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Lenovo Legion Go Hands-On Preview – Doing Things Differently

It's larger in size and feature-set

It’s been a massive, massive year for gaming handhelds. Even with the Steam Deck not releasing locally, and the long-awaited Nintendo Switch 2 still nowhere in sight, there’s been a load of new handhelds dropping into the market.

I has been filling the market with interesting new handhelds, the ASUS ROG Ally was the first mainstream brand to release a Windows 11 handheld, and Lenovo quickly followed on with the Lenovo Legion GO, which actually does a lot different to the competition.

Lenovo Legion Go

I got to spend an hour or so in the presence of the device, so whilst you shouldn’t take these as any kind of final or in-depth opinion on performance, I did get a really good feel for the device and some of the more interesting features that it possesses.

The size is absolutely the major talking point. Whilst most of these handhelds have opted for a screen size of 7-inches, the Lenovo Legion GO has a massive 8.8-inch screen. It’s a glorious screen with a 1600p resolution and 500 nits of brightness and a refresh rate of 144hz which is beyond the ASUS ROG Ally, with the one caveat being that it doesn’t offer VRR

Lenovo Legion Go

Whilst the screen size is quite a bit bigger than the ASUS ROG Ally and Steam Deck, the device actually didn’t feel a lot larger, and it’s light to the point that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to hold. Obviously, it’s not going to be the most portable of handhelds, but if you’re someone that wants to game on the go with a bigger screen, it’s still a lot less heftier than taking a laptop with you.

There’s another major huge difference with the Lenovo Legion GO which leads to some of its more interesting features. The joysticks on the side are detachable just like the Nintendo Switch, which isn’t something I thought we’d see on a non-Nintendo handheld anytime soon.

By pushing in a button on the back, the joysticks slide right off and can be used in a nunchuck style just like Joy-Con controllers. They’ve also got a range of other buttons on the back that can be customised.

Lenovo Legion Go

One of the controllers can be put in a special magnetic holder that essentially allows the joystick to act as a mouse. You simply just put the joystick in the holder, press a button to set it into the mode, and then you can put your hand around it and move ti around.

Being honest, when I first saw this idea, I thought it was going to be super gimmicky, but it actually worked super well and I could see it being a nice addition for FPS games or those that require a mouse.

Lenovo Legion Go

There’s also a trackpad on that same right controller just like the Steam Deck has and it’s a great way to navigate around the screen or use for games that are heavily reliant on a mouse.

Customisation and choosing your way to play is absolutely the key theme with the Lenovo Legion Go. There’s also a range of buttons on the back and sides that you can customise to whatever you choose as well.

Lenovo Legion Go

As far as how games run, I only got to test Sea of Thieves and Mortal Kombat 11 in my limited test. Both seemed to ran well which isn’t a huge surprise at this point given it has a AMD Z1 Extreme inside (same as ASUS ROG Ally and adjacent AYANEO devices), which has proven to be very capable at 1080p gaming and beyond.

The handheld runs Windows 11 and in case you’re new to these devices, that essentially means it can run any game that will run on a PC, including any game from Xbox Game Pass, which is a big difference to that of the Steam Deck which is largely limited to your Steam library. There’s also a customer Lenovo launcher which I didn’t get a heap of time with, but looked to be a great starting point for launching all of your games in a structured way.

Lenovo Legion Go

At $1,499 AUD (or $1,299 AUD for the Z1 version), it’s a little bit more than the ASUS ROG Ally at $1,299 but the features on offer here go beyond what ASUS offers, so it’ll really come down to whether you want that bigger screen or not.

It’ll be interesting to see how it goes long-term, and we’ll hopefully be able to tell you about more in-depth impressions when we get our hands on a device in the near future.