A gaming laptop review is nothing if it doesn’t include a bevvy of benchmarks and charts to help you understand where it lies on the performance curve compared to its competitors. The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 isn’t the most powerful, considering Nvidia’s recent release of mobile Pascal, but that doesn’t mean it should automatically be overlooked. MXM cards can be replaced and you can bet that Lenovo is going to have the 1060M, 1070M and the 1080M available at some point. But just how competitive is this machine at the moment? A gaming machine whose creators paid very close attention to the little details that gamers may not always notice, but make use of on a daily basis. Let’s find out.
The Y900 may not be the fastest, but it’ll get the job done
Lenovo IdeaPad Y900
|6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-6820HK Processor (2.70GHz 8MB)|
|Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (downgrade rights to Windows 7 available)|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB|
|16.0GB DDR4 2133 MHz|
|17.3" FHD LED IPS AntiGlare with integrated camera (1920x1080) G-Sync Capable|
1TB 5400 RPM+128GB PCIe SSD
|Killer AC Wireless (2x2)|
|USB 3.0, Always On, 3.5mm Audio connector, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4-in-1 memory card reader, mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit LAN, Security lock slot|
|6 Cell 90 Watt Hour Li-Polymer|
|16.7 (W) x 12.4 (D) x 1.4 (H) inches|
The GTX 980M is slightly limiting, but it’s fast enough to satisfy most users and gamers and reasonable resolutions. In fact, it’s packing more than enough oomph an the easy to use OC mode, complete with a switch to enable it, has a decided impact on frame rates. Tiny though it may be, it’s significant enough.
The screen is a matte 1080P model with a very good color gamut. It measured 106% of the sRGB color gamut, which is quite high and definitely over the norm. In addition, it was even an accurate screen, too, with a Delta-E of 1.5. The closer to 0 the better. In practical terms the resolution is actually more than enough for daily tasks. You don’t have any scaling issues that might creep out due to higher resolutions and it’s more than readable. Text is crisp and better, games look marvelous and can actually run fantastically without having to downscale. Not using a monitors native resolution, if it has a scaler, can sometimes end up with a not-so-perfect color reproduction, lower contrast and brightness issues. And it can just plain look bad. But here there’s no such problem. It’s actually quite refreshing to see 1080P. I know that 2K and beyond are prized, but just how much of that are you actually going to use, and how often? Except for showing off to your peers, of course.
They’ve also included G-Sync capability which allows the same syncing and smoothing of frames as its desktop counterpart. It does a great job of stopping tearing, though stuttering is an issue still unless you lower the settings somewhat. It limits the frame rate, so to speak, and syncs each frame with the refresh rate of the monitor, which is 60Hz in this case. The end result actually has a pleasing visual effect and the value is apparent when you use it. It’s a good thing to have, and the laptop variant doesn’t cost anything extra. Because there’s no special board or chipset to sync those frames.
There’s plenty of connectivity to go around, from USB 3.1 Type C (a single connector), USB 3.0, a full-size DisplayPort out and even HDMI 2.0 making an appearance. On the right side you’ll find a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a 6-in 1 card reader jacks for a headphone and microphone combination and a kensington security lock slot. On the left side you’ll see that there’s two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, HDMI 2.0 out, a full-sized DisplayPort out, Gigabit Ethernet and Lenovo’s proprietary charging port.
As I mentioned in the initial impressions, the overall look and feel is solid. It’s not so ostentatious and loud that the Y900 won’t fit in reasonably in many settings. But it does have a bit of flair to it that tells of its gaming roots. They aren’t unsubtle, but not terribly loud either. The keyboard alone makes it worth thinking about for other duties as well.
That mechanical keyboard is a godsend to laptops everywhere. It’s a proprietary mechanism of Lenovo’s that I dearly hope they start including into more of their laptops. Their standard keyboard is already at the top of the class with feel and key travel, but this takes it into another realm entirely. You have to feel it. The clicking and clacking of the keys are a joy to type on.
Then theres the Synaptics touchpad which defies expectations as well. It’s good, responsive and easy to do multitouch gestures on. It’s not quite as easy to use as Apples touch pads (yeah, I went there) but it’s damn nice nonetheless. It’s a huge improvement over the usual. And it’s pretty large too. Though a click pad in nature, it seems to work fairly well here with very little in the way of errors from my clicking.