Lenovo has some of the best gaming laptops on the market, and it has extensively built its line to offer a range of configurations for different scenarios. The new Legion 9i Pro, however, is something special.
From specs alone, it’s one of the fastest gaming laptops money can buy, offering up to an RTX 4090 and Intel’s Core i9-13980HX. But the specs aren’t what stand out here. Lenovo has taken this device to the next level with water cooling, an ultra-bright mini-LED display, 140 watts of USB-C charging, and so much more. It’s not here yet, but the Legion Pro 9i might be Lenovo’s best laptop yet.
I tested the laptop at a preview event in New York ahead of its upcoming release and got an idea of where the line is headed.
|Lenovo Legion Pro 9i|
|Dimensions||14.08x 10.93x 0.74–0.89-inches|
|Processor||13th Generation Intel Core i9-13980HX|
|Graphics||Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090|
|RAM||64GB 5600Mhz Dual Channel DDR5
32GB 6400Mhz Dual Channel DDR5
|Display||16-inches, 3.2K, 165Hz|
|Storage||Up to 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD|
1 x Audio Combo Jack
1 x SD Card Reader 3.0
1 x USB Type C (USB 3.2 Gen1)
1 x USB Type A (USB 3.2 Gen 1)
1 x E-Shutter Button
1 x DC-Inface
1 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen1 (Always-on 5V2A)
2 x Thunderbolt 4 (3.2 Gen, DisplayPort 1.4, 140W Power Delivery)
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x RJ45
|Wireless||Up to 2 x 2 WiFi 7, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Webcam||Built-in 1080p webcam with e-shutter|
|Operating system||Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro|
|Battery||Up to 99.99 watt-hours, Super Rapid Charge (30 min 0-70%, 80 min 0-100% charge)|
|Price, Availability||$4,400, October|
The Lenovo Legion 9i is a handsome device indeed. The most striking aspect of its design is its forged carbon top cover, which resembles military fatigues. The design of each system is notably unique due to the manufacturing process. Having spoken with Lenovo earlier this summer about its recycling and sustainability efforts, the company explained how it uses reclaimed waste material from other industries as a source for new products. It’s fascinating to see the designs actualized on devices set for the market.
Lenovo said the forged carbon helps lighten the weight of the Legion 9i, in comparison to other woven carbon materials used on older models. However, I found this laptop to still be rather hefty at approximately 5.64 pounds, and this is just its starting weight. It exceeds the 5.5-pound aluminum-built Legion 7 by several ounces, and I rated that device as sturdy, especially considering its premium materials.
While the Legion 9i might be made of lighter materials, its recycled magnesium alloy frame is wider and thicker at 14.08 inches by 10.93 inches by 0.74 to 0.89 inches. That could easily account for a weight difference. The size difference between the machines is notable considering they both have the same 16-inch display size.
For splashes of color, the laptop has an array of RGB lighting options, including its Legion Spectrum per-key RGB keyboard and strips of RGB lighting on its rear base, right above its ports, and at the front underside of the laptop. The Legion logo in the upper-right corner also glows with RGB. These effects make for great aesthetics, and they are software-controllable.
Rounding out the standard design features are a 1080p built-in webcam with a privacy e-shutter, which is among the ports along the side of the system.
The display on the Legion 9i has gotten some boosts and tweaks, but overall remains fairly standard year-over-year. It is a 16-inch 3.2K (3200 x 2000) display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 500 nit peak brightness, with a mini-LED option that goes up to 1200 nits peak brightness. It has a 165Hz refresh rate, which is not bad for a gaming-focused laptop, but I’ve seen Lenovo go higher.
The display also features a 3-millisecond response time, 100% Adobe and DCI-P3 coverage, up to VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification, Dolby Vision support, Nvidia G-Sync, and TÜV Rheinland certification.
Still, this configuration offers the Legion 9i a striking in-person brightness and quality I don’t often associate with gaming laptops. Testing high-definition imagery from YouTube presented the best results I’ve seen on a Legion model. Viewing commentary videos about Samurai Champloo was an overall quality experience as well.
It’s the resolution of the display, combined with a mini-LED backlight, that could be killer for gaming. The machine certainly packs enough power to drive such a display, and we only rarely see displays with such high specs, like the one featured on the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16.
The Legion 9i features a full-size keyboard and a slimmer trackpad. Another design and functionality feature of the laptop is its wide cooling vent set at the top of the base near the display. This pushes the keyboard toward the center and also makes less room for a larger trackpad, which is often a more typical design for such a device.
These tweaks add to the unique look of the Legion 9i, but admittedly left me a bit clumsy when attempting to use the keyboard. I found myself having to intentionally stretch between keys. Row-style typing was out of the question. Luckily, with 1.5-millimeter travel, actually pressing the keys wasn’t an issue. I usually find myself pretty comfortable with large and rugged laptops, but the Legion 9i still felt a bit awkward. Perhaps more time with the Legion 9i would get me used to the keyboard setup.
With the Legion 9i cooling system surrounding the keyboard and trackpad, this is the first laptop that uses cold water cooling that doesn’t require an external pump. The system is co-engineered with Cooler Master. It intakes air through the vents at top, which are comprised of over 6,000 individual holes, and exhausts air from the sides, back, and bottom of the system, where more vents are found. The heat sink goes over the VRAM and GPU in the laptop, allowing these components to remain as cool as possible during power-intensive processes, such as extended gaming sessions, without frame dropping or throttling.
Lenovo continues its tradition by offering a vast array of input options for the Legion 9i. Gamers, student, and workers alike shouldn’t want for ports, plugs, readers, and buttons with this device. The brand noted that the Thunderbolt ports included allow for charging, though you’ll need the AC adapter to run the machine at its full power.
There are inputs to be found on practically all sides of the laptop. The RGB lighting on the rear base acts as a helpful guide for the ports stationed there. The rear is outfitted with one USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports (3.2 Gen, DisplayPort 1.4, 140W Power Delivery), one HDMI 2.1 port, and one RJ45 jack.
The left side features one audio combo jack and one SD card reader 3.0. The right side includes one USB-C port (USB 3.2 Gen 1), one USB-A port (USB 3.2 Gen 1), and one E-Shutter Button.
The Lenovo Legion 9i connects to 2 x 2 Intel Wi-Fi 7 (802.11 ax). I had no issues connecting to Wi-Fi at the demo space, and loading webpages and YouTube videos went off without a hitch. The laptop also supports Bluetooth 5.1.
For audio, the device includes 2 x 2 watt speakers with Nahimic Audio.
With this model being the Lenovo Legion 9i, it is specific to Intel processors. It is powered by the 13th Generation Intel Core i9-13980HX.
Currently, this assessment is based on a preview event. We’ll have to do a full review to determine the detailed performance of this gaming laptop in the future.
Lenovo says graphics on the Legion 9i start with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, with an option to upgrade to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090. There’s also 32GB 6400Mhz and 64GB 5600Mhz dual-channel DDR5 overclocked memory. Storage includes up to a 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD.
The Legion 9i features a 99.99 watt-hour battery, which appears to be Lenovo’s market max at the moment, as it is the largest capacity battery legally allowed in a computer system when flying. It’s been seen on several prior models and the brand has refused to budge any higher. It also has the same Super Rapid Charge support, which equates to the addition of 30 watt-hours in a 10-minute charge, a zero to 70% charge in 30 minutes, and a zero to 100% charge in 80 minutes.
The Lenovo Legion 9i will be available in October starting at $4,400.