For our money, the best gaming laptops aren’t necessarily just those that wrap up the most expensive, cutting-edge components into the fanciest shell. Not for most of us, anyway.
The Lenovo Loq 15 represents what a mainstream gaming laptop should be all about. It dips into the more cutting-edge areas of tech where it can, yet stays in the shallow end the rest of the time to save cash. But you get the sense at every juncture the focus is on what actually matters to the average laptop gamer.
Lenovo’s Loq 15 is therefore a class act. But did it deserve a whole new series when the Lenovo Legion was doing all this stuff under a different name just last year? Maybe not. But that’s marketing.
Lenovo LOQ 15: Price & Availability
This series starts at £849 in the UK, $899 in the USA. And while our review spec can be had for around £1200 at the time of writing, that's still a very sensible value for a gaming laptop.
For other territories take a look at the real-time shopping widget embedded above on this page to get a feel for how much you'll have to pay. The Loq is a good value-for-money proposition though.
Lenovo LOQ 15 review: Design
The Lenovo Loq 15 looks a lot like the company’s Legion gaming laptops. It’s not slim and light, but does have a couple of neat traits not always seen in affordable models.
For example, there are connections across three sides of the Loq 15. Putting some of the crucial bits, including the power connector, on the back makes clean cable management much easier.
The Lenovo Loq 15 also has a substantial cooling platform along the back, a sort of boxy rump that is home to a larger-than-average covered heatsink.
There’s a bit of Lenovo character to the design, and build quality feels solid. You don’t get any more superficial extras, though. All the panels here are plastic. No aluminium lid. And the LED light show is kept to a minimum, We’ll get to the keyboard in more later, but the Loq 15 body lighting amounts to a strip along the back.
Keen on the vital statistics? The Lenovo Loq 15 starts at around 2.4kg, with slight variances depending on the spec you pick, and it’s 25mm thick. We consider that too chunky for routine portable use but, hey, if you spend half of your free time in the gym, maybe you won’t.
Lenovo LOQ 15 review: Display
Lenovo makes 15-inch and 16-inch versions of the Loq. We have the 15-inch model on review, which has a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution 165Hz LCD panel.
Or at least it does in our review spec. Here’s where the prospect of buying a Lenovo Loq 15 starts to get a bit sticky.
Lenovo makes the Loq 15 with a lower-end 1080p, 144Hz panel. We’ve no issues with either of those specs, but even by its own figures that version’s colour saturation is bad.
Our review Lenovo Loq 15? Perfectly fine. It’s no super-rich wide-colour gamut screen, and looks pretty low energy next to the OLED laptops we now review all the time. But for actual movies and gaming? Perfectly good. While we haven’t seen it in person, we expect the step-down display to be clearly undersaturated, again, using Lenovo’s specs as a guide. You’ve been warned.
Brightness is solid and contrast is decent for a lower-cost display. And 1440p is arguably the ideal resolution for a laptop like this. It makes text look cleaner while you’re working, allows for sharper graphics when gaming, and shouldn’t drain power as quickly as a 4K screen.
A 4K resolution is also too high for an affordable gaming laptop to capitalise upon, in most advanced titles anyway. As per most in this category, the Lenovo Loq 15 does not have a touchscreen layer and does have a matte surface. This is classic affordable laptop fodder, but with a higher resolution and refresh rate.
Lenovo LOQ 15 review: Keyboard & touchpad
The Lenovo Loq 15 has a solid, moderately deep action keyboard that feels similar to what we’ve tested in Lenovo’s step-up Legion laptops. You get a separate NUM pad, no silly “gamer font” nonsense on the keys, and a pretty satisfying typing feel.
We ended up writing a bunch of articles on the Loq 15, spending at least as much time working as we spent gaming. You know what? No major complaints.
It’s another area where what you get varies based on how much you spend, though. The cheapest Lenovo Loq 15 models have a pure white key backlight. Our Loq 15 has a four-zone RGB key backlight.
This means that while you can choose just about any colour of the rainbow, you can’t select a different colour per key, but in four blocks of keys rather than in columns across the keys. Colour quality is decent for a lower-cost laptop though.
There’s more of a clear compromise in the Lenovo Loq 15 touchpad, but we expected there to be. Like every gaming laptop that does not cost a fortune, the Loq 15 has a plastic touchpad.
Playing games on a touchpad is never ideal but with one of these pads you start to feel that classic squeak of plastic when you move back and forth rapidly. Lenovo does texture the surface to reduce friction and smooth out the finger glide a bit, but there’s no replacing real glass.
We’d argue Lenovo spending more budget on the pad would have been a bad idea here, though. Every penny matters in a series like this, and the clicker and pad size are all easily good enough for general productivity work. Just make sure you plug in a mouse before any epic play sessions.
Lenovo LOQ 15 review: Performance
The Lenovo Loq 15 comes with AMD or Intel processors, and graphics cards from the Nvidia RTX 4050 to the RTX 4060 families.
We aren’t digging into the furthest reaches of gaming hardware here, but that does not mean you can’t play even super-demanding games in style. Our review model is a step up from the base Loq 15. It has an Intel Core i7-13620H CPU, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and the Nvidia RTX 4060 graphics card.
It’s close to an ideal setup for gamers on a budget. And unlike the last-generation RTX 3060 gaming laptops, the Lenovo Loq 15 can have a solid stab at the tougher games with ray tracing and advanced light and shadow-modelling tech.
This is because the latest 40-series generation of Nvidia RTX cards has frame generation, which can boost frame rates by up to three times. It literally makes up extra frames.
The technique is not entirely dissimilar to the usually ugly TV frame generation modes we turn off whenever we visit family at Christmas. But here it’s way smarter, and is actually informed by what’s happening under the surface. So it kinda feels like magic.
For example, you can max out the settings on Cyberpunk 2077 at the maximum 1440p resolution, no problem, without this latest frame generation mode. But if you want to try out the game’s truly incredible ray tracing, you need it. The RTX 4060 may not have the power to pull these tricks off “natively”, ending in an almost slide-show-like experience, frame generation makes up for it massively.
Do we like the idea of these “made up frames” being considered real performance manufacturers going forwards? Not really. Do we love what it means you can tease out of a laptop like the Lenovo Loq 15? Absolutely.
If you’re looking to do more than just game, we see no major hurdles there either. The Lenovo Loq has fast storage, a decent amount of RAM and an excellent CPU. Tasks like video editing will make the Loq 15 seem as though it is on home turf.
However, we don’t like the sound of the Lenovo Loq 15 as much as we did some of the earlier Legion laptops. While the layout is great, with exhausts on three sides of the laptop, the fan tone is significantly higher-pitch than the Legion laptops we’ve tested.
The most admirably non-annoying laptops sound like a sort of low hum, but the tone is higher pitch here. This laptop doesn’t have killer speakers to help drown it out too. Like the classic gaming laptop speaker character, the Loq 15’s are nothing more than okay, lacking the bass substance of a good pair.
Lenovo LOQ 15 review: Battery Life
We rarely see amazing battery life from gaming laptops. The Lenovo Loq 15 doesn’t change any of that. But with a bit of tweaking, you can make it at least passable.
Using standard settings, we’d be lucky to get much more than 4.5 hours out of a charge. However, if you stop the laptop using its dedicated GPU, and switch to one integrated into the CPU instead, you can boost this to a little under seven hours.
Are we going to remember to do that often? Absolutely not. And this is battery life with light jobs rather than the taxing stuff. Still, it’s not a bad result from a system that doesn’t put much of a focus on stamina.
Some high-end laptops max-out the capacity of their battery cells, using the 99Wh peak allowed on airplanes. The Lenovo Loq 15 has a more ordinary 60Wh battery.
It also has what you might consider an “up to date” webcam. Until recently, just about all laptops had 720p webcams. Now they almost all have 1080p cameras. The Lenovo Loq 15’s Full HD webcam is, no surprise here, not a star among them. But it is still a cut above the detail of the old 720p norm in reasonable lighting.
The Lenovo Loq 15 is a quality budget gaming laptop with no nasty surprises in its performance and some pleasant ones in its design. Cable management is easier than it normally is, while build quality is solid without being flashy.
Sure, you don’t get any flashy metal panels, and RGB lighting elements are limited. But do we really care ? Not much. Especially not for this price proposition.
Fan noise isn’t quite as well handled as it is in some Lenovo Legion laptops, but perhaps that is to be expected when this series is meant to sit at least one rung below those machines. Sit there it does, but the Loq 15 sits proudly as a decent entry-level gaming laptop.
There’s no shortage of decent-value gaming laptops. One of the most similarly-matched is the Dell G15. It offers similar specs for perhaps just fractionally more money. However, Dell claims its 240Hz screen delivers 99% of the DCI P3 colour gamut. That means deeper colour than we get from the Lenovo. Tempting stuff.
Alternatively, you might check out the Acer Nitro 5. It has a more explicitly “gamer” design, with an edgy key font. It doesn’t quite match the Lenovo for value, though. Acer charges more and, in the current model, delivers a last-gen CPU and lower-resolution screen.