Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I Gaming Laptop Review

Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I Review
Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I Review
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Looking for a budget gaming laptop that is reasonably capable of handling demanding games? The Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I is worth considering.


The term “gaming laptop” is of late, somewhat of a misnomer, and not just because any half-decent laptop nowadays is capable of running games.

With gamers a significant slice of the content creation industry, gaming laptops with their dedicated graphic processing units (GPU) and all are often expected to double as content creation workhorses. The ability to process screengrabs and edit videos, in turn, means said laptops are well capable of mundane work tasks like word processing.

This seemingly creates, or should I say, revitalises the demand for all-in-one laptops. Get one that’s capable of handling the games you play at the visual quality you expect, and you’re well-covered everywhere else, whether you need those additional capabilities, or not.

The Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I looks to be such a gaming laptop, one that goes easy on your wallet too. At slightly short of 12 hundred Singapore dollars, with a 12th Generation Intel i5-12450HX Core and a generous 15.6” screen, I thought I was reading numbers wrongly when I first perused the specs. Naturally, I also assumed there were lots of corner cuttings all over.

But nope, the LOQ 15IAX9I looks solid and operates well. Comes with a couple of interesting design features too. The attractive price might have to do with the model using an Intel Arc A530M GPU instead of the usual Nvidia/Radeon setup but even if that’s the case, the whole package is still magnetic. That is, for beginner or mid-range gamers.

If you’re just looking for something capable of running older or simpler games, this could even be one of the best models for 2024.

Physical Build

Though marketed as a gaming laptop, the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I doesn’t come with much eye-catching trimmings or colours; to some users, it might even look a little too like an office laptop. That being said, it does have a semi-hexagonal protrusion at the back. I call this the exhaust vent because it does exactly that—it pipes hot air away from you. The “vent” is also where the majority of ports, including the power port, are located.

In comparison, the left edge is completely featureless, while the right has two USB ports, a 3.5mm audio port, and a switch for the webcam. This “back-heavy” design, on the whole, works for me. I appreciate hot air literally being blasted away from my face. Whatever I need to keep plugged in could be done at the back, too, thus somewhat freeing up the sides of the laptop.

Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I Chassis
The LOQ 15IAX9I looks like an … electronic book? Note too that most of the chassis isn’t metal but plastic. This is one design aspect that might remind you of the budget price tag.
Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I Ports
Top: The “exhaust vent” and ports. Below, the right side of the 15IAX9I. By the way, the webcam is at 720p and isn’t one of the finer features of this model …

Weight-wise, the LOQ 15IAX9I is heavy, undoubtedly heavy; this is one of its biggest drawbacks. I know gaming laptops are usually weighty but at over 2.5 kg and with a power adaptor reminiscent of a concrete slab, this budget model is seriously not a gear you’d love to move around with. Let alone travel overseas with.

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Moving on to the keyboard, the keys feel adequately spaced out and with just the right amount of resistance to me; neither too mushy nor too clicky. Unlike what you’d expect of gaming gear, there is also no coloured backlight … … or is there? Morphing rainbow lights to adorn the keys do not switch on by default but can be activated/programmed via the pre-installed Lenovo Vantage app. Doing so immediately gives the LOQ 15IAX9I a gamer’s identity.

Lenovo Vantage App
Lenovo Vantage does more than make the keys look pretty. You’ll need it when you require a performance boost or when operating temperatures get too warm.

One other thing to highlight about the keyboard. Despite the model’s thickness, It can get quite warm when the LOQ 15IAX9I is running resource-heavy operations, with the heat most pronounced around the ENTER key. When things get too hot, you will need to run the Lenovo Vantage app to boost fan speeds.

Sound

Let’s face it. Unless a laptop is a collaboration with a notable audio brand, built-in speakers usually suck. And even if it’s branded, sound quality is seldom something to write home about.

The LOQ 15IAX9I speakers are surprisingly decent, though. Located on the underside, they sound a little airy and distant but are otherwise clear enough and with above-average stereo imaging.

Pump up the volume and you can even get a wee bit of that cinematic Atmos experience. (Nope, not exaggerating) This laptop is quite a decent choice for movie-watching.

The underside of the 15IAX9I.

Battery Life

Regrettably, the 60wH battery of the LOQ 15IAX9I isn’t particularly impressive, at least not for my review unit. On a balanced power plan and at full charge, I was given an estimate of about 150 minutes of use. Once I started running games, performing installations, etc., this plummeted quite rapidly. One hour of Hogwarts Legacy almost completely drained the magic, pardon the pun.

Running Lenovo Vantage in this case doesn’t help much, too, for most of the options are for boosting performances and fan speeds. Which, of course, just makes the power levels tank faster. (The app explicitly warns you)

What all these mean is that you will need to carry the slab that is the power adaptor with you if you’re out for a full day. Not an ideal arrangement and I’ll say this is the main trade-off for the attractive pricing.

Lenovo 15IAX9I Screen
A word about the screen. The 15IAX9I uses a FHD resolution, IPS anti-glare screen (144Hz) that peaks at 300 nits. It does its job diligently but is frankly not among the best screens you’ll encounter in 2024. Nor should you expect it to.
LOQ 15IAX9I Gaming Test
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered plays well on the LOQ 15IAX9I. But what about more demanding games like Hogwarts Legacy?

Gaming with the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I – A Positive Experience

Before continuing, a quick introduction of Intel Arc, for readers who might be unfamiliar.

Although it sounds like it, Intel Arc is not integrated graphics the likes of Irix Xe. Launched in 2022, “Arc” was meant to offer a new option in a GPU market dominated by Nvidia and AMD Radeon.



I’ll be blunt too. I rarely, if ever, come across rave reviews for Intel Arc. Frankly, there’s not even much mention. On the other hand, Lenovo did send me quite an enthusiastic introduction of the Intel® Arc™ A530M, with charts promising impressive 1080p framerates of over a hundred for games like DOTA 2.

With these figures in mind, I set about installing and playing four open-world games at 1080p, and I’m happy to share that the results were positive. Using the in-built benchmarking function of Far Cry 6, I was able to achieve average frame rates of 52 and 45 for High and Ultra-High visual settings respectively, with minimum frame rates never dropping below 35.

Far Cry 6 Benchmarking
What Far Cry 6 says about the graphic capabilities of the LOQ 15IAX9I.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered provided an even better experience. On High settings, frame rates were maintained between 60 and 75, while “Very High” drops it to a still respectable range of 40 to 45. It’s worth noting that for this game, the rates rocket to over 80 whenever the scene gets simpler, i.e., whenever good ol’ Spidey is just clinging to walls, scaling buildings, etc.

Replaying Ghostwire: Tokyo was a blast! With settings on High, I consistently enjoyed frame rates between 65 to 80, and occasionally, even beyond. Really made me yearn to hop onto a plane right away and fly over to Shibuya.

As for Hogwarts Legacy, this is where things get interesting. Portkey’s benchmarking recommends the Low setting but I was able to run and play the game for over two hours at the Medium and High Settings, with no stuttering and slowdown.

With settings on Medium, frame rates stayed within the 40 to 50 range, with slight dips during scenes with a lot of NPCs moving about. Bumping the global setting to High drops the average to a range of 30 to 40.

By the way, I played Ghostwire: Tokyo and Hogwarts Legacy with Intel XeSS* enabled, at Quality and Balance settings respectively. Personally, I think how well this AI upscaling tech works kinda depends on the game but when it works well, it’s awesome. In all cases, you will still enjoy some degree of visual enhancement.

* Intel XeSS works with all graphic cards but is said to be best with Intel Arc.

Content Creation With Adobe Apps

Adobe Creative Cloud apps like Photoshop and Premiere Pro are nowadays pretty well optimised for a wide range of setups. In other words, the concern is no longer whether a laptop can run these programmes but how long the apps would need to run certain complicated operations when used with a particular model.

Expectedly, the LOQ 15IAX9I had no difficulty opening huge Photoshop files of over 200 MB in size or performing standard touch-ups. More complex operations like exporting a movie with lots of shadows/highlights refinements require patience, but all in all, it’s still a workstation most content creators can work with.



If it’s any meaningful comparison, the LOQ 15IAX9I feels slightly slower than my old Nvidia 2070 and Ryzen 3700X rig but is noticeably faster with generative AI functions.

For your reference, Lenovo also cited an overall 3DMark Time Spy score of 6051 for this rig. This seems lacklustre when compared to the five-figure sums brandished for the higher-end RTX 4000 cards but numbers are numbers and it’s important to remember this is not a top-end model. As far as general content creation tasks are concerned, the LOQ 15IAX9I is more than capable of handling them decently.

Lenovo Budget Gaming Laptop
An excellent choice for gamers with smaller budgets as well as gaming content creators who are just starting.

Review Summary

To round up, I feel the Lenovo LOQ 15IAX9I is a great choice for beginner gamers with smaller budgets; a good entry-level model in other words. Seasoned gamers who do not expect the absolute best in graphic quality would probably find it an attractive choice too.

The weight is a drawback and the battery could be better, but outside of these, the model delivers the goods be it for gaming, standard content creation, or office work. Physically, the model has a reasonably stylish look, one that could best described as a hybrid between the futuristic and the functional.

The price tag is without a doubt, what’s most attractive. Now, with sales and promotions ongoing all year long, I dare not say this is the cheapest gaming laptop at the moment but it is certainly one of the cheapest models from an established brand to consider.

If you’re only playing older games at home, this is definitely a model that’s awesome for your wallet and needs.

Pros

  • Attractive pricing.
  • A physical design that could double as a workstation.
  • Graphic processing abilities are impressive for this price range.

Cons

  • Weighty with a heavy power adaptor.
  • The keyboard could get quite warm.

Other Lenovo Laptops to Consider

Lenovo has built up quite a portfolio in the laptop market, with a wide selection of workstations and gaming gear for everyone. If the LOQ 15IAX9I isn’t to your liking, consider checking out these other products.

The premium Yoga lineup is powered by Intel Core Ultra processors and equipped with Copilot in Windows 11. The latest additions are engineered to supercharge the creative processors, which allows for the handling of graphics-intensive tasks and heavy workloads.

  • Lenovo Yoga Book 9i (13″, Gen 9): For dual-screen productivity. Ideal for always-on-the-go programmers and multi-taskers.
  • Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i (16”, Gen 9): Designed for demanding tasks such as 3D rendering and animations and Lenovo Yoga Pro 7i (14”, Gen 9) for seamless video editing and studio recording sessions.
  • Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i (14”, Gen 9): Ideal for professional-grade photo editing and smooth coding sessions.
  • Lenovo Yoga 9i 2-in-1 (14”, Gen 9) and Lenovo Yoga 7i 2-in-1 (14” and 16”, Gen 9) for high-quality illustrations.

Lenovo’s renowned Legion series now feature AI-assisted performance boosts and innovative thermal solutions, such as the Legion “Coldfront: Hyper” system and hyperchamber thermal technology.

  • Lenovo Legion 7i (16”, Gen 9), Lenovo Legion 5i (16”, Gen 9) and Lenovo Legion Slim 5 (16”, Gen 9): For gamers needing a laptop for games and STEM apps.
  • Lenovo Legion 9i (16″, Gen 9):  Groundbreaking design for high-level gaming and content creation.
  • Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (16”, Gen 9) and Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (16”, Gen 9): Offering the ultimate in FPS, style, and screen performance.
  • Lenovo Legion Tower 7i and Lenovo Legion Tower 5i: Providing top-tier gaming tower PC horsepower.



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