Gaming doesn’t stop just because you leave your room (or office as the case may be). The problem is that most popular games are extremely demanding when it comes to resources, and most portable computers lack the necessary horsepower to make it a worthwhile experience. If you have a gaming laptop, however, like the Lenovo Ideapad Y900, you can game just about anywhere, and anytime.
Lenovo sent me an Ideapad Y900 to test out, so here are my thoughts on this gaming laptop.
I’m not going to lie—the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is a big laptop. That is a tradeoff you make when you want a portable computer capable of hardcore gaming.
In order to house the 17.3-inch display and all of the processing power needed for gaming, the Y900 packs nearly 10 pounds of weight into a chassis that is 16.7-inches wide, 12.4-inches deep, and 1.4-inches thick.
In exchange for the size and weight, though, Lenovo packs quite a bit into the unit. It has a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, 256GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM. In addition to the SSD storage, it also has additional storage in the form of a 1TB traditional hard drive.
As stated above, the display is 17.3-inches. It has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, and is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics card with 8GB of video memory. The laptop also has an integrated 720p HD webcam.
The Y900 comes with an external 8X recordable DVD drive. It has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless, and a comprehensive collection of physical ports: headphones, microphone, three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.1 port with Type-C compatibility, Display Port, 4-in-1 card reader slot (SD, SDXC, SDHC, MMC), gigabit Ethernet port, and HDMI.
It has a backlit, customizable mechanical keyboard. The touchpad is big—4.1 by 2.7 inches—and has a mutli-color highlight ring.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is a sexy machine. Lenovo paid attention to detail with this one in both look and feel. The angular black design with red accents is a very cool touch, and it has a solid feel. The rubberized palm rest provides comfort when using the touchpad. Overall, it is a well-engineered design with quality construction.
There are a few things that stand out about using this laptop. First, is the keyboard. The Y900 has a mechanical keyboard with that distinctive “click” and “clack” as you type. The keys have 3.1 millimeters of travel, and the force required to type smoothly takes time to get familiar with—especially if you’re not used to using a mechanical keyboard. After an initial adjustment period, though, you will find that you can type as fast or faster on the Y900 than on other keyboards.
The Y900 comes with physical red replacement keys to customize the W, A, S, and D keys so they stand out from the rest. You can also customize the backlighting with Lenovo’s Light Shift app. Light Shift lets you choose from five different lighting effects and 18 colors to configure the keyboard so it’s easier for you to navigate and use even in the dark.
It performs admirably on even the most graphics-intensive games. It isn’t as good as a desktop gaming experience, or even some of the rival gaming laptops, but you can generally maintain 30-50 fps at 1080p.
One cool feature of the Y900 is the one-key turbo boost. With a single click you can overclock the processor and boost performance. It comes in handy in multiplayer environments where you need to stay a step—or frame—ahead of the competition.
The battery is good, but not great. I found that I could usually get around 4 hours of continuous use out of the Y900—less if I was taxing it with serious gaming. Longer battery life would be nice, but that does come with a tradeoff in size and weight to accommodate the larger battery, and it’s actually fairly rare that I am away from a power source for more than 4 hours. The only exception to that is when I’m flying, and this laptop is frankly too large to be reasonable on most commercial flights.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is a formidable gaming machine in a well-constructed, sexy design. It’s only serious flaw might be its price tag. You expect to pay more for a gaming laptop, but $2,500 is steep. For that price it could use a graphics boost to the newer Nvidia Pascal GPU, and better battery life.
The good news, however, is that you don’t actually have to pay $2,500—at least not right now. Lenovo is offering a $700.99 ecoupon that brings the price down to $1,800. The price drop may be in preparation for a product refresh. At $1,800, I think it’s an excellent gaming laptop unless you absolutely need the longer battery life or VR-capable graphics.
If you’re looking for a light, thin, portable computer to do some web surfing and email, this is not the device for you. However, if you’re looking for a hardcore gaming machine in a portable—albeit hefty—package, you should take a look at the Lenovo Ideapad Y900.
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