It has been a pretty eventful CES 2017 for Lenovo. Other than unveiling the fifth generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon – which I found extremely appealing – the Chinese company also introduced its brand new lineup of gaming laptops: the Legion. After spending some time with the two notebooks in the series, they are actually very decent gaming machines – provided Lenovo price them right.
Although the Legion brand is a new one, there’s no mistaking that these laptops are designed by Lenovo: they share the same design language as the company’s IdeaPad Y series of gaming notebooks, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, these laptops have the overused red and black colour scheme of conventional gaming laptops, but other aspects of the Legion laptops are surprisingly good.
Let’s start with the Legion Y520, the more affordable machine of the two. For the Malaysian market, the Y520 will likely pack a seventh generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor paired with 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, 128GB of SSD storage (complemented with a 500GB HDD), as well as a 15.6-inch 1080p display. These are respectable specifications for a modest gaming laptop, and the best part is, the Y520 may retail between RM,3000 to RM4,000; that’s a very competitive price range.
For that kind of money, the Y520 actually feels – and looks – more premium than its retail price suggests. I especially like the soft rubberised surface on the inside of the Y520, which feels great to the touch; I imagine I can do hours of gaming on the laptop without feeling uncomfortable.
The plasticky top lid of the Y520, however, doesn’t feel quite as nice. The plastic bezel of the display also serves as further reminder that this is a budget-oriented offering. That being said, I do love the fact that I can open the lid of the laptop with only one finger; it shows a level of finesse that not many PC makers can accomplish. I also like how “pillowy” the keyboard of the Y520 is, which makes for pleasant typing experience.
And then we have the Legion Y720, the costlier – and more premium – laptop in the new series. For the most part, it has the same specifications as the Y520, but it can be configured with a much sharper 4K display as well as a more powerful GTX 1060 GPU. On top of that, the Y720 is also the world’s first laptop to support Dolby Atmos, which promises better surround sound experience – you’ll need a pair of headphones to take advantage of this feature, of course.
Naturally, the Y720 feels like a more expensive laptop in comparison to the more budget-friendly Y520. The Y720 still has the nice rubberised palm rest area of the Y520, and unlike the latter, its top lid is made of metal instead of plastic, which gives a more premium look and feel. However, I reckon the build quality of the Y720 could still use some work: it doesn’t feel quite as solid or durable as other gaming laptops.
Another neat feature the Y720 has is an RGB keyboard; the Y520 only has a red-backlit keyboard. Although the colourful keyboard of the Y720 is certainly eye-catching, it doesn’t feel quite as nice to type on as the Y520’s keyboard: the Y720’s keyboard feels more shallow, although it’s still a pretty good keyboard nonetheless.
Taking everything into account, I was left pretty impressed by Lenovo’s new Legion Y720 and Y520 gaming laptops. They’re not the best gaming notebooks, mind you, but they’re certainly poised to be some of the best value for money gaming laptops to hit the market. Of course, we say this with assumption that Lenovo will price these laptops competitively in Malaysia.
If Lenovo play its cards right on our shores, the Legion gaming laptops may just be the perfect gaming machine for budget-conscious gamers, and let’s be honest: that’s most of us Malaysians.