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Lenovo Legion Y540 Gaming Laptop – Review

The gentleman's pick

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When it comes to gaming laptops, Lenovo has always had a good selection of them. All look good on paper, but with quirks that makes it come short of greatness. Check our reviews of the 2017 line.

But the Legion line has matured over the years. Now in 2019 comes the Legion Y540. Equipped with an Nvidia RTX this machine looks like a winner on paper, especially if you favour in value. And aside from one slight issue, it’s a strong contender for your money.

Hardware

The Legion lineup went for a makeover last year and the 2019 line continues the same design ethos. As in, it looks more and more like a souped-up ThinkPad. It’s a pretty good look, especially for those who don’t like the tacky gamer-centric designs of gaming laptops. The top surface has this subtle circular pattern and outside of the big Legion logo (which has a Y-shaped LED at the “O”), you could barely tell what laptop this is.

The business side of the laptop is also classy and business-ey. It sports a full keyboard with numpad. The keys are tactile and good to type on and the trackpad is decent. No RGB here folks, you have to settle with the white LED for keyboard highlights, which can be dimmed or turned off should you choose to.

The Y540 has vents to the sides and the back. Plus a huge vent down below for cooling. There’s a USB port on each side, plus one more and the rest of the I/O on the back. It’s nice to have options, and it makes for pretty tidy cables.

While at first this looks compact and svelte, don’t be fooled. This is still a chonk of a laptop. Lenovo did some nice design choices to make it look smaller than it is, such as using every bit of width for the keyboard and have the 15.6″ screen surrounded by thin bezels.

Software

For the Y540, there is the Lenovo Vantage app that acts as your one-stop hub for specific settings. It’s not that much useful, there’s no internal thermometer to check the CPU and GPU’s temperature, for example. There is an equaliser for the Dolby Atmos speakers.

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Whatever that is on the app is adequate, for the most part. But nothing remarkable.

Gaming Performance

The Y540 comes in quite a range of specs, but this review focuses on the Y540-15IRH. This comes with both a 9th-gen Intel Core i7 and an Nvidia RTX 2060, so it’s packing some heat.

Here are the full specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD (7200rpm)
  • Display: 15.6″ 1080p 144Hz

As you would expect, the Y540 runs like a dream in today’s AAA games. You can play at Ultra and still have the framerates hover in the 60fps mark easily for Monster Hunter: World (including the high-resolution textures) and Forza Horizon 4. The Core i7 is speedy, making for very quick turn times in Civilization VI. 8GB of RAM may feel a little on the small side, but rest assured that at least for now, a RAM upgrade is not needed. Those Dolby speakers are also sufficiently loud, should you not play games with headphones plugged in.

Since it has an RTX, you can definitely play games with real-time ray-tracing like Quake II RTX, which really does make a good demo to show where the RTX power is being used.

Compared to where the Legion was last two years, they are now in such a better place, with all the checkboxes that make a gaming laptop run well, ticked.

The Y540 also goes beyond what we expected, and the way they did this is twofold. One is that it still has a regular hard drive to complement the SSD. All gaming laptops are moving toward SSDs, sure, but I’m glad that Lenovo understands that there is still a need for normal storage. A shame the SSD size way too small, but hey- you get a hard disk to go with it, unlike other brands’ offerings.

The other is the 144Hz refresh rate screen. The screen itself is bright and glare-free, but for those into esports or competitive games where higher frames are an advantage, this is a huge boon.



The only caveat is, unfortunately, is on how it handles heat. Despite the many vents from the sides and bottom part of the laptop dedicated to regulating the temperature, it can still get warm. Though it is mostly the right side of the surface, so your fingertips on WASD wouldn’t feel much of it, it’s still something to let you know.

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Thankfully, there was no thermal throttling as games still run great after hours in, and things cool down quickly after closing.

Value

Now here’s the crazy part:  Lenovo’s MSRP for the Y540 of this spec should be RM6,199. But various online and offline retailers can offer for as low as RM5,899. An RTX 2060 laptop under RM6,000? Oh yes, what a steal.

The Y540 not having many of the fancy bells and whistles like full RGB keyboard definitely driven the price down. It’s an inherited trait of the Legion line- if you can live without some superfluous features you’re getting quite the bang for your buck.

Verdict

The Lenovo Legion Y540 is a solid pick for those looking for an RTX-powered laptop without going overboard on the budget. It may lack some fancy bells and whistles but it makes up for actually having actual hard drive space from the get-go.

However, it’s a bit disappointing to see that despite the many working vents that are seen on the laptop, it can still get heated up and warming the keyboard surface. Though it’s no deal-breaker.

This is the gentleman’s pick for a gaming laptop. Looks suave, but definitely means business.


Review unit provided by Lenovo Malaysia

8.9

Lenovo Legion Y540 Gaming Laptop

The Lenovo Legion Y540 is a solid pick for those looking for an RTX-powered laptop without going overboard in budget. It may lack some fancy bells and whistles but it makes up for actually having actual hard drive space from the get go.

However, it's a bit disappointing to see that despite the many working vents that is etched on the laptop, it can still get heated up and warming the keyboard surface. Though it's no deal breaker.

This is the gentleman's pick for a gaming laptop. Looks suave, but definitely means business.

  • Hardware 9
  • Software 8
  • Gaming Performance 9
  • Value 9.5