Lenovo Ideapad Y700: Handsome gaming laptop for the masses

As a gaming laptop, the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 packs a decent set of specifications. While its mid-range graphics chip is unable to run the latest games at maximum settings, it is good enough for less demanding users.

But a gaming laptop is more than just the hardware specifications and Lenovo appears out of its depth when it comes to building a gaming machine for the hardcore gamer.

For instance, there are no software controls to disable the Windows logo key or the touchpad, which can disrupt your gaming session if you hit them by accident.

In addition, there are no gamer- centric settings to adjust the fan speed or change the colour of the keyboard backlight.

However, it comes with the Lenovo Solution Centre, a useful app that scans the laptop hardware for malfunctions and connects you with the Lenovo support team.

The Y700 reminds me of recent gaming laptops from HP. Lenovo and HP may be the world's largest PC vendors, but their gaming machines are targeted at the mainstream audience instead of power users.

However, I do like the Y700's handsome design, which conveys its gaming ambitions without going overboard. Its brushed aluminium lid has a subtle cross-hatch pattern that does not blind you like the LEDs on some gaming machines.

The inside of the laptop has a black soft-touch finish that is typical of the genre, while the keyboard backlight is red like the majority of gaming laptops. The full-size keyboard has decent key travel.

Despite its relatively sleek design, the Y700 is not as light as it appears. The review set I tested weighs around 2.9kg without the external power brick, which adds another 400g.

The laptop's 15.6-inch matte display has a standard 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. But the screen could be brighter. I had to increase the brightness level to 75 per cent and above to get a comfortable viewing experience.

However, colours look accurate and viewing angles are excellent because of the Y700's in-plane switching screen.

With two speakers and a subwoofer, the Y700 produces surprisingly good audio for a laptop. A Dolby Audio app lets you tweak the audio settings.

The model reviewed here is a souped-up version with 16GB of memory. It also has a small 128GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard drive. However, its Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M graphics chip is merely fast enough to run Crysis 3 at medium setting at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

At $2,399, the Y700 is in no man's land when it comes to pricing. You can buy an equally capable laptop from Aftershock for less than $2,000 or bump up your budget slightly to buy a higher-end model from Asus. The good news is that the cheapest version of the Y700 is $1,499, albeit with less capable hardware.

• Lenovo's branding and theY700's handsome design are reasons to pick this gaming laptop, especially if you are not into the latest games.

PRICE: $2,399
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5
SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.0,1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jack
BATTERY: 60 watt-hour



This article was first published on Jan 27, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.