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2019 Lenovo Legion Y740 and Y540 gaming laptops – RTX graphics, G-Sync and improved cooling

By Andrei Girbea , last updated on January 8, 2019

Lenovo are fairly new at making gaming laptops, but their Legion lines have been some of the best-buy products in their categories in the last two years, with the Y720/Y520 and then the Y530/Y730 models.

Despite that, Lenovo are not resting on their laurels and 2019 is going to bring updated versions of both generations, with first a Legion Y740 scheduled for February, and later on an updated Y540 around May.

Both are built on the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware platforms, which means of course they get RTX graphics, but also newer screen options and improved cooling, on top of the already existing solid base provided by the Y530/Y730 lines.

This article tells you what to expect from the Y740/Y540 updates, what’s changed from the previous versions and also touches on those potential hidden quirks you should be aware of when shopping for one of these.

But first, here’s a quick specs sheet of the Y740 models, available with either a 15 or a 17-inch screen.

Lenovo Legion Y740 15Lenovo Legion Y740 17
Screen15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px 144 Hz with G-Sync, IPS, non-touch, matte, 300 nits
optional FHD display with Dolby Vision HDR and 500 nits brightness
17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px 144 Hz with G-Sync, IPS, non-touch, matte, 300 nits
optional FHD display with Dolby Vision HDR and 500 nits brightness
Processorup to Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-8750H CPU
Vide0Nvidia RTX 2060 or RTX 2070 Max-QNvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q or RTX 2080 Max-Q
Memoryup to 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz (2x DIMMs), or 2x 8 GB 3200 MHz Corsair overclocked memory
Storage2.5″ bay + M.2 NVMe slot
ConnectivityGigabit LAN, Wireless AC (Intel AC 9560) , Bluetooth 5.0
Ports3 x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, miniDP 1.4, LAN, mic/headphone, Kensington Lock
Battery57 Wh76 Wh
Size362 mm or 14.25” (w) x 267 mm or 10.51” (d) x 19.9 mm or 0.8” (h)413 mm or 16.25” (w) x 305 mm or 12” (d) x 21.9 mm or 0.86” (h)
Weight4.8 lbs (2.2 kg)6.3 lbs (2.9 kg)
ExtrasCorsair RGB backlit keyboard, webcam, subwoofer on the 17-inch unit

On the outside the Legion Y740s are identical to the previous Y730 lines, which means they’re made out of metal and get a simple, sober design, that doesn’t scream GAMING like many other recent gaming notebooks. That makes them fairly versatile and suitable for both work and fun. As a side note, Lenovo have reinforced the weak hinges of the previous generation, so they should do a better job at keeping the screen as set-up.

You can still pump-in some RGB lightning if you absolutely have to, but the lights are hidden inside the side/back vents and can be switched off. The keyboard, designed in collaboration with Corsair, is RGB backlit as well on this line.

You’ll find plenty about the build, design, IO and typing experience in the already available reviews of the Y730 model with whom the Y740 shares these traits, before the 2019 actually becomes available, so you’ll know what to expect.

The novelties are hidden beneath the shell, where the Y740 gets Nvidia RTX graphics this time around and supposedly improved cooling, which should be much welcomed, given how the Y730 and Y530 models ran quite hot with games and other taxing loads.

The 15-inch Y740 model can be specked up to an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, while the bigger 17-inch model gets a top-tier RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics chip. The RAM, storage and battery suffered no change from the 2018 versions, which suggests the interior was hardly modified at all and makes me even more curious about the touted 15% better Coldfront cooling system. I sure hope this is not just marketing and actually has a noticeable impact in real use. The specs also mention Corsair DDR4 3200 MHz memory available as an extra option, and I’m curious of its performance impact. We’ll answer all these questions in a future review, so stay tuned for it.

The screen choices are the other major overhaul of the Legion Y740 lines. Both the 15 and 17-inch models get matte FHD IPS 144 HZ panels with 300-nits of brightness as standard, pretty much the norm for a gaming-laptop of this caliber right now. There’s also GSync support though, welcomed on a gaming machine, but at the same time a feature that totally kills battery life on these devices.

Optional 500-nits screens with Dolby Vision HDR are also available on both variants. Lenovo haven’t communicated anything about their refresh-rate or color-accuracy, but I’d expect those to be 60 Hz panels and rather appeal to users looking for an all-round computer with better battery life, although there are probably better balanced devices out there if gaming is not at the top of your list, smaller, lighter, with more capable speakers and more affordable lower-tier graphics.

Cause at the end of the day the Legions are gaming machines, despite the fact that they can act as sleepers during the day, and the Y740 actually improve on these exact lines, with more capable graphics and high-refresh rate GSync screens.

The Legion Y740 will be available in stores from February 2019, with the 15-inch version starting at around $1750 and the 17-inch model at around $2000.

Mid-range Legion Y540 update

If you’re on a more limited budget, but still looking at a gaming laptop with RTX graphics and a 144 Hz GSync screen, the Legion Y540 update might be the one for you. It’s scheduled for later this year though, around May, which suggests it might also be built on Intel’s next 9th-gen mobile hardware platforms, while the Y740 gets Coffee Lake CPUs, at least at launch.

You’re nonetheless going to cut some corners when stepping to this class. Much like the Y740 series, the Y540 shares most traits and characteristics with the 2018 Y530 series, which means it’s entirely made out of plastic, no longer gets RGB lightning or an RGB keyboard, looses the Thunderbolt 3 port and there’s only a 52 Wh battery inside. Check out the specs sheet below.

Lenovo Legion Y540
Screen15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px 144 Hz and GSync (?), IPS, non-touch, matte, 300 nits
optional FHD display with Dolby Vision HDR and 500 nits brightness
Processor9th gen Intel Core platform
VideoNvidia RTX 2060
Memoryup to 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz (2x DIMMs)
Storage2.5″ bay + M.2 NVMe slot
ConnectivityGigabit LAN, Wireless AC (Intel AC 9560) , Bluetooth 5.0
Ports3 x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C gen 2, HDMI 2.0, miniDP 1.4, LAN, mic/headphone, Kensington Lock
Battery51.5 Wh
Size365 mm or 14.37” (w) x 260 mm or 10.24” (d) x 24.2 mm or 0.95” (h)
Weight5.15 lbs (2.35 kg)
Extraswhite backlit keyboard, webcam, plastic build

The reinforced hinges, revamped cooling and the screen options carry over from the Y740 series though, thus the Legion Y540 improves on some important quirks of its predecessor. The devil is in the details though, so we’ll have to wait to get out hands on the final models in order to see how the RTX graphics and new cooling behave inside this newer model.

Nonetheless, I expect the Y540 to be a hit in the second part of the year, given its heritage and Lenovo’s aggressive pricing policies. It’s going to start at under $1000, but it’s months away from launch, so in the meantime you will find better value in some of the other best-buy gaming laptops out there.

Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

2 Comments

  1. Peter

    January 10, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Do we still lose Optimus with GSync enabled laptops, meaning lower battery life since the GPU is always on and it never switches to integrated?

    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 10, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      Optimus should be out with the GSync options.

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