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Lenovo’s bevy of new Legion gaming laptops go all-in on Ryzen 5000

Lenovo unveiled its refreshed Legion gaming PC lineup at CES 2021 with updated laptops geared towards gaming enthusiasts. All these systems — six in total — come with the latest processors and graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, including the latest discrete GeForce RTX 3000 series mobile GPUs and AMD’s next-generation Ryzen mobile processors. This is only a small portion of some of the best new laptops at CES focused around gaming.

“When you combine all this new A.I. technology from Lenovo with the smarter, next-level RTX Tensor Cores 3.0 of Nvidia, exceptional performance is a given,” Lenovo stated in a press release, while adding that the company’s new 2021 laptops “are amongst the first to feature the next-gen AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors (coming soon) for remarkable performance.”

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Though the company did not identify AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series mobile CPUs by name, the high-end Legion 7 gaming laptop comes with up to an eight-core Ryzen 9 processor alongside Nvidia’s RTX mobile graphics with second-generation ray-tracing cores, implying that they’re from the same RTX 3000 series desktop family, like the RTX 3080.

Lenovo’s decision to go all-in with AMD for the Legion refresh shouldn’t be too surprising — the Ryzen 5000 desktop processors have received positive media reviews, and the company had bet heavily on AMD’s previous generation Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs with a number of laptop models.

For gamers who want a large, high-resolution display, Lenovo also boasted that the Legion 7 is the world’s first 16-inch laptop with QHD resolution, a 165Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time, and a 16:10 aspect ratio.

If you’re using the Legion 7 as a mobile workstation, you’ll be happy to know that the panel supports 100% of the sRGB color space, 500 nits of brightness — making it one of the brighter screens on a notebook — and VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification. It also supports Dolby Vision as well as Nvidia G-Sync technologies.

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For gaming and entertainment, audio is provided by Harman speakers with Nahimic Audio tuning for 7.1 surround sound. Lenovo claimed that it had improved the soft-landing switches on the keyboards of the Legion 7 and Legion 5 Pro to give these gaming notebooks a more mechanical feel with Lenovo Legion TrueStrike technology, though backlighting unfortunately remains an optional add-on.

Battery life is rated for eight hours, so you should get some decent game time before having to plug in again. At which point, a 300W slim adaptor provides a rapid charge boost, which gives an additional two hours of battery life for a 15-minute charge.

The Legion laptops in Lenovo’s lineup also come with proprietary technology, like Legion Coldfront 3.0 that delivers an 18% boost in airflow gen-to-gen for improved performance, intelligent overclocking modes, and Legion AI Engine that uses artificial intelligence to help channel unused power from the CPU to the GPU or vice versa to drive even better system performance.

Configurations top out with 32GB of DDR4 memory and up to a 2TB NBMe PCI M.2 solid-state drive. The Legion 7 will begin shipping in May, with pricing starting at $1,669. The Legion 7 is available in a more subtle Storm Grey color.

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For a gaming laptop that’s sleek and slim enough to double as a potential business machine for traveling professionals, Lenovo’s refreshed Legion Slim 7 is described as the slimmest and lightest gaming laptop in the company’s history. Featuring a 15.6-inch 4K IPS display with 60Hz refresh rate or an FHD panel that can reach 165Hz, the Legion Slim 7 ships with Nvidia’s latest RTX mobile GPU encased in an all-metal chassis, which helps to keep the profile slim and the weight down.

Gamers can opt for either white keyboard backlighting or the optional Corsair iCUE RGB keyboard. Like the Legion 7, this model comes with Wi-Fi 6 Killer and a 720p HD webcam that’s positioned at the top with a privacy shutter. The Slim is coming in May, but Lenovo did not announce details about pricing.

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Stepping down to a Legion 5 Pro would still give you the same 16-inch QHD-resolution display on the flagship Legion 7, but here you’re maxing out with an eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 mobile processor inside a slightly thicker 1.1-inch thick frame with a 14.01 by 10.4-inch dimensions.

For comparison, the more premium Legion 7 comes in at just 0.93 inches thick. Both laptops weigh about the same, with the Legion 5 Pro starting at 5.4 pounds and the Legion 7 coming in at 5.5 pounds.

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Though configurations top out with the same amount of storage as the Legion 7, the maximum memory you can get on the Legion 5 Pro is 16GB. The Legion 5 Pro starts at just under $1,000, and the laptop will start shipping in March. The Legion 5 Pro will be available in a choice of Storm Grey or Stingray White.

And something for casual gamers

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If you need a more affordable gaming laptop and don’t want to skimp on features, Lenovo’s Legion 5 still delivers the latest silicon from AMD and Nvidia. The non-Pro variant of the Legion 5 is available in either 15- or 17-inch display sizes, and both versions measure 1.03-inch thick. Though the 15-inch’s 5.3-pound weight puts it in line with its two pricier siblings, the 17-inch version’s 6.57-inch weight makes it a bit more unwieldy to tote.

Both laptops come with an eight-core Ryzen 7 processor and up to the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, Lenovo stated, along with configurations that top out with 32GB of DDR4 memory and 2TB of M.2 storage. You can expect up to eight hours of battery life for both non-Pro Legion 5 notebooks, and rapid charging is supported.

In addition to the two differing screen sizes, you can also choose from various display configurations — all are capped at FHD resolution. top of the line display option comes with a 165Hz refresh rate panel with under 3ms of response time, 100% of the sRGB coverage, 300 nits of brightness, and support for Dolby Vision. Lenovo also offers other panels that scale down the refresh rate for a more affordable price point. The smaller Legion 5 is available in either Phantom Blue or Stingray White colors, while the 17-inch variant is only available in Phantom Blue.

Another big difference when going with the non-Pro Legion 5 is that the keyboard only supports white backlighting, as opposed to full RGB backlight on the more premium versions. These laptops will be available starting in March, and pricing starts at a more affordable $769.

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And for casual gamers who don’t need Lenovo’s Legion badge, the company also offers a refreshed IdeaPad Gaming 3 laptop that will begin shipping in June for $669.

The company also announced a premium $89 Legion H600 wireless gaming headset with a wireless Qi charging base and a more basic $49 Legion H200 Gaming Headset with breathable ear cups that mold to your ears.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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