The Lenovo Legion 9i is a gaming laptop with both style and substance.
Save for a thin strip of RGB lighting around its back and front, this machine features a relatively understated and thin design that most wouldn’t associate with a gaming laptop.
Don’t let its subdued design fool you, as this 16-inch beast packs a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 laptop GPU, all chilled by an innovative self-contained liquid cooling system — making this machine a potential powerhouse the likes of which we rarely see.
I got to check out the Legion 9i at a recent Lenovo event and was immediately drawn to its thin profile and eye-catching carbon fiber cover. The bright and colorful 16-inch 3.2K mini-LED display was also impressive to behold.
At the risk of speaking too soon, I think the Lenovo Legion 9i has the makings of being one of the best gaming laptops of the year. Here are my initial impressions.
Lenovo Legion 9i hands-on review: Specs
|Header Cell - Column 0||Lenovo Legion 9i|
|Display||Up to 16-inch 3.2k (3200 x 2000) Mini LED 16:10 (165 Hz)|
|CPU||13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX|
|GPU||Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 laptop GPU 16GB GDDR6|
|RAM||Up to 64GB|
|Storage||Up to 2TB|
|Ports||3x USB-C ports, 2x USB-A ports, 1x SD card slot, 1x headphone jack, 1x HDMI port, 1x Ethernet|
|Size||14.08 x 10.93 x 0.74–0.89 inches|
Lenovo Legion 9i hands-on review: Price and availability
The Lenovo Legion 9i is expected to be available October 2023 starting at $4,399.
We don’t yet have specs for the entry-level model, but the laptop will be available with a 13th Generation Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU, up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 laptop GPU, up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage. The Legion 9i will also have up to a 16-inch (3,200 x 2,000) mini-LED 16:10 display with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time.
Lenovo Legion 9i hands-on review: Design
The Legion 9i’s thin profile and elegant design immediately caught my attention when I first saw it at the event. I was told that the Legion 9i takes the powerful performance of Lenovo’s Pro-series laptops and marries it with the svelte design of the Slim series. That means this stylish notebook doesn’t favor style over power, or vice versa.
At 14.08 x 10.93 x 0.74–0.89 inches and a weight of 5.64 pounds, the Legion 9i is both big and heavy. However, it feels lighter than you'd expect thanks to its excellent weight distribution. The sturdy lid was easy to open, and I had no trouble holding it in one hand when I took it around the event space. The smooth carbon fiber top also contributed to my enjoyment of holding the laptop.
The Legion 9i features a wide range of ports. This includes three USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an SD card slot, a headphone jack, an E-shutter button to disable the webcam, an HDMI port and an Ethernet port. Port distribution seems smart, with the majority residing along the right side and back — though I’d have to test the laptop further to see if port placement becomes a hindrance.
Lenovo Legion 9i hands-on review: Display
The Legion 9i’s 16-inch 3.2K (3,200 x 2,000) 16:10 mini-LED display appeared bright and colorful to my eyes.
When watching the trailer for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, I was impressed by the amount of detail on screen — making me feel drawn into the game’s nightmarish cyberpunk world. Though I wasn’t able to test any games at the event, the 165Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time should deliver smooth and fast performance.
Lenovo says the display can achieve 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and hit up to 1,200 nits of brightness. We’ll need to get the laptop into our testing lab to verify these claims.
Lenovo Legion 9i hands-on review: Specs and performance
The Legion 9i packs powerful components within its thin chassis. This includes a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU. You can also kit this gaming laptop out with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.
Given these specs, it’s no surprise that this laptop starts at $4,399. The monstrous Alienware m18 we reviewed also features a Core i9-13980HX processor and RTX 4090 graphics card. That beast is one of the most powerful laptops we’ve reviewed this year — which makes me eager to test the Legion 9i to see if it delivers equally impressive results.
Lenovo Legion 9i hands-on review: Outlook
We'll need to get the Lenovo Legion 9i into our testing lab to see what it's truly capable of, but based on what I've seen, it seems to have the makings of being an awesome (if expensive) gaming laptop. I'm especially interested in seeing what differences, if any, the liquid cooling system has on performance.
We'll have a full review of the Lenovo Legion 9i laptop soon so stay tuned!