Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 review

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

Lenovo ideapad Y900 review

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Performance wise, the Y900 holds it own, but against the Predator 17 X and especially head to head with the Omen 17, it comes in on the low-end of things. Relatively, that is, because it's still a powerful machine.  

An Intel Core i7-6820HK processor and GeForce 980M graphics card do the heavy graphical lifting, but the Predator's desktop-grade 980 has a slight edge. Neither of them hold a candle to the absolutely beastly GTX 1070 crammed into the Omen 17.

The $2,499 or £1,999 (about AU$3,340) Y900 is a great 1080p machine, but the Omen is probably a better choice if you're looking for a desktop replacement VR machine. Your best bet with Oculus or Vive is to just throw as much computer as possible at it, and while the Y900 can handle both on paper, why risk it when you can have a desktop GPU in either of the other machines? 

Especially considering the $1,799 (£1,599, AU$3,699)price on the Omen 17, which is a competent 4K computer, is more than $500 lower than the price on the Y900.

The total package is what brings the Y900 neck-and-neck with the more powerful Omen. Attractive and solid, the Y900 is almost the exact opposite of the Omen in that regard. 

The Omen feels like a budget laptop, with creaky lid hinges and a plastic build. The Y900 is phenomenal in design through and through. The Predator is leaps and bounds ahead of the Omen when it comes to design, but it still falls short of the Y900.


Here’s how the Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Cloud Gate: 22,211; Sky Diver: 22,060; Fire Strike: 8108
Cinebench CPU: 664 points; Graphics: 104.7 fps
GeekBench: 3350 (single-core); 12077 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4170 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 7 minutes
Battery Life (techradar movie test): 3 hours and 31 minutes
The Division (1080p, Ultra): 44 fps; (1080p, Low): 77 fps
GTA V (1080p, Ultra): 33 fps; (1080p, Low): 164 fps


The Y900 is no slouch when it comes to 1080p gaming. Grand Theft Auto 5 looks and runs great, with solid framerates at its suggested settings. Still, for $2,500, suggested settings are kind of a let down. Part of the fun of an audacious gaming rig is cranking everything up to 11 and melting off the faces of your friends.

One pleasant surprise while using the Y900 was how cool it stays. Even with the trillions of math equations it makes every second, it never felt hot on our lap. Our Macbook Air gets too hot to the touch. Lenovo's cooling system is impressive, even if the fan noise is hitting the ceiling of acceptable levels.

Get loud

We mentioned the cooling fans were a little on the loud side, but they're easily drowned out by the room-rattling speakers hiding beneath the futuristic black and red honeycomb. 

They are loud –  crazy loud. So loud they hurt our ears at full volume. We kept the volume on or around 50% in our time with the Y900, because anything more was too much for us. 

The speakers also sound really nice, but at 100% volume there is some real clear distortion. It wasn't really an issue for us since, as we mentioned before, 100% is just way too loud for our sensitive disposition. 

We can definitely see it coming in handy at someplace like PAX. The booming sound would help you rise above the cacophony of the bring-your-own-PC area. 

One more thing we really liked about the Y900 performance was just how quickly it starts up. It's increasingly uncommon to find the operating system living on a hard drive, and the SSD in the Y900 is crazy fast. Start up seems almost instantaneous. 

The 256GB SSD in the model tested filled up fast, but there is a 1TB 5400rpm hard drive for spill over. For games that run best on an SSD, though, you might want to spring for a bigger model. Installing The Division, Grand Theft Auto V, and our benchmarking tools on the SSD almost maxed it out.

We liked

Most gaming laptops are guilty of having an overbearing design that screams #gamerz, but the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is sophisticated and timeless. What’s more it’s solidly built, with smart material choices throughout and hands down one of the best keyboards we’ve ever used – even compared to the multitude of mechanical desktop keyboards we’ve tested.

We disliked

While we feel the Y900’s design can stand the test of time, we can’t say the same for its components. Equipped with a last generation mobile graphics, its performance pales in comparison to current Pascal-powered machines. 

For now it can run modern games with playable frame rates at high to ultra settings, but only just so. We imagine the graphical needs of future titles will quickly outpace the capabilities of the Y900 without an internal refresh.

Final verdict

High-end gaming laptops are about showing off as much as they are about getting the most performance from games. The Y900 is no exception, but it trades a little bit of its power for design decisions that are well worth it. That's not to say it isn't a powerful machine, because it definitely is. 

However, much of the Y900's price tag is due to its flat-out attractiveness. It's a beautiful, quality laptop that feels like it will last years and years. This is the sort of computer that will survive long after obsolescence, and in the year 2022 will become the main Minecraft machine of some lucky kid. 

The keyboard and fit and finish of the Y900 put it head and shoulders above the Omen 17's cheap feeling plastic, and the quality of the build is so good that it's hard to say which is the better machine. Pure power, the Omen wins hands down. Aesthetically, we think it looks better than the Predator 17 X, but that's a personal decision. It comes down to what you hold most dear.

If you want a relatively powerful computer that looks amazing and feels like it's going to last a hundred years, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y900 is a great choice. Solid construction, cranking speakers, aggressive design and the most satisfying keyboard we've ever tested makes the Y900 a great choice for anyone looking for a gaming laptop that offers more than just big frame rate numbers.