At SXSW Sydney 2023, Game Crater received an invitation to participate in a special media event that offered a sneak peek at the upcoming Lenovo Legion Go. Despite being released in a competitive market, it is clear this handheld PC gaming device outshines its closest rivals.
When we were first presented with the Legion Go, it was hard not to look past its considerable size. With a screen size of 8.8”, it’s larger than its competitors, such as the Asus ROG Alley and the Steam Deck (unavailable in Australia). To further add context to the enormous size, the Nintendo Switch OLED is still 2 inches smaller than the Legion Go.
“Under the hood, the Lenovo Legion Go is a top competitor.”
While the large sizing does make it heftier to carry around, the device doesn’t feel unusually heavy and can easily be overlooked when you consider the screen quality. The Lenovo Legion Go features a QHD screen at 2560×1600 resolution, and with a screen brightness of 500 nits and extensive colouring (97% DCI-P3), you should have no issues viewing the screen, even in broad daylight.
Under the hood, the Lenovo Legion Go is a top competitor. With Zen 4 architecture and RDNA 3 graphics, it’s built for gaming excellence. There are two different variants that people can choose from: the Z1 Extreme, which boasts 8 cores and 16 threads, and the Z1 with 6 cores and 12 threads. Obviously, the Extreme version is the more expensive option, but it’s available for those wanting to play more demanding games.
The Legion Go also features a 144Hz refresh rate, which beats out all other competitors, 16GB DDR5 RAM (7500MHz), and up to 512 GB of storage. However, if you’re worried about running out of space, there is a micro-SD card slot that supports up to 2TB, so you can carry your entire gaming collection with you.
For total transparency, during our media preview, we didn’t get the chance to take the power of the Lenovo Legion Go to its limits as we played Mortal Kombat 11. Of course, the game ran brilliantly without frame drops or rendering issues. Unfortunately, this also meant we couldn’t test the battery life under heavier loads, but the device is expected to last over 4 hours when fully charged. With the device boasting previews of Hi-Fi Rush, Xbox Game Pass, and the ability to utilise Steam, Epic Games, and GOG, we expect it to handle most games comfortably on the go.
The Lenovo Legion Go provides detachable controllers similar to the Joycons on Nintendo Switch. However, instead of the slide and detach method, they are magnetised in the middle. A major highlight of the Legion Go is that it features hall effect joysticks. These utilise magnets to detect stick movement providing lasting durability and maximum responsiveness. Due to this non-contact magnetic design, the effects of joystick drift are kept to a minimum, making it something you’ll never have to worry about.
“The Lenovo Legion Go impresses with its stunning high-definition display and performance.”
The Lenovo Legion Go draws further inspiration from the Nintendo Switch by allowing you to set the device up in a stationary position after detaching the controllers. If that wasn’t enough, you can use the controllers in “FPS” mode, which, when attached to a plastic base, are similar to that of an old-school joystick.
If you want a break from playing games and want to use the device as a computer, you can use the touchpad as a mouse to surf the net. This provides a more direct and intuitive input method, giving the Legion Go some additional practical use.
The Lenovo Legion Go looks to be a promising addition to the PC gaming handheld market, offering a unique hybrid design with detachable controls and a touchpad, catering to both moments of relaxation and intense gaming experiences. Despite its substantial size, the device impresses with its stunning high-definition display and performance. We look forward to checking out the Lenovo Legion Go when it releases later this year.
The Lenovo Legion Go is set to release on October 31, 2023, in the United States. We will keep you up to date with the latest release date for launch in Australia. The two different devices will retail for AU$1299 / $1499 in Australia, US$699.99 / $749.99 in the United States, and £700.00 in the UK (one version only).