Lenovo has announced a new Legion 9i, and it might just be the wildest thing I’ve ever seen from the Legion line. It’s coming in October, it starts at a whopping $4,399 (you know, a totally normal price to pay for things), and Lenovo is throwing in all kinds of eccentric stuff.
The company is clearly most excited about the fact that the 9i is the first 16-inch gaming laptop with a self-contained liquid-cooling system. This is exactly what it sounds like. Most laptops use air cooling to transfer heat along heat pipes to a radiator; a fluid-cooled device instead does that with water and a pump which, as you might imagine, can handle much more thermal mass. Such a system could theoretically allow the 9i to pull truly massive amounts of power (up to 230W, Lenovo claims) for a ridiculous gaming experience.
To be clear, liquid cooling is a thing that’s been tried before in laptops of this size. But it’s generally done externally — that is, you plug a thingamajig into a little port in the back, and that thingamajig swooshes some water around inside. Lenovo’s claim appears to be that the Legion 9i can fully cool itself with this method, no thingamajig needed.
Now, this could be very exciting, but I cannot stress enough that we have no idea how well it’s going to work. Also, I feel compelled to point out that Legion cooling is already, famously, very good. The last two Legion 5i generations that The Verge has reviewed have been remarkably cool, without much noise, throughout testing. I’m sure a liquid system will make some amount of difference, of course, but how much remains to be seen.
So before we all throw our Legion 7i models out the window (and I know some of you are tempted), we’ll need to see how this performs when the units actually hit shelves.
Another interesting feature is the forged carbon cover, which will give every unit a unique pattern. The design has kind of a funky vibe, and it can be neat to know that your unit looks different from the thousands of others on the shelf.
But what I’m happiest to see here is the 165Hz 16:10 Mini LED display. This has a 94 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is impressive, not just among gaming laptops but among laptops period. Mini LEDs aren’t cheap, but when you spend some time gaming on one, it can feel downright painful to go back to a regular IPS panel. I still miss the Mini LED on the Razer Blade 16, and I reviewed that half a year ago.
And then we come to the insides. The Legion 9i will be powered by the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, which is the most powerful mobile GPU in today’s gaming market. Up to 64GB of memory and 2TB of storage will be available. Good stuff.
The processor I have more mixed feelings about; it’s a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX. This is the most powerful mobile processor Intel has ever made, and it’s nothing to sneeze at. Still, it’s a bit hard to be too ecstatic about Intel machines right now because AMD’s 7945HX3D chip is hitting shelves soon, and that chip, in our testing, left the Core i9 in the dust. (The ROG Strix Scar X3D, the monstrous 17-incher that houses that X3D chip, is also a good deal cheaper than this Legion model.)
So I see this 9i device, at the moment, primarily as a wacky idea that will showcase Lenovo’s cooling solution and how much additional performance it actually brings. But if you have the cash to buy one, please know that I am very jealous of you and am cheering you on from afar.