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Lenovo Legion Y740 review: A laptop built for the future has a few issues in the here and now

The Lenovo Legion Y740 is the first gaming laptop we’ve tested at PCWorld with an Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q, one of the family of ray-tracing-capable mobile GPUs introduced by Nvidia at CES. 

Generation changeovers are always an interesting time. It feels like anyone could pull ahead, like every laptop is potentially heir to the throne. So this review, while mostly about the Legion Y740, also focuses a bit more than usual on GPU benchmarks, as we put the RTX 2070 through its paces and see how the price-to-performance ratio measures up against both previous-gen and current-gen alternatives.

Spoiler: The RTX generation continues to be more complicated than you’d expect.

Lenovo Legion Y740: Basic specs

For once, Lenovo’s kept things fairly simple and limited itself to only a handful of Legion Y740 variants. The model we reviewed costs $1,920 officially (available on Lenovo.com), though a discount to $1,540 was active at the time of this review. Here are the basic features:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  • Memory: 16 GB of DDR4/2667
  • Display: 15.6-inch 144Hz G-Sync display at 1920×1080
  • Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD

For the most part, these specs carry over across the other models. The display is always the same for instance, as is the CPU. The model we reviewed is the only one with an RTX 2070 Max-Q, however—the other three sport normal RTX 2060s. Storage is also subject to change, with the cheapest model featuring only a 256GB SSD (a pittance for a modern gaming laptop), and another model featuring a 512GB SSD.

Design

Lenovo just refreshed its aesthetic with the Legion Y730, so it’s no surprise the Legion Y740 carries over the same look as its predecessor. It’s sleek, with a flat-gray lid. The only exterior hints that it’s a gaming machine are the lights that glow behind the ‘Y’ shape in the Legion logo and the rear vents. While glowing vents may strike some people as silly, the default clean, blue light is less aggressive than the red-and-black color scheme you find on most gaming laptops.

lenovo legion y740 lid Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Taken as a whole, the Legion Y740’s neither particularly attractive nor particularly offensive. We called the Legion Y530, which features the same aesthetic, a “generic business laptop,” set apart by the logotype on the lid. That still feels fairly apt, to my eye. Unlike, say, Razer or Alienware, there’s little recognizable design language here—unless in absentia, as if the lack of eye-catching elements is itself a statement. 

It’s nice and portable, measuring 14.2 x 10.5 x 0.88 inches and weighing in at almost precisely 5 pounds. That’s not Razer Blade-thin, but it’s still decently compact for a gaming laptop. And like the Legion Y7000 we looked at recently, the Legion Y740 hides its bulk well, opting for sharply tapered sides and an offset hinge that make it seem smaller.

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