Gaming laptops can get quite expensive, but today we have Lenovo’s Legion 5 15ARH05b with us, and it really delivers some high end features at a medium budget price of around 75,000 Rs. or a 1000 US dollars.
We have its AMD variant today, which has a Ryzen 5 4600H paired with an Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti, but this is also available in higher configurations like a 4800H with an RTX 2060, and even though the specs may be different, the laptop platform is the same so you will still get an idea of the thermal design and the hardware with this video.
The Ryzen 4000 series CPUs really offer desktop class CPU performance as we have seen in other AMD based laptops, so let’s check out how good this is.
The design of the Legion 5 strikes the perfect balance between a professional and gamery look. From many angles it just looks like a regular laptop, but it does expose its gaming DNA if you look carefully, and I really like this understated approach, because it will not look out of place in an office environment.
The matte black color we have on this is really matte, and except for some logos, it’s body is devoid of any patterns or textures, but all of it fits well with each other to give this laptop a very clean look.
The overall build quality of the laptop is good, but it is what you would expect in this price range. The flex on the screen is quite well controlled, and the keyboard is also able to resist flexing if you press on it.
The layout of the keyboard is really great, we have big, full sized directional keys, and there are no odd placement of keys like home and delete.
The full sized numpad with slightly narrower keys is also really nice to have, as it creates more space for other keys on this keyboard.
The alphabet keys are also really nice on this keyboard. The travel on these keys is quite average, and they are also a little spongy when you bottom them out, but because they are quite big, and they are well spaced, the typing experience on this keyboard is pretty decent, once you get used to it. These keys are also backlit with white LEDs, and I think the other variants in the Legion series also offer RGB keyboards.
The touchpad is large enough, and it works well with all the multi-finger gestures and stuff.
The weight of the laptop isn’t ultrabook level at 2.3 kilograms, but for a gaming laptop with this level of performance, it is quite good.
The hinge mechanism for the screen is pretty simple, and it allows the screen to tilt all the way back.
The display that we have on this laptop is a 15.6 inch 1080p IPS panel running at 120Hz. The resolution looks sharp on a screen of this size, and the viewing angles, colors, and contrast on it are also very good.
The screen being 120Hz also makes a big difference in the feeling of smoothness and responsiveness, even when you’re not gaming, so it is a fantastic addition even when you’re just browsing on the internet.
The screen brightness maxes out at 250 nits, and that is sufficiently bright for indoors, but the more expensive laptops do have brighter screens.
For I/O, we really have all kinds of ports that even a power user would need, on its right, we have a USB 3.2 port
Then at its back, we also have 2 USB A ports, along with a Type C port, and all of these are also USB 3.2. You’ll also find an HDMI 2.0 port here, along with an ethernet port for wired internet
Finally at its left, we have a combined headphone and microphone jack, with a USB 3.1 Gen1 port, which is an always on port, meaning that you can use it to charge your phone even when the laptop is turned off, which feature that can become really handy when you need it. We also have Wi Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 on board.
The 2W on board speakers by Harman Kardon are good enough for watching TV Shows and YouTube videos, but in louder environments, you may find their volume to not be sufficient.
Webcam (watch video for full clip and audio)
The webcam also has a privacy slider, so you can ensure that the Zucc is not spying on you when you’re using Facebook.
The laptop comes with a 256 GB NVMe SSD, and it boots up very quickly, and you also have a mechanical hard drive of 1TB here, and in addition to upgrading the existing PCIe SSD,
I think you should also be able to add a SATA M.2 SSD here after removing the mechanical hard drive.
We also have 8 GB of RAM here, which is pretty adequate for the targeted use case, though, the RAM and SSD are under these metal pieces which will be a little difficult for users to remove, but these might be acting like heatsinks, which is nice to see.
The stars of the show on this laptop are the CPU and GPU, and we have an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, Paired with an Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti. The Ryzen CPUs have really brought new levels of efficiency and power to laptops, and in addition to being amazing for everyday use, this hexa core chip really excels at productivity workloads that most people would use this laptop for.
For Triple A games like Borderlands 3 or Shadow of the Tomb Raider, you may have to turn down the settings to medium to get a 60 fps experience, but you can really take advantage of the 120Hz screen if you play eSports games like Rainbow Six Siege, or CS:GO.
You will of course only get this performance when you have the laptop plugged in to power with its decently sized 170W power brick, because only then you will be able to activate the highest performance mode, and without the power plugged in, we found ourselves limited to 30 frames per second in all games, but we didn’t try to find ways to bypass this limit as this is the case with most gaming laptops.
For productivity workloads like video editing, the Legion 5 also excelled, and in addition to getting very good timeline performance in Premiere on it with full 4K resolution, it also rendered a recent 11 minute 40 seconds long 4K YouTube video of mine in around 11 minutes, so that is again, really great 1 to 1 ratio render time from a laptop, and this is in part thanks to the recently added NVENC support on Premiere, but it is still really nice to see that we can get this kind of video editing performance at this price point.
The thermal solution on this laptop looks very simple, but it works really well, and it was able to keep the 4600H CPU at around 80 degrees celsius most of the time on intensive workloads, with occasional touches to around 90 degrees, but the CPU was able to sustain its boost clock of 4 GHz at all times, which I found to be really impressive.
It was a similar case with the GPU temperatures, as it was also able to sustain its boost clock while only getting into temperatures of mid 60s.
So the thermal design here really seems to be prepared for the higher end hardware like the 4800H and RTX 2060, and I will link to those variants in the video description if you want to check them out.
The laptop does make some noise when it is on full blast, but it is not that bad.
The surface temperature of the laptop is also well maintained on load, and a 10 degree delta over ambient will keep the keyboard comfortable to type on.
For battery life, Lenovo claims a 7 hour run time with its 60 Watt Hour battery, and in my tests the Legion 5 lasted for 4 and a half hour for video streaming and playback on Youtube with its screen at 70% brightness, and considering that my review unit is 6 months old, I do think that you should be able to cross the 5 hour mark easily on less power consuming workloads.
While gaming or while pushing the CPU to its limits, you are of course going to get way lesser battery life, but that is just how science works.
So overall, the AMD variant of the Lenovo Legion 5 offers a good combination of horsepower and features for its price point, and even though it’s not the most powerful laptop out there, it is good enough for casual and eSports gaming, and it is also great for people for whom the everyday use laptops aren’t powerful enough, and they want a more beefed up machine for things like video editing.
The only thing that I am a little concerned with this is that the Ryzen 4000 series processor that it is using is replaced by the newer 5000 series processors, so they do perform better than this, but they are also more expensive.
The difference between the 4000 and 5000 thousand series isn’t that big for multi-core workloads, and even with it’s competition with 5000 series CPUs, you will be limited by the GPU while playing games, so the processor not being on the latest series is not that big of a drawback.
So if you’re looking for a powerful laptop with a 120Hz IPS display at an affordable price, the Lenovo Legion 5 is a great buy.