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Intel has just made two separate 10th generation CPU announcements — Comet Lake and Ice Lake — and laptops based on these new chips will most likely hit store shelves in India at around the same time. That should be in a couple of months, and it is bound to cause a lot of confusion for buyers. While both these new lineups are for thin-and-light laptops, we can still expect to see 9th and 8th Gen branding on more powerful machines for a bit longer.
When it comes to gaming and high-performance laptops, the 9th generation announced in April this year, is still the latest and new laptops based on these CPUs are currently being launched. We’ve now started seeing seen these CPUs in action in recent laptops that we have tested, including the Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU (Review) and the MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan (Review).
Lenovo has just added some new models to its Legion line of gaming laptops in India, and today we’ll be testing the new Legion Y740 laptop which features a G-Sync display, per-key RGB backlit keyboard, and the latest CPU and GPU tech from Intel and Nvidia respectively. Should it be on the top of your shopping list? Let’s find out.
Lenovo Legion Y740 design
The Lenovo Legion Y740 has an understated design for a gaming laptop, which we really like. We’ve seen some brands start to shift away from flashy, aggressive “gaming” designs to more subtle looks, which we feel is a step in the right direction. This new model of the Legion Y740 looks identical to the ones already on sale in India, which were originally unveiled during CES this year.
The all-aluminium chassis feels very durable and sturdy. The lid, especially, offers excellent protection for the display and we didn’t see any pixel warping even after applying pressure on it. There are some plastic bits for the vents on the bottom, but everything feels well put together and premium.
Lenovo is trying to elevate ‘Legion’ as a gaming brand, the way Acer has with Predator and Asus with ROG, which is why only a small Lenovo logo is visible on the palmrest area, while the rest of the laptop has prominent Legion branding. The lid has a vertically aligned logo with an RGB LED in the tristar symbol in the letter ‘O’. We have more RGB LEDs in the exhaust vents on the sides and back, and for the power button and keyboard. This sounds like a lot, but the LEDs are placed in such a way that you see only a subtle glow from them and they aren’t really in your face.
Just like the Legion Y530 which we tested last year, the hinge for the lid is about an inch inset from the back of the body, leaving room for some backlit logos for the ports at the back. The dual hinges have good torsion and can easily support the lid at a variety of angles, including 180 degrees backwards. Most of the ports are placed at the back, including a Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI video output, Ethernet, two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, a charging port, and a Kensington lock slot.
The right side has a USB 3.1 Gen2 port, while the left has a Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port and a headphone/ microphone combo port. There’s no SD card slot, not even a microSD one, which is a little disappointing.
The 15.6-inch display on the Legion Y740 has narrow bezels on three of its four sides, which makes games and content a bit more immersive. It also has a matte finish so reflections aren’t a problem. It’s an IPS panel with a full-HD resolution (1920×1080), a 144Hz refresh rate, and 500nits of brightness. The display also supports Nvidia’s G-Sync for games, and is Dolby Vision certified.
To watch HDR content, the laptop needs to be plugged into a power source and you’ll need a compatible Web browser (like Microsoft Edge) or other software. The system automatically bumps the brightness up to 100 percent when HDR or Dolby Vision content is being played.
Due to the narrow bezels, Lenovo has had to place the webcam below the display, which results in a very awkward perspective when video chatting.
The keyboard area is spacious, and since Lenovo hasn’t tried cramming in a number pad, the spacing between keys is good. The keyboard has been shifted a bit towards the right due to an extra column of shortcut keys, but we got used to this. The keys are flat but comfortable to type on, thanks to good travel, and are very silent. The extra buttons on the left include a direct shortcut to the Lenovo Vantage app; one to start screen recording through Xbox Game Bar; two customisable macro keys; and two dedicated buttons for adjusting the level of keyboard backlighting. The trackpad also works well and offers smooth tracking. There are even individual physical trackpad buttons.
The rear half of the bottom of this laptop has a giant mesh for air intake. The base is held together by a series of screws along the periphery, and the lack of a quick-access hatch means the entire bottom section needs to be removed if you want to access the RAM and SSD. The Legion Y740 also has two speakers placed on either side, facing downwards, as well as a subwoofer. The speakers support Dolby Atmos and an included app lets you choose different sound profiles.
Overall, the Legion Y740 is a good-looking and well built gaming laptop. The design isn’t too flashy, and yet it’s not boring either. It’s heavy at around 2.2kg, and in addition to than the massive 230W power brick makes this a fairly hefty total package for everyday commutes.
Lenovo Legion Y740 specifications and software
The Legion Y740 ships with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, which has six cores with HyperThreading and a clock speed range of 2.6GHz to 4.5GHz. There’s a total of 16GB of DDR4 RAM (2666MHz) running in dual-channel mode, thanks to two 8GB modules. The Legion Y740 has a 1TB PCIe NVMe Samsung SSD and no additional mechanical drive. Graphics is handled by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 memory. There’s also Killer Networks’ dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1.
The laptop comes with Windows 10 Home and some other preinstalled programs such as a trial version of McAfee Livesafe and a full version of Office Home and Student 2019. Lenovo’s homegrown management app is called Vantage, and this gives you real-time snapshots of the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage usage, along with other tools. You can use it to keep all drivers up to date; program the macro keys; and change battery profiles, etc.
The keyboard backlighting is controlled by Corsair’s iCUE software, which includes a bunch of presets for different lighting patterns. You can manually light up a select number of keys if needed, link a lighting pattern to a particular program or game, and lots more.
Lenovo Legion Y740 performance and battery life
The Legion Y740 ran Windows and pretty much any program we threw at it like a champ. The PCIe SSD offers very good read and write speeds, and makes booting into Windows or loading any program very speedy. The 144Hz screen refresh rate also results in a fluid experience and makes anything you do feel snappy. The display continues to run at 144Hz on battery power too, unlike some other laptops such as the Asus ROG Strix Scar II (Review), which would drop the refresh rate to 60Hz when not plugged in.
Display brightness is very good, colours are vivid and punchy with good viewing angles, and HDR content looks great. We noticed some mild backlight bleeding at two points on the bottom edge of the display when watching letterboxed videos. It’s not too distracting, but it’s something that’s noticeable. The stereo speakers also get decently loud, although we noticed mild distortion at full volume.
Even on battery power, the Legion Y740 runs quite warm. The keys and palm rest area stay relatively cool but the bottom gets warm pretty much all the time. The laptop uses Lenovo’s Coldfront cooling system, which features two fans with 70 blades each and are said to run quieter than before. This seems to do its job as long as you’re not stressing out the CPU or GPU, but fire up a game and the fans become audible. Thankfully, the noise doesn’t reach a whiny pitch.
The new 9th generation Intel Core CPU performs well in benchmarks. In the synthetic POVRay test, the laptop finished rendering a ray-traced scene in 1 minute, 46 seconds. Cinebench R20 returned good single-threaded and multi-threaded CPU scores of 446 and 2,611 respectively. Meanwhile, we got a score of 5,667 points in PCMark 10 and 12,498 points in 3DMark FireStrike.
Real-world tests also showed good promise. Compressing a 3.2GB folder of assorted files took 2 minutes and 23 seconds, while encoding a video to H.265 MKV using Handbrake took about 1 minute and 6 seconds. The SSD also posted very good read and write speeds. Sequential read and write bandwidth was well above 1.6GBps, while random read and write bandwidth was still above 1GBps.
Gaming is this laptop’s primary purpose, and it doesn’t disappoint. The GeForce RTX 2060 GPU is very capable for 1080p gaming, even with ray tracing features enabled in games that support it. G-Sync helps prevent screen tearing in games that don’t deliver a steady 60+fps. In Far Cry 5, we managed to average a solid 79fps with the Ultra graphics preset, using the built-in benchmark. Actual gameplay was also smooth, without any noticeable stuttering.
In Shadow of The Tomb Raider, we averaged 66fps at the ‘Highest’ graphics preset, using TAA antialiasing and DX12. Turning on ray-traced shadows at the ‘Ultra’ preset offered more realism but dropped the framerate to about 44fps. However, Nvidia’s DLSS feature comes in handy here, as it managed to raise the framerate to about 69fps. Deus Ex: Mankind divided is still a tough game to crack, and with all the settings maxed out, the Legion Y740 could only average about 17fps in the game’s benchmark. Dropping the graphics preset from ‘Ultra’ to ‘High’, gave us a more playable framerate of around 20fps.
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, with the graphics cranked up to the max, we managed to get a good average framerate of 58fps. We tested Battlefield V too, which is another game that supports DLSS and ray tracing. With both these features enabled and the overall graphics preset set to ‘High’, we were averaging about 68fps in the ‘Under No Flag’ single-player campaign.
Battery life is not something most people bother about too much on gaming laptops, especially ones that pack in high-end components. The Legion Y740 ran for just 55 minutes in our Battery Eater Pro benchmark, which is quite poor. With basic usage, which involved working within a Web browser with the display brightness at around 40 percent, we managed to go 2 hours and 15 minutes before the battery level dipped to 10 percent.
You can squeeze out some more time by switching to the ‘Hybrid’ mode using Lenovo’s Vantage software. This requires a restart, but what it does is essentially disables Nvidia’s G-Sync and uses the integrated GPU in the CPU as the primary connection to the display. This way, the GeForce RTX 2060 can be turned off off when not needed. In this mode, with the keyboard backlight set to medium brightness and streaming music playing through the speakers, we got around 3 hours and 20 minutes of runtime.
The Lenovo Legion Y740 offers a well-crafted package, especially the configuration that we have which retails for Rs. 1,39,990 on Lenovo India’s online store. It’s well designed and built; the looks aren’t too flashy; it has a very comfortable keyboard; the internals are powerful; and we like the HDR-capable display.
This laptop isn’t too thick but it is on the heavier side to carry around, especially when you factor in the power brick. While the fans don’t get annoyingly loud, this laptop runs warm quite easily, even when you aren’t gaming or using battery power. An SD card slot is also missed; battery life is expectedly weak; and the webcam isn’t something you’d want to use due to the awkward placement. Also, we wish it was easier to upgrade the RAM and storage.
Overall, the Lenovo Legion Y740 (81UH006YIN) offers a lot of bells and whistles, apart from good gaming performance, which makes it one of the better options in the market, and well worth considering.