The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
We have looked at a few QHD and UHD gaming notebooks, and more often than not, they have small screens where the resolution makes things slightly more difficult due to icon and application scaling. Even with a decent sized screen, some of these notebooks can't properly play games at 4K (UHD) because the onboard mobile graphics or CPU aren't powerful enough.
Lenovo and other vendors know that the demand for higher resolution displays on the mobile side is more of a vanity play, as bigger is always better, except when you want smooth gameplay on the go. That's the reason notebooks such as the Lenovo Y920 exist. They combine a decent 1080P panel with a strong mobile graphics card, powerful overclocked mobile CPU, and even gaming feature such as a mechanical keyboard.
Let's see what the Y920 has to offer.
The Legion Y920 offers an i7-7820HK overclockable mobile processor, a NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB GPU, 16GB of DDR4, a 512GB Samsung NVMe SSD, a 1TB WD HDD, a 17.3" 1080P IPS 75Hz AntiGlare LED display with GSync technology, Killer wireless LAN, and Killer wired LAN.
The notebook uses a 3.5 hour 6-cell 90Wh batter, and it weighs 10.12lbs/4.4KG (which is a lot). The notebook is 16.75" long, 12.41" wide, and 1.43" thick.
The Legion Y920 starts at $2699.99.
Lenovo's box for the Legion Y720 and Y920 look identical, but the Y920's box is much larger. Packaging is great, and the notebook is well protected from the elements.
There aren't many accessories; you get a 230W AC/DC power supply, AC cable, and some manuals. The power adapter is rated 20V at 11.5A, and features a custom charging plug so you can't replace the AC/DC power supply with a generic one.
The top and bottom of the unit are made up of a thin layer of what appears to be brushed aluminum with a plaid-style pattern. Centered on the lid of the notebook is Lenovo's "Y" in red. The underside of the notebook is where you will find intake vents towards the rear of the notebook and a 3W subwoofer at the bottom center of the notebook. Two wide rubber pads at the back of the unit and two smaller square ones sit at the front to ensure the notebook won't slide around on a glass table.
The front edge of the notebook is bare of everything, while the rear of the notebook features both exhaust vents. The left side of the notebook features the DC power jack, DisplayPort, HDMI, 1Gbit Killer LAN, a ThunderBolt 3 type-C port, and two USB 3.0 ports. The right side of the unit features a reset hole, power light indicator, SD card slot, microphone jack, headphone jack, two USB 3.0 ports, and a Kensington lock port.
The Y920 features a full-sized mechanical QWERTY keyboard with number pad; it's backlit with digital RGB LEDs, so you can individually program each key's color. Two JBL 2W speakers sit under the red mesh venting. Around the touchpad area is a slightly raised rubberized coating, and the touchpad features a lit ring around it. The keys are all mechanical, so you hear an audible click and feel tactile feedback once you hit the key, so you know the key was fully pressed. Mechanical keyboards are great for gaming, but some people dislike the noise they make when typing.
There are RGB LEDs built around the speakers, touchpad, and keyboard. There are multiple lighting modes you can access through Lenovo's custom software application. The RGB LEDs are bright in a dim environment, but not that bright when in direct lighting (sunny day).
Physical Overview Continued
The notebook features a 17.3" 1080P IPS AntiGlare LED display with GSync technology, which means the display's refresh rate can sync with the GPU's frame output for a smooth gaming experience at 75Hz. The GTX 1070 should be able to handle GSync just fine since the display resolution is FHD (1080P) and not something like QHD or UHD (4K). The notebook integrates a 720P HD camera with a dual-array microphone.
You will find two small vents on the underside of the notebook, and they are where the WIFI/BT antennas are located. The motherboard has a convenient Turbo Key, which will overclock the CPU to 4.1GHz on-the-fly, but the feature only works when the notebook is plugged into the wall.
The notebook opens up roughly 120 degrees, with the display connected to the notebook by a single large center hinge.
Opening the notebook up is very simple, you just need to remove the Phillips head screws on the bottom of the notebook, and pull back then up. Two large blower fans exhaust heat from the GPU and CPU. A large heat sink system connects both the CPU and GPU heat plates, and they also cool down the VRMs for the CPU and GPU.
The notebook has two 8GB modules installed already on the other side of the PCB, but you can add in more DDR4 SO-DIMMs with ease. The 90Wh battery is custom designed to fit inside the casing, and you will also notice weights strategically placed around the notebook to help balance it out.
A single Samsung 512BG NVMe SSD can be replaced by another M.2 SSD if you like, but there is almost no reason to do so since it's already extremely fast. A Killer Wireless AC card, the 1535 is accessible, although I also wouldn't replace this either because it's one of the better wireless AC cards on the market.
Lenovo's Nerve Center is the go-to program for controlling Lenovo's unique hardware features, such as the RGB keyboard. You can control the lighting colors per key or in groups of keys. There are also different types of modes you can choose from, such as the wave. The TouchPad and audio area also have lights, and you can change their color.
You can also look at the Turbo Boost menu and control the CPU and GPU speeds in the software application or with the Turbo slider button. The default CPU speed is 3.6GHz while the GPU's speeds are 1.91GHz for the core and VRAM is 4.0GHz. When the system is overclocked, the CPU goes to 4.1GHz, the GPU core goes to 1.96GHz, and the VRAM goes to 4.1GHz.
You can also switch the fan into full speed mode, and you can program a keyboard shortcut to toggle this feature as well. Dolby ATMOS is included and integrated into the notebook.
Killer's Control Center allows you to control the Killer NICs, and you can also use it to scan for available wireless networks and their performance. Network Priority is available through Lenovo's product, but it basically does what Killer's software does.
You can also prevent mistaken input with Lenovo's built-in software application, and you can also enhance the sound.
Another software application, Lenovo's Magic Y Key, allows you to setup keyboard shortcuts and macros. Lenovo's Settings application allows you to control basic notebook functionality.
System Performance Benchmarks
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
These benchmarks are run using default settings and configuration.
AIDA64 AES and HASH
Handbrake 4K and 720P Transcoding
The i7-7700HQ is a very popular mobile CPU, and it runs at 2.8GHz base with a 3.8Ghz boost clock, but there is a higher-end processor, the 7820HK. The Intel i7-7820HK features a 2.9GHz base with a 3.9GHz boost. However, you can overclock it, or rather, the vendor can set up the overclock. We see that CPU performance is slightly better at stock, as the overclock wasn't applied during these tests.
With the overclock applied, performance will jump up a bit, but the system will run with louder fans since temperatures will increase. There are some benchmarks where the stock 7820HK doesn't beat out the 7700HQ in another brands' system, and that could be anything from power tuning to cooling capability.
Gaming Performance Benchmarks
UNIGINE Heaven 4.0
Ashes of Singularity
The gaming performance with the GTX 1070 and the 7820HK is excellent, and it actually beats out the 7700HQ and GTX 1070 combo with ease in everything but 3DMark Cloud Gate GPU test (overall still goes to the 7820HK system). The 1080P gaming performance of the Legion Y920 is hands down excellent.
System IO and Battery Performance
System IO Benchmarks
Internal Storage Read Test:
Internal Storage Write Test:
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The Samsung NVMe SSD used in the Y920 is a mobile version of the Samsung 960 series of drives. That's obvious by the sequential read and write speeds, which top the charts. The Western Digital SATA HDD is pretty much average, but that's how most hard drives perform. Killer networking performance is decent and competes very well with Intel in both the wired and wireless LAN.
The battery performance is decent. Lenovo states the battery can last 3.5 hours, and I assume that means 3.5 hours while gaming, which actually makes a lot of sense looking at how the battery benchmarks work.
The front of the notebook doesn't get too hot when under full load, but the keyboard can feel a bit warm after an hour of hardcore gaming, which is to be expected. These thermal images were taken after an hour of AIDA64 synthetic load on the CPU, GPU, storage, and CPU FPU.
The bottom of the unit features multiple air intake vents, the two vents located over the blower fan intakes go cold when the system is under more stress, and the rear exhaust vents output a decent amount of heat. Surprisingly enough, the notebook never got that loud when under full synthetic load. It was really hard to get the fans to become extremely loud unless I set the fans to full speed mode.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Here are key points about the Lenovo Legion Y920.
Gaming Performance: Our gaming benchmark suite proves that the Lenovo Y920 is one of the best 1080P gaming notebooks we have ever tested. The matching of the 8GB GTX 1070 with the i7-7820HK, 16GB of dual channel DDR4, and a super-fast Samsung NVMe SSD produces excellent scores, high FPS, and an excellent visual experience.
Gaming Experience: Gaming isn't just about the FPS, and when you are using a notebook for gaming, you are limited regarding certain things. One of those is the resolution to screen size, and I feel that a 17.3" display goes well with 1080P, and the NVIDIA G-SYNC seals the deal with smooth graphics. The RGB LEDs are a nice touch, especially around the touchpad. The mechanical keyboard and the raised rubberized surface make it easy to use the keyboard for gaming, although I would still use an external mouse.
ThunderBolt 3: Connectivity is important, but being prepared for future external devices, such as ThunderBolt 3 storage, while also being compatible with current devices, such as a phone that uses USB 3.0 type-C, is more important. Type-A USB is pretty limited in versatility, but USB type-C in the ThunderBolt 3 form is one of the most versatile type-C ports, as it incorporates Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 and below, DisplayPort, and power delivery all in a single connector.
Quiet Fans, Loud Speakers: The fans actually quiet when doing normal things, but during gaming, you might be able to hear them, but not over the speakers. The speakers are very powerful for a notebook. You get two 2W speakers and a 3W subwoofer, and they are great for everything from watching Netflix to listening to see what direction your enemies are approaching you're your favorite first-person shooter.
Super Heavy: The notebook is not what I would consider "portable," it's super heavy. At 10lbs, it is as heavy as a medium-sized bowling ball or a 2-3 month-old baby.
The Legion Y920 is actually a great gaming notebook that you can take where you need to go, as long as you do not need to go there multiple times a day. Its weight is perhaps the biggest issue with the product, as its performance is excellent, quality is top notch, and it offers a great experience. The RGB lighting is done well, and I especially appreciate the lighting around the touchpad, although its default responsiveness will probably need to be tweaked.
I liked the attention to detail as well, such as the mechanical keyboard, raised rubberized wrist rest, quiet fans, and G-SYNC technology. I can also appreciate the Turbo slider switch, and although it can only be engaged when plugged in, it's a quick and easy way to get more performance out of the notebook.
The notebook does cost a lot of money, but it also has a lot to offer and is one of the best 1080P FHD gaming notebooks on the market when it comes to performance and experience.
The Bottom Line: Lenovo's Legion Y920 offers a top-notch gaming experience matched with stunning performance and is one of our favorite 17" gaming notebooks.
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