Lenovo Legion Y740 15 vs. Alienware m15: Which should you buy?

These two laptops hit a sweet spot between portability and raw gaming power, and really either one should make a great laptop for years to come. However, there are some specific differences you should know about before making a final decision.

Lenovo Legion Y740 15 vs. Alienware m15 tech specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Lenovo Legion Y740 15Alienware m15
Processor8th Gen
Intel Core i7-8750H
Six cores
Up to 4.10 GHz
8th Gen
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel Core i9-8950HK
Six cores
Up to 5.00 GHz
RAMUp to 32GB
Up to 32GB
StorageUp to 512GB PCIe SSD
Up to 1TB HDD
Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Up to 1TB SSHD
Display size15.6 inches
15.6 inches
Display resolution1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)
1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)
60 Hz, 144 Hz, 240 Hz
3,840 x 2,160 (4K)
60 Hz (OLED)
GraphicsNVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q (8GB)
NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q (8GB)
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q (8GB)
PortsThree USB-A 3.1
Mini DisplayPort
HDMI 2.0
RJ45 Ethernet
Thunderbolt 3
3.5 mm headset jack
Three USB-A 3.1
Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 2.0
Mini DisplayPort
3.5 mm audio
Alienware Graphics Amp
Battery57 Wh60 Wh, 90 Wh
WeightFrom 5.1 pounds (2.2 kg)From 4.78 pounds (2.16 kg)
Dimensions14.2 inches x 10.5 inches x 0.88 inches
(361.42 mm x 267 mm x 22.45 mm)
14.3 inches x 10.8 inches x 0.83 inches
(363 mm x 275 mm x 21 mm)

Different design, same result

Lenovo's Legion Y740 continues with the modern, refined design that was introduced last year. It's relatively thin at 0.88 inches, it has a dual-hinge system for the display, and it has a ledge along the back where exhaust vents and the majority of ports are housed. Its footprint is marginally less than the Alienware m15, but it does have a higher starting weight. The chassis is primarily made from aluminum with a plastic rear portion for intake, exhaust, and ports, and it's available only in a silver finish.

The Alienware m15 has a bit more flash thanks to a different design than the Y740 15. It can be had in red and silver finishes depending on the configuration you choose, and it sticks with a single wide hinge for the display. It's slightly thinner than the Y740 15, but its overall design with peaked lid and thick bezel makes it seem a bit chunkier and a bit more aggressive. It's undoubtedly a beautiful laptop, and if you want Alienware, it's the thinnest you're going to find.

Both laptops have essentially the same varied port selection that makes it easy to connect multiple external accessories, though Lenovo positions more at the rear of the laptop. Everything except Thunderbolt 3 and a USB-A 3.1 are out of the way and out of sight when gaming, whereas the Alienware m15 keeps three USB-A along with Ethernet along the sides. The m15 does add an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port for use with its external GPU (eGPU) system in the event that you need a whole lot more power than can be configured at checkout.

Both laptops have comfortable, non-mechanical keyboards with customizable RGB lighting. The m15 has a power button and Alienware logo on the lid that can be customized, but the Legion Y740 15 brings customizable side exhaust and lid logo lighting for some extra style points. Alienware made great use of space and managed to fit a full number pad in with the keyboard, along with four macro keys along the top. The Y740 doesn't have a number pad, but it does have a column of extra keys along the left side for macros and control suite shortcuts.

Dell makes superb touchpads, and the Alienware m15 benefits. There aren't any physical buttons, but you shouldn't mind if you don't have an external gaming mouse connected for everyday tasks. The Legion Y740 is also using a Precision touchpad, but it has additional physical buttons below. The issue here is that the buttons are often finicky, making you hit exactly in the middle to get a response. When it comes to the built-in pointer, the Alienware m15 easily wins.

In either case, you're going to get a slick gaming laptop with tons of style. The Legion Y740 is just a bit more refined and mature, while the Alienware m15 has a couple of finish options and has that aggressive look that I know many of you love.

Displays ideal for gaming

The Legion Y740 15 comes with just one 15.6-inch display option. It's set at 1080p, it has a 144 Hz refresh rate, and it's compatible with NVIDIA G-Sync tech for reduced screen tearing and overall smoother visuals. Testing color reproduction, the display hit 98 percent sRGB, which is also what the Alienware m15 manages to reproduce. While it would be nice to have as many options available from Lenovo as from Alienware, the Y740 does have a far thinner bezel, contributing to the overall premium feel.

The Alienware m15 holds onto a bezel that is quite thick, emphasized by the angled lid. The bezel is also glossy, and if you're gaming with external light behind you, it's going to reflect back while you're looking at the screen. The 15.6-inch m15 can be had with a 1080p IPS panel with a 60 Hz, 144 Hz, or 240 Hz refresh rate, as well as 4K IPS or OLED options with 60 Hz refresh rates. Considering the m15 is available with up to a powerful NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, those 4K options are certainly nice to have. The only downside here is that the m15 displays don't support NVIDIA G-Sync.

If you're satisfied sticking with 1080p — which is recommended with anything other than the RTX 2080 GPU — Lenovo's display will get the job done with the added benefit of G-Sync, but if you want to step up to a higher refresh rate or you want a higher resolution, you'll have to go with the Alienware m15.

Performance and price

Alienware absolutely crushes the Legion Y740 15 when it comes to customization options. If you love the design but you want to save some money, you can still get a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with Core i7-8750H processor (CPU) for about $1,274, putting it at a way lower starting price than Lenovo's laptop. Thanks to myriad display options, RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 GPU options, space for two 1TB PCIe M.2 solid-state drives (SSD), and different color options, you're going to be able to easily get the exact laptop you want from Alienware.

While the Legion Y740 doesn't have as many customization options and starts at a higher price of about $1,580, you'll actually save money when comparing two laptops with similar specs. A Y740 with Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD), a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD, and a NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU costs about $1,820. An Alienware m15 with nearly identical specs costs closer to $2,362. That's more than a $500 difference, and you'll be getting same overall performance when gaming.

The Alienware m15 is available with up to an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU while the Y740 tops out at an RTX 2070 Max-Q, and you can also add up to an Intel Core i9-8950HK overclockable CPU to the m15. I'm not sure how well cooling works with all this hardware, but considering there's relatively loud fan noise from m15s with lesser hardware, it might not be worth the whopping $4,214 price tag. On the other hand, the Legion Y740 with RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU is one of the quietest laptops we've reviewed, remaining cool under load with no signs of throttling.

Battery life is a big selling point, especially on gaming laptops, and between the m15 and Y740 there's no contest. There are actually two options to choose from with the m15, and even with the smaller 60 Wh battery, you'll get far better battery life than with the Y740. In our testing, we got only about two hours of regular usage from the Y740's 57 Wh battery, and about an hour when gaming.

Bottom line here is that the Alienware m15 is available with far more hardware options and has better battery life, but you're going to pay considerably more than for a Legion Y740 with similar specs.

Lenovo's Legion Y740 15 is more affordable

You might not get nearly as many configuration options or matching battery life, but the Legion Y740 15 still delivers excellent performance and quiet fans in a mature chassis. It's also quite a bit cheaper than the Alienware m15, which should sway a lot of people before getting any further into the similarities and differences.

Stick with Alienware for far more configuration options

Not only do you get superior battery life in the Alienware m15, you can also extensively customize your laptop before checking out. FHD and 4K displays are available, there's an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU option, and you can double up on M.2 PCIe SSDs for insane storage capabilities. You will, however, generally pay quite a bit more.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond.