Lenovo LOQ15 hands-on: Affordable but not cheap

Starting at just $900, Lenovo's new "value-orientated" gaming PC line packs solid specs for the money.

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Just a few months ago Lenovo announced updates to its high-end Legion gaming PCs. But now the company is back to introduce some fresh budget-friendly fare as part of its new “value-oriented” LOQ line. Though they aren’t quite as powerful as their more expensive siblings, after checking them out, I like how these new devices don’t feel cheap despite their lower prices.

At launch, the LOQ family (pronounced “lock”) will consist of either a 15 or 16-inch laptop and a 17L desktop PC. The LOQ 15 and 15i will be the least expensive of the bunch starting at $900 for either an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS or Intel Core i7-13700 chip, while the LOQ 16 and 16i (the “i” denotes an Intel-based config) will go for just a bit more at $960 and $1,150, respectively. Finally, for people who don’t need to move their gaming rig around, the LOQ tower will be priced at a reasonable $980.

One difference on the LOQ family compared to the more premium Legion line is that you only get white or four-zone lighting instead of a full per-key RGB setup.
Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

But more importantly, while Lenovo is trying to keep costs down, it doesn’t feel like it cut too many corners with its new machines. Not only do they have similar styling to the Legion line, they also have solid specs with the laptops offering support for up to NVIDIA RTX 4060 GPUs. And like the premium Legion line, you also get rear IO to help keep wires from getting too cluttered.

The main differences between Lenovo’s LOQ and Legion gaming notebooks are that instead of an aluminum chassis, the LOQ line features a plastic body, with either a white or a four-zone RGB backlit keyboard (instead of per-key). The new machines also carry slightly smaller batteries (either 60 or 80Whr depending on the model). And while the LOQ line doesn’t support super fast 240Hz refresh rates, you can still get 165Hz displays going up to 2,560 x 1,600 with variable refresh rate support (both G-Sync and FreeSync), as well as 350 nits of brightness. All told that’s not too shabby, especially when you consider that Lenovo’s cheapest Legion Pro laptop currently starts at just over $1,600.

To help keep clutter to a minimum, the LOQ 15 and 16 rely primarily on rear IO with only a couple of ports on the sides for easy access.
Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Now, in person, the smaller LOQ 15 came off a bit chunky, and I swear it felt heavier than Lenovo’s 5.3-pound listed weight, while the LOQ 16 is even heftier at 5.7 pounds. However, I appreciate that even on Lenovo’s budget gaming laptops, the company still included a full HD webcam and an electronic shutter switch to disable it.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful that’s still easy to carry around, today Lenovo also announced two additions to the Legion family in the Slim 7/7i and the Slim 5/5i.

At just 0.78 inches thick and weighing 4.4 pounds, the Legion Slim 7 and 7i are the more portable of the two. It also packs Intel Core i9-13900H or Ryzen 9 79040HS chips, up to NVIDIA RTX 4070 graphics and up to a 3.2K 165Hz display or a 2,560 x 1,600 240Hz screen. You can also get optional per-key RGB lighting and a big 99.9 WHr battery, along with an aluminum frame in either storm gray or glacier white. So while I like the price of the new LOQ line, the Legion 7 Slim laptops would make me think long and hard about shelling out some extra cash for the sleeker design.

While similar in design to the more affordable LOQ line, the Legion Slim 5 and Slim offer slightly more powerful specs in a more premium aluminum chassis.
Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Meanwhile, the Legion 5 Slim models still feature solid specs, including the same CPUs and a slightly wider range of graphics options (RTX 4050 up to RTX 4070 depending on the specific config). And unlike the 7 Slim which is only available as a 16-inch model, the 5 Slim will come in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes.

The new LOQ 15i is slated to go on sale first sometime in April, followed by LOQ 15 and the larger LOQ 16i in May. The AMD-based LOQ 16 will arrive in June. Meanwhile, the Legion Slim 5i and 7i are expected to go on sale in April starting at $1,350 and $1,770, with the Slim 5 and Slim 7 arriving later in May starting at $1,200 and $1,770, respectively.

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