Lenovo Legion 9i (2023)
The Lenovo Legion 9i has high-end specs packed to the brim but doesn’t settle there. It houses an unprecedented built-in liquid cooling system and features a unique forged carbon design. Despite its high-tech internals, it manages to be pretty slim and lightweight.
- First-in-class integrated liquid cooling
- Up to RTX 4090 and Intel Core i9
- Unique design and RGB implementation
- Too expensive
- Lid design not for everyone
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The Alienware x16 is Lenovo’s first-ever 16-inch gaming laptop, replacing the x15. It’s powered by the latest and greatest in CPU and GPU tech, and offers incredible performance in a compact form factor. With a 16:10 Quad HD+ 240Hz display and plenty of RGB, the Alienware x16 is a gaming and creator powerhouse.Pros
- Incredible performance in a compact chassis
- High-resolution 240Hz display
- Futuristic design with tons of RGB
- Pricey compared to similar competitors
- Keyboard switches can sound clanky
The Alienware series has produced some of the best gaming laptops over the years, offering powerful machines across different form factors. The Alienware x16 is no different, offering levels of performance that defy its sleek and light build. It even looks quite futuristic without going overboard on the gaming aesthetic. But, if you’re torn between the Alienware x16 and the new Lenovo Legion 9i, this comparison might help you decide between the two laptops. Let’s unpack whether the Legion 9i’s insane specs and some never-before-seen innovations make it a better pick over the Alienware x16.
Lenovo Legion 9i vs Alienware x16: Price, specs, and availability
The Lenovo Legion 9i was announced at the IFA 2023 event in Berlin in early September. You can configure and order it only at Lenovo’s website right now, as that’s the only outlet where it’s available before it appears everywhere in October. The Alienware x16, on the other hand, was announced at CES 2023 and has been on the market for some time now. You can currently find it on Amazon and on Dell’s own website.
The Legion 9i starts at an eye-watering $3,800, thanks to its decked-out spec sheet and some fancy engineering under the hood. The base variant packs an RTX 4080, 32GB of fast DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB Gen4 NVMe SSD. You can choose to go with the RTX 4090 variant and outfit your machine with as much as 64GB of DDR5 RAM and a 2TB NVMe SSD. The processor remains the same Intel Core i9-13980HX in both the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 variants. The Alienware x16 starts at a relatively modest $1,800 for its entry-level model with the RTX 4050 and a 13th Gen Core i7 processor. But a more apples-to-apples comparison should be made with the RTX 4080 and Core i9-13900HK-equipped variant that retails for around $3,000.
While the Alienware series has always been about providing leading gaming performance coupled with striking design, the Legion 9i seems like a new class of gaming laptops. Comparing these two might seem nonsensical at first but look closer, and you’ll find they have a lot in common. Another thing to note is that both these laptops use laptop GPUs, hence the performance will not be close to the desktop GPU variants. This is common in gaming laptops but is still worth mentioning considering we’re talking about ultra-premium laptops here.
Lenovo Legion 9i (2023) Alienware x16 Operating System Windows 11 Home Windows 11 Home CPU Intel 13th Gen Core i9-13980HX Up to Intel Core i9-13900HK, 14 cores, 20 threads GPU Up to Nvidia Geforce RTX 4090 Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU RAM Up to 64GB DDR5 5600 MHz Up to 32GB LPDDR5 6000 MHz Storage Up to 2TB M.2 NVMe Gen4 SSD Up to 4TB M.2 NVMe SSD Battery 99.99 Wh with Super Rapid Charge 6 cell, 90Wh Display (Size, Resolution) 16″, 3.2k (3200 x 2000), Mini LED, 165Hz, 3ms, 100% DCI-P3, 1200 nits, up to DisplayHDR 1000, Dolby Vision, NVIDIA G-SYNC 16-inch IPS, 2560×1600, 240Hz, 3ms, 100% DCI-P3, up 300 nits Camera FHD (1080p) webcam with electronic e-Shutter Full HD 1080p 30FPS webcam with IR facial recognition Speakers 2 x 2W Harman Super Linear Speaker System Six speaker setup (2x 2W tweeters, 4x 3W woofers) Color Carbon Black Lunar Silver Ports 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x Ethernet (RJ45), 1 x Combo headphone jack, 1 x microSD card slot 1x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x mini-DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x microSD card reader Network WiFi 6E 802.11AX (2 x 2), Starting at Bluetooth 5.1 Up to Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E 1690i + Bluetooth 5.3 Dimension 357.7×277.7,18.9mm (14.08 x 10.9 x 0.7 inches) 364.7×289.8×18.6mm (14.3×11.4×0.7 inches) Weight Starting at 2.5kg (5.5 pounds) 2.72 kg (6 pounds) Price Starting at $3,800 Starting at $1,800
Lenovo Legion 9i vs Alienware x16: Design and build quality
Let’s start with how these premium machines actually look and feel. The Alienware x16 maintains the distinctive future-looking design language of many of its siblings. The “Lunar Silver” color combines a silver exterior with a black interior, helping it stand out from the crowd while at the same time providing a seamless viewing experience. There’s no lack of RGB for those who like it — per-key lighting, an RGB ring around the back, lit-up Alienware logo, and even an illuminated touchpad.
Surprisingly, Alienware has managed to keep the x16 fairly slim and lightweight — around 0.7 inches thick and weighing 6 pounds — for a machine in this performance class. This is, in part, thanks to the anodized aluminum and magnesium alloy used in its construction. Alienware has kept all the ports at the back and the port selection is fairly straightforward with dual USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.1 and Mini DisplayPort, and a headphone jack and microSD card slot.
The Lenovo Legion 9i is, no doubt, meant to be the more premium machine as shown by its price tag. Thankfully, it does feel like a high-end gaming laptop with Lenovo going all out with its internal wizardry. The Legion 9i has a self-contained water-cooling loop built into the chassis, which happens to be an industry-first. The exterior is made with forged carbon chips to keep the laptop as lightweight as possible — 5.5 pounds and only 0.7 inches thick — and the lid bears a camouflage-like pattern that’s unique to every single unit.
The Legion 9i doesn’t hold back on RGB either. There’s per-key RGB lighting here along with two separate light bars, one each at the front and back of the laptop. The Legion logo on the forged carbon lid lights up as well. Apart from the lid with the distinct camouflage pattern, the Legion 9i is black all around. All the necessary ports are again at the back of the machine, with dual USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 and Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 and HDMI 2.1 port, and an Ethernet, headphone jack, and microSD card slot.
Looks are subjective, and more so with the design choices seen in the Alienware x16 and Legion 9i. But both laptops feature premium materials, are fairly portable for their performance class, and actually feel like ultra high-end gaming machines. You’re unlikely to go wrong with either of them, no matter if you’re buying one for gaming or professional use.
Lenovo Legion 9i vs Alienware x16: Display and gaming experience
Displays on gaming laptops have rightly been gaining center stage in the past few releases, with high-resolution, high-refresh-rate, and advanced panel tech becoming more common. Being flagship gaming laptops, the Lenovo Legion 9i and Alienware x16 are outfitted with displays that have overflowing spec sheets.
The Legion 9i has a clear advantage with its Mini-LED screen capable of reaching up to 1200 nits of brightness in HDR mode (it’s also rated for VESA DisplayHDR 1000). It not only has the superior contrast levels of Mini-LED technology but also excels in color reproduction thanks to the 100% Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 ratings. The resolution here is a striking 3200×2000 combined with a 165Hz refresh rate, which is not the highest we’ve seen but makes sense considering the higher resolution of the display. Needless to say, this is one of the best gaming displays we’ve seen so far.
Lenovo also plans to introduce a cheaper display option without Mini-LED and a lower, 500-nit panel at the time of launch. The webcam department is handled by a capable 1080p shooter, allowing you to leave grainy video calls in the past. As far as audio is concerned, the dual Harman speakers will be more than enough for casual media streaming. The audio system features Nahimic audio by SteelSeries, so you can expect an accurate gaming experience.
The Alienware x16 might not feature a fancy Mini-LED panel or 1000+ nits of brightness, but that doesn’t take away from its gaming capabilities. You get a Quad HD+ (2560×1600) resolution IPS screen with a 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time (same as the Legion Pro 7i Gen 8). The 100% DCI-P3 coverage adds great color reproduction that’s great for gamers as well as creators. You can also opt for a 165Hz Quad HD+ display or an FHD+ display with a blazing-fast 480Hz refresh rate.
The 16:10 aspect ratio of the x16’s display further benefits professionals, a feature that many creator-focused laptops have started to incorporate of late. Although Dell rates this display only for 300 nits, that’s sufficiently bright enough when using the laptop indoors. A 1080p webcam is seen here as well and the six-speaker system can easily fill a large room.
The Legion 9i clearly favors a high-end, no-compromise gaming experience with its Mini-LED panel. And you’ll rarely be able to generate more than 165 FPS at the highest settings, especially in story-based single-player games. The Alienware x16 instead favors a less bright but highly impressive and accurate 240Hz display over Mini-LED. This helps keep its price lower, and you always have the option of opting for the even cheaper 480Hz panel at the cost of image sharpness, if you’re more of an eSports enthusiast.
Lenovo Legion 9i vs Alienware x16: Performance
Performance holds a lot of importance when comparing gaming laptops, and you’ll be glad to know that both the Lenovo Legion 9i and Alienware x16 easily deliver top-tier gaming performance. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering their high-end internals, as each of them supports graphics up to the RTX 4090 and CPUs up to powerful Core i9 processors. But, the impressive part is how they’re able to achieve these feats despite their slim form factors.
The top-end model of the Legion 9i packs in an RTX 4090 laptop GPU and a Core i9-13980HX with 24 cores. These power-hungry components are supported by an unprecedented liquid cooling system that exists completely within the laptop’s slim chassis. The water block is placed directly over the GPU’s VRAM to keep one of the hottest areas cool enough for no-hiccup gaming sessions, while the rest of the GPU and other components are cooled by a vapor chamber and thousands of ventilation holes above the keyboard. Another interesting feature of the Legion 9i is the AI-powered system tuning that optimizes the laptop in real time based on your usage.
The Alienware x16 does feature a lower-specced Core i9-13900HK in its topmost variant, but the RTX 4090 ensures that there are no issues in terms of gaming performance. The laptop delivers FPS numbers similar to other laptops with even more powerful processors. You can easily get 100+ FPS in modern titles like Forza Horizon 5 and Apex Legends at the highest settings, and around 60 FPS in the most demanding titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Elden Ring (all at the highest settings).
On the Legion 9i, you can configure an overkill 64GB of 5600MHz DDR5 RAM and a sizable 2TB Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD, keeping in line with its other high-end specs. On the Alienware x16, you’re limited to a maximum of 32GB LPDDR5 6000Mhz RAM and up to a 4TB M.2 NVMe SSD. Although 32GB is more than enough for 99% of use cases, it’s good to have the option of 64GB in the case of the Legion 9i.
Battery life is understandably not stellar, which is similar to other high-performance laptops. The Alienware x16 lasts anywhere between 2 and 4 hours with power-saving settings enabled, the Lenovo Legion 9i is expected to perform similarly. Although, with the Legion 9i, you do get the benefit of fast charging thanks to its 330W power adapter that can charge it from 0% to 70% in just 30 minutes. While these claims are always to be taken with a pinch of salt, the Legion 9i is the better pick if you’re short on patience.
Lenovo Legion 9i vs Alienware x16: Which one is right for you?
Although we’re comparing laptops from very different price segments, some higher-specced models of the Alienware x16 come quite close to the Legion 9i’s starting price. The Alienware x16 is for those looking to buy a great-looking laptop that has the chops to power their current-gen gaming needs and doubles as a high-end creator laptop. It manages to remain impressively thin and light, considering the performance class it belongs to.
You’re not getting the silky blacks of a Mini-LED panel or integrated liquid cooling, but the x16 can do almost everything the Legion 9i can at a price that’s almost $1,000 less. For creators, the 16:10 aspect ratio is a treat to work with, and the multiple display options and plenty of RGB provide tons of flexibility and “gaming vibes” to users to tweak the experience to their liking.
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The Alienware x16 is a premium gaming laptop with incredible performance, great design, and a gorgeous display. For most users, it’s the better pick considering its relatively lower price with almost no compromises. It’s thin and light and its 16:10 aspect ratio makes it great for creators too.
- Operating System
- Windows 11 Home
- Up to Intel Core i9-13900HK, 14 cores, 20 threads
- Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU
- Up to 32GB LPDDR5 6000 MHz
- Up to 4TB M.2 NVMe SSD
- 6 cell, 90Wh
- Display (Size, Resolution)
- 16-inch IPS, 2560×1600, 240Hz, 3ms, 100% DCI-P3, up 300 nits
- Full HD 1080p 30FPS webcam with IR facial recognition
- Six speaker setup (2x 2W tweeters, 4x 3W woofers)
- Lunar Silver
- 1x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x mini-DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x microSD card reader
- Up to Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E 1690i + Bluetooth 5.3
- 364.7×289.8×18.6mm (14.3×11.4×0.7 inches)
- 2.72 kg (6 pounds)
- Starting at $1,800
The Lenovo Legion 9i is almost aiming to define a new segment in gaming laptops altogether, thanks to its never-before-seen liquid cooling tech and some impressive AI-powered capabilities. There’s almost nothing ordinary about this one, from its futuristic internals and forged carbon design to the brilliant Mini-LED panel and top-tier specs. If you have the money to spend, the Legion 9i doesn’t have any competition at the moment.
It’s an enthusiast product with unbeatable performance and a chassis that still manages to be light and portable. Although it seems too pricey, the revolutionary internals, unique construction, choice of materials, and overall premium feel of the machine can end up justifying the price to some users.
Lenovo Legion 9i (2023)
The Lenovo Legion 9i features some industry-first innovations in liquid cooling and a unique design language. With a top-notch Mini-LED display and the latest and greatest in CPU and GPU tech, the Legion 9i is in a class of its own, at least for the time being. If you’re not one to compromise, this is the machine to get, provided you can stomach the price.