Lenovo has recently rolled out the latest iteration of its popular Y700 series. This 17.3 inch version features powerful hardware specs, tastefully aggressive design choices and a really effective cooling mechanism.
Lenovo Y700 Review
Before I can begin talking about the equipment that’s been installed under its case, I need to highlight some design elements which make this gaming laptop really stand out from the crowd.
Design and quality
The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Y700 is aggressiveness. Not only is the chassis coated with a matte black non-sliding paint, the whole laptop feels pro. With cuts that mimic military technology, oblique rear cooling vents, mesh like material covering of speakers, hinges hidden behind (yet again) angular covers, the Y700 speaks to an audience who sees gaming as more than a pastime.
I especially enjoy the way they’ve practically framed the screen to draw all attention while gaming and the not-so-discrete red accents on the red-backlit keyboard with 2 levels of brightness available. Speaking of it, the Lenovo Y700 features a full-sized, chiclet-style keyboard with decent spacing between the keys. It’s also nice to touch it and the resistance/key travel seems to be just right.
For a 17.3 inch laptop, the Y700 is fairly thin, having a maximum width of just 1.1 inches. But despite of the thinness, it has two fans connected to two separate heat sinks – one for the processor and one for the graphics card to avoid overheating. Don’t be fooled by the apparent featherweight-like design, the Lenovo still manages to weigh 7.7 pounds, mainly because of the large screen.
While there are better gaming laptops out there, you’d have to search for some time before finding another option with a unique design and similar specs for less than $1,400.
So, the Lenovo Y700 80Q0001GUS comes with a top of the line quad core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor. It’s the second best mobile CPU variant you can get from Intel right now, the first being the much more expensive 6900 series. This processor has 4 physical cores, 6 megabytes of cache, a clock speed that goes up to 3.5 GHz and a thermal design power of 45 Watts (ouch).
While battery will definitely be affected by the power hungry Intel, performances are nothing short of stellar. With a benchmark score of roughly 8000 points, it will outperform most desktop Intel i5 series processors, so you can imagine it being able to play almost any game you can think of. Of course, multitasking and other heavy programs will run that much smoother on the Lenovo Y700.
Also, the copious amount of system memory works well to supplement the processor in handling everything from games to video production, to recording and even rendering graphics. The 12 gigabytes of RAM are enough to satisfy even a beginner movie maker or illustrator and while most games today require 8 gigabytes of system memory to run as specified, having more of it makes it more future proof.
Storage space is less than adequate for a gaming laptop unfortunately. You’ll want at least double what the Lenovo Y700 80Q0001GUS has to offer to maintain a large collection of games, as well as a media collections and maybe some other large files. However, with Steam there’s no need to keep games you’re not currently playing on the actual notebook. Soundcloud, Spotify and Youtube have almost nullified the need to keep music on board (this fact being wildly debatable, I know!). So, the 256 GB SSD is a good option if you like to use the current online saving / downloading / streaming ecosystem of apps. If you want to physically collect games, you’ll likely need to extend that space via external HDD or a bigger SSD.
I’m not going to mention the undisputed supremacy of solid state drives, I’m sure you’ll well aware of that already. It’s worth mentioning that if you want to upgrade, the Y700 has a M.2 2280 SSD slot available.
The Lenovo Y700 80Q0001GUS is fitted with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M dedicated video card. This is the 2 gigabytes version, so the marginally less powerful version. You’ll be able to play a host of games, even new releases at fairly high settings. Although this video card isn’t exactly what you’d call top of the line, it does manage to keep high frame rates even in demanding games. Here’s a YouTube video showing what playing Battlefield Hardline is like on the GTX 960M.
I think this Y700 model is best suited for MMO games, competitive online first person shooters and the occasional new and flashy release. But for the most people this Lenovo is ideal in online matches.
The display is fantastic, as you’d expect from a gaming laptop. The 17.3 inch screen features a LED-backlit IPS full HD display with wide viewing angles, impressive brightness and spectacular color depth. A resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels on a 17 inch screen makes for a decent pixel density when it comes to playing games and viewing movies. One drawback is the glossy finish, which makes it rather hard to distinguish details on the display on a sunny day or in brightly lit rooms.
Interface and connectivity
Interface options aren’t plentiful, having just: 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x HDMI-out, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x audio combo jack and 1 x 4-in-1 media card reader.
Connectivity-wise, it has an Ethernet card, a 802.11ac 2×2 wireless card and Bluetooth 4.0 attached to the WLAN card. There weren’t any complains about the signal quality or transfer speeds via wireless connection.
Battery and portability
The 4-cell 60 Whr battery is said to keep a charge for up to 5 to 6 hours when used appropriately, which is decent and fair enough considering the amount of power drain coming from the processor and dual fans. When gaming, I don’t think the Y700 will be alive for more than an hour and a half unplugged.
This only means that it’s impractical to actively travel with it. Take it to a friend’s house and you’ll enjoy a LAN party. Take it across the country and you’ll likely end up with back problems and a short temper from having to constantly look for a wall socket. It’s a heavy device with a heavy charger that doesn’t hold a charge for too long. The Lenovo was not meant to travel long distances.
While the Lenovo Y700 80Q0001GUS is not what you’d call an affordable laptop, it’s a good choice for passionate gamers who only want to play games like CS:GO, LoL, Dead Space, EVE and so on. Ideal for MMO games, it’s also good enough to handle most modern games at decent quality settings and frame rates. So, considering it’s selling for under $1,400, I’d say go for it if the overall design fits your style.