive)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super MaxQ
Memory Up to 32GB DDR4-2933 SODIMM
Storage 1TB (Supports RAID0 2x SSD)
Audio Realtek Audio, Dolby Atmos 2x2W
Optical Drive None
Connectivity 1x Thunderbolt3 Type-C (Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, USB3.1, HDMI)
2x USB3.1 Gen2
1x USB3.1 Gen1
1x Ethernet
1x USB3.1 Type-C
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
Communications WIFI 6 (802.11ax 2×2, Bluetooth 5)
Input One-piece trackpad
Webcam 720p webcam (built-in)
Battery 80W 4-cell
Power 230-watt AC adapter
Operating System Window 10 Home
Others Corsair iCUE-compatible RGB keyboard, spill-resistant
Software Lenovo Vantage, Corsair iCue, McAfee LiveSafe, X-Rite Color Assistant

 

Closer Look

Those familiar with the Lenovo Legion brand would know they have redesigned their gaming lineup as of last 2019 with the Legion Y740 taking a bold right-turn towards their aesthetic direction. The sleek, bold curves of the Y700, has now melded to the silver, sharp edges of the new Legion 7i. It’s not a big change from last year, the Legion 7i is still gunmetal colored with a design more akin to those that would be found in the office boardroom than on a gaming laptop.

And to be honest, that’s absolutely fine. With most competing brands still sticking to the tired gamer aesthetics last year, Lenovo’s approach took the gaming scene by surprise and in 2020, we’re met with more business-ey gaming laptops and that’s a welcome change.

The Lenovo Legion 7i maintains the same overhang on the hinge which notably holds much of the I/O of the laptop which we’ll get to in a minute. The laptop lid features a gunmetal color with the Legion logo on one corner and the Lenovo badge on the other.

One of the subtle changes in this area is that the logo is now illuminated. And that badge is new, too.

Opening up the Lenovo Legion 7i shows us just how slim the top lid for this laptop is when viewed from the side. At 20mm thick, it’s actually fairly slim and much to Lenovo’s credit, they’re quite conservative when advertising the Legion 7i’s portability: at 2.1kg, it’s a far cry from the lawnmower scale of older laptops. Not that Lenovo ever had fat gaming models. Lenovo does choose to go with some uneven edges and while the Legion 7i has a slim top lid, its 2-tone side profile heavily emphasizes its cooling and gives the Legion 7i a thicker appearance to the eye. On hand though, it’s tinier than other gaming notebooks we’ve had.

One of the cooler things Lenovo thought of making this laptop do is having a full 180°-swing top. While it’s practically useless in terms of viewing, it does solve 2 things: 1) no more worrying about snapping the hinges back and 2) it’s easier to brainstorm standing over the screen with a group of people.

Lenovo Legion decided to equip the Legion 7i with a larger 96-key layout than the older TKL-style. The Legion Y740 had a macro key on the left and larger switches which the Legion 7i drops in favor of a more functional, physical number pad.

The keys themselves are actually a welcome changed and coming off a regular TKL on desktop, the tighter layout feels more at home for me.

Lenovo continues to use Corsair iCUE-powered RGB on the keyboard lighting control.

Lenovo dubs its keyboard tech as TrueStrike. Built upon their own design, the keys have a 1.3mm travel so despite their flat look, they have a distinct tactile feel and while there’s no bump, there’s a distinct feel to it which is unique to Lenovo keyboards.

This part I really love. The new touchpad is now a single-precision pad without the physical buttons from the Legion Y740. The pad itself is wider and offset to the left which is a usage design choice. Normal keyboard typing stance makes you avoid the touchpad and it’s a really subtle but great improvement. The surface material feels good to the touch and the performance overall is quite decent. The overall experience though has improved thanks to the size and design choices of ridding themselves of the large physical click buttons.

Focusing more on the side, we have some I/O including a reset button and USB port on the right. On the left are Type-C ports and a headphone jack. One thing to note is that one of the Type-C ports here is Thunderbolt3-capable, which makes it excellent for content creators and multimedia professionals when transferring files thru a portable SSD.

A lot more I/O action at the back with a full-sized LAN port dead in the middle. This is flanked by USB3.2 ports. We also have an HDMI port and a Kensington lock notch as well as the Lenovo proprietary power port.

Laptops nowadays don’t have much on their bottom side anymore. In this case, the Lenovo Legion 7i features an intake vent with large rubber stubs acting as feet that raise the laptop up from a surface. Air flows thru the side and bottom and the Legion 7i dumps it on the back.

A little touch that wasn’t necessary but totally welcome is that Lenovo installed some RGB fans on their rear exhaust for the Legion 7i. Just in case you’re the dude on the other side of the table being blown over with heat exhaust, you’ll at least be showered in RGB lighting as well.

Our sample came with a 240Hz, 1080p panel and this is rated for 500nits of brightness as well as HDR.

The screen supports HDR 400 and while not as bright and defined as the HDR1000, it’s decent enough for content that support HDR, particularly cinematic games. For FPS shooters, I recommend cranking brightness up and just sticking to SDR.

Last tidbit, Lenovo has a nice privacy shutter on their webcam. This allows you to block your webcam physically without having to tape it up, which is what some people do.

Performance Testing – Content Creation

Since high-performance laptops are mostly used for gaming, multimedia, or 3D modeling, we’ll focus our usage on those aspects.

UL recently launched their Procyon benchmarks for Premiere Pro and Photoshop. Multimedia professionals and content creators focusing mostly on these software can easily gauge performance with the UL Benchmark Procyon scores.

Now to describe the workload here, Procyon PS simulates batch editing in Lightroom as well as simple procedures in Photoshop. It’s mostly a simple task and as always, memory and fast storage help faster CPUs a lot here. We’re looking at a score of 5119 which is fairly high thanks to Adobe’s weird multi-core handling. Intel’s high IPC performance benefits the relatively single-threaded application, so photographers looking to use this laptop for photos should have no problems with day-to-day operations.

Procyon Premiere Pro workload is a simple editing procedure of 4K clips and exporting those, with the benchmark scoring based solely on export alone. That said, I’m leaving this here for reference only. The problem here is that Premiere Pro favors the IGP vs the discrete GPU.

Screen Color

An important aspect of creative design is color accuracy. Lenovo’s 240Hz panel is capable of displaying 97% sRGB and 78% AdobeRGB based on our SpyderX reading. This test was done on SDR in a darkened room. Visually, the colors are actually good and reproduction is decent. I say that like it’s a good thing because I expected worse given this is a 240Hz panel.

Gaming Performance

We’re in the middle of transitioning gaming benchmarks to a new suite featuring titles that have ray tracing. This means that we’ve not compiled a library large enough to show you here. That said, here’s a summary of all our gaming tests done in the native display of this laptop.

Gaming performance on this laptop is great and as you can see, the esports titles match the 240Hz display refresh rate of our Lenovo Legion 7i perfect. Valorant, Rainbow Six Siege, and CSGO all run at 200FPS+ average which is great. As an RTX 2070 Super with Max-Q Design laptop, it’s on the more powerful side of the spectrum and with all our games practically maxed-out in terms of in-game, the numbers are decent.

The meat of the story here is thermal performance. Lenovo is proud of their ColdFront2.0 technology which cools the Legion 7i.

Here’s a thermal image of how it performs and while we see a nice even spread of hotspots, take note that most of the hotspots are below 50°C as indicated by our spot reading of 45.5°C. The blowers themselves look to be doing their job with temps just above ambient. I’ll have to argue with other reviewers saying the laptop is hotter than it should be and that’s comparing it to older RTX models. An RTX 2070 Super, despite being Max-Q, will still pack the same amount of CUDA cores as a standard RTX 2070 Super and that card in itself is practically a cutback RTX 2080. That said, the thermal expectation is definitely increasing and as you can see in our thermal camera with 3DMark cycling 50 loops, the reading may be high but die readings have always been ridiculously high for laptops. The chassis themselves are practically in the mid 40° with the sensation of heat from the exhaust an indication that the air is being effectively thermally conducted to the cooling system.

Conclusion

2020 is a good year for laptops but a tough year for them as well. More buyers are diving into laptops right now due to the pandemic but it’s not tougher to please this larger crowd. The gist of the story is, this is the year to leave a mark on the laptop scene. So, has the Lenovo Legion 7i done it? Honestly, not really but as part of an entire family of laptops, it serves as the head of the table in terms of performance and users already coming into the buying phase knowing just what they need, the Lenovo Legion 7i is an excellent combination of features and power. Overall value though belongs to its little brother, the Legion 5. Regardless, there’s no denying the fact that Legion made an excellent follow-thru this year with their branding campaign and that has helped leave a mark on users as they build trust further.

For further added value, Lenovo has their excellent Premium Care warranty support giving extensive after-sales support to Lenovo and Legion products. Good for three years, Premium Care covers everything through its comprehensive suite of hardware and software support, a 24×7 direct hotline to technicians, and On-Site Repair. It also has a useful Annual PC Health Check offering to look at the status of the device and keep it optimized after prolonged use. A perfect combination of hardware, software, and services support, Premium Care helps Lenovo’s customers address critical needs and also enables them to do more with their technology.

I admit, I’m a bit jaded when it comes to gaming laptops. The gamer aesthetics on most laptops just isn’t doing it for me anymore and thankfully, we’re done with Sith Star Destroyers posing as gaming laptops that can blow an F5 like a bad day in Kansas. The Lenovo Legion 7i continues a nice tradition and while it doesn’t introduce any cutting edge features, it improves upon what’s already good. Again, thermal performance is proportionate to the thermal load.

The gaming experience should be the highlight here and that’s where I would like to direct your attention to. Those looking to work less and play more would enjoy the Legion 7i and the HDR screen provides both options for HDR content as well as HDR games to shine further than standard displays and should be one of the deciding factors for anyone considering this other than just for performance.

If you think the Legion 7i is the laptop for you, contact your nearest Lenovo Legion Concept Store and official Lenovo partners now by visiting lenovo.com/ph/en/where-to-buy/. Also, if you buy it quickly you can get 15,000 Empire Points as part of the ongoing Empire Christmas Sale that lasts up to December 31, 2020. Use the points to redeem exclusive Legion gaming merchandise such as keyboard, mouse, or a gaming chair. The Empire is the exclusive gaming community of Lenovo Legion. More information about The Empire Christmas Sale can be found at lenovo.com/ph/en/legionempiresale and facebook.com/lenovolegionPH.

 

Lenovo Legion 7i

Performance
Build Quality
Functionality

Great Gaming Performance

The gaming experience should be the the highlight here and that's where I would like to direct your attention. Those looking to work less and play more would enjoy the Legion 7i and the HDR screen provides both options for HDR content as well as HDR games to shine further than standard display and should be one of the deciding factors for anyone considering this other than just for performance. 

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My favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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