Lenovo LOQ 15 review: A surprisingly affordable gaming laptop

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060Powerful 13th-gen Intel CPUAffordableExcellent keyboard

Cons

Only one USB-C portHeavy designPoor battery lifeExcessive Bloatware

Our Verdict

A powerful processor and a discrete video card are impressive at this cost and for those who want portable 1080p gaming, the LOQ is an excellent choice. However, battery capacity is its Achilles’ heel and the limited amount of time it affords you away from a power socket.

Price When Reviewed

From $949.99

Best Prices Today: Lenovo LOQ 15

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One of the great aspects of a PC manufacturer like Lenovo is that it doesn’t make a single design of anything and its LOQ 15-inch gaming laptop is no exception. While this review covers an Intel-based option that starts around a grand, there are more powerful choices and designs with alternative GPU configurations and up to 16-inch displays.

The model reviewed here is £1,069 in the UK (15IHR8) and a similar model starts at $1,029.99 in the USA. That outlay gets you a 13th-Gen Intel CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU and a 15-inch 1080p display with a 144Hz refresh rate. While this specification doesn’t offer 4K gaming, even connected to an external display, it has more than enough horsepower for some fluid 1080p gaming on the move.

However, this is a crowded part of the market and this LOQ competes against at least fourteen other laptops in this series made by Lenovo, the , the updated , and so on. How will the LOQ compete against such competition? Read on to find out.

Looking for other options? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best gaming laptops.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Specs

Model tested: 82XV00C0UK/15IHR8.

OS: Windows 11 Home

Display: 15.6in IPS 1920×1080 144Hz

CPU: Intel Core i5-13500H

Memory: 16GB DDR5 onboard

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 6GB

Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.s SSD

Webcam: 1080p with dual microphones

Connectivity: 1 x USB-C with DisplayPort, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x audio, 1x LAN

Networking: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Battery capacity: 60Wh

Dimensions: 265.8 x 359.6 x 22.1mm

Weight: 2.4kg, 5.29 lbs

Warranty: 1yr RTB

Lenovo LOQ 15: Design and build

Where Asus likes the military look with its gaming machines, Lenovo has pitched for a slightly sci-fi motif with the LOQ. The rear of the machine has a distinctly Star Trek vibe. Vents on the rear have an impulse engine styling, but regrettably, Lenovo didn’t deploy warp nacelles.

Interestingly, the screen hinge position has been moved away from the back line by about 23mm, resulting in easier access to the central port area on the spine. When folded flat, this creates a distinctive shelf on the rear quarter.

What isn’t in evidence is any metal, with the entire exterior of the LOQ finished in various shades of grey plastic. Not that this looks cheap, as high-quality moldings have been used, but given how much plastic was used, the LOQ is surprisingly heavy. At 2.4kg, that’s another 200g more than the Asus TUF Gaming A15 and even 50g more than the hefty HP Omen 16.

Where this machine is somewhat lacking is in respect of the ports provided. A gaming machine that only has a single USB-C port and not even USB 4.0 or Thunderbolt is a disappointment.

The provided port is located on the left side alongside the audio jack whereas the right edge has a single USB 2.0 port and a curiously positioned camera disabling switch.

Most ports are on the back, but it only offers two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (Type-A), a single HDMI 2.1 out and a gigabit LAN port. That the LAN isn’t 2.5GbE isn’t a surprise, but at least the internal Wi-Fi is 2×2 AX specification.

Ideally, this machine needed a second USB-C for charging and connecting a , but instead, Lenovo went with a proprietary rectangular power connector and a 170W PSU. The scale of the PSU hints at why they didn’t choose USB-C for the power since these typically peak at around 100W.

Overall, the sides of the LOQ are massively underutilized for ports, and the mass makes it more of a luggable desktop with an integrated screen than a laptop. However, it has other virtues, as we’ll discover.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Keyboard and trackpad

While the keyboard in this design is a membrane structure, the scale of the keys and the inclusion of many enhancements make this a decent typing experience.

What’s slightly different is how the cursor cluster is projected down in front of the first keyboard line, making these keys easier to find during a firefight. However, this leaves a sliver of open space between the trackpad and the space bar.

The keytops are smaller than the rest, but a full numeric pad and a complete row of function keys are included.

The entire keyboard is RGB backlit and, when booting, it displays a rainbow preset to show off the chromatics available.

The entire keyboard is RGB backlit, and when booting, it displays a rainbow preset to show off the chromatics available.

The keys have a very positive action, but the trackpad is much less responsive, and while the pointer moves smoothly enough, clicking on it can occasionally go unnoticed. For gaming, integrated mouse buttons to the trackpad might have been a better option. Lenovo believes that including the right-side USB 2.0 port reveals that most gamers will use a mouse.

Compared with many laptops, the LOQ is ergonomically sound. Plenty of palm space is below the keyboard, and the spacing of the keys isn’t excessively cramped. And, while the no-mans-land between the trackpad and keyboard is a little odd, it avoids bashing the space bar and having it register as a mouse movement.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Screen and speakers

There are several panels that gaming system makers are attracted to, possibly due to price, and the LOQ has one of those. Using IPS technology and with a natural refresh rate of 144Hz, this screen offers a peak brightness of just 350 nits.

What’s curious about the brightness is that it doesn’t ramp in a linear fashion, as the 120nits level that we use for video playback testing comes at around a 70 percent setting. Those choosing a brightness of 50 percent will experience about 50 nits, which is dark.

The colors on this panel also aren’t incredibly saturated or representative. Perhaps I’ve seen too many screens designed for creative use, but this one has a gamut that doesn’t approach 100 percent of sRGB on its best day. Around 70 percent of sRGB is the best it can manage.

Equally unimpressive is the audio experience, as the two down-firing 2W speakers mounted on the LOQ have a limited range that doesn’t extend to delivering much bass, if any. Maximum volume seems remarkably low and unlikely to cause complaints from an adjoining room.

In short, if you want to hear better, buy some inexpensive external speakers or headphones.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Performance

The headline act here is the GeForce RTX 4060 in our review hardware. This discrete graphics card has 8GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory and uses the latest Nvidia GPU technology using the Ada Lovelace architecture. Working alongside that is Integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU, a graphics platform we wouldn’t normally recommend for proper gaming.

Depending on the LOQ model chosen, it can come with either the RTX 3050, RTX 4060, or RTX 4050. Based on our experience, we’d avoid the lower-level cards and go for the much better RTX 4060 option.

What’s unusual about the RTX 4060 is that the desktop part and the one used for mobile platforms are the same die, where these chips are often branded the same but have wildly different specifications.

That is true of the 4070 and 480 mobile parts, but the 4060 is a desktop GPU shoehorned into a laptop. However, it’s worth noting that the mobile AS107 GPU used in the RTX 4060 has a lower boost clock, slightly slower memory, and marginally less memory bandwidth.

But the true constraint on the mobile RTX 4060 is the amount of power that the laptop will sanction for the GPU, and where on the desktop this is always 115W, on the mobile variant, this ranges between 35W and 115W. As bad as that might sound, with so many factors in play, the actual difference between the desktop and mobile parts is only about 8-10 percent, making the RTX 4060 one of the better choices for mobile gamers.

The other significant component in these results is the Intel Core i5-13500H, a twelve-core CPU with four performance P-Cores and eight efficiency E-Cores. The four P-Cores have hyperthreading, boosting the number of simultaneous threads to sixteen. This Raptor Lake-H design with a maximum power envelope of 95W and a base power of 45W is considered to be on par with the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D and Ryzen 7 5800X.

The benchmark numbers this GPU can generate we’d seen before in the Asus A15 and its ability to approach 90 frames-per-second in Cyberpunk 2077 with ultra settings hints that it is possible to activate even more eye-candy, such as Ray Tracing without it becoming unplayable.

Conversely, for those who use the LOQ with a 1440p monitor, this resolution isn’t beyond the abilities of the RTX 4060 to drive that resolution with medium detail settings.

The 3DMark Night Raid score of 51,283 is highly respectable, especially compared to this processor using the integrated Iris Xe, which delivers a typical score of between 16,500 and 17,000.

While 16GB of RAM is enough, factoring that the graphics card has its own dedicated memory, what slightly lets the LOQ down is the 512GB of storage that Lenovo includes with most models.

However, for those willing to take the underside off their machine, a free and unused M.2 SSD slot is available, allowing for a relatively inexpensive upgrade path (check our chart of the best SSDs). These are both M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 slots and the only caveat to using them is that they need to be drives that don’t have an integrated cooler, as there isn’t vertical space inside the case for those.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Benchmarks

Lenovo LOQ 15: Battery Life

The problem with putting a powerful processor and a demanding GPU in a laptop is that they demand plenty of power. Unless the machine has a huge battery, it will eat through what’s available in short order. And when I say short, I’m not kidding.

Using our usual battery video loop, the LOQ barely made it through one loop of our movie before it wanted to shut down, managing a disappointing three hours and 58 minutes. Based on this performance, I suspect that playing a game would last no more than a couple of hours on a single charge.

The quoted battery life by Lenovo is greater than five hours, which seems wildly optimistic. The system also has a high-performance mode that, if activated, reduces battery life even more.

The only upside to this less-than-stellar battery performance is that the battery will recharge quickly, hitting 100 percent power from almost exhaustion in over an hour. However, if you insist on using it while charging, it could take longer.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Price and availability

In the US, the Lenovo LOQ 15 comes with either an RTX 3050, an RTX 4050, or an RTX 4060 discrete video. Lenovo does the typical combination of pre-configured SKUs and completely customizable systems where almost every aspect is adjustable.

US prices start at $1,209.99 for a LOQ with an i5-13500H CPU, an RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. A system with RTX 4060 graphics starts at $1,319.99. You also get the option of AMD Ryzen models starting at $949.

Lenovo LOQ 15: Conclusion

There are things to like here and others that are much less compelling.

What’s best about it is the CPU and GPU combination, which can deliver playable frame rates on most modern titles at 1080p resolutions at a very attractive price point. And, if you connect an external monitor, it will work at 1440p with some adjustments in texture quality.

However, to get the most from the CPU and discrete GPU requires power and that’s the one part of this system that Lenovo curated, probably because of how heavy it was already. The 60Wh battery capacity doesn’t go far in gaming or playing video. And it won’t take the LOQ through a working day. That’s the typical reality of gaming laptops and the compromise that those who own them confront.

However, the other thing that’s not great about this machine is entirely addressable, specifically the software detritus that Lenovo thickly applied to the Windows installation. How often this system tried to push something at me while we tried to benchmark was disturbing and each time I removed one software drama queen, another was eager to take its place.

It takes long enough to get the truckloads of Microsoft updates onto this laptop without making the prep for use even longer by adding the extra hours to throw all this unrequested garbage off it. How much better the system runs when it is gone is a reward worthy of the effort of that exercise, but it’s a shame that performing this is a requirement.

This review originally published on techadvisor.com.

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