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Lenovo Legion Y720 – Review

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If you read our review of the Lenovo Legion Y520 and wished it had a better specs, you’re in the right place. While the Y520 is decent as a mid-range option for a gaming laptop, its big brother the Y720 is the one that pushes to the top range. It’s bigger, it’s stronger, it’s sleeker, and of course, pricier.

But is it worth the price tag? I spent two weeks gaming on this laptop and suffice to say it does its job well. Like any gaming laptop, the question is what aspect of the machine you can compromise. The Y720 certainly has some weakness to its package, but if you can take the hit, this is one unwieldy beast of a laptop.

Hardware Features

At first glance it’s easy to not spot the difference between the Y720 and the Y520. But the devil is in the details. It sports the familiar black with red accents colour scheme. The aluminium exterior with carbon fibre patterns now houses the sleek but aggressive Y logo. It looks marvelous, but unfortunately a total fingerprint magnet.

When you open the lid up you will see a familiar layout, but slightly different. The red trimmings dominated above the keyboard, which house the speakers and the power button. The keyboards here have RGB lights which can be configured to various colours as well as brightness options. The touchpad is a regular old touchpad, which is actually an improvement over the Y520’s tacky look. The 15.6″ IPS display looks nice at various angles, but some may not like the big bezels.

Underneath there are big rubber feet to make some space for airflow and a subwoofer. The main exhausts escapes from the front-side of the laptop through the red mesh. It’s placed beside the hinges, which explains why the hinge is shorter here and the lid is not as easy to open. There is no upgrade slot either, so you have to open the whole bottom part of the laptop to access RAM and hard disk for future upgrades. As for I/O, there’s a Thunderbolt 3 port, three USB ports 3.0 ports, HDMI port and a Kensington lock.

The Legion Y720 is packing some really big specs and boy is it telling. The Y720 is significantly thicker and that translates to a hefty machine, weighing at 3.2kg. I lugged this in a laptop backpack on a few trips and the weight is noticeable compared to the Y520, or other normal laptop. It’s really heavy!

Software Features

As for the software package, it shares almost all the features from a Legion machine. The software suite, Lenovo NerveSense houses most of its features which includes extreme cooling, RGB keyboard settings, the ability to stop mistaken inputs and even its own recording app.

There’s a dedicated record button on the keyboard and it functions similarly to Nvidia and AMD’s own recording suite. However, footage are limited to only 50fps. This is more useful for casual players rather than power users or streamers- the built in recorder won’t replace OBS, Xplit and the like.

In regards to bloatware, there’s not much aside from a trial of McAffee Antivirus and a few shortcuts disguised as apps pinned on the Windows start screen, the latter is more on a Windows issue rather than Lenovo’s. There are a few other Lenovo apps pre-installed, but they are not too distracting.

Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor

Gaming Performance

The Y720 looks great and thankfully, it does its job as a gaming device very well but with some exceptions. Let’s look first the specs of the review unit I had, the Y720-151IKB 80VR001CMJ:

  • CPU: Intel i7-7700HQ
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 1TB 5400rpm

As you can see, the weakest link here is the storage. 1TB of storage is not the only problem, but the slowness of the drive. The high-end variant of the Y520 I reviewed months back managed to be decent thanks to it having an SSD despite using a slow hard disk, but the Y720, at least this specific model, suffers from slow loading times.

The first few days when I received the review unit was cumbersome. I had to deal with Windows downloading and installing updates in the background and that affected the loading times. I was mostly offline during the Christmas holidays and only then the laptop loaded games faster.

But after that unfortunate hump, it’s all smooth sailing. The Y720 has no problems running games at high to very-high settings. Recent games like Ghost Recon Wildlands and Prey 2017 ran exceptionally smooth, hitting the 60fps threshold and then some. Lower-spec esports games like Dota 2, League Of Legends and Overwatch all ran pretty well, as it should.

Memory intensive games like Cities Skylines and Civilization VI were a bit mixed as it is slow to load but looks great when the bottleneck at the storage and memory is cleared. And as you can expect, older AAA games like Tomb Raider 2013 and Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor from 2014 all played great at the highest settings.

Just Cause 3

The only game we found issues were Just Cause 3, one of the more demanding PC games right now. The game stuttered a lot due to 8GB RAM not being enough for high settings, and add to the slow HDD, which made it unplayable at higher settings. Cranking down the settings to medium and lower the resolution to 720p and you can start enjoy the explosions.

Another good point that was a surprise was the speakers. The added subwoofer makes a world of difference, especially in loud games. Just Cause 3’s explosions sound more bombastic and the screaming engine sounds of Project CARS 2, which is known to have some really raw sounding engine roars, are a delight for petrolheads. It is loud enough to annoy someone in the next room.

Project CARS 2

We did not get to test out VR games, but the GTX 1060 card should allow the VR games to run properly.

The Y720 can get a bit warm on long play sessions and thankfully the hottest part of the laptop is on the numpad section. I strongly suggest cranking the fan up to extreme cooling and have the laptop placed on a raised surface because if left unchecked it could lead to thermal issues in the long run. I don’t think the base cooling performance is good enough to keep the heat down effectively, so marathon gamers, take note.

Why you don’t should not buy a Windows 10 laptop with only 1TB of hard disk storage at 5400rpm speed.

Price

Now here is the interesting part. At the time of this review, the exact model with the same specs I am using is now not sold in Malaysia officially from Lenovo. There’s no mention of this model on Lenovo Malaysia’s official Lazada store or on its website. The one that is available, the Y720-15IKN 2TB 80VR001DMJ has a much better spec, most notably it has 2TB of HDD and includes a 128GB SSD for RM6,999. This review unit I had, Y720-151IKB 80VR001CMJ, retails around RM6,000.

Compared to the competition, the price is actually okay. The Acer Predator Helios 300 sports similar CPU+GPU combo and it starts at RM5,999. The ASUS ROG GL502V-MFY290T goes for RM7,299 with a similar spec to the higher-end Legion Y720. Illegear’s many custom gaming laptop offerings can also go much cheaper with the similar specs, but lacks the special trims from OEMs.

While RM6,000 is okay for a laptop with a GTX 1060 card, I would recommend getting the higher end retailing at RM6,699. The additional storage is so worth the price, just so you can at least boot up Windows without it lagging for a minute or two due to a slow hard disk.

Verdict

The Lenovo Legion Y720 is an unwieldy beast. It is hefty but that’s the cost to be able to run games on 1080p at high settings. If you opt for the lower range, the slow storage can lead to long load times, making it harder to use. Outside of that, Lenovo has made one solid laptop for its new gaming brand.

The Y720 ticks the right boxes for most gamers out there, especially those that wants to play AAA games without much graphic compromise. For its price, it’s worth checking out.