Legion GO Review: Legion’s answer to the Handheld Gaming Trend

Legion GO Review: Legion’s answer to the Handheld Gaming Trend

The portable gaming PC market is a battleground of innovation, with brands vying for the title of “ultimate on-the-go gaming experience.” Enter the Legion GO by Lenovo – a handheld boasting a massive screen, powerful specs, and the promise of console-quality gaming in your hands. But does the Legion GO live up to the hype, or is it a clunky compromise? This in-depth review delves into the device’s strengths, weaknesses, and its place within the ever-evolving portable gaming landscape.

First Impressions: A Chunky Charmer

The Legion GO exudes a bold, almost industrial aesthetic. Its black, metallic chassis feels sturdy, though its plastic construction might raise questions about long-term durability. Despite its size (think slightly larger Nintendo Switch on steroids), the GO feels surprisingly comfortable to hold thanks to its sculpted grips. However, extended gaming sessions can lead to hand fatigue due to the controller’s sharp edges digging into palms.

A Feast for the Eyes: The King-Sized Display

The Legion GO’s defining feature is undoubtedly its massive 8.8-inch IPS LCD display. This behemoth boasts a crisp 1600p resolution (2560 x 1600) and a smooth 165Hz refresh rate, offering a significant upgrade over most handheld competitors. Whether you’re exploring vast open worlds or battling enemies in fast-paced action games, the display delivers stunning visuals and silky-smooth motion. However, the glossy finish can be prone to glare in bright environments.

Inner Workings: Can the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme Handle the Heat?

Under the hood, the Legion GO packs an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU coupled with 16GB of DDR5 RAM. This combination tackles a wide range of PC games with varying degrees of success. Less demanding titles like indie gems and older AAA games run smoothly on high settings. However, pushing the graphical fidelity on newer, more demanding titles can lead to frame rate dips and performance bottlenecks.

The AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme may struggle with maintaining consistent frame rates at the display’s native 1600p resolution. To achieve optimal performance, gamers might need to adjust settings and potentially even reduce the resolution to 1280×800 – a noticeable downgrade for such a large display.

Thermal Management: A Balancing Act

The Legion GO’s handheld form factor presents a challenge in terms of thermal management. Extended gaming sessions, particularly those pushing graphical boundaries, can lead to noticeable heat generation. While the built-in cooling system does a decent job, it can struggle to dissipate heat effectively, leading to thermal throttling and potential performance drops. This can be a frustration for gamers who prioritize consistent performance.

Battery Life: A Trade-off for Power

The Legion GO’s large display and powerful components come at a cost – battery life. Expect moderate usage to drain the battery within 2-3 hours. This is significantly lower than some competitors and may require frequent recharging for extended gaming sessions. While the device supports fast charging, it’s not a substitute for a reliable power outlet during long gaming marathons.

Controls: A Mixed Bag

The Legion GO utilizes detachable controllers that magnetically connect to the sides of the device. The joysticks offer decent precision, though they lack the clicky feedback of traditional console controllers. The face buttons feel responsive, and the inclusion of shoulder buttons adds a layer of complexity for games requiring more inputs. However, the D-pad feels mushy and imprecise, potentially hindering performance in certain genres like platformers or fighting games.

Software and Connectivity: A Glimpse into the Future 

The Legion GO runs on Windows 11, offering full access to the vast PC game library through launchers like Steam and Epic Games. This is a significant advantage over competitors with curated libraries. However, the software experience feels somewhat clunky when navigating with a controller, highlighting the need for better optimization for a handheld form factor.

Connectivity options include two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack, providing flexibility for connecting peripherals. The inclusion of a built-in kickstand allows for comfortable tabletop gaming when you need a break from holding the device.

Is the Legion GO Worth Your Hard-Earned Cash? A Gamer’s Verdict

The Legion GO is a compelling proposition for a specific niche of gamers. Those prioritizing a massive screen, unfettered access to the PC game library, and the ability to play on the go will find the Legion GO an attractive option. However, the device’s shortcomings in terms of battery life, thermal management, and control ergonomics require careful consideration.

The Verdict: Who Should Consider the Legion GO (and Who Should Look Elsewhere)

Gamers seeking a portable powerhouse with a giant screen and full PC compatibility will find the Legion GO a tempting choice. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide if the GO is the right fit:

You’ll Love the Legion GO If:

  • You Prioritize a Massive Display: The 8.8-inch 1600p screen with a 165Hz refresh rate is truly immersive and surpasses most competitors.
  • You Want Full PC Game Library Access: Unlike some handhelds with curated libraries, the Legion GO lets you play any PC game you can download through launchers like Steam and Epic Games.
  • You Value Versatility: Windows 11 allows the GO to function as a full-fledged PC for browsing, productivity tasks, and even basic video editing.

However, Look Elsewhere If:

  • Battery Life is a Major Concern: Frequent recharging is a necessity due to moderate battery life (2-3 hours).
  • Uncompromising Performance is Paramount: The AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU struggles with maintaining consistent frame rates at the native resolution on demanding titles. Consider lowering settings or opting for a traditional gaming laptop for the best performance.
  • Portability is Key: While the GO is technically portable, its size and weight make it less convenient for carrying around compared to smaller handhelds.

The Future of Portable Gaming: A Glimpse Through the Legion GO

The Legion GO, while not a perfect device, represents an exciting step forward in portable PC gaming. Its large screen, powerful specs, and access to the vast PC game library offer a unique and enticing proposition. However, the challenges with battery life, thermal management, and control optimization highlight areas for improvement. We here at techbeatph.com give the Legion Go the Silver Rating.

As technology advances, we can expect future iterations of portable gaming PCs to address these shortcomings. Imagine a device with the Legion GO’s screen size and versatility paired with longer battery life, improved thermal management, and even more comfortable controls. The future of handheld gaming is bright, and the Legion GO, with its ambitious design, paves the way for even more compelling options to emerge in the years to come.


Tech Editor, gear head , photographer, videographer, editor and all around lover of technology.

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