Lenovo Legion Y520 (15.6″, 80WK00FHUS) Review

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In the old days, when Lenovos were still known as IBM, these laptops enjoyed huge popularity among power users and professionals who wanted a reliable, long-lasting workhorse. In the modern era, the company has expanded into different areas, such as the gaming market with Lenovo Legion Y520. Released in the Spring of 2017, this Legion has received mostly praise for gaming performance and good looks. However, I don’t want to judge things too quickly, which warrants a closer look at this product (of model number 80WK00FHUS).

High-End Performance, Problems with Upgrading?

A laptop that is meant for gaming never lacks performance. Also Lenovo Legion Y520 shines in this department, as Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor is powering the notebook. Lenovo’s decision to leave the flagship i7 out of this configuration was understandable as the i5-7300HQ is still in the upper echelon of common processors. Truly, its quad-core configuration together with 2.5GHz clock frequency and 3.5GHz turbo boost will provide a solid base for people interested in demanding programs, such as Adobe’s image editors Photoshop and Lightroom.

The good things don’t end in the processor section because the storage drive department also delivers! Included is Toshiba’s M.2 PCIe/NVMe solid-state drive with form factor 2280. It provides decent 256GB storage of which Windows 10 uses 30 gigabytes or so. What comes to memory, 8GB DDR4 is included while maximum is 32 gigabytes.

Officially, Lenovo states this laptop is fully non-user upgradeable. In another words, to put more RAM or change the hard drive, you would need a certified Lenovo technician. It might be so if you don’t have experience with upgrading notebooks, but as this article shows, disassembling the notebook by yourself is possible!

Regular Display, Gaming-Friendly Graphics

The 15.6-inch Full HD display on Lenovo Legion Y520 is a good choice for gamers, giving enough screen estate for enjoyable sessions. The panel model is LG LP156WF6-SPK3, with IPS operating mode, 250 nits brightness and 60hz refresh rate. Now, the brightness could be better, don’t expect great experience outdoors in sunshine. Also keep in mind this screen is not touch sensitive.

The graphics card this notebook offers is GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, with 4GB video RAM. While it’s far from the fastest laptop graphics cards, the GTX 1050 Ti still packs a bunch for gamers. In general, you are looking at a Full HD ready graphics card which can keep up with high settings on any games. A few examples include The Witcher 3 with ~50FPS and GTA 5 with +60FPS. In short, every game will run on this rig, there is no doubt about that.

Laptop Video Review

Ports to Keep a Player Plugged In

The essential ports for gamers and power users are USBs since most of the time peripherals uses the USB technology for connection. What Lenovo Legion Y520 offers is one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 and one USB 3.0 Type-C which, in my opinion, are enough. However, the USB-C can not be used to charge the notebook, and it does not support Thunderbolt. The laptop also sports HDMI-output, and the system accepts in total two external monitors at a time (HDMI and USB-C).

Internet access should be fast and worry-free, as the notebook’s networking is powered by a Gigabit Ethernet port and 802.11ac WiFi adapter. Bluetooth 4.1 is enabled on the laptop as well.

The computer comes with a 4-in-1 media card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC) whose biggest utility is the transfer of pictures from digital cameras. You won’t find a DVD burner in this one, but external drives will work flawlessly.

Few Other Things Worth Your While

This one you might already guess, but the battery life on gaming notebooks is always a bit of an issue – even for the more expensive models! Also here, the 3-cell 45Whr battery will provide power for only an hour or so if you’re interested in gaming on the go. Expecting up to four hours for productive use, such as text editing or web surfing, is a good starting point. In Lenovo’s opinion, the battery is also non-replaceable, however as pointed out in the beginning of this review, everything can be upgraded by the user if he’s careful. The AC adapter supports 120-230 voltage range.

The keyboard with 1.7mm key travel, according to user reports, is very accurate and comfortable to type with. It also has a red backlight, although the color can not be changed anything other than red.

Very fast - The performance of laptop with the latest Core i5 processor and PCI-e based SSD is hard to beat.

Smooth gaming - The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card is fine for games ranging from Counter-Strike: Go to Doom, even if you want to have plenty of eye candy on.

Doesn't take much space - Gaming notebooks are often big and bulky, however this one is only an inch thick.

Battery won't last forever - You'll need to recharge the battery after hour or two gaming sessions (or 3-4 hours if doing other things, like browsing the web).

Bloatware? - Lenovo is notorious for including Bloatware on their systems, so don't be surprised if you also see some installed on this machine.

Lenovo Legion Y520 is one of the laptops that gets your games running but doesn’t cost an arm and leg. Its 7th generation Core i5 processor and solid-state drive are a good start for anybody looking for snappy performance, with the GTX 1050 Ti providing enough computing ability to deal with any game you throw at it. Compared to other gaming notebooks the computer is also rather slim, however don’t expect the battery to last past the usual 3-4 hours. All in all, for a very decent budget gaming experience this Lenovo should be a spot on choice.

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