Watch out Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally; a new gaming handheld on the block, and the new Lenovo Legion Go could give you a run for your money.
Lenovo’s first-ever gaming handheld gives gamers another way to play PC games on the go, and it comes with a large display, detachable Nintendo Switch-like Legion TrueStrike controllers and a unique way to play FPS games with an all-important mouse.
We were given the chance to check out the Legion Go and couldn’t get enough of its ergonomic feel, multiple customization options and smooth, bright display. While we couldn’t take it for a spin gaming-wise, we got a good idea of how it will handle when it arrives.
The Legion Go is set to make its way onto shelves by October and will be available for £699 / €799 / around NZ$1,499. We’re unsure when it will arrive in New Zealand, so stay tuned. Will Lenovo’s first gaming handheld be worth the price? So far, the answer is yes.
While we wait for its upcoming release, find out if it’s a gaming handheld for you with our impressions below.
Lenovo Legion Go price and availability
The Lenovo Legion Go is expected to be available later this year. It’s set to arrive in the UK in October, priced at £699, and available in Europe in November, priced at €799.
The company has yet to announce when it will be available in New Zealand, but you can expect it to be priced around NZ$1,499 if it makes its way over.
The Legion Go is on par with the Asus ROG Ally at NZ$ 1,499 / £699, both pricier than the priciest Steam Deck at around NZ$1,288 / £569. The Lenovo Legion Go boasts a few more bells and whistles, including a bigger display, detachable controllers and up to a 1TB SSD.
Lenovo Legion Go specs
Here’s a breakdown of the Legion Go’s specs.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme with AMD RDNA Graphics|
|Storage||256GB / 512GB / 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2|
|Display||8.8-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) IPS; 16:10 aspect ratio; 10-point Touch (144Hz / 60hz refresh rate)|
|Battery||49.2WHr / 900mAh (controllers)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6E / Bluetooth 5.2|
|Size||11.8 x 5.15 x 1.61 inches (with controllers) / 8.27 x 5.15 x 0.79 (without controllers)|
|Weight||1.88 pounds (with controllers) / 1.41 pounds (without controllers)|
Lenovo Legion Go design
First, it’s important to note that the model we saw isn’t the finished product. Specific design aspects, like it looking like a fingerprint magnet, won’t be present when it comes to market. That, and certain buttons will actually work.
That aside, the Legion Go is a fine piece of portable tech – and a sturdy one at that. Coming in 11.8 x 5.15 x 1.61 inches, it stops short of looking too big and bulky, especially with the angular look of the Legion TrueStrike controllers attached. However, when picking it up and using it as a handheld, I found it to be a fitting size for PC portable gaming.
Its large display and well-designed controllers made for a comfortable gaming experience, and my thumbs could still reach over to the touchscreen display. Moreover, buttons are placed in ideal positions and feel punchy, while the joystick feels excellent. Don’t expect any joystick drift in the long run, as they feature “hall effect joysticks,” which the company claims will offer no joystick drift and minimal dead zones.
Speaking of the controllers, they also have buttons on the back that lie just under your fingers. These are handy as extra buttons for gaming, but they especially come in handy when the right controller becomes a mouse. That’s right; you can easily detach the controllers, pop open the kickstand, flip on a switch at the bottom, place the right controller in an included controller base and voilà! You have a joystick-like, impromptu mouse.
It may look slightly odd at first, but it looks and acts like a proper mouse for gaming. Those bumper buttons at the back act as the left and right mouse clicks, and it glides along surfaces as a mouse should. It’s called FPS mode, finally making proper FPS gaming portable. Oh, and there’s a mouse wheel on the back of the right controller, just for good measure.
All this works intuitively, too. Detaching and attaching the controllers is easy.
Weighing 1.88 pounds, the Legion Go isn’t the lightest gaming handheld around (Steam Deck and ROG Ally are 1.48 pounds and 1.34 pounds, respectively). That said, it didn’t feel heavy at all when holding it, but people may feel the weight of it after long periods.
Another minor point is its air vent. This is a gaming PC in your hands, after all, so it needs to have some sort of cooling. This is placed at the top of the handheld, meaning air virtually always blows away from you. I didn’t notice its fans blowing air until I looked for it. It’s a small design choice I appreciate, as it keeps hot air away from you when tucking into demanding games.
All in all, Lenovo has seemed to pay attention to the Legion Go’s design, and it shows.
Lenovo Legion Go display
A big part of the Legion Go’s design is its sizeable 8.8-inch display. The device’s bigger size gives you more screen real estate than other gaming handhelds, which gave me more reason to use its sturdy kickstand and place it on a desk – something I rarely do with my Nintendo Switch.
The Legion Go is equipped with an 8.8-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) IPS Pure Sight touchscreen display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, up to a 144Hz refresh rate, 97% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage and 500 nits of brightness.
There are a few display options to choose from, depending on what you use the handheld for. It supports resolutions from 800p to 1600p and refresh rates from 60Hz to 144Hz. Along with its relatively high rate of brightness, the display offered crisp, smooth navigation throughout its programs and apps. If that reflects how games and streaming content will look, the Legion Go will have quite the display on its hands.
Even if something doesn’t look great onscreen, you can hook it up to a display thanks to its USB-C ports with DisplayPort 1.4 support. This will mirror the Legion Go’s screen onto whatever display it’s connected to, giving users another way to use it.
Lenovo Legion Go performance
While I was able to check out the Legion Go, I didn’t get the chance to play any games or test the controller/mouse hybrid in action. Regardless, it had access to multiple game stores through its Legion Space software, such as Steam and Xbox Game Pass. That leaves it open to play many demanding titles. Judging from its specs, it can handle the heat.
The Lenovo Legion Go is packed with up to AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip with AMD RDNA Graphics, 16GB of DDR5X RAM and a choice of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSDs.
In terms of battery, it has a 49.2Wh battery capacity and supports “Super Rapid Charging,” which Lenovo claims to recharge the battery to 70% in 30 minutes. The gaming handheld also has a “power bypass mode” that protects that battery from extra degradation and aims to eliminate heat while charging. To charge it, it comes bundled with a 65W USB-C power adapter.
The Legion Go doesn’t slack on ports, either. It’s fitted with a dual USB-C with support for USB 4.0, DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery 3.0, and a handy 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card reader, extending storage to up to 2TB. You can also expect Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
Talk about high-end specs, but we’ll have to wait and see how the Lenovo Legion Go handles once it’s officially out in the wild.
Lenovo Legion Go software
As it runs Windows 11, the Lenovo Legion Go gives you the whole PC experience and access to many gaming stores. However, Lenonvo took things a step further with its new Legion Space.
Game platforms and stores like Steam, Xbox Game Pass, Epic Games Store, Android games and more can be easily accessed through Legion Space, and it was great to navigate around. You can see and access installed games, buy titles in different stores and adjust settings such as resolution, refresh rate and brightness – all in the app. It’s the handheld’s home app, but you can also switch to Windows 11 as your main screen at any point when it turns on.
While I didn’t see it, the Legion Go also has a Gamesplanet store, which offers deep discounts on select games for users with a Lenovo ID.
It’s a snappy interface that works well as the device’s home base, as I could see myself booting it up and quickly opening up a game.
Lenovo Legion Go impressions
From its generously sized display to its unique design setup, the Lenovo Legion Go is gearing up to stand out from the crowd. However, as with all gaming handhelds, it all comes down to gaming performance and battery life, which we will only be sure about once it’s out.
Otherwise, out of the many PC gaming handhelds popping up, the Legion Go makes a great first impression, especially for those looking for more than a few options to game without an accessible console or PC nearby. As we’ve said before, the Legion Go’s FPS mode is a game changer in the realm of portable gaming, and it appears to have the display and size to match a comfortable, on-the-fly gaming session.