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  • Soon Kai Hong

Lenovo Legion 7 Review: 165W RTX 3080 Is No Joke!

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

We’re slightly late to the game, no thanks to shipping and availability and whatnot here in Singapore, but we finally got our hands on the flagship gaming laptop from Lenovo, so let’s take a look at the Lenovo Legion 7.

First up, we have to talk about the design, and in comparison to the Legion 5 Pro, this is far more minimalistic. There’s just the Legion logo on the corner of the lid along with a small Lenovo logo in the opposite corner. This laptop is in the Storm Grey color and it pretty much encompasses the entire chassis. Honestly, if you were to remove the Legion logo, it would actually look pretty much like your average business laptop nowadays. It’s that minimalist of a design.

But it does have a trick up its sleeve. Once you open up the lid and power it on, you’ll be greeted with all the RGB. Honestly, I do quite like the implementation of it here, especially the RGB strip that runs along the front perimeter of the laptop. Not only is it nice and diffused, but it is actually quite nice to see your laptop stand out in the darkness with that RGB. But of course, if you don’t like it, you can always go into Corsair iCUE and turn it all off, it’s up to you.

As for the display, this is pretty much the exact same panel as the one on the Legion 5 Pro. So that means you get a 16-inch IPS display in a 16:10 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1600 resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, up to 500 nits in brightness, 100% sRGB coverage, HDR400, Dolby Vision and NVIDIA G-Sync support.

In essence, it’s a fantastic display, just like on the Legion 5 Pro. Be it general usage, video consumption or gaming, which arguably you’ll be doing a lot of, it’s all great.

As I’ve said before, a Quad HD display is something that’s really awesome for this display size now. Partly because Windows Scaling isn’t too big of an issue, but that resolution also complements well with the new hardware, making full use of it.

And yes, we’ve got the top of the line model here. An AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, 32GB of RAM running at 3200MHz, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 capable of drawing 165 watts of power and 1TB of PCIe SSD storage.

Now one thing I do have to mention which I didn’t really address in the Legion 5 Pro review, is the MUX switch. Both the Legion 5 Pro and the Legion 7 do not have a MUX switch per se. At least, it isn’t implemented conventionally.

Using Lenovo Vantage, you can toggle NVIDIA Optimus on or off via the Hybrid mode, and this I guess is technically just like a MUX Switch? Except it requires the laptop to be rebooted every time you change it, and it definitely is unlike other laptops where this functionality is controlled via NVIDIA Control Panel itself.

But nevertheless, as long as you use the Performance profile on the Legion 7, you can rest assured that the system will pump that full 165 watts to the RTX 3080.

As you can tell, performance in creative applications is slightly faster than the Legion 5 Pro thanks to the Ryzen 9 and RTX 3080 combo compared to the Ryzen 7 and RTX 3070 combo, and it definitely doesn’t fall far behind a desktop Ryzen 9 3900XT either. As for gaming, across the board, it is anywhere from 10 to 15% better in terms of frame rates. All in all, gaming is just extremely enjoyable on the Legion 7, especially more so with that 165Hz display.

But now we talk about temperatures. In Cinebench, where it’s a short but high intensity load, the Ryzen 9 5900HX pulled up to 85 watts of power but still remained just around 90 degree celsius throughout the 10 minutes. Not too shabby. In DaVinci Resolve, the Ryzen 9 5900HX maintained a more conservative power draw of 45 watts throughout the entire render, which definitely helped with temperatures, hovering around the mid 80s.

Now we aren’t too sure if Lenovo tweaked anything on the software side of things because this was definitely not the same behaviour we saw on the Legion 5 Pro, where the Ryzen 7 5800H simply maintained 100 degrees celsius the entire time. But regardless, this is definitely much better now and it still renders faster despite the lower power draw.

As for gaming, you can also expect very reasonable temperatures for both the CPU and the GPU in both the standard and performance profile.

But there is one drawback on the performance profile, and that’s noise. It does get quite loud. My suggestion? Just use a pair of headphones.

Now as for features, just like on the Legion 5 Pro, you also get the TrueStrike keyboard which feels fantastic for both typing and gaming, along with a large trackpad that just performs great. Personally, I don’t need the numpad and I prefer a centralised trackpad, but nevertheless, still great. Combine all of that with the surprisingly great set of speakers, and it does really make for an enjoyable gaming experience.

As usual, you get a 720p webcam that’s pretty much the same as any of their other laptops. Quality is as you would expect and with good enough microphones. Nothing amazing, but it works.

However the implementation of the e-shutter is nice, because it physically detaches the circuitry of the webcam from the PC.

As for ports, most of them are located around the back, which helps with cable management especially if you’re intending to use this as a desktop replacement, and you definitely get plenty of ports to go around.

Thus far, I’ve pretty much only had praises for this laptop, and true, I do enjoy the Legion 7 very much, just like the Legion 5 Pro. But it does have one huge drawback, and that’s battery life. By default, if you were to just use the laptop out of the box, the laptop will be using the dedicated RTX 3080 graphics for display and will run at the full 165Hz. In this mode, you’ll get basically around 3 hours of battery life at most.

You can however turn on Hybrid Mode which essentially turns on NVIDIA Optimus, and if you also change the refresh rate down to standard 60Hz, you then get much better battery life, or so Lenovo says.

In practice, it’s actually the same.

The reason for that is iCUE and more specifically, Corsair software background process. For some reason, that background process drains the battery life like a leech. You can literally be doing nothing, on any of the battery settings, and the laptop would still only last 3 hours.

So, in order to actually achieve anything near what Lenovo claims, you have to stop and disable that Corsair software background process. Only then, would you actually get about 6 hours of battery life with Hybrid Mode turned on, which is as expected from that 80Wh battery. Just note that with this workaround, you can’t really customise the RGB any longer, so it’s up to you to decide which is more important, but hopefully Lenovo or Corsair will fix this in the near future.

But other than this weird battery issue, this is very much still an awesome gaming laptop that can be specced out with up to an RTX 3080 with 165 watts of power. A minimalistic design, great display and outstanding performance; basically everything that you would want for an awesome gaming experience. Now this is going to be more expensive that the Legion 5 Pro, but it’s arguably a better laptop as well.


Content by Soon Kai Hong

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