Introducing the Lenovo Legion 9i, the much-anticipated successor to the Legion Pro 7i, designed to cater to users who yearned for the return of higher-end features like rear RGB lighting and 2.5 GB Ethernet. This iteration not only brings back those coveted features but also introduces new elements, such as liquid cooling and a mini LED display. In this detailed exploration, we will delve into the various aspects of the Legion 9i, assessing its design, display, keyboard, and the innovative cooling solutions incorporated to maintain optimal performance.
Design and Build Quality:
Lenovo has meticulously expanded its Legion lineup, providing users with more options and features to choose from. While some may perceive this as a strategy to extract more money, it is important to recognize that these additions aim to cater to diverse user preferences and needs. The 9i model, in particular, brings back several high-end features that were absent in its predecessor, providing users with a more comprehensive and customizable gaming experience.
The Legion 9i boasts a mini LED display, a feature reminiscent of other high-end laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 and Scar 16. The 16.3-inch display offers a resolution of 3200 by 2000 pixels, providing users with a crisp and immersive visual experience.
However, the introduction of RGB lighting throughout the laptop, including along the back, may be polarizing for some users. While Legions have traditionally been appreciated for their discreet and low-key aesthetics, the 9i embraces a more vibrant and illuminated design. Nevertheless, users have the flexibility to set the lighting to a single color or turn it off entirely, catering to a spectrum of preferences.
The laptop features an all-metal casing with a recycled aluminum chassis, ensuring both durability and sustainability. The top cover, crafted from forged carbon fiber, may elicit mixed reactions due to its divisive appearance. Despite its unconventional aesthetics, the material feels pleasant to touch and effectively resists fingerprint smudges. The remainder of the casing comprises aluminum, while the bottom incorporates a magnesium-aluminum alloy, contributing to an overall premium build.
Keyboard and Ergonomics:
The Legion 9i hosts a keyboard with 1.5 millimeters of key travel, offering a tactile and comfortable typing experience. Each key is equipped with per-key RGB lighting, providing users with customization options. While the absence of a mechanical keyboard may disappoint users who prioritize this feature, the Legion 9i compensates with a well-designed and responsive keyboard.
However, the positioning of the keyboard is slightly shifted downward, accompanied by a truncated wrist rest area and a comparatively smaller trackpad. While this adjustment maintains ergonomic comfort to a certain extent, it may require users to acclimate to the repositioned trackpad.
The strategic shift in keyboard placement serves a dual purpose—it accommodates a well-lit power button and facilitates enhanced cooling in the area. Cooling is a focal point in the Legion 9i, with Lenovo implementing not only a vapor chamber but also a sealed liquid cooling system co-engineered with Cooler Master.
This innovative approach seeks to maintain efficient thermal management while ensuring a slim and lightweight design. The liquid cooling system activates when the CPU temperature reaches 87 degrees Celsius, the GPU hits 84 degrees Celsius, or the VRAM temperature reaches 87 degrees Celsius.
Performance and Cooling Solutions:
The Legion 9i’s performance is underpinned by an Intel 13th generation K series overclockable processor, positioning it at the high end of gaming laptops. Users can leverage performance modes, tweak GPU overclocking settings, and enjoy the benefits of a sophisticated cooling system. In the performance mode, the fans are audible but not overly loud, ensuring an effective balance between thermal management and noise levels. Switching to the balance mode further mitigates fan noise, making it a more subdued and manageable acoustic experience.
The effectiveness of the liquid cooling system is evident in its ability to kick in when temperatures warrant intervention. The liquid pump initiates cooling when the CPU temperature hits 87 degrees Celsius, the GPU reaches 84 degrees Celsius, or the VRAM temperature ascends to 87 degrees Celsius. This proactive cooling approach ensures that the Legion 9i maintains optimal temperatures during demanding tasks and extended gaming sessions.
In short, the Lenovo Legion 9i stands as a testament to Lenovo’s commitment to providing users with a comprehensive gaming laptop that addresses a spectrum of preferences. From a vibrant mini LED display to RGB lighting options and innovative cooling solutions, the Legion 9i caters to the evolving needs of the gaming community.
While the design choices, such as the placement of RGB lighting, may not resonate with every user, the laptop’s overall build quality, keyboard comfort, and cutting-edge cooling technologies make it a formidable contender in the high-end gaming laptop market. As always, individual preferences will play a pivotal role in the decision-making process, but for those seeking a feature-rich and performance-driven gaming laptop, the Legion 9i stands as a commendable choice in Lenovo’s Legion lineup.
The Lenovo Legion 9i is a gaming laptop that excels not only in performance but also in thermals, design, and features. As we delve into the intricacies of this high-end device, we’ll explore its internal components, design choices, cooling solutions, and additional perks that make it stand out in the competitive gaming laptop market.
Performance and Thermals:
The Legion 9i impresses with its stellar thermal performance during gaming sessions. Throughout 2023, advancements in cooling technology for both AMD and Intel processors have been notable, and this laptop is no exception. Leveraging three onboard fans, the Legion 9i effectively manages heat, contributing to an overall superior gaming experience. While the Legion Pro 7i remains one of the most performant laptops, the 9i’s performance aligns with its predecessor while introducing a host of new bells and whistles.
Video card options include the RTX 480 or 490, both featuring 175 Watts. The powerhouse within is the 13980 HK Intel 13th generation CPU, a top-tier processor providing the processing power necessary for demanding gaming tasks. RAM options are available with two slots, supporting either 5600 or 6400 MHz DDR5 RAM.
The downside is that the RAM is situated on the other side of the motherboard, requiring disassembly for post-purchase upgrades. Lenovo offers configurations with 32 or 64 gigs of RAM. Storage is plentiful with two M.2 SSD slots supporting PCIe 4, showcasing some of the fastest speeds available. In our higher-end configuration, two 1TB SSDs contribute to a robust storage solution. The ability to upgrade the SSD yourself adds a layer of accessibility to the Legion 9i’s impressive hardware lineup.
Charging and Power Solutions:
A noteworthy inclusion is the 330W Gan charger that accompanies the Legion 9i, offering a compact and lighter alternative to traditional chargers. This is particularly advantageous during intense gaming sessions or resource-heavy tasks like 4K video editing and 3D rendering. The laptop also comes with a 140W USB-C charger, offering a more portable option for users not engaging in heavy-duty tasks. Lenovo’s commitment to providing both options ensures flexibility for users based on their specific needs and scenarios.
Pricing and Configurations:
Pricing for the Legion 9i starts at $3,420 with the RTX 3080, a figure that may fluctuate given Lenovo’s pricing dynamics. For an additional $520, users can opt for the RTX 490, but the RTX 480 is likely to be the sweet spot for many users, providing excellent value. Lenovo’s customizable ordering process allows users to choose RAM capacity, SSD size, and more, ensuring a tailored gaming experience.
Display and Connectivity:
The Legion 9i boasts a display that supports G-Sync, HDR 1000, and features a matte finish, adhering to the gaming laptop standards. The HDR1000 capability, while challenging to measure accurately, offers a visually stunning experience. However, users may notice some PWM in our videos, indicating a lower megahertz range. The display is complemented by advanced Optimus for seamless graphics switching, though a reboot is required for changes. Connectivity is robust, featuring two Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB-A, USB-C, 2.5 GB Ethernet, a full-size SD card slot, HDMI 2.1, and Wi-Fi 6E.
Design and Biometrics:
The Legion 9i’s design features an all-metal casing with a forged carbon fiber top cover. While opinions on the top cover’s appearance may vary, its tactile feel and resistance to fingerprints add to its appeal. The keyboard, offering 1.5 millimeters of key travel and per-key RGB lighting, delivers a comfortable typing experience. A notable design choice is the strategic shift in keyboard placement, accommodating enhanced cooling in that area. The inclusion of a fingerprint scanner in the power button adds a layer of biometric security, a feature not universally available in gaming laptops.
Audio and Speakers:
Gaming laptops have historically struggled with audio quality, but the Legion 9i seeks to address this with two 2-watt Harmon stereo speakers and Hemic audio. While not upfiring, these speakers deliver reasonably good audio, including some bass. While clarity and projection could be improved, the speakers provide an enjoyable auditory experience, contributing to the overall gaming immersion.
In essence, the Lenovo Legion 9i emerges as a formidable player in the high-end gaming laptop arena. Its commitment to performance, innovative cooling solutions, customizable configurations, and additional perks like the compact Gan charger showcase Lenovo’s dedication to providing a comprehensive gaming experience.
While design choices and pricing dynamics may be subjective, the Legion 9i’s combination of powerful hardware, thoughtful features, and user flexibility positions it as a compelling choice for gamers seeking a top-tier gaming laptop. As individual preferences play a significant role in choosing a gaming laptop, the Legion 9i presents a robust and competitive option in the ever-evolving landscape of gaming technology.
Diving into our gaming benchmarks, the Lenovo Legion 9i exceeded expectations, delivering impressive performance. It’s noteworthy to mention that our tests were conducted at a QHD+ resolution, featuring a 16:10 aspect ratio display. This choice was made to align with the industry standard, as most gaming laptops on the market boast QHD or QHD+ resolutions, specifically 2560 by 1600 or 2560 by 1440. This ensures a level playing field for comparative analysis against other reviewed competitors.
In our pursuit of a comprehensive evaluation, we also ran a few benchmarks at the full 3200 by 2000 resolution. Surprisingly, the Legion 9i demonstrated its capability to handle this resolution effectively. Unless engaged in professional competitive gaming, where frame rates hold paramount importance, the laptop managed admirably.
Whether achieving 96 frames per second in games like CS:GO or 20 frames per second in more graphically demanding titles like Red Dead Redemption, the 9i exhibited versatility. The choice between resolutions ultimately boils down to personal preference, with the higher resolution offering enhanced visual fidelity and a more immersive gaming experience. While some may argue that a 16-inch display might render such a high-resolution overkill, the discernable difference and improved visuals make it a worthwhile choice.
Moving on to the laptop’s internals, the bottom cover is crafted from a magnesium-aluminum alloy, providing durability and effective heat dissipation. The ventilation design is evident, ensuring optimal cooling for sustained gaming sessions. To access the internals, removing the cover is a straightforward process involving Phillips head screws and a plastic pry tool. Starting from the back simplifies the removal, exposing the internals for further exploration.
Within the Legion 9i’s chassis lies a robust 99.9 Wh battery, ensuring extended gaming sessions without frequent recharging. Speaker drivers are positioned nearby, contributing to the laptop’s audio performance. The laptop incorporates a free fan system on the display, enhancing thermal management. Under the removable cover, secured by Phillips head screws, reside the two SSD slots. In our configuration, which features two 1TB SSDs, the laptop delivers remarkable speeds, standing out as one of the fastest in this regard. However, caution is advised when dealing with the cover, as it is affixed with glue to ribbon cables.
Examining the internals further, the Wi-Fi card is conveniently located, supporting Intel Wi-Fi 6E with Bluetooth capabilities. To access components such as the vapor chamber or RAM slots, a more intricate process is required. Removing the motherboard becomes necessary, a task that may deter those seeking user-friendly upgradability. Notably, upgrading RAM post-purchase involves this intricate process, emphasizing the importance of selecting an optimal RAM configuration during the initial purchase.
In conclusion, the Lenovo Legion 9i for 2023 stands out as a commendable gaming laptop, offering an array of features for enthusiasts seeking top-tier performance. Lenovo has successfully incorporated all the bells and whistles, ensuring that users do not feel the need to compromise when compared to competing brands such as Alienware, Asus, or MSI. The laptop’s pricing, though likely to raise eyebrows in the context of 2023’s inflation, remains competitive within the gaming laptop market. Comparable to machines like the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 and Alienware counterparts, the Legion 9i presents a justifiable price point for its feature-rich offerings.
For fans of the Legion series who appreciate a mini LED display, extensive RGB customization, a metal chassis, faster Ethernet, liquid cooling, and a machine that strikes a balance between performance and temperature management, the Legion 9i emerges as a compelling choice. Despite the challenges posed by the pricing landscape in 2023, Lenovo’s Legion 9i showcases its commitment to delivering a gaming laptop that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of discerning gamers.
Lenovo Legion 9i (2023)