Lenovo takes aim at the Steam Deck with the Legion Go

The new portable gaming console comes with AMD Ryzen Z1 processors, an 8.8-inch screen, and a $699 price tag.

Lenovo Legion Go playing Powerwash Simulator, debuting at IFA 2023.
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Lenovo is making a play at the mobile PC gaming market. At IFA 2023, the company is announcing the Legion Go, a handheld gaming console that’s instantly familiar to anyone who’s seen a Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch, Asus ROG Ally, or Razer Edge. It blends the typical screen and detachable controllers form factor with Lenovo’s Legion branding and aesthetics, along with some neat performance chops like AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor. It’s starting at $699 and launches in October.

I got to play with the console during a briefing in New York, and while I’m hesitant to share impressions since I was given a demo of an early version of the device, I thought it was pretty neat. It’s on the larger side with an 8.8-inch Quad HD+ IPS display and chunky controllers on either side, whereas many other devices will stick with displays around 7 inches and offer slimmer controllers. You definitely get a lot of room to stretch out and enjoy your choice of game here.

Like many portable gaming devices, the Legion Go lets you disconnect the “TrueStrike” controllers from either side and prop the screen up with a kickstand for FPS sessions. The controllers themselves feature hall effect joysticks for minimal dead zones and no joystick drift, an integrated trackpad for navigating games and using the mouse, a sizable D-pad, a total of 10 different mappable buttons, and an angled mouse wheel. Bundled in the box is a magnetic attachment for the right controller that turns it into a larger joystick of sorts, allowing for better precision and navigating with the cursor.

There are plenty of RGB lights (in classic Legion fashion), and it feels just like holding a Legion gaming laptop whenever you pick it up. That applies not just to the aesthetics, but the weight as well. At 1.88 pounds with the controllers attached, the Legion Go is far from the lightest portable gaming setup you’ll find.

Lenovo Legion Go playing Powerwash Simulator, being held up.

At least you get some solid horsepower in exchange. Lenovo includes AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor (with a lower-tiered AMD option for the cheaper model) and AMD RDNA graphics, which should translate to pretty solid gameplay. You also get 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 1TB of PCIe 4.0 storage, plus a microSD card slot for expansion.

These are beefy specs for such a compact form factor, so Lenovo had to figure out a way to keep them cool. Inside is a liquid crystal polymer 79-blade fan, dubbed “Coldfront thermal technology,” that can keep the Legion Go cool with minimal fan noise. According to Lenovo, that noise should only peak at 25dB, even when maxing out the GPU.

There’s also a huge dual-cell 49.2WHr battery with 65W fast charging, which can intelligently disable power delivery to the battery when you’re gaming so you don’t cause unnecessary degradation to the cells themselves. You also get dual speakers, Wi-Fi 6E support, and Bluetooth 5.2.

Lenovo Legion Go on the Xbox store.

The display can reach up to 500 nits of brightness and can run at refresh rates between 60Hz and 144Hz. It supports 97 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut and displays resolutions between 800p and 1600p. I was impressed with the quality of the panel when I got to play around with it; it was colorful and vibrant, but I think an OLED panel would’ve added an extra premium touch.

Of course, the hardware is only as good as its software, and the Legion Go doesn’t slack around in that department. Lenovo loaded it with Windows 11–yes, full-blown Windows 11. You could pair a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to this thing and use it like a miniature laptop if you wanted. That’s not a new concept in the world of portable gaming, but it’s a cool trick nonetheless.

Lenovo Legion Go system information in Windows 11.

Windows 11 sits in the background of the primary experience Lenovo loads onto the Legion Go. Called Legion Space, the interface gives you access to all of the game platforms and stores you have installed, as well as quick access to settings for things like refresh rate and brightness. Users will also get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate access with a three-month free trial. I wasn’t able to try this during my briefing since it wasn’t ready yet.

You’ll also find a few ports around the Legion Go, including two USB-C ports for power and connecting accessories. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for the wired audio fans out there.

Lenovo Legion Glasses lifestyle photo

To pair with the Legion Go, Lenovo designed the Legion Glasses which give you a private viewing experience powered by whatever device they’re connected to. The glasses emulate a Full HD monitor using micro-OLED display technology, and they work across platforms including Windows, Android, and even macOS. You can also get prescription lenses if you need them. I tried these as well and… I think I’ll have to wait for my full review to share any thoughts.

There’s also a new pair of Lenovo Legion E510 7.1 in-ear headphones with 10mm drivers, USB-C connectivity, and–of course–RGB lights.

Lenovo Legion Go hinge with Legion logo on the back.

Lenovo is doing all they can to become a name stay in the portable gaming console market. Obviously, we’ll need to wait to get our hands on production-ready units to decide whether it’s any good, since the ones we all used at the briefing were pre-production. That being said, it seems to be a good take on a Steam Deck alternative. I like the specs, the design, and the functionality of it all. At $699, it’s priced about what you’d assume, but we’ll have to wait and see if the final version can justify it.

Lenovo says the Legion Go will launch in October and be available from Lenovo.com, Best Buy, Micro Center, and other retailers. The Legion Glasses will start at $329 and launch in October as well. In addition, the Legion E510 7.1 headphones will cost $49.99 and land in October.