The Legion series is Lenovo’s lineup of gaming notebooks, and the Y740 is their highest-tier offer as of the first part of 2019.
Unlike other manufacturers, Lenovo doesn’t focus on making the best gaming ultraportable on the market, but rather at making the best value gaming machine in a fairly-portable envelope.
That’s why the Legion Y740 is not as small or as light as some of the other options, and doesn’t get all the latest features and quirks. It does, however, bundle a smartly crafted chassis, modern hardware, a thermal implementation that can squeeze excellent performance out of that hardware, a good set of ports and a high-refresh rate IPS screen, all these in a package that outprices the vast majority of the competition. On the other hand, it does come short in the keyboard and battery-life departments.
We’ve spent the last week with a retail version of the 15-inch Lenovo Legion Y741-15ICH, in the most popular configuration, with the Core i7 processor and RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics, and gathered all our impressions in the review below, with the strong points and the few annoying quirks that can actually ruin this for some of you.
Make sure to go through all our findings before vouching for this Legion with your wallet.
Specs as reviewed
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICH
Screen 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, anti-glare
Processor Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-8750H CPU
Video Intel HD 630 + Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB (80W) – GeForce 430.39 drivers
Memory 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz (2x DIMMs, up to 64 GB)
Storage 256 GB SSD (Sk Hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG – M.2 NVMe 80 mm) + 2 TB 5400 HDD (Seagate ST2000LM007 – 2.5″ 7 mm bay)
Connectivity Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111), Wireless AC (Killer 1550i, 2×2), Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 2x USB 3.1 gen 1, 1x USB 3.1 gen 2, 1x USB-C 3.1 with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.4, mic/earphone, LAN, Lock
Battery 57 Wh, 230 W charger
Size 362 mm or 14.2” (w) x 267 mm or 10.5” (d) x 22.5 mm or 0.88” (h)
Weight 4.96 lbs (2.25 kg) + 1.98 lbs (.9 kg) charger and cables, US version
Extras RGB backlit keyboard, 2x 2W bottom-placed speakers, webcam
Design and construction
Aesthetically, the Legion Y740 is one of the simplest and most concealed gaming laptops on the market. Lenovo went with a simple dark-gray/black theme, with some subtle black branding elements and very little bling, and that makes this laptop an option that would be accepted in strict work and office environments, where many other performance devices with flashier designs might now.
This does get RGB lighting, with a small light integrated within the LEGION branding on the lid-cover and some light bars in the cooling elements, on the sides and on the back. However, all of these RGB elements can be independently controlled (and deactivated if so desired) in the included Corsair iCUE software, which also controls the keyboard’s backlighting and the LED within the power-button. This implementation gives the Y740 the kind of flexibility very few other gaming laptops benefit from, allowing it to satisfy both gamers and professional users.
The Legion Y740 is also a well-built computer. Metal is used for the screen’s frame, the interior and most of the edges and underbelly, complemented by a piece of high-quality smooth black plastic around the thermal solution. That’s actually very smart, as plastic normally heats-up slower than aluminum. Back to the metal pieces, Lenovo didn’t skimp on their quality and went with solid pieces of aluminum, and as a result, there’s little flex in both the main-deck and in the screen.
The hinges, on the other hand, these are rather weak. They allow to easily lift up the screen and adjust its angle with a single hand, but they can’t actually keep it in place when moving the laptop around, so some firmer ones would have been appreciated. As a side note, these hinges do allow the screen to flip back flat to 180 degrees, something very few other gaming laptops offer these days. That won’t matter much when using the computer on a desk, but sure makes the device more versatile when having it on the lap or leaned on the thighs.
Practicality is otherwise pretty good. The gray coating does a good job at hiding smudges, large rubber feet keep this well anchored on a flat surface, the ports are lined on the sides and on the back, keeping potential cables out of the way, the speakers fire though grills on the sides, and ample attention has been given to the air intake and output grills, with a large mesh on the belly, at the top of the components and fans, and extra grills on the sides and back.
As a side note, I like how part of the perforated grill on the belly is covered with some sort of material that prevents dust from getting inside, while only the parts on top of the fans are open, to allow proper airflow.
The nitpicker in me cannot go past that rather sharp front lip and pointy corners, which can dig into your wrists in certain conditions, as well as the sharp joints between the sides and the bottom panel, which you’ll feel when grabbing the laptop in hands. In all fairness, though, the front lip is not as much of a concern as on other designs, as it is slightly blunted and the arm-rest is spacious enough so the wrists won’t normally come in touch with the lip while having the notebook on a desk.
This computer loses some points in the portability department, as it’s larger, thicker and heavier than most other thin-and-light laptops out there. It gets small bezels around the screen, but also a fairly considerable chin at the bottom and an extra hump behind the screen, which accommodates part of the cooling and most of the IO. This still weighs under 5 lbs and gets a 360 x 270 mm footprint, but for comparison, other devices weigh close to 4 lbs and are both shorter (around 230-250 mm) and a few mm thinner.
We should also add that Lenovo pairs the RTX 2070 version of the Legion Y740 with a massive power brick that weighs an extra 2 lbs, which adds up to the laptop’s weight when lugging it around.
The Y740 also gets excellent IO, with 3x USB-A slots, HDMI and miniDP for video output, LAN and a USB-C port with PCIe x4 Thunderbolt 3 support. It’s a pity there’s no SD-card reader, though, as that would have been useful on such a laptop that should appeal to professional users more than other devices with similar traits and hardware specs.
All in all, The Legion Y740 is one of the better-balanced performance laptops out there. It’s not as compact or as light as the
MSI GS65 Stealth or the Razer Blade 15, and doesn’t feel as premium as the Blade or the Asus ROG Zephyrus models, but it somewhat compensates with good ergonomics, sturdy build quality, a versatile design, and a significantly lower price-tag, as you’ll see once we get to that section.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is by far my most important nit with the Legion Y740, and for two main reasons.
Number one, the layout is unusual. By including a set of Macro keys at the left side of the main set of keys, I had to completely change my typing habits in order to get used to it.
That meant I had to completely shift my hands to the right by a little bit, and make a mental note that Ctrl, Shift, and Escape are not where I’d expect them to be, but actually one column to the right. I’d reckon you would get used to this layout over time, but I constantly launched the Lenovo Vantage app when looking for Esc or messed with the keyboard’s lighting while looking for Shift and Ctrl during my time with this Legion, and that’s really annoying for a touch typist.
The rest of the layout is great, though, with proper sized and spaced keys, as well as the arrow-keys being moved away from the main block and easy to find without looking. You’re not getting a NumPad section with this laptop, and some of you might miss it, but that’s not something that bothers me.
My second nit is with the typing experience. This is a low-travel keyboard with very sensitive and mushy keys. Normally, I like short keyboards, but I really struggled with this one. It’s quiet and very fast, but my accuracy was dreadful, at only 80-84% during my tests, down from my regular 95+, and it didn’t improve after typing several words on it. Normally I type in these reviews on each laptop, but I gave up here half-way, as I just couldn’t get used to this feedback.
I noticed other people are complaining about the typing experience as well, so I would advise you to further look into this matter and perhaps give the laptop a try in a physical store if possible, or at the very least buy from a place that allows returns, in case you end up not liking this keyboard. In all fairness, you should keep in mind that I type for a living, so my demands and expectations are higher than the average user’s.
Too bad about the feedback, because this keyboard is otherwise very fast and quieter than most other implementations, and includes one of the best and most customizable illumination systems on the market.
Per-key RGB control is offered here, with bright LEDs beneath each key, a Caps-Lock indicator, three levels of brightness intensity and no light creep from beneath the keycaps. The included Corsair iCUE software allows to customize these LEDs, with various effects and in-depth control over the entire keyboard deck or over individual keys, as well as customize the RGB LEDs in the power-button, Legion logo on the lid-cover, and the light bars within the cooling system.
Moving one to the clickpad, it’s a plastic surface with Elan hardware and Precision drivers.
It works alright and provides a consistent experience, but it’s not as smooth as glass surfaces and it’s also rather small, especially since this is not a click-pad and a significant part is occupied by the dedicated click-buttons. Don’t get me wrong, I like these smooth and quiet buttons, but Lenovo should have either made the entire thing bigger, as there’s plenty of space around for a bigger implementation, or perhaps should have used a clickpad instead, which would have ensured a larger tracking surface.
I’ll also add that the Legion Y740 lacks any sort of biometrics, so no finger sensor or IR cameras.
The Legion Y740 gets a 15.6-inch IPS screen with FHD resolution and a non-glare coating. Lenovo went with the LG Philips LP156WFG-SPB2 panel,
one of the 144 Hz options available on the market, also used in mid-tier gaming laptops like the Aorus 15 or the Legion Y530, and support for GSync is included.
Unlike the AU Optronics 144Hz FHD panel alternatives, this one from LG gets a higher black level and thus lower contrast of around 600:1. That aside, this is a good panel: at 300+ nits, it’s bright enough for comfortable use in a gaming laptop that will spend most of its time indoors, offers good viewing angles and color reproduction, with 75% coverage of AdobeRGB.
Here’s what we got on our unit, measured with a Spyder4 sensor:
Panel HardwareID: LG Philips LGD05CF (LP156WFG-SPB2);
Coverage: 97% sRGB, 70% NTSC, 75% AdobeRGB;
Measured gamma: 2.0;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 310 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 620:1;
White point: 6800 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.50 cd/m2;
Average DeltaE: 1.25 uncalibrated, 0.99 calibrated;
Response time: ~13 ms BTW.
The panel is fairly well calibrated out of the box, but you can further correct the gamma and gray-level imbalances
with this calibrated profile.
Our sample also got a fairly uniform panel, without major color and illumination variations, and without light bleeding. You might not be as lucky, so make sure to check for light bleeding on your unit.
I will also add that the Legion Y740 gets a rather reflective anti-glare coating. As a result, using this in very bright environments is not as pleasant as with standard matte screens, but at the same time, the image is smoother, without the graininess one could expect from regular matte finishes (like on the XPS or Thinkpads).
All these aside, I also noticed that the panel gets a very abrupt brightness curve, which means it’s dim under 50% brightness, only gets to around 120 nits at 60+% brightness, and then ramps up exponentially from there, up to 300+ nits at max. That means you’ll probably have to keep this panel at 50-80% brightness most of the time, which is higher than with other laptops. It’s not going to have any impact on your everyday experience, the screen’s lifetime or battery life, though.
Hardware, performance and upgrade options
Out test versions is a higher specced configuration of the Lenovo Legion Y740 15ICH, with the Core i7-8750H Coffee Lake processor, 16 GB of dual-channel 2666 MHz RAM, dual graphics and dual-storage.
It includes an SK Hynix 256 GB SSD M.2 PCIe SSD, a solid performer when it comes to read-speeds, but not as fast as other options when writing information, as well as a Seagate 2.5″ HDD for mass-storage.
In the graphics department, both the Intel HD 630 integrated GPU and an Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q (80 W) dedicated chip are active here.
However, the Intel GPU is disabled by default, in order to allow for GSync, so you will have to boot in BIOS and opt for the Switchable Graphics mode to actually activate it. In this case, GSync is replaced by Optimus, allowing the Intel GPU to take over with basic tasks and save-up battery, and you’ll want to opt for this mode when using the laptop unplugged, as the small battery inside won’t otherwise offer more than 2 hours of use.
The CPU and GPU are soldered onto the motherboard, but the RAM, storage and the WiFi module are accessible. To get to them you’ll have to remove the back panel, hold in place by a handful of Philips screws. The memory DIMMs are further hidden behind an aluminum shield, which needs to be removed as well to access the two slots. The storage is easily accessible once you removed the back panel, but our sample actually got a warranty sticker on the SSD’s screw, which could suggest that replacing the SSD would void the warranty. I’d expect you won’t get the same sticker in all regions, but versions available here in Europe might have it on.
Inside you’ll also be able to peak at the dual-fan thermal solution, the fairly small 57 Wh battery, and the speakers.
Before we proceed to talk about its behavior and performance, you should know that our review unit is a retail model with mature drivers from Nvidia (version 430.39), so you should expect a pretty much similar experience with the units you can find in stores.
While meant for performance loads, the Legion Y740 laptop can also handle everyday tasks easily, while running cool and quiet, even if the fans never switch off and you’ll hear them in a quiet room.
I would advise switching to the Optimus-enabled mode in BIOS when using it on battery, as explained above. The logs below show details on temperatures, performance and battery drain figures with browsing, Netflix, Youtube, and text-editing.
On to more demanding tasks, we’ll start by testing the CPU’s performance in 100% loads, and we do that by running Cinebench R15 for 10+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run, with the laptop on the Maximum Performance Power profile in Windows and out-of-the-box settings.
Most implementations of the i7-8750H CPU return high-scores for the first Cinebench runs, and then settle a little lower as the CPU heats-up and can no longer maintain its maximum Turbo speeds for more than a few seconds.
This one performed as expected and settled for speeds of 3.5 – 3.6 GHz, a TDP of 60 W and temperatures of around 94-95 degrees Celsius, as well as scores of around 1150 points. Details below.
The CPU runs at high clocks for quite a while, and only dials back towards the second part of each loop, when Thermal Throttling occurs. Overall, this implementation performs better than most other ultraportables in the niche, due to the high 60 W TDP limit and the high-temperature threshold. The CPU does, however, reach uncomfortably high temperatures.
Next, we look into improving this behavior by undervolting the CPU, with either Intel XTU or Throttlestop (
explained here). Our sample ended up being stable at -180 mV in real use, but not in some benchmarks, so we eventually dialed back to -150 mV for the reminding of our tests.
In this case, the CPU settled for scores of 1200+ points, constant Turbo Boost speeds of 3.9 GHz, a TDP of 60 W and temperatures of 88-90 degrees Celsius. Details below.
In other words, the Legion Y740 delivers pretty much the maximum performance the i7-8750H is capable of, once undervolted, and the CPU runs cooler than with the stock settings.
Due to the limited time with this sample, we did not run the Cinebench loop-test on battery, so we can’t comment on this matter.
Next, we’ve included a set of benchmarks, for those of you interested in numbers. We ran some of them on the Standard profile first, with out-of-the-box settings and Maximum Performance mode in Windows. Here’s what we got.
3DMark 11: 17338 (Graphics – 20761, Physics – 11633);
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 13865 (Graphics – 15355, Physics – 14819);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 6390 (Graphics – 6443, CPU – 6106);
GeekBench 4.1.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 5053, Multi-core: 22190;
CineBench R15 (best run): OpenGL 103.66 fps, CPU 1179 cb, CPU Single Core 165 cb;
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 202.23 fps, Pass 2 – 71.87 fps.
We also ran a few more tests on the -150 mV undervolted CPU profile.
3DMark 11: 17628 (Graphics – 20793, Physics – 12459);
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 14167 (Graphics – 15506, Physics – 16674);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 6378 (Graphics – 6304, CPU – 6835);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 3406;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 3771;
PCMark 10: 5820;
GeekBench 3.4.2 32-bit: Single-Core: 4057 Multi-core: 21856;
GeekBench 4 64-bit: Single-Core: 5061, Multi-core: 22578;
CineBench R15 (best run): OpenGL 101.23 fps, CPU 1243 cb, CPU Single Core 168 cb;
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 206.23 fps, Pass 2 – 77.34 fps.
We didn’t stop here, though, so we looked into squeezing further performance out of the GPU, in what we’ll further call the Tweaked profile. In this case, the CPU remains at -150 mV, but we were able to stably overclock the GPU (with Asus GPU TWeak or MSI Afterburner) at +200 MHz Core and +400 MHz Memory.
Keep in mind that not all units are going to run stably at these settings, and there’s a fair probability you might have to dial back on the Core overclock in some titles, of you run into crashes, BSODs or other errors. Our sample ran stable at +200 MHz Core in all tests and games, though, and here’s what we got:
3DMark 11: 18304 (Graphics – 22603, Physics – 11857);
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 15629 (Graphics – 17496, Physics – 16302);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 6882 (Graphics – 6960, CPU – 6475);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 3764;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4165;
PCMark 10: 5406;
Overall, the Tweaked profile leads to some CPU performance gains in the more demanding tests that would normally cause the CPU to clock down on the default profile, as well as significant gains in GPU tests, due to the +200 MHz Clock increase, which is a significant 20+% increase on a chip designed to run at 885 MHz by default. Of course, the gains are only within 7 to 12%, as the GPU runs at Turbo Clock speeds in all tests and games, and the overclocking’s impact is smaller. We’ll get to that in a second.
It’s also important to add the overclocking the GPU leads to higher CPU temperatures, due to the shared thermal design, which results in lower CPU scores than on the CPU undervolted profile.
Let’s look at some gaming results first. We ran a couple of games representative for DX11, DX12 and Vulkan architectures, both on the Standard and the Tweaked profiles. Here’s what we got:
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF) 88-94 fps
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON, DLSS OFF) 52-62 fps
Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 84 fps
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset) 114 fps
Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA) 58 fps
Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 73 fps
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4) 78-90 fps
Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the in-game benchmarking tools.
The HWinfo logs below show the CPU and GPU speeds in Farcry 5 and Witcher 3 on the Standard profile, with the fans on Auto (they’re pushed to maximum speeds quickly, which translates in noise levels of around 46-47 dB at head level).
And here’s how undervolting the CPU impacts the performance/temperatures in Witcher 3.
And here’s what happens when unplugging the laptop: the GPU still runs well, but the CPU throttles at 800 GHz, which bottlenecks the performance in most games.
Lastly, this picture shows what happens on the Tweaked profile, with the undervolted CPU, overclocked GPU, and the fans still on Auto.
If you don’t want to dig through the logs, this is what we got in Witcher 3:
Standard profile (default CPU/ GPU settings): CPU: ~3.76 GHz, 92 C; GPU: ~1.32 GHz, 75 C;
Standard profile (-150 mV undervolted CPU, default GPU): CPU: ~3.9 GHz, 81 C; GPU: ~1.3 GHz, 72 C;
Tweaked profile (-150 mV undervolted CPU, +200 MHz Clock GPU / +400 MHz Memory GPU): CPU: ~3.8 GHz, 92 C; GPU: ~1.46 GHz, 74 C.
Overall, tweaking this laptop allows for two things:
undervolting the CPU leads to a decrease in CPU and GPU temperatures, as well as gains in CPU related tasks.
further overclocking the GPU pushes temperatures back up to 90+ C on the CPU side, but translates in an extra 7-12% performance gains in GPU related loads and games.
Bottom point, when overclocked, the 80W RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU inside this laptop comes close to the full-power 115W RTX 2070 implemented in other 15-inch laptops (like the MSI GE63 and
GE65 Raider or Asus SCAR GL504 and Scar III G531), and within 10-20% of the 80W RTX 2080 Max-Q implementations. Of course, the performance of these chips varies between different units.
In the end, the RTX 2070 Max-Q variant of the Legion Y740 is an excellent performer, once tweaked. The CPU inside does run hotter than on most other gaming laptops, which can raise concerns over reliability during the laptop’s lifetime.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
The Legion Y740 gets a surprisingly competent thermal implementation, unexpected when looking at its simple design, with two fans and only three heatpipes that cover both the CPU and GPU.
These are helped by a large intake-mesh at the bottom, extra intakes on the sides, and appropriately sized exhausts on the back, as well as by the choice in materials, Lenovo opting for plastic for the case elements around the back.
As a result, the cooling solution does a good job at keeping the exterior cool, even if the CPU averages high temperatures, as explained in the previous section. The keyboard deck only reaches temperatures in the low-40s with gaming, while the bottom hits mid-40s, and the fans are only moderately noisy, peaking at around 46-47 dB at head-level at their maximum speeds.
Fan control could be better though, as there are no ways to create a custom fan-curve or control their speed from the Lenovo Vantage app, so the only options are to keep them on Auto (which does a good job) or on Max (by hitting (Fn+Q).
The fans keep spinning with standard daily use (movies, browsing, text editing), but have a neutral pitch and are pretty much inaudible in a normal environment. You will hear them in a quiet place, though, as well as with more intense multitasking, while having the laptop plugged in and on the Performance power modes.
It’s worth adding that coil whine has been reported on Legion laptops in the past, and that’s a random potential quirk. We haven’t noticed any on our review unit, but that’s not a guarantee you won’t get some with yours, so make sure to look for it once you receive the laptop.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix on EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes
For connectivity, there’s a Killer 1550i implementation of the Intel 9560 wireless module inside this laptop, with Bluetooth 5.0, as well as Gigabit Lan through a Realtek RTL8168/8111 module. While Killer chips have had drivers issues in the past, this one performed well with our setup, both near the router and at 30 feet with obstacles in between. Other Intel 9560 implementations were able to reach higher speeds in our test scenarios, though, as the Y740 came short by about 100 Mbps.
As far as the speakers go, there’s a set of them firing through cuts on the lateral sides of the underbelly, and they’re alright. Out of the box, we measured maximum volumes of about 75-77 dB at head-level, without any distortions. That’s with the Dolby Settings activated in the Lenovo Vantage app, and on the Music profile. Switching Dolby Off actually allows the speakers to peak louder, at 80-82 dB at head-level, but makes the sound harsher, that’s why I opted to keep it on Dolby ON, Music, all the time.
The sound comes out pretty good on these settings, with proper mids and highs, but the lows lack a fair bit, with bass only being noticeable from around 105 Hz.
The Legion Y740 only gets a 720p nose-cam, placed beneath the screen and flanked by microphones. As a result, the image clips your head from a normal screen angle, and the mics pick up typing noise quite easily. Corroborate these with the rather mediocre image quality, and you end up with something you’ll probably never use, unless you really have to.
There’s only a 57 Wh battery inside the 15-inch legion Y740, which is smaller than on any of the competitors.
Paired with the 144 Hz screen and powerful hardware, that translates in short battery life, even when opting for the Switchable Graphics mode in BIOS, which disables GSync and allows the Intel HD 630 chip to take over with everyday activities.
Here’s what we got on our review unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness).
13.2 W (~4 h 15 min of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
14 W (~4+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
12.5 W (~4 h 30 min of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
21 W (~3 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
55 W (~1 h min of use) – Gaming – Shadow of Mordor, Max Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON, fps limit of 40.
Expect these to be cut in half if you keep GSync ON while running on battery.
Lenovo bundles the Y740 with a 230W power-brick, adequately sized for the hardware inside. It charges the battery quickly, in less than 90 minutes, but it’s also significantly bigger and heavier than the 230W bricks you’ll find with other thin-and-light ultraportables, and that’s something you have to consider if you plan to lug around the laptop to school or work every day.
On top of that, while the laptop does get a Thunderbolt 3 port, it cannot charge via USB-C as far as I know, so you don’t have the option to leave the hefty included charger at home and use a smaller USB-C charger while on the go.
Price and availability
The Lenovo Legion Y740 is available in stores all around the world at the time of this post. In fact, it’s been available for a while, so by now, you’ll find the various configurations discounted in most areas.
The 15-inch RTX 2070 Max-Q variants sell for as low as $1600 in the US, in the exact configuration reviewed here, which is
less than most other OEMs ask for RTX 2060 models, if we look aside from the available Clevo/Sager barebones you can get from various stores.
A 17-inch Legion Y740-17ICH model is also available, larger and heavier, but with a 76 Wh battery and options for
up to an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, at under $2000.
Overall, while you’ll have to pay more for this laptop in other regions, the aggressive pricing remains one of the major selling points for the entire Legion lineup in most markets.
Follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your area, at the time you’re reading the article.
The Legion Y740 checks a lot of the right boxes, but at the same time, it misses on two of the important ones by quite a margin.
Let’s start with those two: the typing experience and battery life. The keyboard’s quirky layout and unforgiving feedback make it a hard sell for those who need a reliable typer, while the implementation of a 57 Wh battery only allows about 3-4 hours of real-life daily use on a charge, at best.
On top of these, the Legion Y740 was never intended to be as portable as some of the other thin-and-light performance notebooks out there, as it’s a tad larger, thicker and heavier, especially when considering that chunky power brick you have to bring along, that’s why I can see how it can appeal to those who mostly plan to keep their laptop on a desk.
On the other hand, Lenovo made sure this laptop is well built and smartly designed, so it can appeal to both gamers and professional users at the same time, threw in most of the right ports, a pretty good 144 Hz IPS screen with GSync support, powerful hardware and a thermal implementation to match. This allows the laptop to run cooly and quietly with daily use, and then does a good job and squeezing excellent performance out of the CPU and GPU, while running fairly quiet and keeping the outer shell cool.
Of course, the rather simple cooling has its limitations, and the main one is the fact that the CPU runs at high temperatures in demanding loads and in games, something you’ll just have to accept here, despite the potential long-term concerns. Undervolting helps, as shown above.
And then there’s the price. To put it simply, there’s no other laptop that can offer the hardware, features, and build quality of this Legion that you can find for less, of course, with the exception of occasional discounts. The HP Omen 15 and
Asus ROG Scar GL504 series are the closest competitors in most regions, with their own strong points and their quirks, as well as the Acer Triton 500, as one of the more affordable thin-and-lights on the market.
We’re not even going to mention ultraportables like the
Razer Blade, Asus ROG Zephyrus, MSI GS65 Stealth or the Gigabyte Aero lines here, as those are significantly more expensive, but I’d also add that they are overall better-balanced devices, when accounting for all the important traits of modern performance ultraportables.
That wraps up this review of the Lenovo Legion Y740, but I’d love to hear what you think about it, so make sure to get in touch if you have anything to add or any questions that I might be able to answer to.
Andrei Girbea Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief
. I've a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering and I've been covering mobile technology since the 2000s. You'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site, as well as some occasional first-impression articles.
April 26, 2019 at 1:05 pm
Lots of good reviews on this site! Like that you give us good info on thermals, powerlimits, undervolting etc. One thing I wonder about is GPU-undervolt. Using afterburner can provide some nice gains. Instead of doing regular OC, try modifying curve. On the RTX-series a flatline in the area of 1400-1600MHz can provide lower consumption\temps and in some cases improve performance. Using curve-modifiers and for instance forcing max voltage to be 800mv at 1600-1800 or similar can give improved performance at similar temps\consumption compared with stock settings :) Overclocking works fine, but it tends to raise voltage quite a bit which in turn ends with powerlimits og thermal limit.
April 30, 2019 at 10:34 am
thanks for the suggestion, I haven't looked into GPU undervolting, but I will with the future samples
May 5, 2019 at 5:06 pm
Great review, as always!
Quick question. Are you planning on reviewing the new Yoga S940? If you are, when can we expect to read it? : )
May 6, 2019 at 9:29 am
Hopefully, yes, but I don't have a clear timeframe for when that might happen.
May 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm
Thanks for the prompt reply! I am particularly curious about the keyboard. Would really love to know how it feels like in comparison with the latest X1 Carbon.
May 6, 2019 at 4:22 pm
OK. I haven't touched it yet, so cannot comment on it
June 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm
Im a gaming laptop junky I have the Alienware 17r5 with gtx 1080, Acer Helios 500 gtx 1070 and the Lenovo y740 with RTX Maz Q and I can tell you the the Y740 is better in my expewrience. Bettwer thermals, better RGB keyboard, better display it was $2,025.00 I just got the y740 with 2080 max q you cant BEAT THAT!
June 10, 2019 at 12:01 pm
Thanks for the feedback, this Y740 does offer great value for what it costs, too bad for the small battery.
June 9, 2019 at 6:23 pm
last post should say RTX 2080 MAX Q for the Y740
Piet De Booser
June 11, 2019 at 5:35 pm
I bought such a Y740 and at first it did not ran longer than one hour (normal use, no games), they replaced the battery and now I get 2 hours.
Unfortunately when I switch to switchable graphice I cannot see any differences , runtime does not get longer. Is there anything else yuo need to set when making the switch to switchanble graphics?
June 11, 2019 at 7:35 pm
Update to the latest drivers and then check if the Nvidia GPU is deactivated with daily use, that's possible from the Control Panel. HWinfo >> Sensor can also help further look at what's eating through the battery, you'll find some logs with daily use from our review unit, try to compare those with what you get on your version.
Piet De Booser
June 12, 2019 at 10:22 am
I know where to chek for drivers.
What I do not know is how to control if the Nvisia GPU is deactivated from daily use and how to check HWInfo >> Sensor.
Can you help me out?
Piet De Booser
June 12, 2019 at 4:03 pm
The only thing I can see is in device manager in the windows control panel and over there the Nvidia is still enabled.
Or should I look somewhere else, in another control panel, another item in the control panel?
I found out HWinfo is a free application. In those logs I can find info about the Nvidia GPU biut not about the builtin Intel GPU.
What should I compare in the logs to see what's eating through my battery.
Is there a tool to look at background apps running or should I find rhe info in the HWInfo logs.
Battery lifetime is better with discrete graphics in the bios versus switchable graphics.
I did not change anything in running apps between those two tests.
June 12, 2019 at 4:41 pm
HWinfo can help you monitor Power drain. Launch in Sensor mode and scroll down to Battery, right click on Charge rate >> Show graph and monitor things as you launch various apps. At idle it should read about 12-14 W, the other normal readings are in the battery section of the article.
June 12, 2019 at 4:38 pm
right click on desktop >> Nvidia Control panel >> Desktop in the menu at the top >> Check Display GPU Activity icon. Will introduce a tray icon that will let you know when the dGPU is active and what's keeping it active.
Piet De Booser
June 12, 2019 at 7:17 pm
Well I got 'No applications running on this GPU' so that's ok but the Battery charge Rate is between 15 and 32X W.
So I guess I need to figure out which apps, background apps and services are eating my battery?
June 12, 2019 at 8:56 pm
Yes, you should look at what's running when the Discharge Rate is at 15W, what happens when it's at 30, etc. As a tip, Chrome is a power hog, you can try using a different browser and see if that makes a difference. You should also play with the available power modes, ideally, the CPU should be able to clock down to 800 MHz with very low use, and only spike up for short periods with intensive tasks. The Browsing HWinfo log in the article will show you what to expect.
December 26, 2019 at 11:10 pm
in your test u get 300 nits but its shoud be around 500 version???
February 6, 2020 at 6:03 pm
A bit late to the party, but I'll leave this for the author of this article and for whoever reads this: The Y740 results that the article posted correspond to an 80W RTX 2070 Max-Q. Here's the kicker, which makes this laptop EVEN BETTER: In Lenovo Vantage, the driver/performance suite responsible for handling the laptop's resources, you can switch from Balanced mode (the default) into a Performance Mode, which ups the RTX Max-Q to 90W, which brings it even closer to a full blown laptop 2070. Expect even better benchmark results than shown here!
February 6, 2020 at 8:55 pm
Thanks. A full-blow 2070 is 115W, but it's good to know that the Performance Mode ramps up the power.
January 18, 2021 at 1:37 am
You should have gotten the 17 inch model of this Legion Y740. It's better than the 15 inch.