June 13, 2024

For followers of handheld gaming PCs, 2023 simply retains getting higher. Following the discharge of ASUS’ ROG Ally earlier this yr, Lenovo is getting into the class with the Legion Go. And, after getting the possibility to go hands-on with it, I feel a few of Lenovo’s twists might find yourself making an enormous distinction.

Earlier than we get in too deep, it’s essential to say that the items I attempted are very a lot pre-production samples. You’ll be able to see proof of this on elements just like the shoulder buttons, the place one facet of the machine options metallic paint (which is what you’ll get on retail units) whereas the opposite facet is apparent black plastic. Lenovo additionally says that alongside a inventory set up of Home windows 11, it’s planning to equip the Legion Go along with a customized app launcher much like ASUS’ Amoury Crate. However, that wasn’t current on the demo items I used. The Legion’s Go’s physique additionally felt a bit tough in locations, so in case you spot labels or elements of its shell that don’t look fairly proper, Lenovo is probably going trying to polish these up earlier than its official launch someday in October.

OK, now that we bought that out the best way, let’s discuss among the Legion Go’s spotlight options, essentially the most notable of which is its display. It’s an 8.8-inch 2,560 x 1,600 IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh price and listed at 500 nits of brightness. So not solely is the Legion Go’s panel as quick as what you get from the ROG Ally, it’s additionally the largest display on just about any machine on this class. On high of that, colours completely pop, which makes the machine much more interesting than a lot of its rivals.

The plain draw back to that is that between that large show and a considerably boxy physique, the Legion Go is relatively cumbersome. Measuring 11.8 x 5.15 x 1.61 inches, the Legion Go is way nearer in dimension to the Steam Deck than sleeker rivals just like the ROG Ally. As for the remainder of its design, you get a well-recognized Xbox-style button format in entrance, with an fascinating asymmetrical rear paddle format in again, with a complete of 4 rear buttons together with a scroll wheel, although I’m unsure what’s the supposed objective for that final part. That mentioned, I’m not going to show my nostril up at further enter strategies.

Gallery: Lenovo Legion Go hands-on images | 14 Pictures

Curiously, Lenovo can also be drawing inspiration from the Nintendo Change as evidenced by the folding kickstand in again and the flexibility to detach the Legion Go’s controllers from its essential physique. Nevertheless, I did discover that eradicating the controllers isn’t fairly as easy or simple as it’s on a Change. First, you need to press the button within the again after which type of tilt and slide on the identical time. Granted, I largely bought the cling of it after a couple of minutes, nevertheless it positively takes some observe.

This kickstand does make it simple to prop the show up on a desk whereas utilizing the controllers remotely, although. And because of the 2 USB 4 ports, you’ll be able to even join peripherals like a mouse and keyboard if you wish to flip the Legion Go right into a tiny desktop. Alternatively, you need to use the one touchpad on the proper management to mouse round in Home windows, which is a pleasant nod in the direction of normal usability, as a result of not like the ROG Ally, you’ll be able to’t use the Legion Go’s joysticks to maneuver your cursor.

One nice touch with the Legion Go is that unlike the ASUS ROG Ally, Lenovo's handheld gaming PC comes with an included protective case.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

One other intelligent function on the Legion Go is that on the underside of the proper controller, there’s what Lenovo is asking an FPS Change. Should you toggle that after which drop the proper controller into an included cradle, abruptly you get what is basically a vertical mouse which you could drag throughout a desk whereas taking part in shooters. That mentioned, I’m unsure I’ll ever desire this setup over a conventional horizontal mouse or perhaps a joystick.

Lastly, with specs together with an AMD Z1 Excessive chip, 16GB of RAM, as much as 1TB of storage and a 49.2 WHr battery, the Legion Go seems to be simply as highly effective because the ROG Ally. However what makes this so spectacular is that along with coming with an included case (which you don’t get from ASUS), Lenovo is being very aggressive with pricing, because the Legion Go will begin at $699. That’s the identical because the Ally, regardless of the Legion Go’s larger display, larger battery and extra subtle controllers.

So whereas Lenovo nonetheless has some sharpening to do earlier than the Legion Go formally goes on sale someday in October, with one other large identify becoming a member of the battle, it’s clear the battle for handheld gaming PC supremacy is simply starting.

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