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Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Gaming Performance on a Budget!

    The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 offers the latest technology from Intel and Nvidia, all without the hefty price tag associated with premium models sporting superior RTX 40-series GPUs. This laptop is a much more budget-friendly option.

    You have the option to equip the Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 with an RTX 4080 or RTX 4090 GPU, but our tested version comes with an RTX 4070 GPU, costing roughly half as much as the recently reviewed Razer Blade 16. While it may not possess the visually striking design and dual-mode display found in the Razer, it certainly boasts an appropriate aesthetic and build quality for a midrange gaming laptop. Additionally, its 16-inch display offers ample space, sharp visuals, high brightness, and swift performance. If you’ve been daydreaming about owning a next-gen gaming laptop priced at $4,000 or $5,000, the next-gen Pro 7i Gen 8 is a practical choice when you return to the realm of budget considerations.

    Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8: Specifications

    Our Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 test system costs $2,175 from Lenovo and features the following specs:
    • CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i9-13900HX
    • Memory: 32GB DDR5 5600MHz
    • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
    • Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    • Display: 16-inch QHD (2560×1600) 240Hz display
    • Webcam: 1080p with electronic kill switch
    • Connectivity: 1 x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 4 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, combo audio jack
    • Networking: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
    • Biometrics: None
    • Battery capacity: 99 Watt-hours
    • Dimensions: 0.86 x 14.3 x 10.3 inches
    • Measured weight: 5.46 pounds (power brick weighs 2.65 pounds)
    • Price: $2,175

    The starting price for the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 is $2,070, which includes the Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU, GeForce RTX 4070 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. In our testing, we made two upgrades to the base model: we added 32GB of RAM for an extra $55 and a 1TB SSD for an additional $50. The top-tier model in the series is priced at $3,600 and comes with RTX 4090 graphics and a 2TB SSD. It’s worth noting that the Core i9-13900HX is the only CPU option available, and all models come with a 16-inch, 16:10 display featuring a 2560×1600 resolution and a speedy 240Hz refresh rate.

    Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8: Per-key RGB and full-size arrow keys

    The Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 initially resembles a business-oriented laptop rather than a gaming machine, until you activate the vibrant RGB lighting. Its aluminum body is uniformly dark gray, with minimal chrome embellishments—limited to a pair of small Lenovo logos and a prominent Legion wordmark. The primary indicators of its gaming prowess are the substantial vents on the side edges and rear, hinting at its high-performance capabilities.

    The 16-inch 16:10 laptop weighs 5.46 pounds, which is the typical weight for such a device. Comparatively, the sleek Razer Blade 16 is slightly heavier at 5.52 pounds, while two other 16-inch 16:10 models, the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE at 5.29 pounds and the HP Victus 16 at 5.44 pounds, are a tad lighter. However, the Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 comes with a massive power brick that significantly adds to the weight. The power brick, rated at 300 watts, is a hefty 2.65 pounds, resulting in a substantial overall travel weight of eight pounds.

    The aluminum chassis exhibits a reasonable level of durability, although it exhibits some flex around the middle of the keyboard. When applying pressure to the WASD keys near the left edge, they appeared to be more solid than the keys closer to the center of the keyboard. However, there is certainly some degree of flex in the keyboard area. It doesn’t have the same rock-solid feel as the Razer Blade 16. The keys themselves have a responsive feel, and I commend Lenovo for incorporating both a numeric keypad and full-size arrow keys. This demonstrates a clever design choice that leverages the extra space provided by the tall 16:10 display to expand the arrow key section.

    The Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 distinguishes itself with its per-key RGB lighting, a feature that adds an element of fun not commonly found in midrange gaming laptops. While most midrange models offer limited keyboard customization options, such as various lighting patterns or a four-zone lighting setup, the Pro 7i Gen 8 stands out by offering the utmost RGB flexibility through per-key lighting. You have the capability to configure up to six unique RGB lighting profiles, which can be effortlessly cycled through using the Function key and spacebar.

    Furthermore, there’s an LED strip adorning the laptop’s front edge, which is also fully customizable with RGB lighting. This LED strip is divided into six distinct zones that can be tailored to your preferences. These combined features of per-key lighting and the customizable LED strip along the laptop’s front edge contribute significantly to giving it the appearance of a gaming laptop, setting it apart from resembling an oversized ThinkPad.

    Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8: Big, bright, and fast display

    The screen on this midrange model is truly impressive. It boasts a generous 16-inch size and a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is taller than the typical 16:9 widescreen display. Moreover, it delivers sharp visuals with its 2560×1600 resolution, surpassing the 1920×1200 resolution commonly found in other midrange 16-inch models. Its performance is exceptional, offering a rapid 240Hz refresh rate and a brightness rating of 500 nits, though my measurements using a lux meter revealed that it can actually reach a peak brightness of 550 nits. Colors appear vibrant, images and text exhibit crisp edges, and games run with seamless fluidity.

    Additionally, the laptop is equipped with a modern 1080p camera that captures clear and well-balanced images. To safeguard your privacy when the camera is not in use, there’s a convenient kill switch located on the laptop’s left edge that cuts off power to the camera.

    While the captivating display may initially lead you to envision owning a high-end gaming laptop AV system at an affordable price, the audio speakers swiftly bring you back to the present. In contrast to more upscale 16-inch models like the Razer Blade 16, which accommodate four speakers (including two tweeters and two subwoofers), the Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 offers just a duo of 2-watt speakers that produce unclear audio, lacking distinct separation between high and mid-range frequencies. Expectedly, without any subwoofers, the bass response falls short of expectations.

    The port choices are diverse and strategically placed. You’ll find two USB-C ports, with one of them supporting Thunderbolt 4. Additionally, there are four USB Type-A ports—two at the rear and one on each side of the laptop. This USB-A configuration accommodates both left and right-handed users, allowing them to connect their gaming mouse to their preferred side. Furthermore, the audio jack is conveniently positioned on the front half of the right side, ensuring easy access. Given the speaker quality, having your headphones nearby is a wise choice.