Lenovo’s Legion 7i – a winner on all fronts
Made for gamers, the Legion 7i is also a great all-round PC
The Lenovo Legion 7i laptop is one hell of a machine. Powerful, great screen and graphics, good sound, very good battery life, it ticks just about every box.
Ostensibly, one of the focal points of this review was the Intel i7-10875H 2.3G chip that the provided machine came with. Let’s face it – there isn’t much it can’t do.
Gaming, photo production, video streaming, multiple websites open and running various functions, nothing phased the Intel chip. It delivers the goods.
And this at a time when Intel chips are under the spotlight, not so much for any shortcomings but because Apple has started equipping its hardware with its own chips – to much fanfare – and the early critical reviews of Apple’s chips are suitably enormous.
However, that doesn’t take anything away from Intel’s chip line. Macs are Macs and Mac users – I’m one – will be suitably impressed with the new offerings. But we’ve also been using Intel chips for a very long time and been suitably impressed for just as long, as well.
Big bangin’ high-powered chips are a beautiful thing in the right machine and the Legion 7i is built for them. First and foremost it’s a gamers laptop. I’m not a heavy gamer these days but I ran it through a few single-person player offerings and it didn’t blink. The ability to handle heavy multi-player games and any other power-hungry complex style of gaming is obvious.
A few base stats then. The review machine was new out of the box with 512GB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe hard drive, a NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU, 15.6” FHD IPS screen, 4CELL battery and running Windows 10 Pro. Obviously, it can be customised to a user’s satisfaction.
Incidentally, there are no user photos in this review because my personal PC had a splendid meltdown at the time of review and the photos were unrecoverable. The images are supplied by Lenovo.
Down to basics. The Legion 7i is built for hard-core gamers looking for a gaming laptop that delivers high performance. It looks good in slate grey, has pretty lighting for gamers who insist on the kind of thing (I’ve never understood why but here’s a whole article on the topic), and has – since previous incarnations – been restyled with vertical vents and new Corsair iCue lighting accents.
The camera has been moved to a better position at the top of the screen. Major enhancements have been made to the new TrueStrike gaming keyboard, which is now flanked by a full-sized number pad and a new one-piece trackpad. Performance on the Legion 7i takes a big leap with Intel’s new 10th generation Core H-series processors and NVIDIA’s latest RTX graphics.
It doesn’t heat up too much thanks, the new Legion ColdFront 2.0 which leverages Vapor Chamber cooling with an improved thermal sensor array, Q-Control on the fly adjustments, and NVIDIA Advanced Optimus that improves battery life beyond what previous generation laptops could achieve.
- Up to 10th Generation Intel Core i9-10980HK mobile processor
- Up to NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q graphics
- New optional fast 240Hz color accurate display with 1ms response (overdrive)
- Better battery life with larger 80Whr battery, Nvidia Advanced Optimus technology, Lenovo Q-Control and Rapid Charge Pro technology.
- Dolby Atmos for the gaming speaker system.
The aluminum chassis is sand blasted and anodised in slate grey. It’s cool to the touch. Vertically oriented vents along the edges of the device and the precision drilled holes above the keyboard and along bottom cover gives the system plenty of room to breathe. For lighting, the Legion logo with an integrated light accents the top cover, while a new light strip along the bottom and rear vents help to illuminate your tabletop. All the lighting can be configured in the accompanied Cosair iCue software for different RGB lighting effects.
Other design improvements include adding a notch at the top, and balanced weight to help with single-handed opening of the lid. Also added is the new TrueBlock webcam shutter that allows users to easily hide the camera for privacy.
Very good, indeed. It looks great, renders colours accurately, and when used outside of gaming – I’m a semi-pro photographer – delivers very good tones in photos. I know how to deliver real flesh tones in my images and there was no extra pink, orange or flush in the onscreen display of my images. That is still a real problem with many screens which often require a substantial tweak to get even close to real colour.
Technically speaking, the Legion 7i series is fitted with Full HD IPS displays that boast up to 240Hz refresh rate, 1m response time (overdrive), 500nits of brightness and Dolby Vision enabled. Or a 144Hz 100% AdobeRGB display with Gysnc support.
Obviously, graphics performance is the be all and end all when it comes to gaming latops. This series scales up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q – one of the fastest graphics card available on the market. Features include: New NVIDIA Dynamic Boostautomatically shifts power between CPU and GPU by intelligently assessing the power demand on a frame by frame basis; New low-voltage GDDR6 for better efficiency; New DLSS 2.0 leverages an improved artificial intelligence to render pixels.
NVIDIA Advanced Optimus
This breakthrough technology addresses some of the technical limitations from previous implementations. Users no longer need to manually switch between high performance and battery life, no need to reboot, and no limitations on application combability.
It uses a built-in digital multiplexer (MUX) to direct the graphics signal to the embedded display. The method used is called Dynamic Display Switching (DDS). Directing via the iGPU on the CPU allows for less power drain and higher battery life. Impressively, the system detects the launch of a game and directs all graphics signals from the dGPU straight to the embedded display port (eDP) for improved framerates.
Advanced Optimus is available on limited configurations subject to market availability.
I don’t know about you but I’m a music junkie and killer sound is vital. The Lenovo Legion 7i delivers excellent sound through its built-in Dolby Atmos Speaker System. I threw everything from simple acoustic folk to heavy rock, industrial, sublime pop and complex psych and prog at it, and the 7i system was pretty impressive across the spectrum.
Comfortable and easy to use. It’s that simple. On Legion 7i, gamers get a full-sized keyboard with dedicated media controls, soft landing switches, large arrow keys and a number pad. The Legion TrueStrike keyboard is tailor-made for gamers and designed to be more tactile and responsive – it features 100% anti-ghosting on all keys and a response time of <1ms. The individual keys RGB colours are managed by Cosair iCue. The Legion 7i now includes an upgraded one-piece trackpad that’s 39 per cent larger generation to generation. It has anti-oil coating on all the keys and high abrasion aluminum stamping to reduce wear on the palm rest and chassis.
The keyboard has an extremely fast response time and is verified by UL Labs to have an up to 1.9x faster keyboard input speed.
The Legion Coldfront 2.0 thermal system uses a Vapor Chamber for efficient heat dissipation while keeping the notebook thin. It’s designed to direct heat away from gamers’ fingers and their mouse hand by pushing hot air out from the rear of the laptop. And in that it succeeds. The dual Liquid Crystal Polymer fans and improved 6 points sensor array work together to predict temperatures and move air in advance to keep the system cool and silent. And it certainly is that. No noise to talk about.
The Legion 7i has a 80 watt-hour battery that comes standard in all configurations. The latest Rapid Charge Pro technology charges the battery from 0% to 50% in just 30 minutes. I found it lasted from just over five hours when gaming to seven-and-a-half hours when streaming video. They are very impressive figures.
The bottom line
I honestly having nothing bad to say about the Lenovo Legion 7i and when it comes to technology that doesn’t happen often.
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