CES 2021 is virtual this year, but there is one laptop we got the chance to go hands-on with during the show: the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, an eSports laptop featuring next-gen silicon from AMD and the latest RTX GPUs.
Like an actual trade show, I can't tell you what the unit I tried had inside (everything is labeled as merely an AMD or Nvidia engineering sample), nor was I allowed to benchmark it (that will have to come in a later review), so I don't know if it will be one of the best gaming laptops. What I was able to get, however, is a sense for the look and feel of the laptop on an early, pre-production unit. I also know that the machine will go up to an AMD Ryzen 7 on retail models. RAM will go up to 16GB, and storage will go up to 2TB.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Specs
|Up to the latest AMD Ryzen 7
|Up to the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX
|Up to 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
|Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
|16-inch, 16:10, IPS QHD (2560 x 1600) @ 165Hz, G-Sync, VESA DisplayHDR 400
|Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Display and Design
Perhaps the most noticeable once you open the Legion 5 Pro is the 16-inch display with 2560 x 1600 resolution at a 165 Hz refresh rate in the 16:10 aspect ratio. 16:10 has become more popular on ultrabooks in the past year, as the taller screens can show more text or cells in a spreadsheet. Now, the Legion 5 Pro will allow for slightly more visibility in game too. And while this screen is 16 inches, the whole chassis doesn't feel that much bigger than a 15.6-inch version at 14 x 10.4 x 1.1 inches. It weighs 5.4 pounds.
Compared to the other laptops in the Lenovo line, this one screams gaming. It's far less subtle, with the old Lenovo Y logo in a white light on the back of the lid. Our hands-on unit came in stingray white, rather than the new storm grey color. The right side has a webcam kill switch and USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, while the left side has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port and the audio jack.
The rest of the ports are confined to the rear: an RJ45 Ethernet jack, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, three more USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1 and the power jack. There's also more venting on the back, which should make for cooler gaming, Lenovo claims.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The maker of the ThinkPad also likes to talk up its “TrueStrike” keyboards on gaming notebooks. While I didn't get to do a lot of gaming on this thing, the keyboard is nice and clicky, especially when typing. I would prefer slightly more travel, but this still felt good to type on.
The keyboard has support for white or blue backlighting, or, on some models, four-zone RGB. Ours had the latter, which you can control in the Lenovo Vantage app that is customized for gaming with CPU, RAM, GPU and SSD usage statistics. You can set three different lighting profiles or shut it off.
This notebook also has a larger touchpad than previous Legion gaming laptops, which I appreciate for people who use their gaming laptop as their daily machines.
Webcam Kill Switch
While the webcam on this early laptop showed some blurry images, I can confirm the e-shutter, Lenovo's name for the kill switch, works as expected and even removes the camera from the device manager. We've seen similar switches on HP's Spectre lineup, but it's rare to see them on gaming laptops.
We're looking forward to testing and further using the Legion 5 Pro in a less limited time frame when it releases in March, starting at $999.99.
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Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.