Lenovo Y50 review

Lenovo's latest gaming laptop: lightweight in more ways than one

Lenovo Y50 review
Lenovo Y50 review

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Unfortunately, the Y50's metal-lined body that helps it stand out from its all plastic competition also ends up making the machine bulkier and heavier than its rivals. The laptop tips the scales at 5.29 pounds and measures 15.23 x 10.37 x 0.9 inches.

Despite the added optical drive, the 15.6-inch Gigabyte P35W v2 ends up being the lighter choice, at 5.07 pounds and measuring a very similar 15.16 x 10.63 x 0.83 inches. On the other hand, gamers looking for an even more mobile machine could scale down to a smaller, 14-inch screen option, like the Maingear Pulse 14. You will sacrifice several lines of screen real estate, but the Pulse 14 is on another scale, at 3.8 pounds and 13.31 x 9.5 x 1 inches.

Lenovo Y50 review

Here is the Lenovo Y50 configuration given to TechRadar for review:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M (4GB GDDR5 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3L (2x 8GB, 1,600MHz)
  • Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 FHD, LED anti-glare backlight
  • Storage: 1TB HDD (5,400 rpm with an 8GB SSD cache)
  • Ports: 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, combination mic/headphone jack, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader, Ethernet, SPDIF
  • Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 720p HD webcam
  • Weight: 5.29 pounds
  • Size: 15.23 x 10.37 x 0.9 inches (W x D x H)

Ringing up to a grand total of $1,519 or £999 (about AU$1,631), this is the highest spec Lenovo Y50 money can buy. In the UK this is also the only configuration users can pick up. Meanwhile, it seems that the Y50 isn't sold at all in Australia. All in all, it's quite a deal. For the price, you get a massive hard drive with an SSD cache for an extra kick, more RAM than you'll ever need and the Y50's excellently designed body, which I already touched on at length.

Lenovo Y50 review

Here's the only thing that I found lacking: the graphics card is limited to a GTX 860M on all configurations of this rig. The mobile graphics part packs enough power to plow through most modern games well enough on medium to high settings. But, if you want to kick it up a notch to Ultra settings in most games, you will have a much smoother ride with the $1,999 (about £1,188, AU$2,155) Gigabyte P35W v2. The more expensive gaming laptop comes with a headier GTX 870M, a slightly speedier 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 processor, plus a built-in, hot-swappable drive bay.

Users on a budget, meanwhile, should look at the Maingear Pulse 14's lower-end $1,399 (about £825, AU$1,497) price tag. It costs a smidge less, but buyers keep in mind that the Maingear machine offers half the storage through a 500GB hybrid drive and only 8GB of RAM. The Pulse 14 is a lower-end machine all around, with a less capable 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 CPU and GTX 850M video card.

Lenovo Y50 review

At CES 2014, Lenovo also introduced a 4K variant of this laptop that starts at $1,499, but is only available in the United States for now. Other than the higher-resolution, 3840 x 2160 panel, the Ultra HD edition comes with practically the same specification as our review unit, albeit with half the RAM and video memory. If money is no object, the highest-end Lenovo Y50 UHD rings up to $1,799 with a 512GB SSD and otherwise the same aforementioned parts.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.