The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is the gaming notebook that I’ve wanted from Lenovo for a very long time. It’s edgy and classy with an incredible customizable mechanical keyboard, fantastic G-Sync capable display and an overclockable processor. But, with the launch of VR-capable Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs, the laptop’s last-gen video card is a penny short and a day too late, particularly with a $2,426 price tag. So, is the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 worth buying? Well, we’ll surely check it out in our review on the Lenovo Ideapad Y900.
Lenovo Ideapad Y900 -Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-6820HK Quad-Core processor
Storage 256 GB NVMe PCIe SSD/ 1 TB HDD 5400
Display 17.3-inch Full-HD (1920 x 1080)
Operating System Windows 10 Home
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M/ 8 GB
Dimensions 16.7 x 12.4 x 1.4 inches/ 9.8 pounds
The Ideapad Y900’s lid has a pair of shiny black accent ridges that matches the bright Lenovo logo in the top-right corner. The angular additions help play up the large red plastic Y occupying the center. The notebook’s rear vents comprises black aluminum with a red undercarriage for an excellent Knight Rider effect
The laptop’s inside is simply as pretty with a large black, rubberized palm rest with more black and vent metal grills accented by shiny plastic. The rest of the deck is covered with luxurious black soft-touch finish. Lenovo left no detail untweaked by redesigning the power button with a concentric circle pattern lined in red.
Alongside the right of the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 are a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a 6-in 1 card reader jacks for microphone and headphone jack, and a security lock slot. On the left side, you have two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, a DisplayPort, and Lenovo’s charging port.
Measuring about 16.7 x 12.4 x 1.4-inch, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 weighs at a massive 9.8 pounds. Now, that’s a pound more than the Asus G752VS (16.9 x 13.1 x 0.8~1.5 inches). The Gigabyte P37X (16.4 x 11.2 x 0.88 inches) and Alienware 17 (16.9 x 11.5 x 1.4 inches) are even lighter at 6.7 and 8.3 pounds respectively.
Keyboard and Touchpad
We have seen a couple of gaming laptops with mechanical keyboards earlier than, however by no means one with real clicky keys. The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 laptop’s keys made a pleasant click on sound when depressed and so they had an excellent tactile response of a good mechanical desktop keyboard.
It took me some time to get used to the 3.1 mm of key travel (1.5-2 mm is considered best) and 71 grams of actuation force required to press the keys. At occasions, I felt myself bottoming out, however, once I noticed I didn’t have to press the keys completely to get a response, typing became comfortable.
The 4.1 x 2.7-inch Synaptics touchpad is good, spacious and responsive to operate. Using a three-finger tap to open Cortana was wonderful, as was switching between apps with a three-finger swipe.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 ships with a 17.3-inch anti-glare 1920 x 1080 display. When tested for brightness, the Y900’s screen averaged 306 nits. The Y900 can reproduce 107 % of the sRGB color gamut, which explains its vividness. However, it’s below the 128 % desktop-replacement average, and the G752VS, Alienware 17 and P37X are all better at 114, 174 and 179 % respectively.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 scored 1.4 on the Delta-E test. It’s better and more accurate than the 1.7 average and the P37X which hit 3.5. The G752VS and Alienware 17 have been much closer to an excellent zero at 0.9 and 0.8.
Audio and G-Sync
The Y900’s JBL speakers can provide some of the more robust Bluetooth audio system a run for their money. Being paired with Dolby Audio’s sound enhancement app, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 easily filled our labs with its loud and crisp sound. Listening to Marshmallow’s ‘Alone,’ I could hear light drum beats very easily, while the background music was wonderful to listen.
The speakers do sometimes distort while playing loud music, but I managed to level it out a bit by changing the Dynamic settings in the Dolby Audio app.
Having an excessive frame rate is cool, but not at the expense of smooth graphics. Nvidia’s G-Sync technology strives to provide users one of the best of both worlds, by synchronizing the laptop’s display rate with the graphic card. The tech is placing a frame cap that matches the panel limit, which allows for fast rendering in both windowed and full-screen modes, thus eliminating any tears, and leaving clear pictures and happy avid gamers.
Graphics and Gaming
Considering all the latest gaming laptops now have Nvidia “Pascal” 10-series graphics, I was a stunned to find that this Ideapad Y900 comes geared up with a previous-gen, Nvidia GTX 980 GPU. While the 980 was once the GPU of alternative for gaming laptops, the new 10-series chips deliver noticeably higher frame rates and help virtual reality headsets just like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Regardless of its older GPU, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 managed to produce some respectable frame rates. For our primary benchmarking, we began with Metro: Last Light. The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 hit 39 fps on high at 1080p, which is several frames under the 42 fps category average. It was sufficient to beat the Alienware 17 (32 fps) and P37X (38 fps), which also have 980M GPUs. Equipped with a GTX 1070 GPU, the GS752VS notched a whopping 70 fps.
The Y900 scored 48 fps on the Hitman benchmark, missing the 69 fps desktop-replacement average whereas the G752VS got 89 fps. Now, on the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 delivered 28 fps, which is under 30 fps playability threshold, the 39 fps category average and the G752VS’s far-superior 52 fps.
There was one minor performance outlier the place the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 was slightly ahead of a Pascal-based system. In the Grand Theft Auto V test, the Y900 achieved 87 fps, surprisingly surpassing the G752VS (69 fps).
After years of the monotone blood-red backlighting, avid gamers can lastly customize the keyboard. Using Light Shift, one of the apps in the new Lenovo Nerve Center, you’ll be able to configure the keyboard and the lining around the keyboard and the speaker. However, you if you’d like those all-important WASD keys to stand out, the Y900 ships with a set of red key caps you’ll be able to swap on.
Providing three zones with 5 lighting effects with 18 colors, Left Shift isn’t as deep as Razer’s Synapse software or Alienware’s AlienFX, but it’s a good start. In case you wish to assign Macros, there’s the Macro Keyboard Driver, which helps you to assign URLs, shortcuts or key commands to just about every key.
Our review unit of Lenovo Ideapad 900 got here configured with a 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK quad-core processor that comes with 16 GB RAM. I tried taxing it by streaming an episode of “The Crown” with 18 Google Chrome tabs opened in the background, the laptop barely lagged at any moment.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 acquired 13,914 on the Geekbench 3 test. The G752VS, which also has an i7-6820HK (32GB of RAM) notched 15,563 whereas the P37X (Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor) scored 13,381. The Alienware 17 with its 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU scored 12,965.
The Y900’s 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD duplicated 4.97GB of mixed-media files in 11 seconds for a transfer rate of 462.7 megabytes-per-second. It’s a powerful result, enough to top the P37X’s (256GB M.2 SSD with 1TB 7,200-rpm HDD) 424.1MBps. However, it wasn’t sufficient to beat the Alienware 17’s (512GB SSD with 1TB 7,200-rpm HDD) 508.9MBps. However, the G752VS with its 256GB M.2 PCI-e SSD (and 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive) won the test at 848.2MBps.
I took to explore the world of Witcher 3 for the heat test. Fifteen minutes in and the touchpad measured 83 degrees Fahrenheit. The middle of the keyboard and undercarriage hit 105 and 101 degrees each, which is over our 95-degree consolation threshold. The laptop’s back side panel got a little warm measuring 97 degrees as we streamed a full-screen 4K YouTube video. The area between the G and H keys and touchpad and have been much cooler at 91 and 83 degrees.
For those who’re looking for a gaming laptop with a strong battery life, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 just isn’t for you. The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 lasted just 3 hours and 53 minutes on our battery test (continuous internet surfing over Wi-Fi), missing the 4:46 average while managing to beat the G752VS (3:42). The P37X clocked in at 4:29 whereas the Alienware 17 lasted a whopping 6:25.
I wish I had a time machine. At $2,426, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 provides a newly redesigned chassis, complete with customizable backlighting for the keyboard. Talking of the keyboard, Lenovo has delivered an incredible mechanical keyboard using proprietary switches that provide an actual clicky feel. With a Nvidia G-Sync display and an overclockable processor and you have got one hell of a laptop. The only bad this is that the graphics card is anchored in the past.
The $2,400 Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition is a laptop firmly in the now providing an overclockable CPU and GPU, a beautiful display and the ability to support VR headsets. Overall, the Y900 is a nice gaming laptop, but if you like its style and keyboard, it’s best to wait until it makes the leap to Pascal.
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