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Lenovo Legion Y730 review: Great display and premium features

Windows Central Recommended Award

The updated Legion lineup of Lenovo gaming laptops includes the 15.6-inch Y730, a laptop that consists of much of the same hardware as the cheaper Y530, including NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti dedicated graphics card (GPU), Intel Core i7-8750H processor (CPU), and 1080p (FHD) non-touch display.

The Y730 does come with a fair share of extra features that explain the extra cost over the Y530, but are they entirely necessary? I used the Legion Y730 for about a week to see how well it works in a number of scenarios, and whether or not it's worth your hard-earned cash.

About this review

Lenovo supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the Legion Y730 15.6-inch gaming laptop. This specific configuration has inside an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of VRAM, and a Samsung PM981 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 2TB 7,200 RPM hard-disk drive (HDD). This top-of-the-line model costs about $1,550, with lesser models starting at about $1,200.

See at Lenovo

Lenovo Legion Y730 tech specs

CategorySpec
Processor8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
Six-core
Up to 4.10 GHz
Storage256GB PCIe SSD
2TB 7,200 RPM HDD
RAM16GB DDR4-2666 MHz
Display15.6-inch FHD
(1,920 x 1,080) IPS
60 Hz refresh rate
GraphicsNVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti
4GB GDDR5 VRAM
PortsThunderbolt 3 (2x lanes PCIe)
Three USB-A 3.1
RJ45 Ethernet
Mini DisplayPort 1.4
HDMI 2.0
3.5 mm audio jack
SpeakersDual 2W speakers
Dolby Atmos
WirelessIntel Wireless-AC 9560
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFront-facing 720p
1.0 MP
Fixed focus
KeyboardRGB backlight
Corsair iCUE lighting
TouchpadPrecision
Battery57 Wh
Three-cell
WeightStarting at 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg)
Dimensions14.25 inches x 10.51 inches x 0.79 inches
(362 mm x 267 mm x 19.95 mm)
ColorBlack

Lenovo Legion Y730 design and features

Like the Legion Y530, the Y730 is built into an aluminum chassis that's seen big changes since last year's Legion Y720. It's now just 0.79-inches thick and weighs in at 4.8 pounds, which are some impressive dimensions for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that starts at about $1,200. It feels sturdy, the display can sit back flat, and the lid can be opened with one hand.

Behind the display is a ledge that juts out about an inch, which houses the majority of ports and a couple of vents for the dual-fan cooling system. Here you have Lenovo's proprietary rectangular charging port, two USB-A 3.1, RJ45 Ethernet, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort. Above the ports there are small lights that denote which port is where without having to lift and turn the laptop. There are vents on both sides of the laptop as well, and they have customizable lighting that can be synced up with the keyboard through Corsair's iCUE app. On the left is a 3.5 mm audio port and a Thunderbolt 3 port (unfortunately with only 2x PCIe that limits the use of an external GPU), and on the right is another USB-A 3.1 port as well as the mic pickup. Having most ports on the back of the laptop works great, providing plenty of room when plugging in multiple peripherals.

The primary color of the laptop is black, but the lid and hinges have a gray tint that offsets the rest of the device nicely. On the lid is a Legion logo with a lighted Y for a bit of flair. Other than that, this laptop is quite understated and you might not think it's a gaming laptop at first glance. The bottom is taken up by a large vent that covers the two fans and provides a bit of space for air to move around, and there are dual side-firing speakers near the front of the body. I used them instead of a headset while gaming, and while I prefer the on-ear solution, these delivered some decent sound that rattled my desk but clearly let me hear the enemy's footsteps.

Lenovo Legion Y730 display

The non-touch display on the Y730 has minimal bezel around the top and sides, creating a premium look that's not always a feature on gaming laptops. The 720p camera, though, sits below the display where there's more room, so those looking to stream their games will probably want to invest in a better webcam that doesn't shoot up their nose.

The Legion Y730's display offers near-perfect sRGB color reproduction for a full picture.

Resolution is set at 1080p for better performance from the GPU, and the display has a 60 Hz refresh rate. The spec sheet for the Y730 also has listed a 144 Hz 1080p display, but it doesn't seem to be very easily found in the wild. While gaming in my office on an overcast day, I found that the display wasn't quite bright enough even when fully cranked up, which is an issue with a lot of Lenovo's hardware. Adjusting in-game settings helps, but I know people will want a brighter display.

As for color reproduction — another spot where many budget gaming laptops fall behind their premium competition — the Y730 hit 97 percent sRGB and 75 percent AdobeRGB. These are excellent results, and here's no doubt where some of the price difference is made up. It's a big step up over the panels in the Y530 and Y720, which both only managed to hit 66 percent sRGB and 50 percent AdobeRGB. Gaming on this laptop looks great.

Lenovo Legion Y730 keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard on the Y730 is really the first spot where the extra features over the cheaper Y530 really shine. Here is a keyboard with RGB lighting handled by Corsair iCUE, which allows you to set up just about any color combination and effect you'd like. I had a rainbow spiraling around for the first while but eventually settled on a gradient that was far less distracting.

To the left of the main QWERTY setup is a column of six extra keys, with a couple that can be customized for just about any use. The others give you quick control over camera recording and backlight levels. These keys are handy, but they push the keyboard off center, which takes some getting used to. Key travel and response, though, are both satisfactory and I didn't mind doing a fair bit of typing while not gaming.

The relatively small touchpad has a mylar surface for smooth tracking, and it uses Precision drivers for full multi-gesture support. There's no click on the touchpad itself, but there are two physical buttons. Its size makes me think Lenovo understands that no one is going to use it for gaming (first thing I did was plug in a mouse), and in that case, I would have liked to have it moved over to the right a bit more. As it sits now, my left hand rubs against the edge while using the WASD keys standard for gaming. At least the touchpad disables itself when the laptop senses a game has been launched.

Lenovo Legion Y730 gaming and VR

It's kind of surprising that the Y730 saw a GPU downgrade from the GTX 1060 in last year's Y720, but I guess that's tied in with the slim new build. There's still an updated 8th Gen Intel Core CPU that this time delivers six cores of power, but for the most part, you'll get about the same gaming performance from the top-of-the-line Y530 that costs hundreds less. The back cover comes off with the removal of 11 small Philips-head screws, allowing access to the SSD, Wi-Fi card, storage, and RAM, of which there two SO-DIMM slots for easy upgrades down the line.

I ran some real-world tests to see how the laptop performs while gaming. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Y730 averaged 42.32 FPS on High settings. I also tested out Dying Light, averaging 56.37 FPS on Best settings. You shouldn't have an issue running popular esports titles on the Y730, and it will even be able to power more demanding modern games, if at a lower framerate with lesser settings.

3DMark

Time Spy (Higher is better)

LaptopGPUScore
Lenovo Legion Y730GTX 1050 Ti2,568
Dell G7 15 7588GTX 10603,792
Lenovo Legion Y530GTX 1050 Ti2,330
Acer Predator Triton 700GTX 10805,809
ASUS ROG ZephyrusGTX 10805,551
Lenovo Legion Y720GTX 10603,469
Lenovo Legion Y520GTX 1050 Ti2,491
Razer Blade 2017GTX 10603,639
Dell XPS 15 (9560)GTX 10501,789

3DMark

Fire Strike (Higher is better)

LaptopGPUScore
Lenovo Legion Y730GTX 1050 Ti6,890
Dell G7 15 7588GTX 106010,029
Razer Blade 15GTX 107013,560
Lenovo Legion Y530GTX 1050 Ti6,864
Acer Predator Triton 700GTX 108014,572
MSI GS63VRGTX 10609,874
HP Omen 15GTX 10608,722
Lenovo Legion Y720GTX 10609,017
Lenovo Legion Y520GTX 1050 Ti6,623
Razer Blade ProGTX 108012,976
Dell XPS Tower SEGTX 107012,315
Razer Blade 2017GTX 10609,278

Gaming laptops usually come in between the 9,000 and 10,000 mark for reference.

VRMark

Orange Room (Higher is better)

PCGPUScore
Lenovo Legion Y730GTX 1050 Ti3,742
Dell G7 15 7588GTX 10605,969
Lenovo Legion Y530GTX 1050 Ti3,931
Acer Predator Triton 700GTX 10808,592
Lenovo Legion Y720TGTX 10709,028
Lenovo Legion Y920TGTX 108010,688

Most standard VR systems hit about the 5,000 mark, with Rift-ready PCs around 3,716. You'll be able to use VR with this laptop, but don't expect optimal performance.

Lenovo Legion Y730 performance, battery, and heat

The 57 Wh battery is a small step down over last year's Y720, but it gets about the same life. Expect somewhere around four hours while doing general productivity stuff, and expect about an hour while gaming. Keep your charger close, as is the case with most gaming devices.

The dual fans kick on as soon as you start gaming, and while they're pretty loud, they do a good job of keeping the laptop cool. I gamed for an hour while charging the battery and didn't notice any spots that got too hot to handle.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Lenovo Legion Y730i7-8750H4,79319,085
Dell G7 15 7588i7-8750H4,89721,245
Razer Blade 15i7-8750H4,87217,910
Lenovo Legion Y530i5-8300H4,72914,967
Acer Predator Triton 700i7-7700HQ4,83415,298
ASUS ROG Zephyrusi7-7700HQ4,32213,213
HP Omen 15i7-7700HQ4,33714,713
Lenovo Legion Y720i7-7700HQ4,69714,810
Lenovo Yoga 720 15i7-7700HQ3,78410,255
Surface Laptopi5-7200U3,7257,523
Lenovo Legion Y520i7-7700HQ4,59614,903
Razer Blade 2017i7-7700HQ4,27713,597
Dell XPS 15i7-7700HQ4,50313,587
Razer Blade Proi7-6700HQ3,66012,325

Performance from the six-core Intel CPU is right where it should be.

PCMark

PCMark Home Conventional 3.0

DeviceScore
Lenovo Legion Y7303,731
Dell G7 15 75883,853
Lenovo Legion Y5303,546
Acer Predator Triton 7004,205
Lenovo Legion Y7203,599
Lenovo Yoga 720 152,993
Surface Pro 20173,055
Surface Laptop2,494
Lenovo ThinkPad T4703,103
Dell Latitude 52853,079
Lenovo Legion Y5203,475
Razer Blade 20173,448
Dell XPS 153,534

Altogether, the hardware in this laptop performs well and scored a bit better than expected.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Lenovo Legion Y7303244.8 MB/s1335.4 MB/s
Dell G7 15 7588521.5 MB/s303.4 MB/s
Razer Blade 152,722 MB/s1,217 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y5301,330.9 MB/s560.4 MB/s
Acer Predator Triton 7003,353.5 MB/s1,859.3 MB/s
Razer Blade Stealth1,281 MB/s1,330 MB/s
HP Omen 151,772 MB/s795 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y7201,642 MB/s789.7 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 720 151,839 MB/s1,238 MB/s
Surface Laptop423 MB/s237 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad T4701,079 MB/s716.1 MB/s
Lenovo Legion Y5201,838 MB/s1,151 MB/s
Razer Blade Pro2,571 MB/s2,467 MB/s
Dell XPS 15 (9560)2,207 MB/s1,628 MB/s

The Samsung PM981 offers fast storage that's ideal for high-performance gaming. The laptop also ships with a 2TB SATA HDD, which is far slower.

Lenovo Legion Y730 review: Conclusion

After using the Legion Y730 for about a week, it has me divided. On one side, it has a smart design, a display with great color reproduction, fast storage, customizable macro keys, and in-depth RGB lighting, but it maxes out at a GTX 1050 Ti, which definitely limits its gaming performance. A 17-inch Y730 is also available, but it doesn't go higher than a GTX 1050 Ti either. Where are the high-performance Legion laptops?

This model I tested, which is as good as it gets from Lenovo, costs about $1,500. Compared to the Y530 I tested, which costs $200 less, you're going to get about the same gaming performance but will miss out on all the fancy keyboard features and better display. The Dell G7 I recently reviewed also costs $200 less, and it delivers better performance but in a chassis that looks dated and chunky. The Y730 is a more premium offering than these other two laptops and you get some impressive hardware for the price paid, but performance is key in a gaming laptop, and the Y730 didn't quite deliver up to my expectations.

Who is this laptop for?

If you have your heart set on a Legion laptop and appreciate the extra features in the Y730 that I think definitely warrant the extra price, it will serve you well. Don't plan on heavy gaming with it, and you shouldn't be let down by the performance. However, if you want to save a couple hundred dollars and get the same or superior performance without the extra goodies, there are certainly other options out there.

See at Lenovo

Pros

  • Mature design
  • Slick RGB keyboard
  • Good port selection along the back
  • Fast storage
  • Display has great color reproduction

Cons

  • GTX 1050 Ti is only GPU option
  • Camera below display