- Lenovo has launched its flagship gaming laptop, the LOQ series, in South Africa.
- The LOQ series offers two main models, the 15 and the 16, with different specifications.
- The design of the LOQ series is relatively unassuming, with a plastic finish that resembles brushed metal.
There are plenty of gaming laptops available on the market today. This is true even in South Africa, where the gaming market continues to grow year-on-year, with laptop brands having plenty of success thanks to the rise of eSports and competitive gaming. In years gone by, a few brands were yet ready to launch their flagship units in-country, but that has changed since 2020. Lenovo has succeeded in South Africa for decades, especially with its ThinkPad range. While the team had reasonable success with its Legion, it takes things up a notch with the latest LOQ range. Having received the Lenovo LOQ 16 for review, I wanted to put it through its paces.
There are several sub-categories with the Lenovo LOQ series, which can be confusing to a first-time buyer. However, there are two main models, the 15 and the 16, a marker to its screen size – 15.6” vs 16”. Further, according to their specifications, variants are split between Intel Core and AMD Ryzen CPUs, a choice between NVIDIA RTX 4050 and 4060, and various RAM and internal storage options. The unit we received for review ranges somewhere on the lower end of the mid-tier while still delivering excellent results.
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Build and Design
The Lenovo LOQ series has a relatively unassuming design looking from the outside. Unlike other flagship gaming laptops, the LOQ has a plastic finish instead of a metallic chassis. However, the plastic looks like a brushed metal finish, which looks great. The lid avoids trinkets or additional lines, only broken by a relatively large Lenovo badge on the left-hand side.
Looking at the bottom half of the chassis, I like the configuration of its ports and ventilation system. Unlike others, the LOQ adds most of its main ports on the rear, including the power input, HDMI and LAN ports. This is ideal for gamers, allowing most cables cluttering to lead out from the rear and not get in the way of the sides.
The vents are positioned towards the back of the device. There is an overlap between the device’s sides and rear, allowing for maximum air intake. As is standard, vents are below the device, typically reserved to exhaust warm air. It can get pretty hot in certain conditions, which triggers the fans to blow rapidly, raising the noise levels somewhat.
Thanks to the larger frame, there is room for a numpad as part of its keyboard layout. While it may be trivial in most cases as a gamer, it’s proven useful when working. The keyboard is slightly off-centre, which took me a while to wrap my head around, but nothing that will throw you off too much. Its trackpad is also reasonably large, but not comically large as with some devices. The off-centre spacing of the keyboard means that I wasn’t constantly hitting the trackpad accidentally. Even though you can turn off the trackpad, it’s still lovely to realise that some thought has gone into carefully positioning elements on the laptop.
The rear houses two USB Type-A ports, an Ethernet port, full HDMI and power input. This is positioned in the centre of the rear between the two vents on either side. In addition, another Type-A port on the right-hand side and the webcam toggle to turn the camera on and off. The left-hand side has just one Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The only addition to the configuration would’ve been a second Type-C port on the left-hand side. Other than that, this is quite a good list with good placement.
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Screen and Display
As mentioned previously, the Lenovo LOQ has a 16” screen. It’s right there in the title. This is the standard for most laptops; there is no difference here. However, it has a 1,920×1,200px resolution, which isn’t relatively standard. This is slightly larger than the 1080p resolution. Most modern gaming laptops have a resolution of around 2560×1440px or 4K at 3840x2160px. As such, it’s slightly underspecced in that regard.
Where it does do well is with its brightness levels and its 144Hz refresh rate. These two aspects create great gaming visuals and allow for beautiful scenery and immersion. Added to the refresh rate is its G-Sync support, which further smooths the visuals.
While many gaming laptops have matte screens to limit glare, the LOQ seems to have an even more matte finish. This reduced the glare even further but does make for a slightly duller appearance out of the box. Lenovo claims a 100% sRGB setting. However, given the dullness of the extra matte finish, you may need to adjust this under the Windows settings to brighten it up while adding more colour visuals.
Lenovo LOQ 16 Specifications
Things change quickly in the tech industry. This only seems to be getting worse for consumers, who, after months of saving for any gadget, may at times be as outdated as a previous-generation device almost as soon as you’ve bought it. Thankfully, the Lenovo LOQ 16 has been upgraded to feature all the latest hardware for 2023, leading into the early stages of 2024.
The laptop features a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 (13620H) 2.40GHz CPU with 16GB RAM (DDR5 5600MHz). This includes a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 GPU and 512GB m.2 SSD internal storage.
Regarding wireless connectivity, the unit features Wi-Fi 6 supporting Dual Band (2.4 and 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 5.1 (not the latest 5.2).
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Performance and Battery Life
Having the highest-specced hardware under the hood doesn’t hurt. However, the Lenovo LOQ 16 isn’t that device. It features the latest generation of each but somewhat of a mid-tier range. It’s not always about throwing the best hardware at a problem but how well these integrate to provide the ideal solution. And that’s the case here with the LOQ.
Under its default settings, the laptop performed well. It operates silently and can breeze through every task you throw at it without any tinkering. However, things can be turned up when needed. It’s also easy to switch to Turbo (or overclocked) mode. This is handy when playing the latest AAA games, allowing you to turn those in-game settings up to Ultra and making for great visuals.
And it works great. Most games tested on maximum graphics settings averaged between 60 and 100FPS. A handful of games went beyond this, reaching up to 120FPS, where the 144Hz panel comes into play. With a few tweaks in the settings menu, you could get most games above the 120FPS mark, sacrificing a few visual settings for a smoother gameplay experience.
The overclocking of the CPU and GPU can be adjusted via the pre-installed LOQ Vantage software on the laptop. Unlike many other bloatware apps, this is very useful and on par with the ASUS Armoury Crate. Users can configure everything from their CPU and GPU overclocking, WiFi boost, touchpad lock, security settings, and more.
The LOQ has a 60Wh lithium-ion battery. It isn’t the most powerful available, but it delivers above-average performances. Under normal conditions, you can squeeze between four and five hours of general use, completing daily tasks. However, this reduces to around three to four hours under heavier loads. It reduces even further while gaming, lasting between one and two hours before needing to be plugged in again.
At the same time, it’s not ideal to use overclocking while on battery, as this considerably reduces the battery life. Overclocking tends to heat the laptop significantly, prompting the fans to overdrive. At its peak, having it on your lap makes it uncomfortable. As a result, you’ll need to place it on a flat surface for better ventilation.
Overall, the Lenovo LOQ 16 isn’t going to set any records on the benchmark tests and delivers above-average performances in that regard. However, it does a lot with what it has under the hood.
Should You Buy the Lenovo LOQ 16?
The Lenovo LOQ 16 delivers much more than anticipated for a mid-tier gaming laptop. Unlike many other gaming laptops packed to the rafters regarding hardware specifications, the LOQ is a well-rounded laptop with excellent potential, unlocked by its overclocking capabilities. It lacks in certain areas, but nothing detrimental to its overall performance.
With pricing starting from R21,999 for the entry-level option in the range, users can choose upgraded hardware in their configuration to suit their gaming needs. There are options aplenty as you move up the pricing ladder, but you can get a lot done with even the entry-level variants in the range.
Lenovo LOQ 16
- Solid build and design and port configuration
- Great overclocking potential
- Lenovo Vantage software adds value
- 144Hz screen
Ease of Learning
Ease of Use
Value for Money