Lenovo's new Legion gaming laptops are ready for VR

Lenovo's Y-series laptops and desktops have stood as their gaming-focused PCs over the past year or so, but Lenovo's taking it a step further with a new sub-brand announced at CES 2017: Legion. The first Lenovo Legion laptops are the Y720 and Y520, follow-ups to the well-received Ideapad Y700 and Ideapad Y500.

Both laptops carry the glowing red Y mark on the lid and pack the latest, but not the most powerful, in portable chips — but these also aren't meant to be or priced to be among the most powerful of gaming laptops (like the beastly and expensive Razer Blade Pro or Lenovo Ideapad Y900). Inside each you'll have options for up to 16GB of RAM, hybrid storage drives with up to 512GB SSD and 2TB HDD, and even a Blu-ray optical disc drive. All that is encased in a sturdy black aluminum chassis — they're solidly built machines. And, of course, Intel's 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors.

Lenovo Legion Y720

The more powerful of the two, the Legion Y720 is the successor to last year's Ideapad Y700, though it drops down to a 15.6-inch display from its predecessor's 17 inches. Inside you'll find either a Core i5-7300HQ or a Core i7-7700HQ processor paired with an NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB GPU — not the most powerful mobile graphics card on the market, but also no slouch. All those chips add up to a VR-capable portable rig.

If that's not enough to make this a worthy gaming machine, Lenovo's baked in Xbox One Wireless Controller support, an optional RGB keyboard backlight. your choice of a 1080p or 4K anti-glare display, and Thunderbolt 3 USB-C. And while you can hook up your choice of great PC gaming headset, the Legion Y720 will be the first laptop to feature Dolby Atmos next generation audio, delivered through a pair of 2W main speakers and a 3W subwoofer.

The Lenovo Legion Y720 is set for an April 2017 launch at a starting price of $1,399.99.

Lenovo Legion Y520

If you want something lighter and less expensive, but still capable, then perhaps the Legion Y520 might be the answer. It's quite a bit more conservatively styled than the Legion Y720 (which, by no means, is the most intensely styled gaming laptop we've ever seen), and it's not quite as powerful either. While it offers up to a Core i7 Kaby Lake processor, the GPU is a VR-capable GTX 1050 Ti. The display, also at 15.6 inches, is capped at 1080p. But all of this is in a 5.2-pound package that's only a hair over 1 inch thick.

The Legion Y520's due in February 2017 with a starting price of $899.99 — start saving now.

While the Y720 and Y520 are the first in the Legion sub-brand, they're sequels to a pair of existing Lenovo laptops. They have a lot in common with their successors — from middle-high-end specs to gamer-centric styling that's not nearly as insane as it could be. The Ideapad Y500 and Y700 were competent middle-pack gaming laptops, and the Legion Y520 and Y720 carry on that standard, just under a new name.

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.