Lenovo Legion S7 notebook review
Lenovo has always been known for its huge portfolio of all sorts of computer equipment, especially standing out in the notebook lineup. We’ve told you many times about Legion gaming brand devices, and today we have another 2021 model on our review, which recently came to our test.
It is a Legion Slim 7 notebook based on Ryzen 5000 processors with H/HX index and discrete graphics from NVIDIA, which is positioned by the company as a gaming solution in a strict and relatively compact package weighing less than 2 kg. Prices for this series start from $1,770.
Specifically, our not the top-of-the-line test configuration with Full HD screen and SSD on 1TB should cost about 160-170 thousand, as the price for a similar configuration with 2K-display and SSD on 2TB .
OPTIONS, APPEARANCE AND CONNECTORS
The test model of the device comes in a flesh-colored cardboard box with the inscription LEGION on the whole surface of the front side. The outer package opens from the top and has a plastic handle for easy carrying.
Inside, the notebook and accessories are packed in a couple more boxes, secured by elastic foam and cardboard molds. In the long oblong box you will find a big enough power adapter for 230 watts and the power cord. And in the wide and thin box marked LEGION the manufacturer put the computer itself in a bag made of black non-woven material. Under the laptop you can also find an envelope with various documentation and warranty.
The appearance of Lenovo Legion Slim 7 is in the general style of the line Legion with its signature cover with an indentation from the back edge of the case. In addition, the manufacturer has made more rounded corners of the body, which give the design streamlined.
The case is made of aluminum in black matte finish. It’s hard to call this material practical, because it easily collects dust and fingerprints, which are difficult to wipe off even with a cloth. But the case is quite strong and well resists twisting or pressure. The lid of the notebook gives in only slightly when you put pressure with your finger in the center. On its edges, the manufacturer has placed a traditional metal nameplate with the inscription Lenovo, and in the opposite corner – the LEGION logo with a mirror surface. Opponents of rainbow backlighting can breathe easy because here the developers focused on the severity of the appearance of the device and gave up the color swag completely.
The thickness of the notebook body in its widest part without taking into account the rubber feet is 19 mm, length – 35.6 cm and width – 25.1 cm. The weight of the device is 1 kg and 915 grams, which for a gaming solution with powerful stuffing and a 15-inch screen is not much at all. But don’t forget that the power supply is rather big and heavy and together with the detachable network cable it weighs 871 grams. You’ll need this unit if you want to unleash the full performance potential of the system and charge the battery as fast as possible. But if you’re traveling and using your notebook for less demanding tasks, you’re better off carrying a 100 watt charger, which uses Type-C, takes up less space and simply weighs less. It is, however, you will have to look for and buy it separately.
As with all Legion laptops, the base of the Lenovo Legion S7 15ACH6 has a slightly longer case than the lid on top, and the hinge of the lid is slightly off the edge.
Where the case is wider, there are radiators underneath with elongated ribs to improve cooling. Air intake from the bottom is through a large grille, and heat dissipation from the case is through four large holes on the sides and rear. In addition, the indentation in the middle has handy port markings on the back of the notebook. They glow dimly in white light, making it easy to see which port is where even in total darkness around you.
On the back side there are the following interfaces: two USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 connectors and a connector for the branded power supply. On the left side is a 3.5mm minijack combo jack for wired headphones, microphones and headsets, as well as a card reader for full-fledged SD cards. On the right side is a reset button and a couple of USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 connectors with DisplayPort and Power Delivery support. There is no HDMI socket in the notebook, so you will have to get a hub with the necessary connectors or a cable. Although the hub seems to come with some top configurations.
On the front end of the notebook there is a handy ledge, for which the lid can be easily opened with one hand for 90 or 180 degrees with no effort.
The frames of the laptop are relatively small. The sides occupy only 3 mm, the top – from 6 to 8 mm, and at the bottom, with the inscription LEGION, as usual, the largest – 21 mm. Above the screen in the place of the frame extension is a WEB-camera with 720p resolution and a standard physical curtain for those who like to tape the camera. Microphone holes can be found on the frame from below.
SCREEN, USABILITY AND SOUND
The laptop is available with three 15.6-inch IPS display options: 1080p and 1440p at 165 Hz, as well as 4K at 60 Hz. The sample being tested got a 10-bit Full HD panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. The response time when switching from black to white and back is only 3 ms. The screen supports about 100% of the color gamut of sRGB.
The matrix has a peak brightness of 330 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 1150:1. Despite such a low brightness rating, there is support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision extended dynamic range standards. For the latter, there is even a pre-installed application that allows you to choose from several image mode profiles.
The surface of the screen is matte and has anti-reflective coating. Viewing angles are excellent, but normal readability on the street can certainly not under sunlight, only in the shade. The backlight of this sample turned out to be uneven, and on the black field you can see small highlights. In the test photos with slow shutter speed this effect is more noticeable than just by eye. The color rendering of the screen is at an excellent level.
The power button is located right in the middle above the keyboard and below the Legion logo on the screen frame. It has a round, flat shape. It has a built-in fingerprint sensor, and it works seamlessly and can be easily adjusted in Windows Hello settings. A LED ring surrounds the button. It glows white by default, which means that the laptop is in balanced mode. If you switch it to quiet or performance mode, the LED will glow blue or red, respectively.
The keyboard is recessed in the body of the device. It is full-size with a number block. The arrows are not affected – they are of normal size here, although a little lower than the rest of the keys.
The design of the keyboard keys uses a scissor-type mechanism, which provides a pleasant medium stroke with a good tactile response. When you type quickly, the keyboard does not sag – typing large texts on it is comfortable. For working in the evening the keyboard has a built-in white backlight, which has two levels of brightness. Changing the brightness and switching off the backlight is made by pressing the FN+Space combination in turn.
The touch panel is quite large. Its dimensions are 120 by 75 mm. Your fingers can easily slide over the touchpad, thanks to the use of glass as the material. The lower corners are squeezed and imitate the main buttons of the mouse with a rather pleasant and short click.
The Lenovo Legion S7 15ACH6 has two 2W speakers for sound. For the tuning was responsible specialists from Harman. The speakers sound decent. No bass is expected, but the volume reserve is good. For watching videos on the Internet and movies on the road they will do, and you can play music in the background.
To adjust the sound there is an application Nahimic, which allows you to adjust not only the sound of the speakers, but also in any connected speakers and headphones, whether wired or wireless.
THE CONTENTS, THE BATTERY, THE OPERATION AND THE TESTS
The Lenovo Legion Slim 7 that came to us for testing is based on the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX 7nm processor running at 3.3GHz. The processor is 8-core and runs at 16 threads, with 16 MB of Layer 3 cache and a maximum frequency of 4.6 GHz. Two video adapters are responsible for the graphics in this gaming laptop. For non-gaming loads, the AMD Radeon VEGA graphics core integrated into the processor with a maximum frequency of 2.1 GHz and 512 MB memory allocated by default is responsible by default. In situations where more powerful graphics are needed, NVIDIA Optimus technology takes over and switches the notebook to discrete graphics mode. Specifically, this sample has an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop card with 6GB of GDDR6 memory and TGP 100W.
The laptop got 32GB of DDR4-3200 MHz memory running in dual-channel mode. One 16 GB are soldered on the motherboard, and the other is in the expansion slot. It is possible to expand the memory replacing the 16 GB module with a 32 GB module which together with the unsoldered memory gives a total of 48 GB. The role of the internal storage in the test sample was performed by a 1 TB NVMe SSD by SKHynix (HFS001TDE9X084N). It is also possible to install a second drive in a free M.2 slot.
Wireless connectivity is provided by a dual-band Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650x (802.11ax) module, which also supports Bluetooth version 5.0 connectivity. It is installed in a separate M.2 slot on the laptop’s board and can be easily replaced if needed.
In the Lenovo Vantage application, which is already installed on this laptop, the developers allow you to choose between three temperature modes:
Performance mode – here, fan speed and power consumption are increased, but without external power, this mode still doesn’t work at its maximum capacity.
Balanced mode – the system automatically adjusts the fans and overall performance with average power consumption.
Quiet Mode – In this mode, the notebook operates with reduced performance and low fan speed with low power consumption.
There is also a switch to automatically change to a performance mode when you start games and then return after quitting them.
They can also be switched by alternately pressing Fn+Q.
The battery life can be prolonged by limiting battery charge to as little as 60 percent.
The notebook comes with a 4-cell lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 4460 mAh, 71Wh, 15.36V. A full charge is enough for 6-8 hours in silent mode for everyday use (surfing the Internet, working with documents, watching videos and listening to music) at maximum screen brightness. Under load the notebook will last about 1-1,5 hours.
With maximum performance, like all gaming laptops, the system works only when the power is connected. The fast charging feature allows you to charge the battery by 50% in half an hour. USB-C connectors support charging up to 100W. Adapters like this are much smaller than a packaged adapter and are great for taking with you on the road, unless of course you need maximum performance while traveling.
In default (balance) standard mode, the NWiNFO64 shows the following average temperatures:
CPU – 48 °C.
Radeon VEGA – 47 °C
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop – not active
SKHynix HFS001TDE9x084N 1TB – 34 °C
The speed of the drive in Crystal Disk Mark was 3292 mb/s read and 3009 mb/s write. AS SDD benchmark was more modest as usual with 2,637 mb/s read and 2,325 mb/s write. Maximum SSD temperature under load reached 44°C.
The laptop’s CPU heated up to 101°C under long max load tests, and the average temperature under load was kept at 84°C. In the multi-threaded Cinebench R23 test, the CPU was able to score 12,970 points and the average frequency was kept at around 3.9 GHz. In the single-threaded CPU was able to earn 1,474 points with an average operating frequency of 3.6 to 4.3 GHz.
In graphics tests, the RTX 3060 Laptop performed well, but the GPU heated up quite a bit. The maximum temperature reached 89 degrees in games, and the average temperature under load was kept at 70 degrees.
The case heats up a lot in the central part, and the keyboard is not very pleasant to use because of that.
All tests were mostly Full HD resolution in the system performance mode with the power connected:
In the Superposition benchmark test on the Unigine 2 engine in 1080p mode on extreme settings, the system showed 27 to 47 frames, while in optimized mode in 4K the GPU was able to show 40 to 58 frames.
In China’s Boundary test with ray tracing at 1080p resolution, the laptop was able to get an average of 113 frames per second with DLSS in ultra-performance mode. In quality mode at the same settings, the average FPS was 49.
In the Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition benchmark, the laptop was able to earn 7,761 points and a score of “High” on high graphics settings at Full HD resolution, and 5,746 points and “Fairly High” at 2K. At 4K, it was only able to earn 3,382 points, which earned it a “Standard” rating.
In the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker performance test, it managed to get a very high score when running at max settings in 1080p. The laptop was able to earn 15721 points and a score of “Extremely High.”
The system was also tested in in-game tests of Forza Horizon 5, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Gears 5 at full HD resolution:
The fresh race from Playground at very high graphics settings was able to produce an average of 73 FPS in Full HD.
Gears 5 on ultra settings with the ultra texture pack installed averaged 69 FPS in 1080p.
The in-game benchmark RDR2 was run on ultra settings with TAA and averaged 59 FPS in Full HD.
Next, we tested the notebook’s performance in Full HD resolution at maximum graphics settings directly during gameplay:
To start with, we ran Doom Eternal on the “Absolute Nightmare” graphics settings with ray tracing and with DLSS anti-aliasing in “Quality” mode. The “Texture Memory Size” parameter had to be lowered to the “High” setting because it consumes the most video memory. The average frame rate in this fast-paced shooter on the third level of “Sectarian Asylum” was kept at 130 frames per second.
The second was Control by Remedy. We ran the project at maximum graphics settings with RTX, DLSS and 720p rendering resolution. At these settings the picture on the laptop screen looked great, and the average frame rate in complex battle scenes was kept at 66 frames.
Last we tested Cyberpunk 2077 at maximum settings with RTX and DLSS in auto mode. We got an average of 42 frames while traveling around the Watson area by car and 38 FPS within the Malström base in the “Overthrow of Malström” mission.
As for noise figures, the laptop is virtually inaudible in quiet mode with a room noise level of 20-30 dB. With heavy loads the powerful cooling starts to work and the device becomes noisy. The average noise level under load is 44-46 dB, which is within the norm for gaming laptops.
Overall, the Lenovo Legion Slim 7 left a pleasant impression during use. Its fairly compact size and weight combined with good gaming performance make it a very powerful mobile device. However, the impression is spoiled by the huge power supply, which in a package for such a lot of money has no alternative for trivial tasks (you will have to buy something more compact separately).
If you want to connect your notebook to the monitor you will also need a hub or an appropriate wire, because there is no place for a standard HDMI connector. But there is room for a card reader, which people who work with photo and video content will appreciate. They will also like the screen with excellent color rendering out of the box.
In more expensive models, you can choose a similar screen with 2K resolution, and in top versions there are even 4K-panels with the declared brightness of 500 nits and 100% coverage of the color space ARGB. Naturally, for this you will have to pay a sum approaching 200 thousand, which not everyone can afford