Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) review – in search of perfection

Last year, Lenovo was both conservative, and bold. Although it kept the same design, which proved successful in the past, the manufacturer took the risk to rely on AMD (in addition to Intel) for their processors. And today, the Legion 5 gets an update with the Zen 3 architecture and RTX 3000 graphics cards.

Thankfully for the gamers, the laptop is equipped with a MUX switch. This allows you to connect the integrated display either to the integrated GPU for maximum efficiency and battery life or to the dedicated GPU, for the full bandwidth.

Generally, the device remains pretty much unchanged on the outside, but we are glad to see that Lenovo still kept the Web camera – a feature abolished by ASUS and the majority of their ROG notebooks.

Before we start there are a couple of points we want to set. First of all, despite their similar specs, today’s laptop and the Legion 5 Pro (16″) have different pricing. The difference is about $100-200 depending on the region, and we are curious if it’s worth it giving more cash for the “Pro” version. Also, one of Legion 5’s biggest contenders is the HP Omen 15. Last year, HP has made a more than decent job with their brand new design. However, we were a bit disappointed by this year’s unit. With that said, the Lenovo is already ahead in terms of specs, as its RTX 3060, and RTX 3070 come with 130W TGPs, while the HP only features 100W RTX 3070.

Okay, enough technicalities, for now, let’s check this device already, shall we?

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-legion-5-15-2021/

Contents


Video Review


Specs Sheet

Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) - Specs

  • BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998)
  • Color accuracy  1.7  0.7
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Pro
  • Battery
  • 60Wh, 4-cell, 60Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 362.56 x 260.61 x 22.5 ~ 25.75 mm (14.27" x 10.26" x 0.89")
  • Weight
  • 2.40 kg (5.3 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 3x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.1
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Nahimic 3D Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

All Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found a huge 300W power brick, some paper manuals, and a couple of Legion stickers.


Design and construction

There is the subtlest of changes regarding this laptop’s design, compared to its predecessor. Ultimately, the Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) has slightly longer fins on the plastic vents, a more rounded interaction between the keyboard deck, and the palm rest area, and a slight increase in thickness – from 22-24mm up to 22.5-25.75mm. Nevertheless, the entire laptop is once again made out of plastic but to be fair, the body remains rigid even when you force it to flex.

As usual, the lid opens easily with a single hand, and the hinge mechanisms feel smooth. Indeed, the lid is pretty flexy, due to its plastic nature. On the bright side, it has an HD camera.

Naturally, the next thing in our sight is the base. There, we see the pinnacle of medium-budget gaming keyboards. Depending on the configuration, you get either a White, Blue or a 4-zone RGB backlight. Its key travel is good, and the feedback – clicky. Ultimately, it has one of the largest Arrow keys on a laptop out there.

In addition to the great keyboard, there is a button-less, Mylar-surfaced touchpad. It feels smooth, something that is clearly aided by the fast-refresh-rate display. Additionally, the clicking mechanism is nice and balanced.

Now, if you turn the laptop upside down, you will see the speaker cutouts, as well as the huge ventilation grill. Like last year, the heat exhaust is happening from four vents – two on the back, and one on each side.

Ports

On the left side, there is a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an audio jack. Then, on the right, you will find a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port and an E-camera shutter switch. Last, but not least, when you look at the backside of the laptop, you will see an RJ-45 connector, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, an HDMI 2.1 connector, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and the proprietary power connector.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

This laptop’s bottom panel is held in place by 10 Phillips-head screws. After you undo them, you need to pry the panel with a plastic tool and remove it from the chassis.

This model comes with either a 60 or an 80Wh battery pack. We got the former one.

When it comes to the memory, you get two SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM in total. Storage-wise, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 drive slots.

Here, the cooling setup incorporates a total of three heat pipes. One of them also cools down the graphics memory.


Display quality

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) in the configuration we tested has a Full HD 165Hz IPS panel with a model number BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 279 nits in the middle of the screen and 266 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 23% (in the bottom left corner). The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6580K – almost matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1190:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 97% of the colors of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 8 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)’s display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. This provides comfort in extended periods of use.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)’s speakers produce a sound of good quality. Although the lows have some deviations from clarity, the mids, and highs are clear.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities from this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/legion-series/legion-5-15ach6h/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 60Wh battery pack lasts for 6 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, and 4 hours and 50 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

Lenovo offers this laptop with a choice of two processors. One of them is the six-core, twelve-thread AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, while the other is the eight-core, sixteen-thread Ryzen 7 5800H.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

Respectively, on the graphics front, the laptop comes in a wide variety of iterations. This includes the GTX 1650, RTX 3050 (95W), RTX 3050 Ti (95W), RTX 3060 (130W), and RTX 3070 (130W). Additionally, it may come with the Radeon RX 6600M.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo Legion 5 (15" AMD, 2021) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

Borderlands 3 Full HD, V.Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps 109 fps 96 fps 82 fps 69 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average 154 fps 96 fps 64 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average 94 fps 82 fps 56 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average 115 fps 110 fps 78 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) 3.17 GHz @ 61°C 3.17 GHz @ 64°C 3.17 GHz @ 75°C
HP Omen 15 (2021, 15-en1000) 3.33 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C 3.33 GHz (B+4%) @ 85°C 3.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 88°C
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 15 G533 3.43 GHz (B+7%) @ 76°C 3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 80°C 3.47 GHz (B+8%) @ 82°C
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE (GX551) 3.93 GHz (B+23%) @ 81°C 3.82 GHz (B+19%) @ 86°C 3.78 GHz (B+18%) @ 93°C
ASUS TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 3.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 74°C 3.34 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C 3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 84°C

When it comes to the clock speed, the Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) seems to be performing the worst. However, if you look closely in the table above, you will notice that it runs at a very low temperature.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) 1831 MHz @ 75°C @ 129W 1815 MHz @ 80°C @ 129W
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) 1803 MHz @ 76°C @ 129W 1787 MHz @ 81°C @ 129W
MSI GP66 Leopard 1863 MHz @ 72°C @ 124W 1852 MHz @ 75°C @ 125W 1849 MHz @ 69°C @ 127W
MSI GP76 Leopard 1860 MHz @ 71°C @ 129W 1857 MHz @ 73°C @ 128W 1869 MHz @ 67°C @ 128W

As we can see, there is a slight advantage in terms of clock speed for the 15-inch Legion 5, compared to the 16-inch Legion 5 Pro. However, both of them are both working at lower frequencies, and higher temperatures, compared to the MSI GP66 and GP76 Leopard.

Gaming comfort

We ran all of the performance tests on the “High Performance” preset. You can toggle the presets with the “Function + Q” button combination by the way. So, in this mode, the laptop was indeed a bit loud. However, the keyboard was one of the coolest we’ve tested this year.


Verdict

Usually, we are not big fans of manufacturers who don’t refresh the designs of their devices. In this case, however, Lenovo was so far ahead of its competition two years ago in this regard, that we can let it slide one more time. If we have to be honest, the model doesn’t suffer from its plastic housing, as the base is pretty sturdy.

But you are not here to see if the base will flex, or not. You want to know what are the performance metrics of the Legion 5. Well, its RTX 3060 performs as every RTX 3060 with 130W TGP should. However, the cooling setup was a bit less efficient than that of the MSI GP66 Leopard for example. And although the port selection is absolutely overwhelming, Lenovo seems to have forgotten that some people are still using SD cards.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)’s 165Hz IPS panel (BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998)) has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Thankfully, it covers 97% of the sRGB gamut, and its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. Another good thing about it is the accurate color representation and the quick pixel response times. However, the panel has a too high of a deviation of the Luminance across the surface of the screen. Ultimately, this makes the display inappropriate for professional work.

That’s a second drawback for them creators. This is petty because this laptop has all the right ingredients. Thin and light form factor, astonishing keyboard, decent performance, and not in the last place – extremely competitive price tag. It also has great upgrade options, and decent battery life, even with the smaller unit. We would still recommend the laptop to people who are into gaming on the go, but you have to keep one thing in mind. Perfection is achievable, but not by the Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-legion-5-15-2021/

Pros

  • High TGP GPUs
  • 2x M.2 PCIe slots, 2x RAM SODIMM slots in dual channel, Wi-Fi 6
  • Covers 97% of the sRGB color gamut and has accurate color representation with our Gaming and Web design profile (BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998))
  • Snappy panel with quick response times (BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998))
  • Has a ton of ports
  • Great input devices
  • Keyboard remains relatively cool after long gaming sessions
  • Competitive price


Cons

  • No SD card
  • High luminance nonuniformity (BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998))

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