To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Petite and powerful

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1474
inc VAT

An outstanding compact laptop for gamers and creatives alike


  • Strong performance
  • Good battery life
  • Sumptuous 120Hz OLED screen


  • RAM is soldered in place
  • Keyboard is a bit spongy in the middle

Can you make a true multi-role laptop as good as a device designed specifically for one role? An increasing number of laptop makers are beginning to think you can and are making compact, powerful laptops that work for both gaming and creative tasks without giving anything away to larger, more expensive devices.

The first such laptop to land on our testbench in 2024 is Lenovo’s 14.5in Legion Slim 5, but we’ll soon be examining directly equivalent machines from HP and Asus ROG.

Of course, the Legion Slim 5 is also competing with the best gaming laptops from the likes of Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo, while at the same time going head to head with dedicated creator-focused laptops from the likes of Apple with its MacBook Pro series and Asus with the Zenbook Pro range. That’s quite the fight to pick.

Check price at Lenovo

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: What you need to know

The Legion Slim 5 is what you’d get if you crossed a ThinkPad productivity laptop and a Legion gaming laptop. The external style owes more to the ThinkPad range than the Legion lineup, while the internal components, especially the potent Nvidia GPU, are what you’d see in a high-end Legion gaming machine.

This is not accidental. The Legion Slim 5 is styled to look at home in a design studio used for professional creative work, but it has been engineered to let you run around Night City at high frame rates with ray-traced graphics. The OLED display is good enough to thrive in either environment, as is the battery life.

Given the one-size-fits-all ambition you would expect the Legion Slim 5 to be expensive, but it isn’t: even the most expensive model in the UK lineup only just tops the £1,500 mark. Granted, the AMD CPU isn’t the absolutely latest model, but the rest of the components are up to snuff.

READ NEXT: Best laptop

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU, Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 14.5in, 120Hz, 2,880 x 1,800 OLED non-touch. Price when reviewed: £1,474 inc VAT

The Legion Slim 5 is available in several specifications, and you must take care when ordering from Lenovo to ensure you get the one you want. There are two CPU options: the AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS and the AMD Ryzen 9 Ryzen 9 7940HS, the latter of which costs £150 extra. The Ryzen 9 model comes with a 1TB SSD, but the Ryzen 7 can be partnered with either 512GB or 1TB of storage.

The Ryzen 9 version can only be had with 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, but the Ryzen 7 processor can be matched with either 16GB or 32GB of RAM. The former model comes with the RTX 4050 GPU, the latter with the RTX 4060. There’s no clear indication that there are two GPU alternatives, and I can foresee some customers not noticing that when they choose the Ryzen 7 and 16GB combo the GPU changes.

As is typical of press review samples, the machine I have in front of me isn’t a combination available to potential UK purchasers, with a Ryzen 7 processor and the RTX 4060 GPU, but 16GB rather than 32GB of RAM.

If you’re a creative type and you want a 14in laptop, you should consider the Apple MacBook Pro 14. It’s not cheap. The entry-level model with 1TB of storage costs £1,899 and there’s a slight whiff of Apple treading water (we described the update as “marginal”), but the screen and speakers are superb, and the battery life is epic.

If you’re prepared to carry something bigger and heavier, you can pick up the 16in Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition for £1,200. With strong gaming performance, a 165Hz screen and good battery life, it’s a nicely balanced package for the mobile gamer.

If you want something more stylish with a touchscreen, the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED is worth a look. Arguably one of the prettiest laptops on the market, its display and speakers are outstanding. However, for £1,370 you only get a 13th-generation chip, albeit the potent Intel i9-13900H, and an Nividia RTX 3050 GPU.

READ NEXT: Best laptop for students

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Design and build quality

An all-aluminium body, sombre grey colourway and anodised finish make the Legion Slim 5 a very solid but visually rather uninspiring affair. That’s understandable, given it’s a machine aimed as much at creatives as gamers. The anodised finish keeps greasy fingerprints at bay, but I would have appreciated a bit more pizzazz and a little less ThinkPad in the styling mix.

It’s an extremely practical machine, though, with a good selection of ports. On the left are two 10Gbits/sec USB-C ports that support video output. At the rear is an HDMI 2.1 port, a rectangular power jack and two 10Gbits/sec USB-A ports, while on the right you’ll find an SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack and a webcam isolator switch. Wireless connectivity is handled by a MediaTek RZ616 card, which supports 6GHz Wi-Gi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Lenovo says the forward USB-C port can be used for charging with a 140W USB charger, but I didn’t have one to hand so I can’t confirm that. It certainly didn’t play ball with my 100W charger.

At 1.7kg, the Legion Slim 5 is only a little heavier than the 1.62kg M3 Max MacBook Pro 14; however, at 328 x 251 x 21.3mm (WDH) it’s larger and thicker than the Apple machine. The Lenovo has a larger screen (14.5in vs. 14.2in), though, so the extra width and depth should not come as a surprise.

Lenovo laptops often exhibit signs of attention to detail in their design, and the Legion Slim 5 is no exception. The ledge that sticks out behind the lid hinge has clear labels on the top for each of the I/O ports below, so you can plug cables in without feeling for them or having to turn your laptop around. The top of the lid – which opens through 180 degrees – has a wide lip above the webcam so you can flip it up with just one finger.

Removing the base from the Legion Slim 5 is straightforward and, once inside, you’ll find a second bay for a PCIe 4 2280 SSD. The RAM, however, is soldered in place, so make sure you pay the extra £50 for the 32GB option at purchase if that’s what you require.

READ NEXT: Best keyboard

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

The keyboard looks and feels like a ThinkPad keyboard, albeit one shorn of the signature TrackPoint navigation nubbin. That’s good news from a typing and layout perspective. Everything is where you’d expect it to be, and the 1.5mm of travel is perfectly engineered. There are two small drawbacks, however.

First, there’s rather more flex in the base around the TFGHB keys on the keyboard than I’d like from a laptop at this price. Second, there are no gaming enhancements other than the facility to put the system into high-performance mode using the Fn+Q keyboard shortcut. With a basic two-stage white backlight, you can’t even light up the WASD keys a different colour.

The one-piece 120 x 80mm glass touchpad, however, is perfectly smooth and responsive, with an expertly judged click action. It’s quiet, too, but the webcam isn’t quite so impressive. It’s sharp enough at 1080p and works very well in decent light, but images get a bit noisy when the light dims and there’s no support for Windows Hello IR facial recognition, either.

Additionally, the Ryzen 7 CPU lacks the Ryzen AI neural processor you’ll find in the latest AMD Hawk Point CPUs and Intel’s new Core Ultra chips, so you don’t get Windows Studio webcam effects such as background blurring.

READ NEXT: Best office chairs

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Display and audio

The Samsung-made OLED screen is an absolute gem. Thanks to a 2,880 x 1,800 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate it’s as sharp as a tack and handles motion with superb fluidity. From triple-A games to CAD modelling, watching animations on the Legion 5 Slim is a joy.

Pointing a colorimeter at the screen revealed a maximum SDR brightness level of 390cd/m2, and 615cd/m2 in HDR. Combine that with wide gamut colour reproduction that stretches to 117.5% of DCI-P3, and you have a panel capable of seriously dramatic visualisations.

Using the pre-installed X-Rite Color Assistant software, you can choose from four industry-standard colour profiles: sRGB, Display-P3, Adobe RGB and Rec.709. Measuring the Delta E colour accuracy against the first three gave results of 0.93, 0.98 and 1.82 respectively, which are all impressive results, and make the Legion Slim 5 a shoo-in for anyone wanting professional-grade colour accuracy from their laptop.

The sound system is good, too. On paper, it looks rather basic, with only a pair of 2W drivers producing the audio with a Nahimic control panel. It’s surprisingly loud, pumping out 77.9dBA from a pink noise source 1m away, and generates a warmer and more bassy sound than the specification would suggest. Listening to music on the Legion Slim 5 is a pleasant experience, even at full volume.

READ NEXT: Best wireless keyboard

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Performance and battery life

The first thing to note about the Legion Legion Slim 5 is that it has an MUX switch and that the RTX 4060 GPU has a TGP of 105W. Those two features mean serious gaming performance is very much the order of the day.

The Ryzen 7 CPU doesn’t let the side down, either. It may not be one of AMD’s latest Hawk Point or Dragon Range chips, but it still has eight cores (16 threads), all of which can run at up to 5.1GHz when the going gets tough.

Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 8 4K media benchmarks (6)
Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 8 Geekbench 6
Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 8 GFXBench Car Chase (1)In the Expert Reviews 4K multimedia test, the Legion 5 Slim scored 408 points, a very high score that’s considerably higher than the 2023 M3 MacBook Pro 14 (292) and the all-AMD Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition (361). If you want to use the Legion Slim 5 for CAD work you’re in luck, as it ran the SPECviewperf 3dsmax modelling test at 90.5.

Turning to our usual trove of gaming tests, the Legion ran Wolfenstein: Youngblood at Full HD with ray tracing at 117fps and Cyberpunk 2077, again at Full HD but without ray tracing, at 95fps. The Metro Exodus benchmark ran at 44.3fps on Full HD Extreme settings – another solid effort.

Engage Nvidia’s DLSS and Frame Generation tech and things look even better. The Wolfenstein score jumped to 185fps, Cyberpunk 2077 dropped to 80fps but that was with ray tracing turned on and the quality settings at Ultra. Metro Exodus (a DLSS 2 title) increased to 60fps.

Given the size of the Legion Slim 5, I expected noise and cooling to be more of an issue, but the outer case never got above 35℃ and fan noise never rose above an easily tolerable hum.

Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 8 Battery life (4)Perhaps even more surprising was how good the battery life was. In our standard video playback battery test using VLC, the Lenovo Legion Slim 5 lasted 8hrs 27mins. That’s a creditable performance from a 73.6Wh battery and puts a full day’s worth of work within reach, provided you don’t use the discrete GPU.

Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 8 storage performance testThe SKHynx 1TB SSD in my test machine had clearly been at the Shredded Wheat, returning highly impressive sequential read and write speeds of 5,874MB/sec and 5,756MB/sec respectively. Those are very good numbers, which, when allied with the Legion Slim 5’s capacity to house two SSDs, make it perfect for managing a large gaming or media library.

Check price at Lenovo

Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 review: Verdict

The Legion Slim 5 is one of the most complete laptop packages on the market. It’s reasonably small and light, has decent battery life, a good keyboard and a superb display, and it can play the latest AAA games in all their ray-traced glory. For under £1,500, what more can you want?

In the next few weeks we’ve got other 14in compact gamers coming in for review from HP (the Omen Transcend 14) and Asus ROG (the Zephyrus G14). Both machines cost more than the Legion Slim 5, so they’ll have to be something very special to knock the new Lenovo off its perch.

Read more