Hands on: Lenovo Legion Y730 review

The Legion wants more members

What is a hands on review?
TODO alt text

Early Verdict

This brand new version of the Legion laptop brings it into a whole new light, one that we appreciate here much more than the extreme gamer aesthetic of old. Throw in some serious innards and a decent price, and color us psyched for a full review.

For

  • Excellent starting price
  • Gorgeous design
  • Fantastic full keyboard
  • 144Hz G-Sync display

Against

  • Just one graphics option
  • Webcam beneath screen

Lenovo has completely revamped its line of gaming laptops and desktops for a new, wider audience, and no new product is more emblematic of that than the Legion Y730. This is a gaming laptop that almost anyone could get behind, but not just on account of its style.

This laptop is surprisingly affordable given the internals and its presentation, poised to attract more would-be PC gamers to the hobby. To folks like us, that can only be a good thing, as it means more newbies to mop the floor with.

At any rate, we’re excited to fully test the Legion Y730 when it arrives this September in the US.

Lenovo Legion Y730

Price and availability

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Legion Y730 is its starting price: $1,179 (about £879, AU$1,549) for the 15-inch model and $1,249 (about £939, AU$1,639). For that price, you’re getting an all-aluminum gaming laptop à la the Razer Blade for hundreds less.

However, the innards betray that price a bit, if you’re already a hardcore PC gamer. That starting price gets you an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 H-series (up to i7) processor and Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics behind a 1080p, 60Hz (up to 144Hz) display. Backing that up are 8GB of DDR4 RAM (up to 32GB) and a 128GB SSD (up to 512GB) and 1TB hard drive combo for storage.

You can also choose to overclock your memory through Corsair at up to 16GB for an extra cost. Though, being a mainstream gaming laptop, we can’t imagine many people leaping at the option.

In the end, this is a surprising balance of luxury look and feel and pure power (for a new or mainstream PC gamer) for such a price.

Lenovo Legion Y730

Design and display

The new look for Legion is just fantastic. It’s more streamlined and subdued than ever before while bringing forth the features that new and veteran PC gamers will need alike. The Legion logo remains on the Iron Gray aluminum lid, but it hides behind the chrome ‘Legion’ moniker in all caps, lighting up with the full RGB spectrum.

Thankfully for the laptop’s image, this is one of the few visible lighting elements on the laptop’s frame. The only other lighting about are undercarriage lights of sorts on either side of the base, giving the laptop a bit of a Tokyo Drift vibe.

The 15-inch version measures just 0.78 inches thick, while the 17-incher isn’t much thicker at 0.86 inches. However, the 6.4-pound (2.9kg) 17-inch model far outweighs the 15-incher’s 4.8 pounds (2.2kg). The latter, therefore, is decently portable, and that’s the point.

Lenovo wants this laptop to fit in just as well at the coffee shop or your next business meeting as it would in your den or at the next QuakeCon. Does that check out? Sure, so long as you disable the external RGB lighting.

Speaking of which, Lenovo has teamed up with Corsair to not only provide overclocked RAM, but to power its keyboard backlighting software. While we didn’t get to see it in the works during our brief preview of the laptops, the name brand gives a bit of confidence as to the lighting.

Image 1 of 8

Image 2 of 8

Image 3 of 8

Image 4 of 8

Image 5 of 8

Image 6 of 8

Image 7 of 8

Image 8 of 8

As for the keyboard itself, Lenovo’s AccuType keyboards need help from no one, and this laptop is no different. We’ve always loved the trademark feedback and travel from the Lenovo keyboard, and it feels right at home on this device. The clickpad-style touchpad appears to be glass-covered and feels just fine as well.

Now, behind the keyboard and hinge lies one of the most important changes regarding the Legion line. Lenovo took a cue from rivals like Alienware and pushed the screen hinge toward the keyboard about an inch.

This allows for both more cooling internals to be placed in that space, as well as pull cool air in from the side vents (rather than the opposite, the usual case) and push that air out behind the system rather than to either side or downward. This is a twofold design move, however.

Now, almost all of the laptop’s ports are housed in the rear of the laptop’s base save for a Thunderbolt 3 port on the left and a USB 3.1 port on the right. The connections housed in this new rear portion include two more USB 3.1 ports, a mini DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0 port, Ethernet and the AC adapter. This should make for neater setups when on your desk.

The Legion Y730 display may be a mere 1080p resolution, but it sure appeared plenty bright (300 nits to be exact) during our brief time with it, not to mention awfully color-rich with a 72% RGB color gamut. Sadly, we weren’t able to test the 144Hz display, but it’s nevertheless bound to be an attractive addition for the competitive players out there.

Lenovo Legion Y730

Performance

Of course, we weren’t able to thoroughly test performance of the Legion Y730 while it was shown to us recently, but some details can give us an idea of where the laptop will land power-wise. For starters, the GTX 1050 Ti should be able to play most of the latest games at 1080p and medium detail settings.

However, the H-series Intel processor and overclockable RAM by Corsair lead us to believe Lenovo has some ambitions of a more diverse power profile. Because this is a more mainstream device, we could see a model with a Core i7 processor and the overclocked RAM rendering video or other media files like a champ or handling game broadcasting with ease.

Lenovo also vastly improved the thermals of its Legion line, which pulls in cold air from its side vents and pushes them through the rear vents with multi-length, multi-rotational fans. The firm claims this improves airflow by 16% and brings temperatures down by 10%. We’ll see just how much this helps the Legion Y730 perform in a full review.

Lenovo Legion Y730

Early verdict

We’re plenty impressed by what Lenovo has achieved with the Legion Y730. This brand new version of the device brings it into a whole new light, one that we appreciate here much more than the extreme gamer aesthetic of old.

While this isn’t the powerhouse many may have been expecting, this is a gaming laptop for so many more people than such a monstrous device would have been. We can’t knock Lenovo for wanting to broaden the base of PC gamers. Stay tuned for a full review to see just how well Lenovo achieved its goal.

  • TechRadar's fourth annual PC Gaming Week is officially here, celebrating our passion with in-depth and exclusive coverage of PC gaming from every angle. Visit our PC Gaming Week 2018 page to see all of the coverage in one place.

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.