I love PC gaming. Admittedly, I probably spend a bit too much time doing so. I’ve spent hours perfecting my gaming desktop, but sometimes, I wish I could bring that experience with me outside of the home. Sadly, today’s thin and lightweight laptops just don’t pack the power or hardware needed to create a good gaming experience on the go. That’s where gaming laptops enter the picture.
Last year Lenovo impressed us with a collection of great gaming laptops, and now they’re back with the Ideapad Y900, a massive gaming machine that is the pinnacle of the gaming laptop, but is it worthy of its hefty price tag? Let’s take a look.
- Intel Core i7 6820HK 2.7GHz
- 16GB DDR4 RAM
- NVIDIA GTX 980M (2GB)
- 128GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD
- 6 Cell 90wH Li-Po battery
- Windows 10 Home
When it comes to hardware, the Y900 looks like any other gaming laptop, and that’s to say it looks beastly in every sense of the word. The brushed metal accents and red colors throughout emit a crazy gaming vibe which I love. However, as with any other gaming laptop, the Y900 is also a massive machine which doesn’t apologize for it in any way at all.
Weighing in at just over 10 pounds, this is a very, very heavy laptop. Portability isn’t what comes to mind. Yes, it’s easier to bring around than a desktop, but this isn’t something you’ll carry around town in a backpack.
With the added size, though, the Y900 packs full size ports across the board. That includes full size HDMI, DisplayPort, multiple USB ports, an SD card slot, USB-C, and even Ethernet. There’s no CD/DVD drive in the laptop, but there is an external option included in the box.
As a whole, the hardware on the Y900 is exactly what any gamer is looking for. It’s powerful, ports are abundant, and with multiple display outputs, a multi-monitor setup is easily achievable.
Software & Performance
When it comes to software, the Y900 includes Windows 10 out of the box. As you would expect, everything runs great, even after a couple of months of usage. There are some pre-installed apps, but nothing gets in the way or takes away from the experience. For the most part, you won’t end up using more of those apps anyway.
However, there is one app on the Y900 you’ll use, and that is Lenovo Nerve Center. This program acts as a sort of hub for all of the Y900’s various features. That includes looking at the specs (for some reason), toggling turbo boost, network features, sound enhancement, and custom keyboard settings. The custom keyboard setting is the highlight for me, but we’ll talk more about that a little later.
As for performance, the Y900 is nothing short of impressive. It can easily handle day-to-day tasks like web browsing without breaking a sweat, and of course, it can handle games with no trouble at all (for the most part).
The Y900 is running on top of an older graphics card, the NVIDIA GTX 980M. It’s powerful, no doubt, but it pales in comparison to the newer and more powerful GTX 10-series. Truthfully, this laptop should be using a newer card, but nonetheless, it still handles games at high settings without a hitch. My favorite game, Rocket League, can easily play at 60fps on high settings and other games like No Man’s Sky and Minecraft play wonderfully. It is worth noting, though, that you’ll only get full performance with turbo mode on and the machine plugged in. Unplugging the machine generally cut my performance in half.
So what is turbo mode? On the Y900 there’s a dedicated turbo mode toggle to activate the feature, but in all reality, it doesn’t really do that much. The CPU is allowed to run at a higher clock speed and the GPU is allowed to push more power. There’s a slight but noticeable difference in performance for certain games at certain times, but for the most part, this mode just turns the fans on a little higher, preventing any thermal throttling.
In the end, the incredibly powerful hardware on the Y900 is just that: incredibly powerful. It can handle almost anything you throw at it, as long as you’re plugged into a power source.
Keyboard & Trackpad
As for the keyboard, the Y900 stands out in two ways. The first, this is a mechanical keyboard. Obviously, that doesn’t mean it’s the same keyboard you’ll grab on Amazon for your desktop PC, but it doesn’t provide a similar clicky sound effect and much more key travel compared to most laptops. All of that combined with the massive amount of real estate the keyboard has to offer leads to a keyboard which is nothing short of excellent for gaming.
However, that doesn’t apply for typing. I type all day on a mechanical keyboard, and some days, on a laptop. You’d think a combination of the two would be excellent for typing, but sadly, it’s not. The keys are slick on top and feel a bit too condensed in spacing between keys. It doesn’t necessarily slow down my typing, but it leads to a handful more typos and it feels fairly uncomfortable. One added perk, though, is the interchangeable WASD keys.
That said, the keyboard also packs some excellent backlighting features. Through the software, you can adjust the colors and effects of the keyboard to your liking. There are three presets available which you can toggle between on the keyboard. The LEDs can be very bright and look fantastic. That lighting even extends to the accent lights above the keyboard and around the trackpad.
Speaking of the trackpad, it’s also quite good. Clicks are responsive, the touchpad is accurate, and it works well overall. My sole complaint is the size, as I wish it could be slightly larger, or at the least wider.
As for the display, the 17.3” 1080p IPS display is excellent. The large size is great for gaming, and the colors and brightness are fantastic. I do wish the bezels were smaller, but at the end of the day, that’s a minor complaint.
Sound is as important as anything on a laptop, and with the Y900, Lenovo included two powerful speakers on the front above the keyboard, and a single subwoofer under the laptop. Overall, this lends itself to a great audio experience. Volume is fantastic and the bass is great, all of which helps during gaming. However, I did notice that audio would have an echo to it from time to time, which was fairly annoying when it occurred.
When it comes to battery life, this is a gaming laptop, so it’s not great. Generally about four hours is what you can expect when using the laptop on battery power, and much less if you’re trying to play games. Really, it’s just best to use this laptop plugged in. Performance is heavily throttled on battery power anyway.
Final Thoughts & Pricing
So at the end of the day, is the Lenovo Y900 worth picking up? Short answer, well, there is no short answer. If you need a massive, powerful, and port-rich laptop for gaming (or video editing), this is a great option. However, at $2,499, it’s not competitively priced. The specs are there, but at the same time, I could go out and buy an even more powerful machine that is thinner and $500 cheaper. Really, it’s a game of pros and cons. If the Y900 fits your wants and needs, then by all means, go for it. It’s a fantastic piece of hardware.Buy it from Lenovo