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Business News/ Technology / Tech Reviews/  Lenovo Legion Go review: A bold leap into handheld PC gaming, but is it a smooth landing?
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Lenovo Legion Go review: A bold leap into handheld PC gaming, but is it a smooth landing?

The Lenovo Legion Go is for everyone. You can game, work, view content, add more display and do much more with it, but how does it perform in these situations. Find out with us in our detailed review of what might be the future of handheld gaming devices.

The Lenovo Legion Go is much more than a gaming device.Premium
The Lenovo Legion Go is much more than a gaming device.

Hold onto your controllers and pause your games, folks, because Lenovo's Legion Go is here to shake up the handheld gaming scene. This ain't your average portable console; it's a full-fledged Windows gaming PC crammed into a device that fits (somewhat snugly) in your hands.

Think of it as the lovechild of a Nintendo Switch and a gaming laptop, with a dash of Lenovo's own brand of tech wizardry sprinkled in. It's a bold move, aiming to satisfy those who crave high-performance gaming without being tethered to a desk. But does it deliver? Let's dive in and find out if the Legion Go is a win for gamers, tech aficionados, and anyone who wants to take their PC gaming on the road.

Specifications of the Lenovo Legion Go:

Specification

Details

Display8.8-inch WQXGA touchscreen, 144Hz refresh rate
ProcessorAMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme
RAM16GB
Storage512GB SSD
ColourShadow Black
AudioStereo speakers
ConnectivityTwo USB4 40Gbps ports
ControlsCustomizable gaming controllers with 24 on-gamepad controls
CameraIntegrated high-resolution camera
DesignSleek and portable, weighs under 1 Kg

How is the design and build quality of the Lenovo Legion Go?

Pulling the Legion Go from its box, you're immediately struck by its size. This isn't any pocket-sized plaything. It's a hefty handheld, measuring about 11.8 x 5.15 x 1.61 inches and weighing in at around 840 grams. Think of it as the linebacker of the handheld world—imposing, yet with a certain athletic charm.

The design is a blend of familiarity and innovation. The Joy-Con-esque detachable controllers feel right at home for Switch veterans, while the matte black shell and RGB lighting accents add a touch of futuristic flair. But it's not all style; the textured back and strategically placed grips make it surprisingly comfortable to hold, even during marathon gaming sessions.

Controllers that actually work

Lenovo didn't skimp on the controls. The buttons are responsive and satisfying to press, and the joysticks feel precise. The placement of the buttons and triggers is intuitive, making it easy to jump into a game without fumbling around. A unique feature is the rear trackpad or the scroll wheel, perfect for navigating Windows or aiming in FPS games—though it takes a bit of getting used to.

An attention demanding display to feast your eyes

The 8.8-inch IPS display is the star of the show. With a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a 144Hz refresh rate, it delivers visuals that will keep you hooked to the game you are playing. Colours pop, details are sharp, and motion is buttery smooth. No matter what you are doing in your virtual world, the Legion Go's display is a treat for the eyes. The touch responsive display feels smooth to use without leaving many smudges or fingerprints. There's just one minor gripe, though: the display's peak brightness could be higher. While it's fine indoors, you might struggle to see clearly under direct sunlight.

The Lenovo Legion Go is much more than a gaming device.
View Full Image
The Lenovo Legion Go is much more than a gaming device.

How does the Lenovo Legion GO perform?

Lenovo's gone all-in with the Legion Go's guts, packing in AMD's Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip and a generous 16GB of RAM. This means it's got the muscle to flex on most AAA titles, at least in theory. In reality, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Far Cry 4 and eFootball ran like a dream at 1080p max settings, consistently hitting those sweet high frame rates of 75-80. But then there was Halo Infinite, chugging along at a less-than-ideal 45-50 FPS, even at 1080p.

And let's not even talk about the Valorant debacle – it was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We tried playing Valorant with the FPS mode on and FPS mode off, but the game just did not respond completely. We were getting around 80–90 FPS, but what good are FPS if one can’t move around. I tried Saints Row on 1080 high settings, and I must say that it was a refreshing and surprisingly pleasing experience. I experienced constant 60–65 FPS in the game, even during high intensity moments.

Furthermore, I know what you guys might be thinking, did he not play GTA V? How can one not play GTA V while reviewing a gaming device. Yes, the game is more than 10 years old, and almost optimised for even a budget laptop, but still remains as the benchmark for gaming devices. The Lenovo Legion Go did not disappoint, I got 80-90 FPS in GTA V while playing at 1080 High settings, the FPS dropped to 50-55 while gaming on 2K settings, but there was no lag, or frame drops.

Battery: Enough juice for a sprint, not a marathon

Lenovo claims up to 4 hours of battery life, but let's be real, that's only if you're playing Solitaire. If you are thinking that you will go on a gaming spree without needing a charger, hear me out. In my experience, with graphics-intensive games, you're looking at closer to 1.5-2 hours before you're scrambling for a charger. That's enough for a quick gaming session on the train or a coffee shop break, but not for those epic all-nighters. You will need to be plugged into your charger if you are planning on going for rank push, or trying new a game that you have been excited about for too long. The good news is that the Legion Go charges in 1-1.5 hours, and the games also bring out more FPS on average when the device is plugged into the bundled 65W charger. Plus, when plugged in, you can crank up the performance without worrying about draining the battery faster than a thirsty vampire at a blood bank. So, if you're gaming at home or have a power source nearby, you're golden. However, if you're using the device for entertainment, you can experience better battery life with 2.5-3 hours of battery backup. Still not enough to watch through an entire season, but good enough to consume something while you travel.

Also Read: Best tablets to play Zenless Zone Zero: Choose from top 8 gaming tablet options for maximum performance and mobility

What is the software, and how is the user experience of Lenovo Legion Go?

The Legion Go runs on Windows 11, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's the same trustworthy operating system you're probably used to, so there's no learning curve when it comes to navigating the desktop, launching apps, or tinkering with settings. On the other hand, Windows 11 isn't exactly optimised for a handheld experience. It feels a bit clunky and oversized on the 8.8-inch screen. Icons and text can be tiny, making it difficult to hit the right button with your sausage fingers.

Lenovo has tried to mitigate this with their Legion Space software, which acts as a game launcher and overlay. It's a decent attempt to streamline the experience, but it still feels like a band-aid solution rather than a fully integrated experience. Navigating the Legion Go's interface can be a bit of a mixed bag. The touchscreen is responsive, and the detachable controllers offer additional control options. However, some elements feel like they were designed for a mouse and keyboard, making them awkward to use with a controller or touchscreen.

The software experience is usable, but not perfect. It's clear that Lenovo is still working out the kinks of bringing Windows 11 to a handheld format. But for those willing to put up with a few quirks, the flexibility of having a full-fledged PC in your hands is hard to beat.

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The Lenovo Legion Go is much more than a gaming device.
View Full Image
The Lenovo Legion Go is much more than a gaming device.

What are the other additional features of the Lenovo Legion Go?

Storage: Room for all your loot

The Legion Go comes in two storage versions: a 512GB or a 1TB option. Our test unit was the 512GB model, which is still plenty of space for a decent library of games and media. If you're a digital hoarder, the 1TB version will be your best friend. Plus, there's a microSD card slot for expandable storage, so you can always add more room for your digital goodies. We tried a 1TB microSD card in our variant, and worked well. You can also connect your own SSDs and hard drives to the device and enjoy your pre-installed games from where you left.

Also Read: Enjoy every detail and colour with the best 4K monitor: Top 6 choices for your gaming and creativity tasks

Connectivity: All the right connections (Almost)

When it comes to ports, the Legion Go is fairly well-equipped. It's got two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and that handy microSD card slot we mentioned. Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E ensure you can connect your favourite wireless accessories and stay connected to the online world. The USB-C ports are USB 4.0 supporting faster data transfers, and device recognition. The only things missing are an HDMI port and a USB-A port, but that's not a dealbreaker for a handheld. However, these ports could open the possibilities of using an external keyboard or display without relying on a USB docking station. I connected a USB-C keyboard to the Legion Go and tried working. The OS and keyboard response was good, but the screen size can be an inconvenience for people planning to get some work done on that.

Also Read: Best Lenovo monitors for work, creativity and gaming: Top 7 options for all round performance

Audio: Pump up the volume (But not too much)

The Legion Go's speakers are surprisingly decent for a handheld. They get loud enough to fill a small room, and the sound quality is clear and crisp. However, don't expect audiophile-level performance here. The bass is lacking, and at higher volumes, the sound can get a bit distorted. Still, it's good enough for most gaming sessions, especially if you're wearing headphones. Users with high quality headphones can have a completely different experience on the handheld. Every minor detail in the audio could be heard, and no action was missed. However, relying on them for an immersive experience will be wrong on the user’s part.

Reasons to buy and Reasons to avoid the Lenovo Legion Go:

Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Powerful performance for most AAA games at 1080pLarge and bulky for a handheld device
Stunning 8.8-inch 2560 x 1600 displayBattery life struggles with demanding games
Comfortable and ergonomic detachable controllers2K display underutilized due to GPU limitations
Innovative features like kickstand and trackpadOccasional software quirks with specific games
Expansive storage options up to 1TB with expandable microSD slotPremium price point might not be accessible for all budgets

Questions to ask yourself before buying the Lenovo Legion Go:

Am I willing to sacrifice portability for power?

The Legion Go is larger and heavier than other handhelds, so consider if you're comfortable with its size and weight for on-the-go gaming.

How important is battery life to me?

If you're planning long gaming sessions away from an outlet, the Legion Go's battery life might not be sufficient.

Do I primarily play games that run well on the Legion Go?

Check if your favourite games are compatible and run smoothly at 1080p, as some might not perform optimally or have compatibility issues.

Is the 2K display a priority for me?

The Legion Go's 2K display is impressive, but its full potential might not be realised due to the limitations of the integrated GPU. Consider if this is a dealbreaker for you.

Am I comfortable with the price point?

The Legion Go is a premium device with a price tag to match. Determine if the features and performance justify the cost for your needs and budget.

Also Read: Best external monitors for laptops: Top 9 options to consider for smooth multitasking

Lenovo Legion Go: A handheld PC that doesn't quite nail the landing

The Lenovo Legion Go is a fascinating device that pushes the boundaries of what a handheld gaming device can be. Its ambition to provide a full-fledged PC gaming experience on the go is admirable, and it mostly succeeds. The Legion Go shines with its powerful performance, gorgeous display, and comfortable controls. It's a testament to what's possible when you pack a PC's guts into a portable form factor. However, it's not without its flaws.

The size and weight can be cumbersome, the battery life leaves something to be desired, and the software experience isn't as polished as one would hope. Still, it's a compelling option for a specific niche of gamers, and we can only expect better with the regular updates coming in.

So, who should consider the Legion Go? If you're a PC gamer who craves the freedom to play your favourite titles on the go, and you're willing to overlook its quirks, then the Legion Go might just be your perfect match. But if you're a casual gamer looking for a lightweight and portable device, or someone who values long battery life above all else, you might want to look elsewhere.

The Lenovo Legion Go isn't perfect, but it's a step in the right direction for handheld PC gaming. It's a device that will appeal to those who want to push the boundaries of portable gaming, even if it means carrying a little extra weight. And hey, who doesn't love a gadget that transforms into a mini-PC? Just remember to pack your charger.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Boudhaditya Sanyal
I am a tech expert and seasoned writer specializing in gadget reviews and tech trends. I cover the latest advancements in the world of gadgets, appliances and AI. My passion is to simplify complex technology, and ensuring everyone can keep up with the fast-paced digital world, making technology accessible to all.
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Published: 08 Jul 2024, 05:52 PM IST
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