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Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I review: Basic budget gaming

Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I review: Basic budget gaming

Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I

The Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I is an affordable, entry-level gaming notebook that runs cooler than its peers. Its Intel graphics chip is more suited for casual games, and esports titles. Don't expect a smooth 60 frames per second (fps) for the latest AAA titles unless you turn off some of the eye candy. But seeing as it costs around S$1,300, I think it's a decent option for those on a budget.

Quick specs

  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 144Hz IPS display
  • Intel Core i5-12450HX with 16GB memory and 512GB SSD
  • 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack
  • 60 watt-hour battery

What's unusual about the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I is that the air vents, and most of the ports are located at the back of the notebook. In fact, the entire left side is devoid of ports or vents. As a nod to convenience, Lenovo has placed a USB-C, a USB-A, and the audio jack on the right side, as well as a toggle to enable/disable the webcam. The upside of this design is that users won't get blasted by warm exhaust from the vents. But it seems as if most of the laptop's weight is at the back where the vents are. This meant that when I first lifted it up, I almost dropped it back on the desk because of the uneven weight distribution. It doesn't help that this all-plastic gaming notebook is relatively hefty at around 2.4kg.

Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I
Look Ma, no ports! Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

My review unit comes with a 4-zone RGB keyboard, an optional S$20 extra over the default white backlit keyboard. It's a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad. Key travel (1.5mm) is acceptable. The matte IPS display, however, could be brighter. Its 1080p resolution is adequate for a 15.6-inch screen, while the 144Hz refresh rate is nothing to shout about. In other words, it's the bare minimum you'd expect for an entry-level gaming notebook. The gaming performance, too, reflects this. The Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I uses an Intel Arc A530M graphics chip. Going by its 3DMark's Time Spy score (2,536), it's roughly half as fast as the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 (4,926), which has a GeForce RTX 4070 chip.

Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I
The rear of the laptop is somewhat heavy, probably because of the cooling system. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

In Watch Dogs: Legion, the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I, which uses an Intel Arc graphics chip, produced an average of 49fps at 1080p with graphics set to High. Lowering the setting to Medium resulted in 55fps. I also got around 47fps in Metro Exodus (High profile) at 1080p. For context, a gaming laptop with an RTX 4050 graphics chip, like the Lenovo Yoga Pro 7i Gen 8, scored 67fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at 1080p and High. On the bright side, the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I runs relatively cool. The location of the vents help, but the bottom of the notebook also doesn't feel as warm as other gaming laptops. The figures confirm this: The CPU temperatures were mostly in the 60-degree Celsius range, with occasional spikes to 74 degrees maximum. Meanwhile, the graphics chip peaked at 70 degrees Celsius.

With only a 60-watt hour battery, the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I doesn't have the largest battery capacity. But it has fast charging — Lenovo says 30 minutes will get it up to 80% capacity. However, battery life is unsurprisingly mediocre. The laptop lasted just over 3 hours at maximum screen brightness. At around S$1,300, this Lenovo gaming notebook is affordable, though it's definitely more suited for older games or less demanding esports titles. For modern AAA titles, you probably have to run them at a lower graphics fidelity. It's available directly from Lenovo, or from its official store on Shopee.

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Note: Review unit provided by Lenovo.

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Basic, budget gaming notebook

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