As the introduction for many gaming laptops in recent months, I’ve always tried to remind readers about the continued growth in the mobile gaming laptop segment in South Africa. That fact still remains true. With each new review, manufacturers throw in one or two additional features that make their devices surprisingly good as they continue to push the boundaries of development in their respective technological fields.
A few weeks back, we attended Lenovo’s Life Tech event at the Chartwell Castle in Johannesburg where we could experience some of the latest releases first hand. While these tests were limited to specifications, design and a few features thrown at you, there were quite a number of standout units presented. One such unit is the Lenovo Legion Y730 (MP1DWP1F), with a mix of different features thrown in to make it appeal to various gamers for various reasons.
In June, we reviewed the previous generation, Lenovo Legion Y520, a budget-friendly portable gaming unit that was equal parts gamer and work-horse, matched only by an impressive price-point. The latest releases feature upgraded technologies, including the 8th generation Intel® Core™ CPUs, boosting performances across the board. So how much of an improvement is the new-gen Legion Y730?
Build and Design
The Legion Y730 is different from the offset. The latest range of devices from the range has been completely overhauled. It doesn’t have the frills and trinkets of the higher end gaming units, but there’s still enough there to keep the user interested. There are no giant grilles or vents to make it scream “look at me, I’m a gaming laptop.” Instead, it works with what it has to keep the weight and dimensions down, even while having a fairly large screen.
The unit has a smoother finish than any of its predecessors and also has a matte gunmetal finish. In terms of noticeable markings, there’s a fairly large “LEGION” logo on the left-hand side of the lid. The rounded hinge is positioned a bit in from the extremities of the rear, which means it has a small protrusion. The ventilation system features a standard block grille. The sides of these vents also protrude outward, just a touch, from the sides, which leaves room in the gap for an LED light on either side. What stands out about the side panels is that there is only provision for a single USB port on either side (x1 USB Type C and 3.5mm aux on the left and x1 USB 3.0 on the right). The rest of the ports reside on the rear, which includes x2 USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, Ethernet, AC adapter and a Kensington lock.
The quality of the Legion Y730 is as uncompromising as ever.
The quality of the Legion Y730 is as uncompromising as ever. The unit is fairly thin, which means there’s less space to flex and bend when pressed down upon. There’s also less creaking and noises when lifting and closing the lid. There is a little more play on the hinges when the lid is flipped back the full 180°. This, again, isn’t too much of an issue, as it’s very rarely that you’ll be flipping the lid that far back in order to use it.
With a clear shift in the direction of the overall design, away from the typical “gaming laptop” approach, it could easily be mistaken for a conventional laptop, which it isn’t. There are still a few inclusions that make it stand out. The unit looks a look sleeker and more streamlined, but whether that’s enough to draw in a would-be gamer or two is a question that cannot yet be answered.
Screen and Display
Despite all the various builds and setups to customise your Lenovo Legion Y730 laptop, there is only one configuration for the 17″ screen. There is no glossy, touchscreen or 4K options. There’s also no support for 120Hz and 144Hz response times. This may sound like poor start to the review of the LCD panel, but the unit delivers quite good performances, easily making users overlook some of these shortcomings. The unit has great contrast levels, response times and colour reproduction, which makes gaming on the Y730 very good, aesthetically. The LG Philips panel bolted onto the unit is very good value for money.
The unit has great contrast levels, response times and colour reproduction, which makes gaming on the Y730 very good, aesthetically.
The unit has 56% AdobeRGB and 85% sRGB standards. These values aren’t great, but not the worst I’ve reviewed this past year. In addition, these values aren’t of the same importance when compared to units used for design purposes. It’s more than ideal for casual gamers.
Where there are some issues with the screen is that it has uneven backlight bleeding, which means when the screen is supposed to display a completely black image, you’ll notice a few light sources from the side bezels. On the unit I received, the majority of the bleeding originated on the left-hand side.
Audio and Inputs
The Legion Y730 has a dual-speaker setup, which supports Dolby Atmos. It’s not the most advanced audio system, but it gets the job done. There’s a dedicated subwoofer as well, given the setup a 2.1 surround sound rating. The unit has good volume levels with little to no distortions or vibrations. When you turn up the bass, however, you can expect a lot more vibration on the palm rests when the laptop is in use. It won’t interfere too much with your work, though, as it’s more noticeable than annoying. The mids are well-balanced, along with the highs. Overall, the sound was reasonably good, without being great.
Often times, there isn’t a lot made of the keyboard on laptops, even gaming laptops. That said, the keyboard on the Legion Y730 delivers quite a lot. Some of the inclusions and/or changes don’t always hit the mark, such as the newly designed layout. I struggled to make sense of the new layout, even after a little over two weeks spent with the review unit. Keys such as the backslash key seem out of position. The unit we received has a European layout, which means keys like the Pound symbol are swapped with the hash symbol, which then only confuses the rest of the layout.
The Legion Y730 has a dual-speaker setup, which supports Dolby Atmos.
There’s also the issue of the Function key, which can be locked in place so you don’t always have to press the key to perform any of the shortcuts available. It does, however, have a tendency not to highlight the LED light next to it indicate whether it’s on or not. But, when it comes to what the keyboard does get right, it far outshines the lowlights. For starters, each of the keys has individual backlighting, which means each can be customised to have its own colour. And this makes for quite an impressive display of lights. There are more than 10 pre-set lighting effects to toggle through at the start, my favourite of which being the lighting of each key as you click it. There are numerous others, varying from continuous rainbow waves to the more basic white backlighting. The keys themselves hit a good balance between quietness and precision touch.
The touchpad isn’t bad either. It’s smooth to touch and very accurate, while also including individual left and right buttons for easier use, something I find more manufacturers are bringing back to make things easier for users. The two buttons are quite soft, with no noticeable clicking sounds. The gestures are also quite useful and, again, easy to use. There’s also a lot of automation build into the device’s software to disable and enable the touchpad based on your current activity. The most notable of this is when you run a game, after which the touchpad is disabled so you don’t accidentally move it while in-game.
Performance and Battery Life
Another of the standout aspects of the Legion Y730 comes in the form of its performance. Sporting an 8th-generation, Intel® Core™ i7-8750H, the unit has enough power to get the job done. Coupled with 16GB DDR4 and impressive storage options, which in our case was the Samsung 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD and Seagate 1TB HDD, the unit was extremely speedy. Boot times averaged between five and ten seconds, which is sufficiently fast for any type of user. In terms of the overall benchmarks, the unit performs similarly to other units with a similar setup, receiving an average score of 4980 on the PCMark 10 benchmark test. With the top of the range unit sporting Samsung’s NVMe M.2 SSD, the speeds were very good. The average read and write speeds recorded were 1800MB/s and 800MB/s, respectively. There were times where the read speeds reached beyond the 2000MB/s mark, which is quite impressive.
There were times where the read speeds reached beyond the 2000MB/s mark, which is quite impressive.
The Legion range sports the same NVIDIA graphics card across the board, which is the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 TI 4GB GDDR5. The GPU is able to be able to handle most games, although not always at maximum settings. For example, you can easily play GTA V at 1080p resolution, granted the settings have been set at Medium to High, with a few settings able to be set at Very High, while maintaining a respectable frame rate between 30 and 60fps. The GTX 1050 Ti has a 27% boost over the standard 1050 GPU, although it is down a touch from the previous-generation 980M we’ve seen on these units in the past.
When it comes to overall battery performances, it all depends on the type of task performed. For example, when using the GPU on battery, the performance is throttled somewhat, which allows for additional battery conservation. When the GPU is idle, users can expect anything up to an hour in additional battery life. Thanks to the 76Wh, non-removable battery, the Y730 is able to average just over six hours with simple browsing and the likes. This is quite impressive for a 17″ unit.
When gaming, you’ll notice the drop in frame rates while on battery power, while you’re able to eke out around two hours of continuous gaming. With the mix of work I conducted, which ranged from browsing, editing images and a few computational tasks, I average around four hours between charges. Charging itself takes around 90 minutes to complete from zero to full, which isn’t bad either. There’s also an option to enable fast-charging, via the Lenovo Vantage software, on the unit for those days when you’re in a bit of rush, which cuts down the charge time to around 60 minutes. There is a warning, however, against the continuous practice of this, as it will wear out the battery much quicker.
The Lenovo Vantage software allows you to control a few aspects of the Legion Y730, including some additional power, additional cooling, which increases the fan speeds, as well as features such as the keyboard lighting, etc. Another of the included Lenovo apps is the Magic Y Key, which allows you to programme various Macros and shortcuts and assign them to specific keys and combinations, as well as set different profiles for three different types.
The Lenovo Legion Y730 is a fairly impressive device, which has definitely stepped up the game over its predecessors. There are changes to almost all departments over previous units from the same range and not just simple aesthetics. With pricing starting at R29,999 for the base models, the unit isn’t the most affordable, but will definitely deliver when it comes to outright performances. With the attention to detail, which includes the multitude of pre-set keyboard lighting, the unit is a joy to use. If you have a 4K screen lying around, the Y730 will increase in value with support for higher resolutions, albeit it not natively via its 17″ screen. Users can also boost the CPU performances if they need the additional power, although that may not be necessary.
Lenovo Legion Y730
The Lenovo Legion Y730 is a fairly impressive device, which has definitely stepped up the game over its predecessors.
- Immense computing power
- Sleek design
- Great battery life
- Good screen
- Doesn't offer native 4K resolution
- Backlight bleeding
- Pricing could be better
Ease of Learning
Ease of Use
Value for Money