Lenovo Legion Go hands-on: A extra Swap-like handheld gaming PC

For followers of handheld gaming PCs, 2023 simply retains getting higher. Following the discharge of ASUS’ ROG Ally earlier this year, Lenovo is getting into the class with the Legion Go. And, after getting the prospect to go hands-on with it, I believe a few of Lenovo’s twists might find yourself making an enormous distinction.

Earlier than we get in too deep, it’s vital to say that the models I attempted are very a lot pre-production samples. You’ll be able to see proof of this on parts just like the shoulder buttons, the place one aspect of the system options metallic paint (which is what you’ll get on retail units) whereas the opposite aspect is obvious black plastic. Lenovo additionally says that alongside a inventory set up of Home windows 11, it’s planning to equip the Legion Go along with a customized app launcher just like ASUS’ Amoury Crate. However, that wasn’t current on the demo models I used. The Legion’s Go’s physique additionally felt a bit tough in locations, so in the event you spot labels or components of its shell that don’t look fairly proper, Lenovo is probably going seeking to polish these up earlier than its official launch someday in October.

OK, now that we bought that out the best way, let’s speak about a few of the Legion Go’s spotlight options, probably the most notable of which is its display. It’s an 8.8-inch 2,560 x 1,600 IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh fee and listed at 500 nits of brightness. So not solely is the Legion Go’s panel as quick as what you get from the ROG Ally, it’s additionally the most important display on just about any system on this class. On prime of that, colours completely pop, which makes the system much more interesting than lots of its rivals.

Gallery: Lenovo Legion Go hands-on pictures | 14 Pictures

The apparent draw back to that is that between that huge show and a considerably boxy physique, the Legion Go is slightly cumbersome. Measuring 11.8 x 5.15 x 1.61 inches, the Legion Go is far nearer in measurement to the Steam Deck than sleeker rivals just like the ROG Ally. As for the remainder of its design, you get a well-recognized Xbox-style button format in entrance, with an fascinating asymmetrical rear paddle format in again, with a complete of 4 rear buttons together with a scroll wheel, although I’m unsure what’s the meant objective for that final element. That mentioned, I’m not going to show my nostril up at extra enter strategies.

Curiously, Lenovo can be drawing inspiration from the Nintendo Swap as evidenced by the folding kickstand in again and the power to detach the Legion Go’s controllers from its predominant physique. Nonetheless, I did discover that eradicating the controllers isn’t fairly as clean or simple as it’s on a Swap. First, you must press the button within the again after which sort of tilt and slide on the identical time. Granted, I largely bought the cling of it after a couple of minutes, nevertheless it undoubtedly takes some follow.

This kickstand does make it simple to prop the show up on a desk whereas utilizing the controllers remotely, although. And because of the 2 USB 4 ports, you may even join peripherals like a mouse and keyboard if you wish to flip the Legion Go right into a tiny desktop. Alternatively, you should utilize the only touchpad on the correct management to mouse round in Home windows, which is a pleasant nod in direction of normal usability, as a result of in contrast to the ROG Ally, you may’t use the Legion Go’s joysticks to maneuver your cursor.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

One other intelligent function on the Legion Go is that on the underside of the correct controller, there’s what Lenovo is asking an FPS Swap. In case you toggle that after which drop the correct controller into an included cradle, all of a sudden you get what is basically a vertical mouse you can drag throughout a desk whereas enjoying shooters. That mentioned, I’m unsure I’ll ever favor this setup over a standard horizontal mouse or perhaps a joystick.

Lastly, with specs together with an AMD Z1 Excessive chip, 16GB of RAM, as much as 1TB of storage and a 49.2 WHr battery, the Legion Go appears to be simply as highly effective because the ROG Ally. However what makes this so spectacular is that along with coming with an included case (which you don’t get from ASUS), Lenovo is being very aggressive with pricing, because the Legion Go will begin at $699. That’s the identical because the Ally, regardless of the Legion Go’s greater display, greater battery and extra subtle controllers.

So whereas Lenovo nonetheless has some sharpening to do earlier than the Legion Go formally goes on sale someday in October, with one other huge title becoming a member of the battle, it’s clear the combat for handheld gaming PC supremacy is simply starting.

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