Lenovo‘s latest gaming laptop is the new Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 Series. It is powered with the latest 6th generation Intel Core Skylake processor paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics processor or AMD Radeon R9 for the 14″ model. It’s not that powerful and jaw-dropping compared to other gaming laptops like the new Asus G752 gaming laptop, but it offers decent set of features and specs for a reasonable price point. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 Series has a 14″ model, a 15″ touch and non-touch (1080p/4K UDH) variant, as well as a 17″ model.
The Outside Case
Visually, the design of last year’s Y series looks very sharp for a gaming notebook. Its combination of defined corners, brushed aluminum lid, and dark rubberized palm rests is sleek without appearing overly eccentric. This design philosophy has returned on the new Lenovo Ideapad Y700 with a few notable changes. While we had build quality issues on our Y50 and Y70, the Y700 is built more tightly around the edges and corners where gaps are more likely to occur. As a result, the speaker grilles have been redesigned and are now larger and more taut than before. The belly of the unit has also been redesigned with new grilles and a relocated subwoofer grille.
The rest of the model appears largely the same as its predecessor. The lid exhibits better than average resistance to twisting and the single-bar hinge is strong enough to prevent teetering when typing. The base of the unit is especially resistant to twisting and even depressions when pushing down on the center of the keyboard. Pushing down on the center of the outer lid will warp it just slightly, but not enough to be of any concern. While we prefer the unibody approach over gluing together smaller materials, Lenovo has done a better job this time around as far as quality is concerned.
Port selection feels limited on the Y700. Users have only three USB ports to work with and only one video-out option via HDMI. We would have liked to see USB Type-C to make up for the low USB count and mDP to complement the HDMI port. The Acer Aspire V Nitro, for example, has USB Type-C and Thunderbolt with an optical drive while the MSI GS60 includes both USB Type-C and mDP. The options here are unchanged from last year’s Y50 and it definitely feels like Lenovo is cutting corners in this regard.
Lenovo has expanded its gaming series lineup to include dedicated gaming accessories in the same manner as Asus and Aorus. Thus, the manufacturer is now marketing mechanical keyboards, surround sound headsets, precision mice, and backpacks sleekly designed in black with red accents to match the current Y700 color scheme.
The keyboard layout (34 x 10.2 cm) has not changed last year’s model. Two levels of red backlight are available and the full-size arrow keys are appreciated unlike on the HP Omen. Key travel and feedback are shallow and soft, respectively, but consistent nonetheless so users can quickly become accustomed to its feel. Still, we would have liked a deeper travel length as typing on the Y700 can feel like typing on an Ultrabook. The recent Gigabyte P55W, for example, provides a travel length of 2.2 mm compared to 1.5 mm on most other notebooks.
Users may also lament the fact that Lenovo includes no dedicated Macro or auxiliary keys. There are no dedicated software either for recording keystrokes or setting game-specific features. Lenovo may want to examine the examples set by MSI or Clevo on the software front if it wants to be on level playing field with more established gaming manufacturers.
At 10.6 x 7 cm, the touchpad is exactly the same as it was on the Y50. Its surface is matte plastic with a smooth and comfortable glide and its Synaptics software is able to recognize up to four fingers simultaneously. If typing, the surface is automatically disabled to prevent accidental movement. We experienced no major issues regarding accuracy or responsiveness.
The integrated mouse keys are shallow and quiet, so feedback is not quite as firm as it could have been and is a little on the soft side. The force required to push down and input a click is on the high side, so tapping on the surface instead is more ergonomic if an external mouse is unavailable.
Like last year’s Y50, this year’s Y700 is available in FHD (1920 x 1080) or UHD (3840 x 2160) with optional touchscreen support. Our test model is the FHD touchscreen version. While the screen is protected with a semi-glossy panel, Lenovo makes no mention of Gorilla Glass and the panel feels like clear plastic to cut down on costs. Subjectively, colors and text appear crisp with no major backlight bleeding or clarity issues. A quick search for the LP156WF6-SPK1 panel name shows no other notebooks in our database sporting the exact same screen. The more generic LP156WF6 model name, however, is used on other touchscreen notebooks such as the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 and ThinkPad S5 Yoga.
Display brightness is average for its class at around 250 nits. Black levels are very good for a contrast of nearly 1000:1, so the Lenovo is excellent for media playback. Contrast is almost twice that of the older Y50. Of course, our data only reflects the 1080p touchscreen SKU and results will likely differ for the UHD configurations.
PerformanceThe current 15.6-inch Y700 Touchscreen can only be equipped with a Core i7-6700HQ with no other CPU options. Similarly, the only Nvidia option is the GTX 960M with Optimus support for longer battery life. The CPU will run as low as 900 MHz and the GPU at 135/202 MHz core/memory when on the Power Saver profile. Otherwise, the CPU is capable of up to 3.5 GHz and the GPU up to 1189/1252 MHz core/memory depending on the system load.
An important note to keep in mind is that the lower-end SKUs have the GTX 960M with only 2 GB VRAM compared to the higher-end SKUs with 4 GB VRAM. Our configuration uses the 4 GB VRAM variant, which is the standard variant on the majority of gaming notebooks with the GTX 960M GPU. It’s unfortunate that Lenovo had to strip GPU performance to bring the entry-level MSRP down as low as possible.
System RAM is provided by two 8 GB DDR4 SODIMM modules for a total of 16 GB. Each slot can now support up to 16 GB, so total RAM can be up to 32 GB.
The 2 W stereo JBL speakers and 3 W subwoofer are very loud with no static or distortions at maximum volume. The bass adds a level of balance that smaller or thinner notebooks cannot normally achieve with integrated speakers. Its range is sufficient enough for acceptable movie playback if 3.5 mm earphones or speakers are unavailable.
The Li-Ion battery remains non-removable, though Lenovo has kindly upped the capacity from 55 Wh on the original Y50 to 60 Wh on the newer Y700. Runtimes are very good for a gaming notebook at almost 6 hours of constant WLAN use. Alienware notebooks typically have higher capacity batteries and are able to last much longer than most of the competition.
Note that a built-in Lenovo battery saver feature may have automatically kicked in at 30 percent battery life while running our minimum runtime test. This kink on the curve extended our runtime results which would have otherwise been much shorter.
The Y700 gets its gaming cred from its Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. That means you’ll be able to play most of the hottest games, just not at the highest settings.
Slinking across the desert floor at 38 fps on Very High in MGSV, I had time to notice the striations in the cliff above with its myriad cracks. I discovered a small wolf cub on the way to the enemy base and spent some time oohing and ahhing over how well the individual hairs were rendered. When I dropped the settings to High, the frame rate rose to 61 fps, and on Medium settings, it played at 72 fps.
The laptop’s frame rate hit 77 fps on the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege benchmark on Low settings at 1080p. On the highest settings, the frame rate fell to 40 fps, which is above our 30-fps playability threshold.
The notebook continued to hold its own during Metro: Last Light, a notoriously taxing game with benchmarks to match. On Low at 1080p, the Y700 delivered 76 fps, smoking the Alienware 15 (64 fps) and the Inspiron 15-7000 (58 fps), as well as the 68-fps mainstream average. As I expected, the Y700’s frame rate dropped to an unplayable 17 fps at Maximum settings, matching the Inspiron 15-7000 but falling short of the 22-fps category average.
For those moments when you’re not saving the world or rebuilding it, the Y700 switches over to its integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 GPU.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-Inch Touchscreen gaming laptop is overall a great product. While it might not have great battery life or it might be a bit heavy, over all it’s definitely worth it in my opinion. Lenovo builds a solid product from the ground up and I highly recommend them to everyone. They have a multitude of various setups for each system including this one that I reviewed today and it’s highly likely you can find one that suits your needs.
The price starts at $979 and goes up from there depending on what you want. This one reviewed today costs around $1,100 or so since it has an Intel i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. If you’re going to be picking one up for yourself or a friend or family member, let me know in the comments below and then tell us what you think once it arrives.
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15-Inch Touchscreen Laptop$979.00+
Graphics And Display9/10
Audio Support And Performance9/10
Form Factor And Hardware Design10/10
Network And Connectivity10/10
- Great Size
- Backlit Keyboard
- 16GB of RAM
- Great Display
- Short Battery Life
- Kind Of Heavy
- Could Be Better At Gaming