Legion notebook powered by high-end hardware

My first and only encounter with Lenovo’s gaming sub-brand Legion was the Y520, a mainstream gaming notebook notable more for its competitive pricing than its gaming features.

That was more than two years ago. Lenovo has since improved its gaming PCs. Its latest flagship Y740, for instance, with its high-end specs and a gaming-centric design, will give gaming brands such as Asus and Razer a run for their money.

Powering this 17.3-inch notebook are two of the latest and greatest in gaming computer hardware – Intel’s six-core Core i7-9750H processor and Nvidia’s flagship GeForce RTX 2080 (Max-Q) graphics chip.

My review set also comes with 32GB of system memory, handy for games as well as memory-intensive photo-and video-editing tasks.

In my gaming tests, the Y740 managed around 115 frames per second (fps) at Very High setting in Crysis 3 and 113fps at Ultra setting in Doom. These figures put the Y740 in the top echelon of gaming notebooks – on a par with the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model that I tested two months ago.

Besides raw performance, the Y740 also checks the boxes for other gaming features. For instance, its display offers a maximum 144Hz refresh rate to ensure games feel responsive. This refresh rate can change dynamically to synchronise with a game’s frame rates to reduce stuttering or tearing, thanks to Nvidia’s G-Sync technology.

In addition, the screen on my review unit supports Dolby Vision HDR, which makes compatible videos – from Netflix and YouTube – look more vibrant and lifelike.

FOR

•Excellent and large display

•Customisable LEDs

•Runs relatively cool

•Powerful speakers

AGAINST

•Large footprint

•Gaming software features not as extensive as rivals’

SPECS

PRICE: $4,499

PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6GHz)

GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q 8GB GDDR6

RAM: 32GB DDR4

SCREEN SIZE: 17.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

CONNECTIVITY: Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, audio jack

BATTERY: 76 watt-hour

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4.5/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

BATTERY LIFE: 2/5

OVERALL: 4/5

A slight quibble is that the screen bezels are not as narrow as those of other gaming laptops. This, coupled with a design that has the rear end of the chassis protruding beyond the screen’s hinges, mean that the Y740 occupies a fair amount of desk space.

Most of the laptop’s ports are at its extended rear end, a design choice likely to divide opinions. Some gamers prefer this as the cables will be at the back, out of the way of the mouse. Others feel this makes it more difficult to plug or unplug peripherals and other cables.

Like most gaming notebooks, the Y740 is anything but subtle in looks. It has RGB LEDs at its rear and side vents, on top of the usual RGB backlit keyboard.

The Legion logo on the laptop’s aluminium lid also sports an LED.

All these LEDs can be customised using the Corsair iCue software preloaded in the notebook.

The keyboard itself offers decent key travel and is spacious enough to accommodate a number pad. More importantly, the keys feel only slightly warm during games.

The usual hot spots, such as the area above the keyboard, are much warmer, but not unbearably so. The rear and side vents purge warm air, but are located far from your hands.

Credit should be given to the Y740’s internal cooling fans, which are rather noisy, though.

Fortunately, the notebook speakers are impressively loud and easily drown out the din from the fans.

The touchpad is relatively small, which is not an issue as gamers are likely to use a gaming mouse. In fact, they would prefer the touchpad to be disabled during gaming to prevent accidental touches.

This is where Lenovo has tried – with limited success – to use software to make it convenient for users. A feature in the preloaded Lenovo Vantage software can automatically disable the touchpad and the Windows logo key when a game is running.

Unfortunately, it seems to work in only two of the four games I tested. The feature does not work in newer game titles (Apex Legends and Wolfenstein: Youngblood). I wonder if it is because the feature relies on an internal database with a list of supported games. In any case, a keyboard shortcut is available as a manual alternative.

Other features offered by the Lenovo Vantage software include power profiles, such as Performance mode for games, while Hybrid mode will use the laptop’s integrated graphics for the best battery uptime.

But overall, I feel Lenovo’s gaming software is not as comprehensive as those of its rivals.

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