In the current landscape of handheld gaming PCs, Lenovo has joined the fray, announcing its first Windows-powered gaming handheld called the Legion Go. Set to hit the market in October, this device boasts an 8.8-inch QHD Plus display, an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, and a robust 49.2Wh battery, which is notably larger than those found in the ROG Ally and the Steam Deck. Additionally, its controllers are detachable, adding a unique feature to the mix.
Although the Steam Deck from Valve often dominates discussions in this category, the Legion Go appears to be a blend of the Nintendo Switch and Asus’ ROG Ally. Starting at $699, it’s evident that Lenovo is targeting a similar price point as the Ally. Like the Ally, it runs the traditional Windows OS and offers additional controls, such as a touchpad, that are designed for Windows operation.
With the controllers attached, the Legion Go is slightly heavier than the ROG Ally (and a bit heavier than the Steam Deck), making it noticeably bulkier. While this may not significantly affect the gaming experience when using the device with the kickstand, it might disappoint those seeking a highly portable handheld gaming device.
However, this added bulk may translate to improved battery life, as Lenovo has equipped the Legion Go with a larger battery compared to the Ally. Many users might find this trade-off acceptable, particularly given the reported concerns about the Ally’s battery life.
Lenovo has not yet provided an estimate for the battery life of the Legion Go, but they assured that this information would be available before the October launch.
In terms of specifications, the device offers a 2560 x 1600 resolution screen with a 144Hz refresh rate, 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. It also includes various ports, such as a 3.5mm audio combo jack, USB-Type C (USB 4.0, DisplayPort 1.4, Power Delivery 3.0), a microSD reader, and an additional USB Type-C (with the same specifications) at the bottom.
During the hands-on experience, the gaming performance appeared satisfactory, although some reviewers reported difficulties getting certain titles to run. Removing and attaching the controllers was effortless, and the 8.8-inch screen felt notably larger than the Nintendo Switch’s 7-inch display. The responsive controls and smooth gameplay were appreciated, but there was a significant issue with games instructing users to press keys that the Legion Go doesn’t have, which could potentially hinder the gaming experience.
A key concern raised about the Legion Go, similar to the ROG Ally, is its use of the standard Windows operating system, which may not be optimized for handheld gaming devices. Navigating Windows with the device’s controls, particularly the touchpad, might not be the most efficient experience, raising questions about whether Lenovo can make the device work seamlessly with Windows.
In summary, the success of the Legion Go will likely depend on Lenovo’s ability to address compatibility issues with Windows and fine-tune its launcher. While this presents a considerable challenge, it is essential for delivering a smooth gaming experience, as seen with previous devices like the ROG Ally.