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Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021) review – vapor chamber is the way to go

In 2021 there are a lot of gaming laptops. Some are equipped with Intel CPUs, others with AMD. But the biggest confusion this year was made by NVIDIA. They have announced their RTX 3000 mobile graphics cards in January, and ever since, we have been baffled by how many iterations each model has. All of them – separated by the difference in TGP.

So, the most sought off devices come with the highest TGPs. In the case of the Legon 7 this year, Lenovo was very confident. Not only do the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 come in 130W and 140W variants, respectively. But the top tier model – the one that comes with the RTX 3080, has a TGP of 165W. Well, the manufacturer clearly has something in its sleeve, right?

Right! Similarly to last year’s model, this year’s device is equipped with a vapor chamber. This is a cooling solution, which is far more capable than the traditional heat pipe system.

In addition to that, another pleasant change can be seen – the move from a 15-inch, to a 16-inch display, and one that has an aspect ratio of 16:10. This gives its users more vertical space to work with. However, this is nearly not all about it. Furthermore, it has a 2560 x 1600 resolution, supports G-Sync, HDR 400, Dolby Vision, and has a refresh rate of 165Hz.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-legion-7-16/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021) review – vapor chamber is the way to go - Specs

  • MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600)
  • Color accuracy  3.5  1.3
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 4000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Home, No OS, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 80Wh
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 356 x 261 x 20.1 - 23.5 mm (14.02" x 10.28" x 0.79")
  • Weight
  • 2.50 kg (5.5 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.1
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Nahimic Audio, HARMAN, Smart AMP
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • E-Camera shutter

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 300W charger, and some Legion stickers.


Design and construction

As you can tell, the specs sheet is impressive-enough by itself. However, you shouldn’t write off its design. Ultimately, it’s very familiar, if you happen to own a Legion laptop. On the other hand, the device is made entirely out of aluminum, and its structure is as rigid as it can get. In terms of weight, we are talking about 2.50 kg, while the profile sits between 20.1 and 23.5mm. There are a couple of interesting things about the design. For example, the Legion logo glows up, and the port indicators on the back of the machine light up as well.

Naturally, its lid can be opened easily with a single hand, and the hinges feel smooth. We were impressed by the thin profile of the bezels around the matte display. And unlike some competitor devices, like most of the ROG lineup, this model has an HD Web camera.

Now, the base of the laptop features a pretty big keyboard. It packs a NumberPad and super large Arrow keys. Although it has an RGB backlight, and clicky feedback, we found the key travel to be a bit short. In this regard, the Legion 5 and Legion 5 Pro seem to have a better unit. Other than that, there is little-to-no keyboard flex, while the glass touchpad offers an extremely comfortable gliding and tracking experience.

Here is where we want to mention that once again Lenovo relies on key combinations to toggle between different modes. For instance – press the Function and “Q” keys to switch between three performance presets. And if you press the Function and “R” keys, you will toggle through 60 and 165Hz modes for the display.

Looking at the bottom panel we see a pretty large ventilation grill and two speaker cutouts. As for the hot air, it comes out of the machine through two vents on the back, and one on each side of the laptop.


Ports

On the left side of the notebook, there is a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an audio jack. Switch sides, and you will find a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a camera shutter switch. so far so good, but most of the ports are located on the back. There, you can see an RJ-45 connector, another USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, three USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, an HDMI 2.1 connector, and the power plug.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To take this laptop apart, you first need to remove the bottom panel. Undo 10 Phillips-head screws, and pry the panel out of your way.

Inside, we see an 80Wh battery pack.

There are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage upgrades. Memory-wise, you get two SODIMM slots, hidden beneath a metal shroud. The slots support up to 64GB in total and work in dual-channel mode.

Lastly, we have the pinnacle of cooling systems. This device is equipped with a vapor chamber, and as many as four heat sinks.


Display quality

Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021) in the configuration we tested has a 165Hz WQXGA panel – MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600). Its diagonal is 16 inches (40.6 cm), and the resolution is 2560 х 1600 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:10, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 189 ppi, and a pitch of 0.13 х 0.13 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 46cm (18″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

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

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 506 nits in the middle of the screen and 491 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 8%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6400K – slightly warmer than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the main display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is very good – 1170:1.

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 7 (16″, 2021)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 98% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

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 compare the scores of Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

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

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 8 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


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.

Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness at any point. This means it is comfortable for long gaming sessions without harming your eyes in this aspect.


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

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021) configurations with 16″ WQXGA IPS MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021)’s Harman speakers produce a very good quality sound. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear, and the graphics below show a distinct rise in the highs.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/legion-series/legion-7-16achg6/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with 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. This laptop’s 80Wh battery pack lasts for 6 hours and 17 minutes of Web browsing, and 5 hours and 50 minutes of video playback.

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


CPU options

This device comes with either the Ryzen 7 5800H or the Ryzen 9 5900HX. Very similar, yet different 8-core/16-thread processors.


GPU options

When it comes to graphics, the device can be paired with pretty powerful solutions. You get the RTX 3060 with 130W TGP, RTX 3070 with 140W TGP, and the RTX 3080 with 165W TGP.


Gaming tests

Borderlands 3Full HD, V.Low (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps110 fps98 fps83 fps70 fps

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)
Average158 fps98 fps65 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average97 fps84 fps56 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average113 fps109 fps74 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021)3.41 GHz (B+7%) @ 71°C3.41 GHz (B+7%) @ 75°C3.53 GHz (B+10%) @ 87°C
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)3.17 GHz @ 61°C3.17 GHz @ 64°C3.17 GHz @ 75°C
HP Omen 15 (2021, 15-en1000)3.33 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C3.33 GHz (B+4%) @ 85°C3.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 88°C
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 15 G5333.43 GHz (B+7%) @ 76°C3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 80°C3.47 GHz (B+8%) @ 82°C
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE (GX551)3.93 GHz (B+23%) @ 81°C3.82 GHz (B+19%) @ 86°C3.78 GHz (B+18%) @ 93°C
ASUS TUF A17 (FA706) 20213.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 74°C3.34 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 84°C

Looking at this test, we can see that the Legion 7 is outperformed only by the liquid-metal-enhanced ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE (GX551).

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021)1867 MHz @ 70°C @ 126W1858 MHz @ 74°C @ 127W
Lenovo Legion 5 (15″ AMD, 2021)1831 MHz @ 75°C @ 129W1815 MHz @ 80°C @ 129W
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (16″)1803 MHz @ 76°C @ 129W1787 MHz @ 81°C @ 129W
MSI GP66 Leopard1863 MHz @ 72°C @ 124W1852 MHz @ 75°C @ 125W1849 MHz @ 69°C @ 127W
MSI GP76 Leopard1860 MHz @ 71°C @ 129W1857 MHz @ 73°C @ 128W1869 MHz @ 67°C @ 128W

From the three Lenovo’s that we’ve tested with this GPU, the Legion 7 shows the most potential, with significantly lower temperatures and slightly higher clock speeds. It can even compete with the GP66 and GP76, which proved to be pretty easy on their graphics cards.

Gaming comfort

Well, in order to get these temperatures on the inside, the fans need to ramp up. But they are not at their full potential. Other than that, the middle of the keyboard tends to get a bit warm. Yet again, we’ve seen worse.


Verdict

The Legion 7 is Lenovo’s best effort in the gaming laptop industry. It is baffling how they managed to put a 165W version of the RTX 3080 inside of a body that is 20-23mm thin and weighs only 2.5 kilos. For instance, MSI puts the same GPU inside of their GE76 Raider, which is a quite bulky 17-inch notebook.

Nevertheless, what is more, important here is the performance, and you get what you expect. Our unit was equipped with the RTX 3060, and it was on par with the 15-inch Legion 5, and 16-inch Legion 5 Pro. However, it was significantly cooler, and one notch quieter.

On the other hand, having an AMD CPU for gaming is still suboptimal in the laptop world. Thus, we get lower fps than the MSI GP66 Leopard, which is paired with the older Intel architecture. Nevertheless, the margin is low enough, so to take other features into consideration. For example, the battery life. Here, we got 6 hours and 17 minutes of Web browsing, and 5 hours and 50 minutes of video playback. This is one to two hours longer than what you will get on the GP66 Leopard.

Lenovo Legion 7 (16″, 2021) packs essentially the same panel (MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600)) as the Legion 5 Pro 16″. It has an IPS 1440p panel with a 165Hz refresh rate, high maximum brightness, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t flicker at any point, and it covers 98% of the sRGB color gamut. Speaking of color, its accuracy is decent, but our Gaming and Web design profile helps it become standard-matching. Something even more important for gamers is that this panel has quick pixel response times, and supports G-Sync.

Also, it is quite interesting that the Legion 7 features three USB Type-C ports and three USB Type-A ports. Even some desktop computers have less I/O than that! Well, there is one shortcoming, though, and it is the lack of an SD card reader. With a display like this and such a performance, this laptop is a dream for content creators.

On the bright side, though, you have good upgrade options with two SODIMM slots for memory, and two M.2 slots for storage expansion. As a standard, there is a MUX switch as well, and you can toggle between discrete and dynamic graphics in the BIOS menu.

Ultimately, this is a lowkey gaming laptop that provides you with everything you will ever need. Well, if what you need is an SD card reader, you can find a dongle on Amazon for as low as 5 bucks.

What is even better is the cooling solution. Indeed, thin and light devices have problems with their thermal management. And the solution to that is the vapor chamber. Lenovo has played its cards well and carried on what they introduced last year. At the end of the day, we don’t really know if it will handle the 165W version of the RTX 3080, but with some undervolting everything is possible. Especially when the foundations have been laid.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-legion-7-16/

Pros

  • Aluminum design and great build quality
  • Large arrow keys, RGB backlight, and clicky feedback.
  • 2x SODIMM + 2x M.2 PCIe x4
  • No PWM (MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600))
  • HDR 400, G-Sync, Dolby Vision (MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600))
  • 165Hz refresh rate with fast pixel response times (MNG007DA1-1 (CSO1600))
  • Vapor chamber
  • Behemoth hardware in slim chassis


Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader
  • Slightly inferior keyboard to the Legion 5 series