Lenovo Legion 5i vs. 7i: Battle of the gaming brothers

Welcome to the Legion 5i vs. Legion 7i battle arena. This is the wrestling match you’ve been waiting for if the Lenovo gaming brothers have caught your eye, but you’re unsure if the higher-end Legion 7i is worth the extra cash.

The Legion 5i and the Legion 7i — successors to the Legion Y540 and Legion Y740 — both have made appealing upgrades with Intel’s Comet Lake H-series processors and Nvidia 20-series Super GPUs. However, the pricier Legion 7i does have a slight edge over the Legion 5i with a bigger battery, better build quality and a swankier GPU, but is the Legion 7i really worth the extra cash? 

In this face-off, we’ll watch the Legion 5i and Legion 7i tussle in the ring to help you figure out which gaming sibling offers the best value for your hard-earned money.

Lenovo 5i vs. 7i: Specs compared 

Lenovo 5i vs. 7i
Lenovo Legion 5iLenovo Legion 7iPrice$1,099$2,749ColorsPhantom BlackBlackDisplay15.6-inch, 1080p, 120Hz15.6-inch,1080p, 240HzCPUIntel Core i7-10750HIntel Core i7-10750HGPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 TiNvidia GeForce RTX 2080RAM8GB16GB Storage512GB SSD2TB SSDSize14.3 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches14.1 x 10.2 x 0.78 inchesWeight5.4 pounds 5 pounds

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: value and configuration 

The Legion 5i has a starting price of $999 and features a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-10300H CPU with 8GB of RAM, a 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of VRAM, and a 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a 60Hz refresh rate.

The review unit I tested costs $1,099 and upgrades you to a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-10750H CPU with 8GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM, and a 120Hz display.

The Legion 7i has a starting price of $1,229 and is packed with a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-10300H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB of VRAM, and a 15.6-inch, 1080p, 144Hz display.

The review unit I tested costs $2,749 and upgrades you to 2TB of SSD storage, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 240Hz display. 

Winner: Legion 5i

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: design 

Both the Legion 5i and the Legion 7i fly under the radar when it’s time to focus on work thanks to their muted aesthetics and dusky, understated chassis. The only splash of fun you’ll find on both laptops are the iridescent “Legion” logos sprawled along the top-left side of their lids.

Lenovo Legion 5i (Image credit: Kimberly Gedeon/Future)

But when it’s time to party, the Legion 7i parties harder. The Legion 5i gets groovy with eye-catching RGB lighting on its keyboard, but the Legion 7i kicks it up a notch with colorful illumination that emanates from the side of the chassis, the dual vents and a badass-looking “Y” figure on the lid.

The Legion 5i features an all-plastic build, but when I experimented with it, I found the quality to be surprisingly sturdy. The Legion 7i, on the other hand, sports an all-aluminum chassis that contributes to the laptop’s solid backbone.

Open the lid, and you’ll find that both laptops have thin bezels, but the Legion 7i’s bezels are slimmer. A 720p webcam is housed on the top bezel of both gaming rigs. However, the chins on the Lenovo brothers are huge and feature the Legion logo. 

On the Legion 5i and Legion 7i, you’ll find a power button that doubles as a color-coded indicator to tell users which one of three power settings is currently activated: performance mode (red), quiet mode (blue) or balance mode (white). Users can quickly oscillate between modes by pressing the Fn + Q keys. 

Lenovo Legion 7i (Image credit: Future)

The Legion 5i and 7i also sport a 180-degree lay-flat hinge. The back chassis of both laptops protrude to support dual air vents and a variety of ports.

Along the undercarriages of both laptops, you’ll find a large vent and a pair of rubber feet for optimal cooling. The Legion 5i, sporting dimensions of 14.3 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches and weighing 5.4 pounds, is heavier and thicker than the Legion 7i (14.1 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches, 4.9 pounds).

Winner: Legion 7i

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: ports 

The Legion 5i and Legion 7i have a wide variety of ports, however, they do not offer the same connection options.

Lenovo Legion 5i ports (Image credit: Kimberly Gedeon/Future)

Let’s start with the Legion 5i. On the back, you’ll find an Ethernet port, a USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a power jack, and a Kensington security lock slot. On the left side, you’ll find an always-on USB Type-A port and a headset jack. On the right, you’ll discover another USB Type-A port.

On the back of the Legion 7i, you’ll find an HDMI 2.0 port, a Kensington lock slot, a USB Type-A port and an Ethernet port. On the left side, there is a headset jack, a USB Type-C port and a Thunderbolt 3 port. On the right, you’ll find another USB Type-A port and the OneKey Recovery button, which restores your system in case of a crash. 

Lenovo Legion 7i ports (Image credit: Future)

To sum it all up, while the Legion 5i offers more USB Type-A ports for a total of four, the Legion 7i serves up a Thunderbolt 3 port and a OneKey Recovery button. The Legion 5i’s sole USB Type-C port is not Thunderbolt 3 and does not deliver power, however, it does support data transfer and display out. If these ports don’t satisfy your needs, you can always use an adapter, so be sure to check out our best USB type-C hubs page.  

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: display 

The Legion 5i and Legion 7i come with 15.6-inch, 1080p displays. The duo can be configured with up to 240Hz screens. The Legion 5i I reviewed came with a 120Hz display and the Legion 7i featured a 240Hz panel.

Lenovo Legion 5i display (Image credit: Kimberly Gedeon/Future)

I was indifferent about the Legion 5i’s display when I tested it. I navigated through a lavish, intricate mansion in Dishonored 2, and while I was satisfied with the panel’s colors and details, the Legion 7i’s display was far more impressive. While playing Hitman (2016) on the Legion 7i, I was blown away by the colorful, vibrant stalls I saw as I passed a lively souk in Marrakesh. On Hitman 2, I feasted my eyes on tangible textures inside a swanky bedroom where I spotted a leather-clad headboard, a velvet comforter and a satin pillowcase.

Lenovo Legion 7i display (Image credit: Future)

It’s also worth noting that the Legion 5i I tested is equipped with Nvidia’s G-Sync support — I cannot say the same for my Legion 7i.

The Lenovo 5i could only reproduce 40% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, but the Legion 7i offered a DCI-P3 color-coverage score of 72%. The Legion 7i also outshone its sibling when it comes to screen brilliance, emanating a shining 445-nit display. The Legion 5i, on the other hand, is dim with a brightness of 287 nits. 

 Winner: Legion 7i 

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: keyboard and touchpad 

 The Legion 5i and Legion 7i’s keyboards are relatively comfortable to type on. The keys are very quiet, so you can tap away at work without disturbing fellow co-workers or annoying colleagues during video calls with loud clicking.

Lenovo Legion 5i keyboard (Image credit: Kimberly Gedeon/Future)

My only gripe about these keyboards is the full-sized numpad addition, which makes the keyboard feel slightly cramped. I often found my fingers landing on the nearby Num Lock key instead of Backspace. On the plus side, both keyboards feature shield-shaped, concave keys, which adds an extra layer of comfort for your fingertips.

I achieved my usual 85 words-per-minute average on the 10fastfingers.com typing test with the Legion 5i. However, on the Legion 7i, I nailed a 90-wpm score, which is notably faster than my 85-wpm average. The one-piece trackpads on both keyboards were smooth and responsive when I experimented with Windows 10 gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe for opening all windows. 

Lenovo Legion 7i keyboard (Image credit: Future)

The Legion 5i offers three levels of brightness for white backlighting as well as four-zone RGB lighting, but the Legion 7i offers more pizazz when it comes to its colorful illumination. With the Legion 7i, you can cycle between a number of different eye-catching, colorful lighting animations, including a spiraling rainbow and a stationary blue backlight. You can also customize your own illuminating light show with the pre-installed Corsair iCue software. The software can control per-key RGB and each lighting zone.

Winner: Legion 7i

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: gaming, graphics and VR 

An Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU electrified the Legion 5i while an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU powered the Legion 7i. Unsurprisingly, the Legion 7i kicked the Legion 5i’s butt in this round.

Lenovo Legion 7i (Image credit: Future)

On the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey benchmark (High, 1080p), the Legion 5i reached 43 frames per second, lagging behind the Legion 7i’s 63 fps. The Legion 5i hit 45 fps on the Borderlands 3 benchmark, which could not keep up with the Legion 7i’s average of 70 fps. On the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark, the Legion 5i averaged 64 fps while the Legion 7i sailed past its sibling with a sweet 90 fps.

If you’re interested in the Legion brothers’ VR performance, the 5i achieved a score of 5,013 on the VRMark Orange benchmark while the 7i knocked it out of the park with a score of 7,900.

 Winner: Legion 7i 

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: performance 

Now let’s take a look at the Legion brothers’ multitasking capabilities. I put the Legion 5i’s Intel Core i7-10750H CPU and 8GB of RAM to the test by swamping it with 40 Google Chrome tabs, including a Twitch live stream, a Netflix film and a 1080p YouTube video. When I pulled up Google Docs and began plugging away, I was impressed that there was no lagging at all.

Lenovo Legion 5i (Image credit: Kimberly Gedeon/Future)

I challenged the Legion 7i’s Intel Core i7-10750H CPU and 16GB of RAM to face an avalanche of 40 Google Chrome tabs. I also fired up two Twitch streams, which played simultaneously. The Legion 7i didn’t even break a sweat. There was no lag as I continued to zip through the web.

On the Geekbench 5.2 overall performance benchmark, the Legion 5i scored 5,342, trailing behind the Legion 7i’s score of 5,940.

During the Handbrake test, the Legion transcoded a 4K video to 1080p resolution in 10 minutes and 5 seconds, which is slower than the Legion 7i’s 9 minutes and 10 seconds.

Lenovo Legion 7i (Image credit: Future)

The Legion 5i’s 512GB SSD duplicated 25GB of multimedia files in 28 seconds, which translates to a transfer rate of 958.8 megabytes per second. The Legion 7i’s 2TB SSD completed the same test in 20 seconds, which translates to a transfer rate of 1,342.4 MBps.

Winner: Legion 7i

Lenovo Legion 5i vs. Lenovo Legion 7i: battery life 

For a gaming laptop, the Legion 5i impressed me with its long battery life. The Legion 5i lasted 7 hours and 13 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, which consists of browsing the web continuously over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. The Legion 7i, on the other hand, died at four hours and 37 minutes.

Winner: Legion 5i 

Overall winner:  Lenovo Legion 7i  

It’s no surprise that the Lenovo 7i is the champion of this wrestling match. The pricier Lenovo brother kicked butt in all rounds except battery life, which was expected. The question here is not whether the Legion 7i is better (we all know that it is). What we really want to know is if the Lenovo 7i is worth an extra $230.

Lenovo Legion 7i (Image credit: Future)

In my opinion, if having a better-performing, thinner, lighter, Thunderbolt 3-possessing laptop with a brighter, more colorful 240Hz display isn’t your jam, then by all means, get the Legion 5i. I should also add that the Legion 7i also offered an average of 23 more frames on gaming benchmarks compared to its cheaper counterpart. Due to the significant upgrade in specs and performance, the Legion 7i is certainly worth the investment.

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About the Author: Chris Jenny

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