Lenovo has been an exceptional name in the laptop universe for quite some time. People have grown to expect a certain quality from the brand, and the new Y70 gaming laptop surely lives up to the name. It’s a perfect entry-level gaming laptop that, while heavy (approximately 7 LBS), is not unreasonable. The matte black brushed metal finish feels sturdy and the red highlights add a striking prose to its overall appearance. The Y70’s massive 17 inch display is breathtaking and displays colors quite well. Combine this with the outstanding responsiveness of the touch screen, and you have the first touch laptop that has ever made me actually want to use touch over standard mouse movements. The specs are relatively balanced, offering significant power without milking your wallet dry, and though I think the Y70’s mobile GPU could have been upgraded to something a bit more current, it certainly gets the job done.
Let’s begin by looking at the Y70’s specs in-depth. The Y70 comes with a fourth generation i7-4710HQ CPU clocked at 2.5GHZ. The processor speed is incredible and it moves lightning fast through tasks, and jumps effortlessly from one program to another. Though the clock speed of the CPU could be faster, I believe it accomplishes enough for entry-level gamers who desire a device on the go. The 16 GB of DDR3 RAM may be considered the bare-minimum for hardcore PC gamers these days, but it's enough to deliver smooth performance.
"The processor speed is incredible and it moves lightning fast through tasks, and jumps effortlessly from one program to another."
The Y70 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860m, which has 4GB of on-board DDR5 memory. It’s a great little mobile card, but don’t expect to get prime performance out of your gaming sessions. Though this varies depending on title. Running games like Crysis 3 and Dying Light on max settings is little more than a pipe dream, and even on Very High or High settings, I found the frame rate unacceptable. Medium settings is where I found the most success, maintaining a relatively smooth 30-45 FPS with both of those titles. Less demanding games like DOTA 2, Counter-Strike: GO, and Smite all ran extremely well maxed out, maintaining 45-60 FPS during the entirety of my sessions.
The Lenovo Y70 comes with two hard drives, the primary hard drive being a 1TB 5400 RPM drive that runs relatively smooth. The other drive is a small 30GB SSD that is probably designed for users to install their OS to allow for faster start-ups. The Y70 comes with Windows 8.1 installed on the 1TB hard drive, and each time I went to boot it up, it launched in less than 20 seconds, which is more than sufficient.
"Medium settings is where I found the most success, maintaining a relatively smooth 30-45 FPS with both of those titles."
Let’s talk about the monitor on the Y70 for a moment. It’s absolutely spectacular. The glossy screen is made of glass, which lends the the overall sleek look. The viewing angles in particular are amazing, and color is displayed with crisp clarity, offering up the deepest blacks and brightest whites, as well as everything in between. The monitor refreshes at a constant 60 Hz, and is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever seen on a laptop. When you add in the brilliant 10 finger touch screen, it’s no wonder this laptop has been praised for its display, even if it’s a bit of a magnet for fingerprints.
Lenovo has also incorporated a 720p integrated camera. I tested the camera in a variety of circumstances during the month of testing that I put this laptop through. Skype calls were clear and displayed well, while Twitch streams were a little spotty, but I credit that more as a fault of OBS and game capturing than the quality of the camera itself. When paired with its solid built in microphone, users should have absolutely no problem using communication software on the go.
"The monitor refreshes at a constant 60 Hz, and is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever seen on a laptop."
The Y70s keyboard is incredibly spaced out, allowing for easy typing that doesn’t feel cramped. The back-lighting behind each key has three variable settings that are easy to adjust on the fly and should allow gamers to see their keystrokes with no problem, and minimal glare. The trackpad is where I ran into my first issue, though. The trackpad feels sturdy and its metal design while appealing, is not practical. I ran into numerous tracking issues during use, and the right-click feature is incredibly particular. Even when changing the settings over to two-finger touch, I still had issues with right clicks, and quickly began to favor using the fantastic touch screen when I didn’t have a separate mouse readily available.
The power-supply is almost a must though, which retracts from this laptop’s portability a touch. The laptop claims to have a battery life of approximately 5 hours, but I found that even when running basic programs I never got more than 3 1/2 hours out of it. It’s also important to note that when this computer isn’t plugged in, it takes a hit in terms of performance. Even games that are less demanding, like the Resident Evil 4 HD edition, were almost unplayable without the power supply, but assuming you’ve always got a place to plug in, you’ll have absolutely no issues.
"Lenovo’s Y70 is a brilliant entry-level gaming laptop for people that desire power, performance, and quality while they’re out and about."
The Y70 also features 2 JDL speakers on both the right and left side of the laptop and a subwoofer located near the intake fans on the bottom. The sound quality is outstanding! Considering the quality of most laptop speakers these days, it’s impressive to see Lenovo going the extra mile and taking advantage of the Dolby Advance Audio. Of course, these still don’t beat a great set of proper speakers or a headset, but it does provide a fantastic alternative for those trying to listen to audio on the go.
Lenovo’s Y70 is a brilliant entry-level gaming laptop for people that desire power, performance, and quality while they’re out and about. Though there are a few drawbacks the overall package is truly outstanding. There are definitely more powerful options out there, but at this price range you can take comfort in knowing that there’s probably not much out there that beats it. If you’re interested in seeing some of the specific frame rate tests I ran with a variety of titles, you can refer to the chart below.
Review by: Palmer Sturman