[In-Depth Comparison] Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) vs Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) – to “Pro” or not to “Pro”

The Legion series from Lenovo offers a small batch of devices that cover a lot of ground. With Legion being a gaming brand, obviously, the laptops are amazing at gaming. However, they can also serve a variety of different purposes, from content creation to handling other heavy workloads.

The nature of gaming hardware makes it fantastic for other tasks as well, and this is where the Legion 5 Pro comes in. It takes the great platform that the regular Legion 5 presents and beefs it up with better screens and other features to make it a fantastic content creator machine. Today we are comparing the regular Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) against the Legion 5 Pro (16″) to see if you really need the features that the Pro version offers.

Today we are giving you an in-depth comparison between the Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) and the Legion 5 Pro (16″).

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) configurations:

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) configurations:

Contents


Design and construction

The design of the laptops is similar, but there are some differences. The Legion 5 Pro has to accommodate for a larger screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so the dimensions are slightly different. The Legion 5 Pro also has a different-looking lid, with two stripes that give it a more aggressive look.

In terms of build materials, the Legion 5 is built entirely from plastic, while the Legion 5 Pro resorts to aluminum, leaving the device with an anodized finish. The design differences continue, with the Legion 5 getting a Legion and Lenovo wordmarks on the lid, while the 5 Pro has the Legion Y-logo on the lid, which a lot of people will for sure confuse with Mercedes’ silver star. Lastly, the dimensions are similar, with both laptops weighing around 2.40-2.45 kg, while the Legion 5 Pro is around a centimeter thicker.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Keyboard and touchpad

Both laptops use exactly the same keyboard layout. We found the regular Legion 5 to have a slightly longer key travel but either of them is good for both gaming and typing. It also gets a NumPad, large keycaps, especially the Arrow keys, and the choice between White, Blue, or a 4-zone RGB backlight.

The touchpads may seem similar, but they are different in size with the Legion 5 Pro boasting a larger surface area. Other than that, they both offer smooth gliding and accurate tracking, and while the Mylar surface isn’t as good as glass, it still offers smooth gliding and accurate tracking.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Ports

Both laptops cover a lot of ground with their I/O, having the same ports. The laptops have a total of four USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports, an HDMI 2.1 connector, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Spec sheet


Disassembly, upgrade options

The laptops are very easy to disassemble, being held together by 10 Phillips-head screws, which you have to remove. After that, pop the bottom panel with a plastic pry tool so as to not scratch and leave gashes on the panel. Both of the laptops offer a lot of upgradeability with two SODIMM RAM slots and two M.2 PCIe x4 drives.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Display quality

The Legion 5 is offered with three IPS display panels, all with a 15.6-inch diagonal, Full HD resolution, and either 60Hz, 120Hz, or 165Hz refresh rate. Our laptop came with the 165Hz option and it had a pixel density of 142 PPI, a pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm, and a Retina distance of 60cm or 24 inches (from this distance, the human eye cannot distinguish between individual pixels).

The Legion 5 Pro offers a singular IPS panel with a 16-inch resolution, QHD+ resolution, and a 165Hz refresh rate. The panel has a pixel density of 189 PPI, a pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm, and a Retina distance of 46cm or 18 inches.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)

Viewing angles are excellent on both laptops. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)

The panel of the Legion 5 presents a max brightness of 279 nits on the middle of the screen, 266 nits as an average for the entire display area, and a maximum deviation of 23% in the bottom left corner. The contrast ratio is good, sitting at 1190:1.

The Legion 5 Pro’s display presents higher max brightness of 506 nits in the middle of the screen, 488 nits as an average for the entire display area, and a much lower maximum deviation of 8%. The contrast ratio is a tad lower, 1140:1. Overall, the display is better suited for color-sensitive work, mainly because of the nonuniform luminance of the “regular” Legion 5.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)’s and Legion 5 Pro (16″)’s color gamut coverage.

Both displays show near-complete sRGB coverage, with 97% for the Legion 5 and 94% for the Legion 5 Pro.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Color accuracy

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” methods from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

Both laptops had a very fast response time, which was below 10 ms. However, the Legion 5 Pro had a faster Fall + Rise time of 7.4 ms.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Health Impact / PWM (Blue light)

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

In terms of flickering both panels show no usage of PWM across any brightness levels.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Here at LaptopMedia, we create a set of custom-tailored profiles for every notebook we review. They boost the productivity of display and reduce negative effects such as blue light emissions and PWM. You can read more about them here.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-NY8 (BOE0998): Buy our profiles

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) 16.0″ WQXGA IPS MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600): Buy our profiles

Sound

Both laptops have their speaker setups on the bottom, which isn’t the preferred option. On the Legion 5 laptop, the setup produces good audio with some deviations in the low frequencies. As for the Legion 5 Pro, its setup has no deviations across the entire frequency range, while also delivering loud and clear audio.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Battery

The way we conduct our battery tests is with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The Legion 5 Pro does have a bigger battery size of 80Wh, contrasting the 60Wh on the regular Legion 5. This did in fact matter, as the Legion 5 Pro had a 9% higher battery life in Web browsing and 33% higher battery life in Video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


Performance

Both laptops offer two Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000H-series of processors, with the Ryzen 5 5600H and the Ryzen 7 5800H being available. In terms of graphics, the Legion 5 offers a wide GPU selection, which consists of the GTX 1650, RTX 3050 (95W), RTX 3050 Ti (95W), RTX 3060 (130W), RTX 3070 (130W), with the Radeon RX 6600M, also being rumored to be available soon.

As for the Legion 5 Pro, it gets a much more streamlined GPU selection, consisting of the RTX 3060 (130W), RTX 3070 (140W), with the RTX 3050 Ti also being expected to be available.

CPU benchmarks

In our tests, we had the Ryzen 7 5800H and the Ryzen 5 5600H, so obviously, the Legion 5 was better. In the 3D Rendering test with Cinebench 20, the Ryzen 7 5800H scored 39% higher. As for the Photoshop benchmark, the scores were much closer, but still, the Ryzen 7 was 0.5 seconds faster, which is to be expected.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU benchmarks

With both laptops coming with the 130W version of the RTX 3060, comparing the performance is much easier. The GPUs traded blows in all of the tests, with the Legion 5 Pro performing 8% better in Unigine Heaven 4.0. The regular Legion 5 performed 2.49% and 0.2% better in 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Superposition, respectively.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) – RTX 3060 (130W) 154 fps 96 fps (+1%) 64 fps
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) – RTX 3060 (130W) 157 fps (+2%) 95 fps 64 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) – RTX 3060 (130W) 94 fps 82 fps 56 fps
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) – RTX 3060 (130W) 96 fps (+2%) 84 fps (+2%) 56 fps

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) – RTX 3060 (130W) 115 fps (+3%) 110 fps (+3%) 78 fps (+1%)
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) – RTX 3060 (130W) 112 fps 107 fps 77 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) 1831 MHz @ 75°C @ 129W 1815 MHz @ 80°C @ 129W
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) 1803 MHz @ 76°C @ 129W 1787 MHz @ 81°C @ 129W

The GPUs were very evenly matched both after 2 minutes and after 30 minutes of testing. The temperatures and frequencies were very close, with the Legion 5 device having a slightly higher clock speed and one degree lower temperature.

Gaming comfort

Surprisingly, the Legion 5 Pro had a way higher outside temperature of 53°C, nearly 12°C hotter than the regular Legion 5. The Pro was also quite noisier.

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)


Verdict

Both devices present a lot of value when it comes to their respective fields. The Legion 5 Pro absolutely crushes it with its design, utilizing an aluminum unibody construction and minimal branding. The laptop is incredibly sturdy and rigid, resisting even our hardest attempts to flex it. Both laptops utilize the same exact keyboard, touchpad, and I/O. The input devices are fantastic and the I/O is some of the widest that you’ll see from a laptop, although you won’t be able to attach an SD card.

Both laptops are also quite upgradeable, with both the RAM and storage being available for expansion. Moving to the displays, the Legion 5 Pro has the better panel. It has better luminance uniformity, maximum brightness, and a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is very effective in the productivity field. Not to mention the higher resolution.

The laptops offer similar performance in the GPU field, using the same graphics card. Since they came with different processors, we couldn’t actually compare the performance in the computational field.

Lastly, the cooling manages to be effective, with both laptops utilizing similar cooling setups. However, the comfort on the Legion 5 Pro was worse, with its keyboard reaching an outside temperature of above 50 degrees and the fans being quite noisy.

Lastly, which laptop should you choose? The answer is tied to what you want to do with it. Strictly for gaming, the regular Legion 5 does the same job, without costing some extra $$$. If you, however, are a graphics designer or a video editor and want a versatile gaming machine that also has a set of professional features and can absolutely double as a badass creativity notebook, the Legion 5 Pro is the notebook for you.

Why choose Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)?

  • + Lower price
  • + Better comfort during full load
  • + Rigid body, despite being made of plastic

Why choose Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)?

    • + Has an aluminum design
  • + High resolution, 16:10 display
  • + Longer battery life

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″): Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021) configurations:

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″) configurations:

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Ninad Kulkarni
Ninad Kulkarni
9 months ago

Thanks a lot for your ridiculously in-depth review! It answered all my questions and helped me make the right choice. Especially the comparison on cooling and quoting actual game FPS.
Cheers!

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