- The Lenovo Legion Go has a large, high-quality LCD screen that enhances gaming experiences and makes it easier to see details.
- The detachable controllers of the Legion Go provide flexibility in gameplay and offer precise mouse control for certain games.
- In addition to gaming, the Legion Go can be used as a tablet for media consumption, thanks to its detachable controllers and built-in kickstand.
Lenovo’s first Windows gaming handheld has divided opinion since making its debut. When it launched last September, the Legion Go was greeted by mostly lukewarm reviews and more than its fair share of complaints from early adopters.
Despite all that, I bought one anyway, and I left my Steam Deck to gather dust while I put the Legion Go through its paces. Months on, I firmly believe it’s one of the best gadget purchases I’ve ever made. Here’s why I love the Lenovo Legion Go.
Its big, beautiful screen
While I adore the Steam Deck, there are things I would change — one of which is the size of its display. While it’s undoubtedly large enough for lots of games, the larger, faster, sharper 8.8-inch LCD on the Legion Go has greatly improved my experience in many titles.
I’m ashamed to admit that a lot of my play time currently goes into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (it’s an addiction I’m trying to shake). And while it may not seem like a big difference on paper, the extra 1.8 inches of display real estate (versus Steam Deck LCD) makes it significantly easier to see enemy players on the Legion Go, especially on larger maps.
Games with smaller text are also more enjoyable for my aging eyes, while navigating Windows by touch is considerably easier on the Legion Go than it is on the 7-inch ROG Ally. Not to mention the Go’s 144Hz QHD (2560×1600) display is much nicer to look at, second only to the Steam Deck OLED in visual quality.
Detachable controllers for flexible play
Many see the Legion Go’s detachable controllers as little more than a gimmick, but I disagree. Having the option to stand the device on a table or tray while I sit back and enjoy a relaxing game at the end of a long day has been a great experience. When I’m feeling super lazy, I’ll lie in bed, sit the Go on my chest, and use the controllers at my sides.
The detachable “TrueStrike” (awful name) controllers are not something I take advantage of all the time, but it’s certainly nice to have the option, especially after using a Nintendo Switch for years. What’s more, the small touchpad integrated into the right controller offers more precise mouse pointer controller when you really need it — another feature the ROG Ally misses out on.
The Go also has a trick up its sleeve in FPS Mode, which turns the right controller into a proper mouse. I’m yet to adapt to actually using this option for first-person shooters, but it has been incredibly handy in other titles that play better with a mouse than a controller, such as real-time strategy games and city builders.
I can use it as a tablet
Another notable advantage of detachable controllers is that when you don’t need them, you can leave them behind — and I often do. The Legion Go serves as a surprisingly good Windows 11 tablet, and I’ve been using mine for catching up on movies and TV shows, watching YouTube videos, and browsing the web when I don’t feel like playing a game.
I wouldn’t carry a Steam Deck around the house just to consume media. It’s too big. But with its controllers detached, the Legion Go is just as portable (albeit thicker and heavier) than any other tablet. Its built-in kickstand also means that you can stand it almost anywhere. Mine can often be found sitting on a kitchen counter playing a movie while I wash baby bottles.
Admittedly, the Legion Go’s speakers aren’t great. They’re actually one of the device’s biggest weaknesses. You can improve audio quality and volume somewhat with third-party tweaks like FxSound, but if you use headphones 99% of the time like me, it’s a niggle you can easily ignore.
Two USB-C ports
One USB-C port is never enough, so it’s great to see that Lenovo integrated two into the Legion Go — both of which support charging and data transfer. It means there’s no need for a hub when you want to charge the device and connect a display or external drive simultaneously.
What’s more, both the Legion Go’s ports are USB 4, allowing you to connect external GPUs. This gives the Legion Go a big advantage over the Steam Deck, which doesn’t support eGPUs at all, and the ROG Ally, which uses ASUS’ proprietary XG Mobile connector that obviously requires a proprietary eGPU.
Lenovo’s software support
Lenovo has been great at updating the Legion Go since its release. Legion Space — the company’s own launcher — is still very much a work in progress, and I try to avoid it as much as possible, but it’s at least in a better state than it was at launch. We’ve also seen regular BIOS and driver updates that improve performance, fix bugs, and enhance the user experience.
One of my biggest complaints with the Legion Go when I first got it was that its Hall effect joysticks were poorly tuned, making them miserable to use in any game that called on precise control. However, Lenovo has since given players the ability to adjust joystick dead zones and response curves to their liking, and they’re now significantly better out of the box.
Furthermore, I’ve been impressed by Lenovo’s transparency when it comes to software updates. Weekly posts on Reddit and the Lenovo website give Legion Go owners insight into what the company is working on for future releases, and when those improvements are expected to come. The company is also great at listening to user feedback.
Easily available parts
Finally, I have to give Lenovo credit for making it a little easier to repair the Legion Go should you be unlucky enough to break it.
Users can purchase genuine parts through Lenovo’s website, where there are currently 25 components on offer, with more to come later. In addition to new chargers and controllers, you’ll find complete LCD modules and logic boards, various ribbon cables, brand-new batteries and heatsinks, and even replacement screws.
My favorite gadget
I’ve always had a love for handheld gaming, and as I’ve grown older and busier, I’ve been turning to handheld devices more and more to scratch my gaming itch whenever I have some free time. I’m delighted that it’s now possible to play AAA games on handheld devices, and that the experience is only getting better.
These six things, combined with impressive performance, make the Legion Go one of my favorite gadgets right now. Sure, it’s not perfect, and I have a list of things that could be improved with software updates now, or with hardware tweaks for Legion Go 2 later on. But any device that can convince me to leave my Steam Deck in its case for three months has to be pretty special.