Lenovo Legion 7, 7i laptops get analog WASD keys

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Lenovo launched its latest Legion 7i and 7 (opens in a new tab) gaming laptops in May, and they deliver all the modern laptop gaming goodness you might expect from high-end 16-inch designs in 2022. However, one keyboard innovation that will make a big difference for gamers n didn’t really get the spotlight – the inclusion of all-analog keys behind the WASD array.

Lenovo’s information on the special WASD keys is rather light on detail, so thankfully the company behind these keys, Peratech, wrote their own press release today, providing full details of their analog keyboard technology. Going through the press releases, this now appears to be a standard feature of the latest Lenovo Legion 7i and 7 gaming laptops, as part of the revamped Legion TrueStrike keyboard that comes with those models.

(Image credit: Peratech)

If you’re not quite sure what the all-analog WASD keys entail, it’s that these keys, commonly used for movement in PC games, are pressure-sensitive. So if you press W to move your game character forward, for example, the deeper you press the W key, the faster the character will move. Peratech calls it a “console-style game controller experience” through your keyboard. Remember that with an analog gamepad, the joysticks move characters faster the more you push them in any direction.

We’ve seen analog keys in some of the best gaming keyboards in years when it comes to dedicated standalone peripherals. Memorable examples come from Razer, Cooler Master and Wooting. But perhaps the biggest difference between laptop and desktop keyboards is the key travel distance, which tends to be much more limited with laptops. Lenovo says its new laptop keyboard has 1.5mm key travel, while many analog keyboard models have 4mm. The extra key travel in the desktop example should make it easier to make incremental movement speed changes with finesse. Obviously, the laptop’s shorter key travel range means it will be harder to keep your movement very smooth and precise. But we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out in our own tests.

Peratech’s keys work in concert with its Hydra UI software. In the screenshots above you can see there are a lot of parameters to tweak, to adjust key functions and responses, even going as far as a response curve editor. Hydra lets you set these settings per game/app, and they can automatically switch between profiles. But you will have to make your own adjustments since only 11 presets are provided for games. These include Forza Horizon 4, PUBG, and Resident Evil Village.

Lenovo and Peratech say the special WASD keys feel and type like any other on the keyboard, so their presence won’t hurt your gaming productivity. Still, the WASD keys are swappable, with spare regular keys in the box.

We last reviewed the Lenovo Legion 7 in January 2022 and the Legion 7i in October 2021. These reviews predate the Legion TrueStrike keyboard update, so we haven’t had one of the laptops from Lenovo with Peratech Force Enabled keys in labs. , so far. But maybe the new feature will help Lenovo’s new legions carve out a spot on our list of the best gaming laptops. But only time – and some gaming tests – will tell.

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