Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 review

A big, beautiful gaming laptop that trades 4K for incredible build quality

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Our Verdict

If you value design and aesthetics more than raw performance, the 17-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 is right for you.

For

  • Attractive, timeless design
  • Amazing keyboard
  • Great screen

Against

  • No 4K display option
  • Dated components
  • Heavy as heck

If the sun is beginning to go down on the era of 1080p gaming, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 is the absolutely stunning sunset that marks the end of the day. OK, that's a little dramatic, as full HD is here for a long time, but when it comes to high-end gaming, 4K has gone from expensive and pointless novelty to cutting-edge must-have. 

While the $2,499 or £1,999 (about AU$3,340) Y900 doesn't pump out the pixel density of its competitors, its fantastic 17-inch 1080p screen sits atop a computer that trades boundary-pushing resolution for an eye-catching chassis and overall aesthetic.

Spec Sheet

CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 3.6GHz with turbo boost)Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4-2133MHz
Screen: 17.3-inch 1080p (1,920x1,080), anti-glare, IPS
Storage: 256GB SSD,1TB (5400RPM)
Ports: 3 USB, 1 Always-On USB 2.0, USB Type-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, SD Card 
Connectivity: Killer Wireless-AC 1535, 11ac, 2x2, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
Camera: 720p HD Webcam
Weight: 10.1 pounds (4.6kg)
Size: 16.7 x 12.4 x 1.4 inches (42.5 x 31.5 x 3.55cm; W x D x H)

Design

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 might be our favorite computer from a strict design standpoint. It's a BMW to the HP Omen 17's SS Camaro. 

A gorgeous, brushed metal case on both the top and bottom of the laptop is accented with a striking red logo on the cover. The logo lights up when in use, but even when it isn't, the red is almost organic in its intensity. 

Two bolts of hard rubber run diagonally down the lid, cutting the lines of the lid in an aggressive way. The rubber also breaks up the metal construction. It's was a pleasant surprise to run our fingers over the lid and have them touch, and slow down on, the hard rubber. 

In addition to a tactile pseudo ASMR we never knew we needed in our life, the glossy rubber coating is smudge free, so the two accents keep their shine. It's a really nice touch.

Opening up the laptop, the attention to detail carries over to everything inside. The wrist support is a texturized rubber, a nice change from the cold metal or hard plastic of most laptops.

It has an almost tacky feel to it, as though it's coated with some manner of adhesive, but the tackiness simply a product of the friction between our skin and the furnished palm rest. 

We were really worried it would pick up dust, but we never found it to be a problem. Like the rubber coating on the lid, the wrist support also has no problem with smudges or fingerprints. That's a welcome change considering so many computers now ship with microfiber cloths to wipe away evidence of their use.

The trackpad is bordered by a customizable light, and there's an additional light-up strip below the screen. A black and red honeycomb surface covers up the Y900's incredibly loud speakers, and on the right is the power button. Even the power button is brushed metal with the same red accents as the rest of the computer.

And for other neat feature, the Lenovo ideapad Y900 has a built in  turbo switch for one press overclocking. The feature wraps into  Lenovo's Nerve Center software, which controls everything from component  clock speeds to the customizable lighting.

A 17-inch screen looks down from high on the entire interior, and even though it lacks the ultra-high resolution of the HP Omen 17 or the Asus Predator 17 X (which has an optional 4K display), the Y900 has a top-rate 1080p G-Sync enabled screen that's crisp, bright, and colorful.

The Y900, being a 17-inch laptop, suffers from the same problem as every other 17-inch laptop: it's enormous. Weighing in at just over 10 pounds, it's a monster on par with the heft of the Predator 17 X. 

The 230-watt power brick is nearly identical to the one powering the Omen 17, so there's another extra few pounds to lug around. All that weight stuffed into a laptop bag means you need to have a lot of faith in the strength of the straps.

Our favorite keyboard

We've gushed about every part of the design of the Y900 and we haven't even gotten to our favorite part: the keyboard. We can honestly say this is our favorite keyboard we have ever used on a laptop, ever. 

The Y900 sports a customizable, backlit, mechanical keyboard that just feels oh-so-right. Each key is an absolute joy to press, and they feel responsive and sturdy. No one key feels any less incredible than the other. It's like they hired an engineer to balance the responsiveness of every individual key to make them all give back that same satisfying click regardless of size or location. The spacebar is as much of a joy to press as the 'alt' key.

Look, we know it sounds silly, but we’re really going to have a hard time going back to our trusty, 5-year old Razer keyboard on PC. Or the keyboard on the Macbook Air. Or really any other keyboard at all.

To top off just how wonderful the chiclet-style keyboard feels, it looks incredible too. The WASD keys can be swapped out with a set of red keys, making them stand out from the of the rest, and keyboard lighting can be customized to your heart's content. Swapping between programmed lighting schemes is as easy as holding Fn and giving that snappy spacebar a smack. 

We don't want to go back. We don't know if we can.

Just to the left of the wonderful keyboard is a momentary slider switch that turns overclocking on or off. It has a similarly satisfying feel to it, making it fit in perfectly with the rest of the keyboard. The only thing it's missing is a sound effect, maybe of a car revving up or some sort of jet-engine noise.