The Lenovo Legion 7 is an outstanding gaming laptop. It makes use of only the best components, such as a fast Ryzen 9 CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card, and gets an outstanding performance out of the latter.

It’s a laptop that doesn’t make any cuts. That means a (nearly) all-metal body, a fast refresh rate screen, and thoughtful features like a textured glass touchpad, customizable lighting, and speakers with a mouthful of bass.

We’ll go right to the point: the Lenovo Legion 7 is fantastic. However, we believe the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is the sweet spot for most consumers, especially given how expensive the top-end Legion 7 is – at well over two grand – but if you’ve got large resources and want better than fantastic, it’s a solid option.

Design

  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 356 x 261mm / Weight: 2.5kgs
  • Storm Grey finish
  • iCue RGB lighting

The Lenovo Legion 7 is a multi-purpose gaming laptop. One minute, it appears to be a functional workplace. There isn’t a massive light-up emblem on the back. The grey metal lid and keyboard surround are understated. Even the sensible typeface on the keys will help avoid rolling eyes from flatmates and coworkers.

However, by pressing a button, the conference centre transforms into a wedding reception. The Lenovo Legion 7 boasts per-key keyboard lighting as well as a strip of LEDs running up the sides of the notebook, including the massive heat vents.

Using a preloaded app, you can select from a plethora of colours and animations, as well as programme your own. We found this feature of the Lenovo Legion 7 to be a little confusing, but it is simple enough to configure the LEDs to display a continuous, single colour.

The appearance is more customizable than even the Legion 5 Pro. As a result, the 7 may become even more of a wallflower, embracing the RGB-lit aesthetic of gaming hardware in a manner that the step-down option simply cannot.

However, the Lenovo Legion 7 is a large laptop that we wouldn’t want to carry with us every day in a knapsack. The footprint, on the other hand, is manageable. Take a peek at the screen: there are no large borders on either of the sides. And, while the back extends slightly due to additional heat sinks and vents, we would never want to remove these.

However, its design is more adaptable in another way: the Legion 7’s display can fold back to 180 degrees, rather than the limited 130-odd degrees still prevalent among gaming laptops. We’re not sure if this is a must-have feature in a gaming laptop, but it could be useful if you’re looking for something you can use in work meetings as well, where sharing what’s on-screen (in person, not over Twitch) is crucial.

Screen

  • 16-inch IPS display, 2560 x 1600 resolution
  • 500-nit brightness
  • Nvidia G-Sync

The Lenovo Legion 7 appears to have the same screen that we praised in the Legion 5 Pro. It is not, however, a 17-inch panel, as you would have thought from the name. This laptop has a 16-inch LCD panel with a refresh rate of 165Hz.

In most ways, it’s a class act, but its brilliance strikes out the most. This item has a maximum brightness of 500 nits. That is, to be honest, far more than you’d want in a darkly lit room, but it’s ideal if you want a punchy-looking image without drawing the curtains.

Color is also strong, and the high refresh rate is critical to making the most of the powerful technology on-board. It can display frame rates of up to 165fps when the usual laptop screen can only display 60fps.

There is one little flaw: the black levels. This panel appears to be designed for high peak brightness over an ultra-deep black floor, and its elevated blacks are visible in a darker room. When you look at the Lenovo Legion 7 display from a severe angle, you can clearly see the lighting flashing through.

While this isn’t a big deal in practice because you’re likely to see the item perfectly 95% of the time, it serves as a reminder that the laptop screen of our dreams is still an OLED or a Mini-LED, as seen on the latest iPad Pro 12.9. They are, however, still extremely rare in computers. If you want a high refresh rate panel, the tried-and-true standard LCD is still the obvious choice, and this one performs the job admirably in 2021.

The Lenovo Legion 7 also has high dynamic range (HDR) capability, thanks to the VESA400 standard. Despite the decent peak brightness, you won’t obtain beautiful HDR images from a panel with a slightly higher black floor. Again, some context is required. At the moment, no gaming laptop has a screen that is particularly well-suited to HDR, and the “VESA DisplayHDR 400” standard is a low-tier HDR standard in any case.

Touchpad and keyboard

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB RAM
  • Nvidia RTX 3080 (160W)

The Lenovo Legion 7 sports a good-looking keyboard with a NUM pad on the side. It provides nice input and has a quick feel, although we can’t help but notice that it is a touch shallow in comparison to some of the other top-end gaming laptops. This includes the Legion 5 Pro, which features significantly deeper keys. We prefer the less expensive model for typing and, perhaps, to a lesser extent, for gaming. So, if this key reduction was required to reduce case thickness by a few centimetres, we don’t think it was worth it.

It does, however, have the per-key lighting system that the Legion 5 Pro lacks. The software it employs is also far more complex than usual. We’re still figuring out how it all works, but the on/off keyboard shortcut does more than just switch the lights on and off; it also cycles between a range of presets.

This makes developing and using a wide range of settings for games and apps less cumbersome. You can perform the standard RGB wackiness, such as having lighting effects that react to music playback and light rings that spread out from hit keys like water flowing away from a droplet in a still pond.

The Lenovo Legion 7’s keyboard is mainly excellent; we just wish the action was a little deeper.

The touchpad has received a considerably less contentious makeover. The textured glass pad on the Legion 7 feels significantly smoother than the plastic pad on the Legion 5 Pro. This is a big advantage for business use, but we would always use a plug-in mouse for gaming.

Not simply because most gamers believe touchpads are inherently bad for gaming. Because of the NUM pad, the Lenovo Legion 7’s pad is much offset to the left of the surround, putting your arms in a considerably less comfortable posture. If you’re not used to using one of these left-nudged pads, we recommend adjusting the pad’s behaviour in Windows 10 to avoid inadvertent ‘right button’ hits.

Performance

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB RAM
  • Nvidia RTX 3080 (160W)

The Lenovo Legion 7 is an excellent performer, and not just because it contains high-quality hardware. But first, let’s do a roll call.

An Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU, a Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD are included. This is similar to the Legion 5 Pro, with the exception of the all-important boost from an RTX 3070 graphics card.

We were a little concerned when we saw this device has an RTX 3080. This is a really powerful graphics card, yet the Lenovo Legion 7 isn’t particularly thick by design. Could it actually keep up without reducing GPU power or making the laptop’s metal chassis unbearably hot?

The real-world experience is almost unbelievable. Not only can the Legion 7 provide 160W of power to the graphics card, maximising the capabilities of this laptop version, but we are also amazed by how little fan noise it produces under load.

The Lenovo Legion 7, for example, makes a fraction of the noise made by the thinner Acer Triton 300 SE. And this is when using the Legion’s ‘Performance’ profile, which allows fans to go crazy in order to get the most frames per second out of your games.

Lenovo’s fan system, whatever it is, works. By touching the outlets, you may experience a good flow of warm air while avoiding annoying higher-pitch noise or rotations-per-minute yo-yo’ing, which also focuses your attention on the fans. It appears to be a superior fan system than the Legion 5 Pro’s, which also impressed us.

The Lenovo Legion 7 is a gaming laptop that can play almost everything at its original 1600p resolution – albeit with a little help from performance-enhancing features like DLSS. It has a fantastic graphics card and a fantastic Lenovo implementation of that hardware. The business has truly nailed these new Legion computers.

However, keep in mind that the performance boost over laptops one level down is very pricey. You should expect a 15-20% increase in frame rates over the Nvidia RTX 3070, which is available in much cheaper laptops like – you guessed it – the Legion 5 Pro.

However, there is another improvement here. The Lenovo Legion 7 comes with speakers that have a hint of bass. Although some much slimmer lifestyle laptops have considerably better speakers than those displayed here, the Legion 7’s remain a notch above the gaming laptop average.

However, the space directly in front of your face/head appears to be relatively empty to us. The sound field appears to be missing a centre channel since the speaker array is more focused on pushing audio out to the right and left extremes to make it appear larger and more immersive. You may adjust this with the Lenovo Legion 7’s Nahimic sound processing software, but it appears to be a fundamental feature of the speaker setup, with no sound going through the keyboard.

Battery life & Connections

  • 80Whr battery – up to 8-hour battery life
  • 300W ‘slim’ power adapter

The Lenovo Legion 7 is powered by an 80Wh battery. While this is a bigger capacity than many ultra-portable laptops that need to last a long time, we’re still a long way from the 99Wh employed by firms looking to maximise battery size (much more and you wouldn’t be allowed to take such a device aboard an aircraft).

According to our testing, the Legion 7 should not last more than five hours. When streaming a video stream on battery saver mode, it was virtually dead on that time. This falls far short of Lenovo’s eight-hour claim.

The Lenovo Legion 7’s battery life isn’t a key priority. However, performance is. This also means that the Lenovo Legion 7 requires a large power brick, which adds to the weight if you intend to carry this laptop anyplace. Although it is a rather thin ‘brick,’ it weights an additional 866g.

Lenovo’s connection architecture is also intended for a semi-permanent desktop-style setup. The majority of the ports are situated along the back, and their symbols light up, so you won’t have to flip the laptop around to plug something in. Neat.

Along the back, there’s a full-size HDMI 2.1 connector, an Ethernet port, a USB-C port, and three USB-A ports, as well as the power connector. There is only one USB-C port on each side and a headphone jack on the right. This arrangement is meant to help you keep your workstation neat and tidy.

None of the USB-C ports is Thunderbolt 4 compatible. This standard is available in the Intel Legion 7i, but when combined with the top-tier Intel Core i9 CPU, we believe this AMD option is the better buy.

Verdict

The Lenovo Legion 7 is a fantastic gaming laptop that blends power and portability. It has a very customizable LED light array, but it looks normal when the flashy crap is turned off. Its 180-degree tilting screen may potentially be beneficial in the workplace.

What really struck us was how Lenovo confidently and effortlessly maxed out the performance of the Nvidia RTX 3080. We expected the Legion 7 to become louder, and given that it has a metal casing that isn’t overly thick for this class, heat management is important.

The Legion 5 Pro with RTX 3070 graphics is arguably a better choice in terms of sheer value. Its speakers are subpar, and the plastic touchpad isn’t as smooth as the glass touchpad on the Legion 7. However, we love its deeper keyboard.

However, if you like how Lenovo has incorporated touches for gaming enhancement and you need the power of the RTX 3080, the Legion 7 is a huge hit.