Lenovo Legion Y520 review

A mid-range gaming laptop at a budget price

Great Value

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.


Here’s how the Lenovo Legion Y520 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Sky Diver: 19,764; Fire Strike: 6,659 ; Time Spy: 2,359
Cinebench CPU: 738 points; Graphics: 80 fps
GeekBench: 4,645 (single-core); 14,987 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,980 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours and 25 minutes
Battery Life (techradar movie test): 4 hours and 32 minutes
Total War: Warhammer (1080p, Ultra): 38 fps; (1080p, Low): 98 fps
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (1080p, Ultra): 10 fps; (1080p, Low): 82 fps

Even if the Y520’s GTX 1050 Ti isn’t a heavyweight, it still has knockout power. It yawns at medium settings. It throws 30-frame-per-second hooks on high settings. 

And, every once in a while, it lands a jab on a game on ultra settings. Decent performance while not running hot or loud? Definitely worth the price of admission.

Of course, if you play a game consistently on ultra settings, the Y520 will hit the canvas. Running Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on ultra put the device into a standing knockout (read: 10 fps). 

Less graphically intense games, however, the Y520 can handle. It ran Total War: Warhammer on ultra at an acceptable 38 fps. 

It should be noted that for boring old web-browsing and multitasking, the Y520 is excellent: during testing, it never sputtered or froze.

Against the Strix and Sabre, the Y520 holds its own. When it comes to benchmarks, all three devices live in the same county – they all pack similar hardware, after all. 

One can argue, however, that the Y520, with its quiet fan and low heat output, is the more well-rounded device. Yet it’s no more expensive than the Gigabyte, and cheaper than the Strix.

Battery life

The Y520 mustered 2 hours and 25 minutes of battery life on PCMark 8’s multi-tasking taxing home test. On our decidedly less taxing TechRadar movie test (basically, we play Guardians of the Galaxy at 50% brightness and volume til death do us part), the Y520 at least breached the 4 hour mark, with 292 minutes of battery life.

Unimpressive? Yes. Average for a gamer? Sadly, also yes. Consider the competition. The Sabre 17 unplugged for 2 hours and 17 minutes of PCMark 8 fun, and just over 3 hours of GotG viewing. 

The Strix had 2 hours and 46 minutes of PCMark 8 cordless time, and 4 hours and 28 minutes for battery-powered Groot and the Gang. In a market like this, the Y520’s numbers aren’t that bad at all.

We liked

The best part of waking up isn’t Folgers in your cup, it’s knowing that you still have some money left over after splurging on a gaming laptop. In this regard, the Y520 delivers. It competently runs modern games, its keyboard is comfortable, and it doesn’t fire up like a recalled hot plate — all in all, it’s a great gamer that’s cheap. Enough said.

We disliked

But, with great price consciousness comes not-so-great features. Per-key customization is so common now on gaming laptops that when it’s missing, it’s side-of-the-milk-bottle missing. And we very much miss it on the Y520.

We also miss a decent display. The Y520’s is dim and color-poor, a big whiff for a gaming machine.

Final verdict

With the Y520, it starts and ends with price. Lenovo’s gamer is only a contender because of its price to performance ratio. It may lack many of the super features of a premium gamer (per key customization; bombastic speakers; vibrant display), but at the end of the day it does what it’s designed to do: play games cheaply.

The Y520 is also not completely featureless. It stays rather cool, rather quiet and it’s keyboard, outside of a wonky numpad, is comfortable enough to endear even enterprise users. It’s one major flaw – a dark, joyless, display – isn’t fatal either.  

Gamers on a budget should take note: the Y520 is one of the best options out there. Lenovo got this first impression right. We look forward to seeing what else comes out of the Legion line.