Lenovo’s calculated step into the world of handheld gaming is not a bad one and a Legion Go review is the least we can do to convince more companies to leap into the mix and stir up innovation. The Legion Go performance has been pretty decent so far since its 1 November 2023 launch but it is evident that there is still a long way for handheld PC gaming devices to go before they give the market exactly what it wants. The Legion Go’s specs and software are not too different from the ASUS ROG Ally that was launched earlier this year but there are sufficient qualifiers to set the device apart from its predecessors.
Legion Go Review: A Massive Leap in Handheld PC Gaming
Reviewing Lenovo’s Legion Go requires a consideration of many different aspects and angles that make up the device. The Legion Go features a pretty big 8.8-inch QHD LCD display which provides a very nicely spaced-out viewing experience. For a reference point to be awed, the Steam Deck has a 7.4-inch screen while the ROG Ally has a 7-inch screen. The Legion Go screen size makes it much easier to read dialogues, view maps, and overall track things happening on your screen without having to squint at it—something that inevitably happens when PC games are adapted to these devices without a significant change in the screen content.
A big screen does mean a big device and the Legion Go weighs in at 1.88lbs or 854g. It is most certainly a hefty device. While that isn’t as much of a problem for those who game intermittently, for those who want to spend hours holding up the device, it can get a little tiresome to handle. Lenovo probably realized this very early in the design stage and threw in the detachable controllers as a treat, making it a very convenient way to have the handheld gaming experience without detracting from the portability of the Legion Go. The kickstand makes the screen very convenient to set up just about anywhere and the ergonomically designed controllers, while bulky, are rather convenient to use.
The Legion Go hardware performance does not stop there. The most fascinating feature of the device is the ability to turn the right controller into a gaming mouse—mouse wheel for scrolling and everything—when docked on the stand that comes with the device. While it’s not something we’re likely to use very frequently, it’s quite an innovative addition to the device and Lenovo gets full points for creativity. The touchpad on the right controller is also a useful addition, but less so for gaming and more for navigating the Windows 11 interface. We could write an entire Legion Go review solely in reference to the hardware of the device but there is more to consider about this handled PC.
Legion Go Specs—Reviewing the Internal Specs
While you’d think the massive screen would make for an above-average gaming experience, however, there is the downside that the Legion Go specs aren’t always boosted enough to support a lot of the games without interruption. Quite similar to the ROG Ally, the Legion Go specs match up in terms of processor and operating system. The device uses an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor with RDNA Graphics and runs on the Windows 11 OS. With 16GB memory, the storage ranges between 512GB and 1TB depending on the device you purchase. In terms of the display specs, the Legion Go offers 2560 x 1600 resolution, 500 nits brightness, and an impressive 144Hz refresh rate.
On paper, Legion Go’s performance should be phenomenal, or impressive at least, but the device seems to have many issues launching and keeping up with games. XDA Developers’ Legion Go review covers their struggle with multiple games—Cuphead, Spider-Man, Halo Infinite, Cyberpunk:2077, and even Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. That’s enough to leave anyone disappointed. Other handheld PC devices also stuttered after launch so maybe the Legion Go software requires some time to work out the bugs, but it is quite a bad look when a gaming device fails to allow gaming to happen smoothly, or at all.
The Legion Go Performance Falls behind Where It Really Counts
Most Legion Go reviews seem to echo the same sentiment—that finding games that are compatible and easily playable is a labor of love. The Legion Go specs matching up to the ROG Ally might indicate that the device will become just as easy to use soon enough, but in terms of performance, the Asus device does seem to win for now. The user interface of the Legion Go works in its favor most of the time and the integration of multiple gaming stores into the Legion Go launcher has been done quite smoothly but again, the Steam Deck does a better job of putting Steam Deck-friendly games on top. In every way that counts the handheld gaming devices that came earlier seem to perform better, but Legion Go reviews have not been able to dissuade us from preferring this device.
The Legion Go price starts at $699.99 for the 512GB model, while the 1TB Legion Go is priced at $749.99. The Steam Deck’s 512GB model lands at $649 while the Asus ROG Ally with the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme Processor is priced at $699.99. For the same specs, all three competitors come at approximately the same price, but the Steam Deck does have cheaper options for those who are willing to settle.
Ultimately, Lenovo’s Legion Go is an innovative player in the market and has a lot to offer gamers, even if the performance is slightly lacking. Once it gets into the groove, the Legion Go specs match up to its competitors quite nicely, allowing users to have a comfortable but vibrant gaming experience. If you’re looking to move into the handheld PC gaming category, most Legion Go reviews might just steer you towards its predecessors and for a first investment in gaming in this format, we might have to agree.