In the world of gaming laptops, Lenovo’s Legion lineup is widely known for offering great hardware at a competitive price point. Part of Lenovo’s lineup is also the Slim series. These laptops offer the same flagship-grade performance while cutting down on some thickness to make them portable. And now, Lenovo has launched the Legion Slim 5i (Gen 8).
Apart from an upgrade to the latest 13th-gen Intel Core processors coupled with NVIDIA’s 40-series GPUs, Lenovo has also equipped its laptops with a custom Lenovo LA1 AI chip. The brand claims to have AI tuning to deliver the best performance with minimal fan noise. In fact, it should make it one of the best RTX 4070 gaming laptops out there.
But is it really the case? Or has Lenovo cut corners to offer a competitive price tag? And if yes, should you still get the Slim 5i? Let’s find out in our in-depth Lenovo Legion Slim 5i Gen 8 Review.
Lenovo Legion Slim 5i Gen 8 Specifications
|Processor||Up to 13th Generation Intel Core i7-13700H|
|RAM||Up to 32GB DDR5-5200MHz|
|GPU||Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU|
|Storage||Up to 2TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe|
|Display||Up to 16” WQXGA (2560 x 1600) 500nits 240Hz IPS display with Dolby Vision|
|Audio||2 x 2W stereo speakers with Nahimic Audio|
|Webcam||Up to FHD 1080p Webcam with privacy e-shutter|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E, 802.11ax 2×2 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1|
|Battery||Up to 80Wh|
|Weight||Starting at 5.29lbs (2.4 kg)|
|Dimensions||Starting at 14.16 in x 10.25 in x 0.86 in|
Note: Device specifications may vary by region. We were sent the Lenovo Legion Slim 5i Gen 8 (16IRH8) variant by Lenovo India.
Starting with the design, the Slim 5i carries forward the signature Legion design language which happens to be a professional look with a pinch of gaming accents to it. With the laptop closed, you get a simple Lenovo branding on one side, and a nice embossed Legion logo on the other corner.
We have the Storm Grey color variant with us, though Lenovo also offers a Misty Grey option in certain regions. Speaking strictly about our variant, the aluminum lid coupled with the matte-grey finish on top looks quite premium.
Once you open the lid up, you’re greeted by the 16-inch IPS display with slim bezels. There’s the Legion branding on the chin as well, which again is quite minimalistic. While I’ll talk about the display in just a bit, the design of the laptop definitely ensures an immersive experience.
Below the display is the keyboard, complete with RGB lighting. It adds a much-needed flair to the otherwise ThinkPad-style gaming laptop.
Despite the Slim nomenclature, the 5i does weigh a bit. Nonetheless, it’s still easy to carry around, and far more portable than the usual lot of beefy and chunky gaming laptops on the market.
All in all, as far as the design is concerned, the Legion Slim 5i is a laptop you can take to work without attracting unwanted attention. And then come back home and enjoy the RGB lighting as well.
The Legion Slim 5i also has vents on either side as well as the rear. Adjacent to them is the generous selection of ports on offer. On the left side, you have dual USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports coupled with a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack.
Moving to the right side, the laptop comes with a full-sized SD card reader, alongside the e-shutter for the webcam.
Finally, over to the rear side, the Legion Slim 5i packs in two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, an RJ45 Ethernet port, a full-sized HDMI port, and the charging port.
Honestly speaking, the laptop comes equipped with quite practically every port that you’d imagine. One thing that is a bit of a letdown, however, is the omission of a Thunderbolt 4 port. It’s something you expect on Ryzen-powered systems, but at this price point, Lenovo really should have included a TB4 port here.
Moving on to the display, our unit came with a top-of-the-line 16-inch WQXGA IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. The 16:10 aspect ratio works very well in granting the consumers some extra vertical space for improving productivity.
The panel has a rated peak brightness of up to 500 nits. As such, you can take the laptop outdoors and use it under direct sunlight. What’s more, is that the panel here is VESA DisplayHDR 4000 Certified.
Add to that there’s also Dolby Vision support which makes this a fantastic panel for watching supported content. So whether you’re watching a movie, or just playing a game with a rich environment, the display on the Legion Slim 5i wouldn’t disappoint.
Speaking of gaming, the display here has a refresh rate of a whopping 240Hz. If you’re a fan of competitive games such as Valorant or Overwatch, you’d love the higher refresh rate. And with a 3ms response time, I didn’t experience any latency issues either.
As good as that sounds, it’s worth noting that in certain regions, Lenovo is only offering a 165Hz panel with a lower 350 nits peak brightness. So make sure to check the specifications of the unit before finalizing the purchase.
Aiding the display department are the dual 2W speakers on either side. The speakers are bottom-firing and unfortunately, they are quite underpowered. You genuinely have to stay close to the laptop to be able to hear the output properly, even at maximum volume.
Lenovo does offer the Nahimic Audio app which lets you customize the audio experience. You can either choose the kind of content that’s playing or use a custom equalizer. Or, you can just forget the hard work and use the Smart mode to let the app optimize the speakers based on the content playing.
Regardless, the speakers are still underpowered, and the app can only do so much. At the end of the day, you will need to bundle a pair of headphones with this laptop for any sort of media consumption. Thankfully, the Nahimic app offers a ton of controls for the headphones as well to take your audio experience to the next level.
Moving along, let’s talk about the keyboard. One thing that I’ve personally always loved about Lenovo’s Legion lineup is that their keyboards are essentially borrowed from the ThinkPad lineup.
This is a good thing, considering that ThinkPads have arguably the best keyboards on a laptop. This time around, while the Slim 5i does have a pretty good keyboard on the whole, there is definitely room for improvement.
Starting with the positives, you get a full keyboard layout here, complete with a numpad. All the keys are well-sized, including the arrow keys and your fingers adjust naturally to them. In fact, I was able to score a nice 69 wpm score in typing test on my first try with this laptop.
Lenovo calls it their TrueStrike Gaming Keyboard, and the 1.5mm key travel definitely does feel nice. With that being said, I do feel that the feedback could be a bit better. It just feels a lot more mushier for my taste. On the flip side, that also means that the keyboard is quite silent, which isn’t the case on ThinkPads.
Another thing that’s not there on ThinkPad keyboards is RGB lighting. The Legion Slim 5i comes with 4-zone RGB lighting, which is functional at best. It does get bright, and you do have effects to play around with. But it works best only in Static Mode. All the animations here are sluggish, to the point where it ends up spoiling the experience a bit.
Then again, it’s not a deal breaker by any means. In fact, on the whole, I’d still argue that the Legion Slim 5i has one of the best keyboards on a gaming laptop out there. But again, as I said, there’s definite room for improvement.
Thankfully, one area that doesn’t need any improvements is the touchpad. The Slim 5i’s touchpad is wide and has a smooth surface. Even my large fingers fit perfectly to carry out all the gestures. And to Lenovo’s credit, the palm rejection works very well.
We often see OEMs cheap out on touchpads on their gaming laptops, since they know the consumer will definitely be investing in a good gaming mouse. Despite that, it’s nice to see that Lenovo has ensured that you get a pretty good touchpad, one that you can use without any complaints.
The Legion Slim 5i also comes with an upgraded 1080p webcam, which does produce decent results. The final image is definitely plagued by grains, but the camera does manage to get the colors right.
The HDR performance is acceptable here. You won’t be using this webcam for streaming for sure, but it’s definitely adequate for video calls.
There’s also a white LED indicator on the top to highlight when the camera is in use. And in case you’re worried about your privacy, there’s a handy toggle on the right side of the laptop to quickly disable the webcam. It’s not as safe as having a physical cover on top of the camera lens. But hey, at least it’s something.
Before we move on to the performance part, a quick word on the software. The laptop ships with Windows 11 Home, and you get 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate included with the laptop.
In terms of pre-installed apps, there’s the Lenovo Vantage app which is your one-stop solution for customizing the laptop. From changing the RGB lights to adjusting the fan profiles, and even overclocking the GPU, everything can be done from within this app.
Additionally, there’s also the Legion Arena app. The app acts as a gaming hub, to show you all of your installed games in one place, regardless of whichever marketplace they were installed from. It’s a quick way to launch the game of your choice. That being said, if you don’t fancy it, you can easily uninstall the software without any issues.
Performance and Benchmarks
All right, let’s talk about performance now.
Our unit of the Legion Slim 5i comes equipped with the Intel Core i7-13700H coupled with 32GB of DDR5-5200MHz dual-channel RAM. There’s the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 laptop GPU for graphical prowess and a 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 SSD from Samsung.
On paper, this should be the perfect hardware to pair with a high-refresh-rate QHD panel. Thankfully, the laptop delivers on this expectation.
I ran a series of synthetic benchmarks on the laptop, and the performance is at par, if not better, than similarly specced-out gaming laptops. The laptop manages to score very well in Cinebench as well as both 3DMark and PCMark.
The major highlight is the i7-13700H processor, which doesn’t bottleneck the RTX 4070 GPU, unlike the i7-13620H found on cheaper laptops.
It’s important that for best results you enable the dGPU Only Mode inside the Lenovo Vantage software. In terms of gaming performance, you can easily expect 60fps on AAA titles on 1440p resolution. Thanks to DLSS, the numbers can be pushed a bit higher as well, especially in titles like Hogwarts Legacy and Cyberpunk 2077.
Lenovo has also embedded the LA1 AI chip inside the laptop. This, in cognition with the hardware, is what the company refers to as their AI Engine+ technology. Naming convention aside, it’s pretty much the same Dynamic Boost technology that we’ve seen on other OEMs as well.
Essentially, there’s the use of machine learning to monitor your in-game frame rates, and accordingly adjust the fan speeds and the TDP for the GPU.
You can choose to disable the feature from the Lenovo Vantage app if you wish, but there’s no harm in keeping it on either. As for the performance gains, in my testing, it did work as claimed. But the performance boost is minuscule and nothing to boast about.
Thermals and Upgradability
Running FurMark on the laptop for a 30-min test was a good way to see how high the temps would spike up. Interestingly, the laptop was able to sustain its temperatures under the 85-degree Celsius mark and the device didn’t throttle even once.
Lenovo is using its all-new ColdFront 5.0 cooling system, which comprises an improved dual-fan system with bigger heat pipes. The laptop sucks in cooler air from underneath and then pushes the hot air out of the sides and back of the system. Unfortunately, that also results in the fans running quite loud. Considering the speakers are anyway underpowered, this is another reason to invest in a good pair of gaming headphones.
Apart from the thermal management system, digging inside you can see that the laptop does have room for upgradability. Both the SSD and the RAM are user-upgradable. The same is the case with the Wi-Fi card as well, so there’s that.
Battery Life and Charging
Underneath the core hardware, is the big 80WHr battery. In my testing, I was able to squeeze about 4 hours of battery backup from this machine during continuous YouTube playback, which is decent enough. I wouldn’t expect anything more from a gaming laptop nonetheless.
The good thing is that the laptop comes with support for Rapid Charge Pro technology. Essentially, you can charge this thing from 0 to 50% in under 30 mins. Alternatively, if you’re on the go and forgot the beefy 230W brick charger, you can juice it up with a USB-PD charger as well.
Lenovo Legion Slim 5i Gen 8: Worth It?
So, the big question is – is the Lenovo Legion Slim 5i Gen 8 worth it? The laptop starts at $1,079 for the base model and goes all the way up to $1,899 for the top variant.
For what it’s worth, it’s an adequately portable gaming laptop that offers excellent performance and a gorgeous display. It’s a great choice for gamers who want a portable machine that can also handle creative work.
For comparison, the closest alternative to this would be the Gigabyte Aorus 17 which packs in pretty much the same hardware. However, if we’re being honest, it’s a laptop very tough to get your hands on.
Then there’s the ASUS ROG Strix G16 which upgrades to an i9-13980HX processor but drops the panel to a 165Hz FullHD display. Lastly, there’s the MSI Katana 15. It undercuts the Legion Slim 5i by a significant margin, but it’s powered by the slightly-underpowered i7-13620H processor.
The only real alternative right now is the Acer Predator Helios 16 which seems to be a good option. It offers a per-key RGB lighting keyboard and an even more powerful i7-13700HX processor. That being said, Acer’s customer service isn’t as good as Lenovo’s. So if you want a peaceful end-consumer experience, the Lenovo Legion Slim 5i Gen 8 is a worthy recommendation.
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Last updated on 17 August, 2023
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