Lenovo LOQ 15 Arc A530M review: Can it game?

The Lenovo LOQ 15 with Arc A530M targets the extreme budget end with a price tag of $700 (Image via Sportskeeda)
The Lenovo LOQ 15 with Arc A530M targets the extreme budget end with a price tag of $700 (Image via Sportskeeda)

The Lenovo LOQ 15 series was refreshed in 2024 with revised price tags, new hardware specifications, and a slight redesign. It now bundles Arc GPUs in the ultra-budget segment up to the RTX 4060 laptop GPU in its costliest offerings. Today, we are reviewing the cheapest option there is, a $699 gaming laptop with some interesting hardware choices.

You get what you pay for, and this LOQ 15 doesn't bundle either a latest CPU or a capable GPU. Lenovo has opted for the Core i5-12450HX and the Arc A530M to hit the extremely low price point.

I had previously tested the 4060 variant and was excited to check out how much value you can get in the other end of the spectrum. Spoiler alert: don't get your hopes up. Nevertheless, the Arc A530M LOQ still surprised me in certain places.


What does the Lenovo LOQ 15 offer?

Pre-delivery

The Lenovo LOQ 15 looks promising pre-delivery (Image via Best Buy)
The Lenovo LOQ 15 looks promising pre-delivery (Image via Best Buy)

In terms of on-paper specs, the Lenovo LOQ 15 isn't much different from a regular 2024 budget laptop. As mentioned before, it is powered by the Core i5-12450HX, which is two generations old now. Although opting for an "HX" series chip is commendable, newer 13th gen and Core Ultra options largely outdo Alder Lake chips in single-core performance.

This processor packs eight cores in total, with four performance 'P'-rated and four efficient 'E' rated. The lack of a proper six performance core chip also leaves something to be desired. Moreover, the 12450HX is quite power-hungry and can pull up to 65W under full load.

This CPU is paired with the 4 GB Intel Arc A530M, which was launched last year as an entry-level 1080p gaming chip. It is limited to 65W on the LOQ 15, which is the maximum for the GPU.

Lenovo has opted for 8 GB DDR5-4800 in one channel for the device. This won't be sufficient in 2024 and we recommend upgrading to at least 16 GB if you plan to daily-drive the device. In terms of storage, our review unit shipped with a 512 GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD.

The detailed specs list of the Lenovo LOQ 15 is as follows:

CPUIntel Core i5-12450HX (4 Performance cores, 4 Efficient cores, 4.4 GHz Turbo, 55-watt base power)
GraphicsIntel Arc A530M (12 Xe cores, 4GB GDDR6, 1,200 MHz boost clock, 65-watt maximum graphics power)
Memory8GB DDR5-4800
Storage512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Display15.6-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS, Anti-Glare, Non-Touch, 100% sRGB, 300 nits, 144Hz
NetworkingWi-Fi 6 2x2 AX & Bluetooth 5.1 or above
Ports1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort 1.4 + 140W Power Delivery), 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, Ethernet (RJ45), HDMI 2.1, headphone/mic combo
Camera720p webcam with E-shutter button
Battery4-cell Li-Polymer 60 WHr
Power Adapter135 watts
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Dimensions (WxDxH)14.04 x 10.59 x 0.78 inches (356.6 x 269 x 19.8 mm)
Weight4.62 pounds (2.1 kg)
Price (as configured)$699.99

Unboxing experience

The Lenovo LOQ 15 with Arc A530M is packaged the same way as other laptops in the series. It comes in a cardboard box, inside which we get the device wrapped in some foam and protective covering. The charger is bundled in a separate compartment.

Other than this, we get some paperwork, and that's it. The unboxing experience is nothing fancy, and this is enough for a budget device.

Read more: Lenovo Legion Slim 5i RTX 4070 review


Is the Lenovo LOQ 15 portable?

The Lenovo LOQ 15 weighs over 2.9 kg (Image via Sportskeeda)
The Lenovo LOQ 15 weighs over 2.9 kg (Image via Sportskeeda)

The LOQ 15 is heavy. Just the laptop weighed 2.42 kg (5.34 lb). However, it is slightly slimmer than last year's variants and is also designed to be a bit portable. However, with the charging brick, the device weighs 2.98 kg (6.57 lb) and can be a bit too much to carry around every day.

I don't believe the Lenovo LOQ 15 is quite portable. If you are planning to carry your laptop to school or work every day, look for another device on the market.


Display

The 15.6-inch display on the LOQ 15 is better than most budget laptops (Image via Sportskeeda)
The 15.6-inch display on the LOQ 15 is better than most budget laptops (Image via Sportskeeda)

The Lenovo LOQ 15 with the Arc A530M packs the 1080p 144 Hz standard IPS display bundled with every device in the series. It is 15.6 inches diagonally. Peak brightness is up to 300 nits and bundles an anti-glare coating.

Given the budget, the display that the LOQ 15 bundles is fantastic. It is much better than competitors like the HP Pavilion and Victus pack. Lenovo hasn't cut corners on the viewing experience despite the budget.

However, given it is based on the Arc A530M graphics processor, a 144 Hz panel doesn't make much sense. The GPU can't play most games at such high framerates. A 75-90 Hz display would've sufficed for the laptop and the extra money could have been spent on more RAM.


Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard and trackpad on the LOQ 15 is quite decent (Image via Sportskeeda)
The keyboard and trackpad on the LOQ 15 is quite decent (Image via Sportskeeda)

The keyboard on the new Lenovo LOQ 15 series has been slightly upgraded with larger keys and improved key travel. This is a welcome move. In many ways, the keyboard on the device felt the best in the ultra-budget segment. It is significantly better than the 2023 model, and miles ahead of what you get in HP Victus and Acer Nitro V offerings.

The cheapest model only features white backlighting for the keyboard. You only get two customizable brightness options that can be controlled via Lenovo Vantage or by pressing the Fn+Space bar combination.

The touchpad is sufficiently large too. It hasn't been significantly changed since the last generation. However, it isn't good for gaming at all. While I was testing Red Dead Redemption 2, I felt a weird resistance that didn't allow me to move around the character. Overall, it is enough for basic tasks given you would use a dedicated mouse during gaming anyway.


Speakers

The speakers bundled with the LOQ 15 are mediocre. They are okay for some background noise while working, but I recommend investing in some quality headphones if you want to play competitive video games or want a good experience in single-player titles.

Loudness is alright. It's nothing fancy and this is all you get in a budget gaming laptop.

Read more: Dell Alienware X16 RTX 4080 review


Ports and connectivity

The ports on the back of the Lenovo LOQ 15 (Image via Sportskeeda)
The ports on the back of the Lenovo LOQ 15 (Image via Sportskeeda)

This year's LOQ 15 has received some updates over the 2023 version in terms of ports and connectivity. The number of ports remains the same. However, there are none on the left side, leaving it empty. On the right side, you get one USB-C, a headphone/mic combo, and the webcam E-shutter.

On the back, you get two USB SuperSpeed ports, a power connector, an HDMI, and an RJ45 Ethernet port. Like every other LOQ I have checked out, this device also has one USB-C port which isn't ideal. Given the added capabilities of this new standard, including power delivery, display out, and more, I expect to see two USB-C ports besides two USB Type-A.


How does the Lenovo LOQ 15 Arc A530M perform?

The air vents on the back of the Lenovo LOQ 15 (Image via Sportskeeda)
The air vents on the back of the Lenovo LOQ 15 (Image via Sportskeeda)

The laptop has three performance modes that you can customize with the Fn+Q keyboard shortcut. The ring of LED around the power button at the top of the keyboard changes colors while you cycle modes. For the "Quiet" mode, it's blue, for "Balanced," it's white, and for the "Extreme" mode, you get red.

The "Quiet" mode sacrifices cooling performance for acoustics, while the "Extreme" mode allows the device to perform the best.

All synthetic benchmarks were recorded with the highest "Extreme" mode to allow the device to perform the best. In the gaming tests, we recorded framerates in both "Quiet" and "Extreme" presets.


Synthetic benchmarks

GPU performance

In terms of raw performance, the Arc A530M in the Lenovo LOQ 15 isn't particularly powerful. It targets basic 1080p gaming, and it only keeps up at this resolution in AAA titles.

Besides games, we also tested some popular synthetic benchmarks on the device. Here are all the results.

Steel Nomad benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
Steel Nomad benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

Starting with the newly released Steel Nomad benchmark from 3DMark, the Arc A530M logged a score of 933 points. We got 9.34 FPS in the benchmark, which goes to show the card isn't suited for the latest and most demanding video games.

Steel Nomad Light benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
Steel Nomad Light benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

Steel Nomad Light is a less graphically intense version of the original benchmark. It is designed for those looking for lighter workloads and casual games. The Arc A530M ran the test at 35.11 FPS and managed a score of 4,739 points.

Time Spy benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
Time Spy benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

We also ran the more conventional 3DMark benchmarks on the laptop. Time Spy, the quintessential DirectX 12 test, rated it at 5,810 points. Among these, the CPU score is 5,678, and the graphics score is 5,835.

Fire Strike benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
Fire Strike benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

Fire Strike, 3DMark's DirectX 11 test, scored 13,029 points. This shows the GPU will be particularly good at playing older titles.

DXR benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
DXR benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

On paper, the Arc A530M GPU supports ray tracing. To test how capable it is in this aspect, we ran the 3DMark DXR benchmark. The GPU only pulled off 12.69 FPS in the test. We believe it's best not to use this feature in most games that support it.

3DMark XeSS benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
3DMark XeSS benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

The graphics processor also supports XeSS, Intel's upscaling technology. It delivers a 79% jump in performance, which, although impressive, fails to push the benchmark to playable framerates given the limited rasterization performance. However, games supporting upscaling with AMD FSR or XeSS work better than this and deliver smoother experiences as we saw in our gaming tests.

Superposition 1080p Extreme benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
Superposition 1080p Extreme benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

The Lenovo LOQ 15 scored 3,224 points in the Superposition 1080p Extreme benchmark. This puts it slightly behind the GTX 1650 desktop GPU, hinting at a decent FHD gaming experience in well-optimized games.

Superposition 4K Optimized benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)
Superposition 4K Optimized benchmark results on the Arc A530M (Image via Sportskeeda)

In the 4K optimized test, the laptop graphics processor scores 3,790 points, which is in line with the GTX 1650 desktop GPU too.


CPU performance

We ran a bunch of CPU benchmarks on the LOQ 15. The Core i5-12450HX is a capable laptop CPU despite its mounting age, and the results impressed with the device's price tag.

3DMark CPU benchmark results on the Core i5-12450HX (Image via Sportskeeda)
3DMark CPU benchmark results on the Core i5-12450HX (Image via Sportskeeda)

In 3DMark's CPU Profile, the Lenovo LOQ 15 scored 924 points in the single-threaded test and 5,517 points with all 12.

Cinebench R23 benchmark results on the Core i5-12450HX (Image via Sportskeeda)
Cinebench R23 benchmark results on the Core i5-12450HX (Image via Sportskeeda)

In Cinebench R23's single-core test, the Core i5 managed a score of 1,573 points. This is a bit less compared to the latest chips in the market. However, a single-core benchmark score of 1,500 is more than enough for a budget laptop like the Lenovo LOQ 15.

In the multi-core test, the chip scored 10,778 points. This isn't superb for multi-core workloads, especially given that the newer 13th-generation and Core Ultra chips exist now. However, you can't expect more from a $700 device.

7-zip benchmark results on the Core i5-12450HX (Image via Sportskeeda)
7-zip benchmark results on the Core i5-12450HX (Image via Sportskeeda)

In the 7-zip file compression benchmark, the Core i5-12450HX scored an impressive 51,267 MIPS. I also tested intense file-extraction workloads on this, and the results were pretty snappy. Most modern CPUs have gotten competitive at this workload, and I don't think you would have any problems moving around and working with large packages on this machine.


Gaming benchmarks

The LOQ branding on the laptop (Image via Sportskeeda)
The LOQ branding on the laptop (Image via Sportskeeda)

The gaming performance of the Lenovo LOQ 15 is nothing fancy. It can handle most PS4 games comfortably, but the latest titles are a bit choppy. Competitive games like Counter-Strike 2 and Valorant play fine, however.

I ran a variety of games on the device to get a good idea of the performance. I left out any modern PS5-era game from the published results because framerates are consistently below 30.

This led to some interesting choices in the suite of video games. I tested The Witcher 2 after years to gauge performance in older rendering APIs — the game uses DirectX 9. The Arc A530M is superb for those into classics like this, hence its inclusion.

Below are the detailed performance results

The "Quiet" mode strangles the underlying hardware to allow the components to run passively. The results are far from ideal, however. The device significantly heats up physically, while delivering unplayable framerates in most demanding video games.

The "Extreme" mode feeds all the power the components need to deliver the best performance. Most games perform much better with this mode, but the laptop gets noticeably noisy. If you aren't using headphones, the fans can destroy the experience given the in-built speakers aren't that loud.

The benchmark results of the Lenovo LOQ 15 are decent for the most part. With tweaks to the settings, most PS4-era games easily run at about 60 FPS without major issues. Games that support FSR and XeSS benefit the most, however.

Quiet modeExtreme mode
Counter-Strike 2 (1080p High)48102
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1080p lowest)5172
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (1080p low, XeSS Balanced)4060
Mafia Definitive Edition (1080p High)3553
Red Dead Redemption 2 (1080p Balanced)3076

What are the thermals and power draw of the Lenovo LOQ 15?

The Lenovo branding on the laptop (Image via Sportskeeda)
The Lenovo branding on the laptop (Image via Sportskeeda)

In terms of thermal performance, the Lenovo LOQ 15 impressed me. Both CPU and GPU temperatures remain under control while gaming and even during our torture tests. However, due to poor fan placement, the laptop gets super hot while gaming and even during general use. It gets so hot that you can't keep it on your lap.

This year's LOQ 15 gets rid of the side vents, which means no hot air outlet from the two sides. All heat is now dumped from the back, which is both a good and a bad thing.

Most of the heat is concentrated towards the top end, which makes it particularly difficult to use while on your lap. A desk would solve this issue, but that defeats the purpose of a laptop.

Below are our thermal and power efficiency test results of the Lenovo LOQ 15. All benchmarks were recorded by placing the laptop on a solid desk with an ambient temperature of 35°C (95°F).


Quiet mode results

In our CPU torture test with the AIDA64 workload, the Core i5-12450HX went up to 88°C (190°F) at the maximum with the "Quiet" mode applied. Core temperatures maxed out at 83°C (181.4°F) and on average, across all the cores, the temperatures were 73.08°C (163.4°F).

These temperatures are good enough for a gaming laptop. Intel has always kept their laptop CPU temps under check, unlike AMD. However, what worries me is how long the chip took to cool down after the test.

We are looking at a good 35 minutes before the i5-12450HX cooled down to a few degrees above ambient. This is quite worrisome and could be an issue with the stock fan curve tuning.

The GPU temperatures hit a maximum of 96°C (204°F), which is quite high. However, in the laptop's defense, the components mostly rely on passive cooling in this test. Slightly higher temperatures are acceptable.


Performance mode results

In performance mode, the Core i5-12450HX in the Lenovo LOQ 15 thermal throttled. The temperatures went up to 98°C (208.4°F) at the maximum, while the clock speeds were dialed down quickly to keep the system stable.

Thermal throttling is a persistent problem in budget laptops like the Lenovo LOQ 15, especially if you are torturing it with tests like AIDA64. In most real-life workloads, you won't face thermal throttling. We pushed the device to test its limitations.

In the Performance mode, the GPU fared much better thanks to the fans cooling it under load. The maximum temperature we recorded was 86°C (186.8°F), which is good enough for a laptop graphics chip.


Power efficiency

The components of the Lenovo LOQ 15 aren't very powerful hungry. You get a 65W CPU and GPU. That's 130W, with the other components totaling about 140-150W. The device bundles a 170W charger, which is also a step down from last year's 230W power bricks.


Quiet mode results

The CPU drew a maximum power of 50W while operating under "Quiet" mode. On average, the numbers hovered between 30W and 45W.

The GPU is also power limited under the "Quiet" mode. We noted a 50W maximum when stressed with Furmark 2 at 1080p.


Performance mode results

In the Performance mode, all the components are supplied with the maximum power they are rated at. The Core i5-12450HX pulled a consistent 65W with some peaks up to 67W.

The Arc A530M in the Lenovo LOQ 15 drew a maximum of 72W under full load. This number is the maximum for the GPU when pushed to the maximum with a stress test like Furmark 2. While running video games, I seldom noticed the video chip going past 65W.

After all these tests, we can conclude the maximum power limits of the Lenovo LOQ 15 as follows:

Quiet modePerformance mode
CPU maximum power limit50W65W
GPU maximum power limit50W72W

Is the Lenovo LOQ 15 with the Arc A530M GPU worth it?

The LOQ 15 with Arc A530M is one of the most interesting laptops I have tested in years (Image via Sportskeeda)
The LOQ 15 with Arc A530M is one of the most interesting laptops I have tested in years (Image via Sportskeeda)

The Lenovo LOQ 15 with Arc A530M has its set of pros and cons. We don't believe the $699 price is defendable, either. MSI and ASUS have launched models with the Nvidia RTX 2050 laptop GPU at this price, which slightly outperform the Arc A530M.

The Intel graphics processor is the biggest upset of this device. It can't beat last-gen Radeon 700M series iGPUs paired with AMD APUs and handhelds like the Asus ROG Ally and Lenovo's Legion Go. In terms of raw performance, we believe the handheld would be better value for money than this laptop, given it costs the same $699.99.

On top of this, the Lenovo LOQ 15 is incredibly heavy, gets hot under regular usage, and is quite power-hungry. For all of these reasons, we recommend you avoid this laptop. Better get something powered by the RTX 2050 at this price range.


In conclusion

The Lenovo LOQ Arc A530M has certain positives but misses several spots (Image via Sportskeeda)
The Lenovo LOQ Arc A530M has certain positives but misses several spots (Image via Sportskeeda)

Product name: Lenovo LOQ 15 15IAX9I with Arc A530M graphics (Provided by Lenovo)

Dimensions: 14.04 x 10.59 x 0.78 inches (356.6 x 269 x 19.8 mm)

Display: 15.6-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS, Anti-Glare, Non-Touch, 100% sRGB, 300 nits, 144Hz

Battery: 4-cell Li-polymer, 60 WHr

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