Hands on: Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

Lenovo's latest gaming laptop brings big specs and features

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Fully customizable lighting and an easy overclocking switch makes the Lenovo ideapad Y900 one of the most intelligently designed gaming laptops yet.

For

  • Fully customizable lighting
  • Mechanical keyboard
  • Overclocking switch

Against

  • Limited to a 1080p screen
  • Expensive starting price

While Lenovo might be better known for its enterprise notebooks and business workstations, the Beijing-based computer company also has an impressive fleet of thin gaming laptops. Now with the ideapad Y900, is venturing into the world of hardcore gaming with its most fully-loaded gaming notebook yet.

The Lenovo ideapad Y900 comes as a 1.41-inch (36mm) thick laptop featuring a 17.3-inch FHD screen. Tucked inside, the gaming laptop comes loaded with the top-end mobile components from both Intel and Nvidia all at a starting price of $1,999 (about £1,363, AU$2,796).

Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

In the pursuit of taking on gaming giants like Alienware and Origin, the ideapad Y900 is equipped with overclockable HK- and HQ-series Intel Skylake mobile processors and an Nvidia GTX 980 with up to 8GB of video memory. On top of this users will be able to load up their system with up to 512GB of SSD and a 1TB hybrid drive, as well as 64GB of DDR4 memory.

Aside from the beefy, the Y900 has plenty going for it in terms of gamer appeal. The keyboard is springy and feels extremely satisfying thanks to its mechanical switches. It also features a completely customizable backlit keyboard, down to assigning a rainbow of colors to each key.

Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

The customizable lighting extends to the rest of the laptop including track lighting around the circumference of the trackpad, a strip on top of the speaker bar and the "Y logo" on the back of the laptop's screen lid. The Y-series motif is even present in the hinge, which holds up the screen at only one center-positioned juncture.

Aesthetics aside, the Y900 is outfitted with a booming sound system that includes a pair of two-watt JBL speakers, plus a subwoofer for that extra oomph of bass. Lenovo has also teamed up with Dobly to produce an enhanced surround sound. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test the speakers with a game or even a movie during my hands on time.

Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

The IPS display also looks brilliant with good contrast and well rendered colors, though, I wished Lenovo would offer a higher-solution option. With the onboard hardware, I could easily see this 17.3-inch laptop push a 1440p resolution.

Of course, there's always the option of plugging in an external monitor and you'll be able to do it with either the traditional video out connectors or with the Thunderbolt 3.0 supported USB-C port.

Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

At first glance, the trackpad looks deceptively basic, but it has a polished finish that makes it feel as smooth as glass. Plus, the palm rest area surrounding the pointing device has a slightly padded leather piece that should make using the gaming laptop for extended stretches much more bearable.

And for one last 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.

Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

Early verdict

The Lenovo ideapad Y900 release later this June and I really can't wait to give it the full review treatment. While it seems very similar to other 17-inch gaming laptops, Lenovo has come up with a number of standout features including an expansive customizable backlighting system and the simple turbo switch.

However, with gaming laptops incorporating more and more desktop parts, it'll be interesting to see whether Lenovo's gaming behemoth can keep up with the crowd or its come too late to the party.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.