The Lenovo Legion Y920, with GTX 1070 caliber graphics, a bright 17-inch screen, and a mechanical keyboard, makes gaming laptops solid - and quite heavy. In addition to premium mechanical keyboards, the Y920 offers several attractive facilities that its competitors don't have, such as the one-touch Turbo mode and Dolby Atmos sound.
It's a good machine, but shopping wisely. Gamers who focus entirely on visuals may reject expensive Y920 prices, especially given that the similarly configured version of Alienware 17 R5 (not the maximum version we reviewed) currently costs hundreds of dollars less. You will also see a 17-inch gaming laptop with a newer CPU than the 7-generation overclock section.
Note: This review is part of our best laptop collection. Open there for details about competing products and how we test them.
Prices and specifications
The Lenovo Legion Y920 (more specifically, Y920-17IKB) has a seventh generation Intel Core i7-7820HK and Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics core in the middle, can be overclocked with the "Turbo" button. You get a 17.3-inch Full-HD and G-Sync display, dual-channel 16 GB DDR4 RAM, a 512 GB solid-state drive, and a 5,200rpm 1TB hard drive.
Notes on prices and availability: Lenovo no longer sells this model directly, but the company insists that it is still available on Amazon and other third party online retail channels. The price tag is something of a moving target. One day, around $ 1,950 on Amazon, the price jumped to around $ 2,110 a few days later. Newegg, meanwhile, has sold laptops for anywhere between $ 2,100 and $ 2,660.
That said, if you miss a gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard (not a guaranteed feature) and easy-to-cake overclocking, the Y920 Legion might be worth the extra cash.
The Lenovo Legion Y920 has the luxury you would expect to refill your desktop, giving it a weight of more than 9.5 pounds and measuring 16.17 x 12.4 x 1.42 inches. After you add massive bricks, you will see almost 12 pounds of hardware.
The Y920's sturdy shell has a beautiful aluminum cover decorated with a familiar "Y" logo, with a pair of stylish cooling vents on the back.
Open Y920 and you will find a good speaker grille and a maroon above the mechanical keyboard (more on the keyboard itself). RGB backlighting keyboards offer a trio of customizable presets, ranging from a "wave" effect that calms to pulsation ripple every time you press a button. Both zones and one-button backlighting are also on the menu.
Backlit mechanical keyboard Lenovo Legion Y920 includes a 10-button keypad and large trackpad.
Sitting in the upper left corner of the keyboard is the Y920 Turbo Boost button, which allows you to overclock the CPU and GPU quickly. Thanks to the Y920's one-touch Turbo Boost feature, you can overclock the maximum CPU clock speed from 3.6GHz to 4.1GHz, while the GPU can switch from the highest clock speed of 4GHz to 4.1GHz. We will use Turbo Boost for real-world rounds in an instant.
Although not a 4K, 17-inch Legion Y920 screen, 1920x1080 looks bright and sharp. The brightness of the screen measures 360 nits (or candelas) which is worth copying according to our reading, far above our minimum standard of 250 nits for a comfortable indoor display.
Looking at the angle on the Y920 IPS-technology panel is quite good, with only moderate dimming starting from around 45 degrees or more. We don't see signs of reverse colors as you can see on cheap laptop displays.
I see a little backlight bleeding along the top and bottom right edges of the screen, especially when the screen is really black. I feel this is very annoying, and I didn't realize it during intense game play. That said, those who cannot see even the smallest screen defects must pay attention.
Keyboard, trackpad, speakers and extras
It offers wide and slightly concave keys with 2.2 mm travel distance, easy discovery, 10-key numeric keypad, and yes, some beautiful RGB backlighting effects, the Y920 keyboard makes a great first impression - and yes, we speak mechanical keyboards here.
The Y920 key has a rather heavy feeling and feels heavy. That is good news for typists, who generally get surprises from easy-to-click keyboards, but that is not so good for gamers who prefer smooth and linear switches, which allow their fingers to move above the keyboard.
The Y920 trackpad is right in the middle of the chassis, meaning it's slightly to the right of the main keyboard because of the numeric keypad. The backlit trackpad requires a little pressure to click, making it feel heavy to reflect the keyboard. The trackpad is surrounded by a rubber armrest with a crosblock design which, although comfortable, tends to attract a little flake.
Armed with JBL's top loudspeaker pair, three watt subwoofer and Dolby audio processing, the Lenovo Legion Y920 comes with an impressive loud sound, as far as the laptop goes, even though I'm disappointed with the narrow sound space. Indeed, Y920 sounds almost monaural when playing music and games, even though you can hear stereo separation if you bend your ears close enough to the speaker.
My usual test track - "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney and Wings, along with Mozart's 25th Symphony - sounds rich, detailed and even somewhat bassy, even though I saw a little speaker vibration at high volume. If you find yourself losing the surround effect of the Y920 speaker, you can always plug in your headphones for the full Dolby Atmos experience, which makes your head feel like swimming in sound.
Webcam 720p Lenovo Legion Y920 is at the top of the screen. This video recording is relatively sharp considering its resolution, perfect for Skype chatting or even low-budget Twitch streaming.
If you are a USB 3.0 fan, you will love the port selection on the Lenovo Legion Y920. On the left side of the Y920, you will find two of a total of four USB 3.0 ports, along with rectangular power ports, DisplayPort, full HDMI, Gigabit ethernet, and - sad faces - a Thunderbolt 3 port.
On the laptop side of the trip there is an SD card reader, microphone input, headset jack, Kensington lock, and two other USB 3.0 ports.
We didn't find a big surprise when placing the Lenovo Legion Y920 and quad-core processor, Kaby Lake-era Core i7-7820HK through its steps. We compared it to the other 17-inch gaming laptops we have tested, various of which include the maximized EON17-X Origin PC and Alienware 17 R5 (both worth more than $ 1,000 more than the Y920 Legion, and for good reason); Alienware 17 previous generation R4, which is closer to the Legion Y920 in specifications; and Omen 17 and MicroCenter PowerSpec 17, which carry 7-gen CPUs too. For Legion Y920, we include results for default mode and Turbo.
Our HandBrake test, which involves converting a 30GB MKV video file into an Android tablet-compatible format, turns up the heat for even the most powerful CPUs.
Lenovo Legion Y920 CPU Turbo Mode makes a big difference in CPU-intensive HandBrake tests, coming before its time in default mode.
HandBrake Y920 results are a little on the "meh" side. In general, we want to see a southern score of 3,000 seconds (or about 50 minutes) on a laptop with a Core i7-7820HK (like Alienware 17 R4 older in the chart above), which does not occur in the default laptop mode. After we activated Turbo Speed overclocking mode, we got a score of around 2,500, an increase of 16 percent. However, the so-and-overclocked HandBrake Y920 sign signifies a fairly conservative approach in terms of keeping it cool.
Another punishing test for multicore CPUs, our Cinebench benchmark pushes the laptop processor to the limit due to system tasks by rendering 3D images. While the HandBrake test tells us how a laptop dealing with heat for more than an hour or more, five minutes (giving or receiving) the Cinebench benchmark gives us a clue how certain systems work under short bursts of stress.
With its mid-class Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics core, the Lenovo Legion Y920 delivers solid performance when playing our favorite AAA game titles, swinging the visual butane well in the north of 60 fps in maximum video settings. But don't expect Turbo Y920 mode to make the image frequency beyond a few percentage points.
Looking at our 3DMark FireStrike Extreme results, the performance of the Lenovo Legion Y920 landed quite a lot in the place we expected, a little ahead of the Omen 17 GTX 1070 HP which was similarly equipped, but far behind a laptop with larger Nvidia graphics cores (like Alienware 17 R4) When we flip the Turbo Y920 button, we only see a slight increase (1.7 percent) in the score.
You can't really expect extraordinary batteries from fierce and power-hungry gaming laptops like the Lenovo Legion Y920. Laptops don't present any surprises here.
We measure battery life by repeating 4K videos using Windows 10 Movie & TV player shares. We set the screen brightness to around 250 nit (or about 91 percent, in the case of Y920) and set the volume to half with the connected headphones.
Big and heavy though it is, the Lenovo Legion Y920 boasts some serious gaming firepower and a mechanical keyboard, not to mention one-touch overclocking and Dolby Atmos sound. For about the same money, however, you could spring for our favorite gaming notebook with a superior graphics card.
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