Lenovo IdeaPad Y70 Touch Review

by Reads (24,277)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 6
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 5
      • Usability
      • 8
      • Design
      • 9
      • Performance
      • 7
      • Features
      • 7
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 6
      • Total Score:
      • 6.86
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Outstanding touch display
    • Solid quality
    • Good keyboard
    • Good speakers
    • Decent battery life
    • Quiet cooling
  • Cons

    • Slow hard drive
    • Average gaming performance

The Y70 is Lenovo’s most recent addition to its multimedia-centric IdeaPad line. This is the largest IdeaPad sold, featuring a 17.3″ touch display. We found a great deal to like about the Y70 during our review process especially its outstanding touch display, solid quality, functional keyboard and touchpad, good speakers and even good battery life. It has plenty of power for most tasks but sorely needs a faster storage drive as the included 1 TB drive held back its responsiveness. Overall we ended up giving the Y70 our full recommendation.

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 frontBuild and Design

The Y70 keeps with Lenovo’s IdeaPad Y-series black and red color scheme intended for the gaming audience and anyone interested in something different than the traditional black-and-silver look. The chassis has a fairly normal shape with the exception of its angled back corners which lend it a more aggressive appearance. Both the lid and base of the notebook are covered in single pieces of aluminum with a unique crosshatched pattern. The palm rest and surrounding area has a soft-touch rubberized feel which is something we’re always happy to have.

This notebook is no featherweight at 7.5 pounds, though it’s downright thin for a 17.3″ notebook at 1.02″ tall. The chassis has good strength with minimal flex. The lid is also impressively rigid and protects the display well evidenced by our inability to get ripples to appear in the display by pressing on the back of the lid. The hinge is almost excessively stiff, requiring two hands to open. This is undoubtedly by design; the extra stiffness prevents the display from wobbling too much when touched. The display tilts back a maximum of 45 degrees past vertical.

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 bottomUpgrading the IdeaPad Y70 Touch is possible but 12 screws have to be removed to access the entire bottom panel of the notebook. The storage drive and RAM are easily accessible but the processor is not as the Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor is soldered to the motherboard.

 

Input and Output Ports

The Y70 has less ports than we’re used to seeing on a desktop replacement notebook but still covers the bases with three USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0 aka SuperSpeed, HDMI, a media card reader, and even an S/PDIF port. The ports are located on the sides of the notebook only. The Y70 has no internal optical drive. All picture descriptions are left to right:

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 ports left
Left: AC power jack, Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 ports right
Right: S/PDIF, headphone/microphone combination jack, 4-in-1 media card reader, USB 2.0, Kensington lock slot

 

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 keyboardKeyboard and Touchpad

The Y70’s full-size keyboard has Chiclet-style keys with ample spacing between each key. The red LED backlighting has three levels, including completely off. The typing experience is overall pleasant thanks to the communicative feedback and quiet keypresses. The keyboard layout is very close to that of a desktop keyboard with all of the standard keys. The main exception to the latter is the arrow keys aren’t separated into their own cluster. Another oddity is that the numeric keypad keys are two-thirds the size of the regular keyboard keys, which is strange given the size of the keyboard.

The built-in touchpad lacks physical buttons in lieu of a pressable surface. It’s centered with the keyboard and not the chassis as we’re used to seeing on notebooks that include a numeric keypad. We enjoyed its smooth surface, but found it a little difficult to produce a click. Furthermore, we wish that clicking noise was quieter each time you clicked something on the screen.

 

Screen and Speakers

The highlight of this notebook is its outstanding 17.3″ touch display. Dazzlingly bright, it has a full HD (1920×1080 pixels) resolution and full 10-point touch support. We found ourselves using the touch capability much more than we thought we would on a 17.3″ notebook; sometimes it’s just more natural to reach out and touch the display. The full HD resolution is great for gaming and multimedia and mutually beneficial for productive purposes.

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 screen frontLenovo Ideapad Y70 screen side
Lenovo Ideapad Y70 screen forwardLenovo Ideapad Y70 screen backwards

This display has seamless viewing angles thanks to its IPS technology, keeping the picture consistent whether you’re looking at the display straight on or from an angle. IPS technology also affords better color accuracy. The display’s saturation is plentiful and makes anything colorful stand out. The contrast and black levels are also very good.

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 speakerTwo JBL speakers are authoritatively positioned on the rear corners of the chassis and a small subwoofer resides underneath. This audio setup produces gratifyingly clear and full sound with appreciable bass. They get plenty loud to entertain a couple of people watching a movie though isn’t the loudest setup we’ve heard. We didn’t hear any distortion in our choice tracks even at 90% volume. Overall it’s hard to ask for a better audio setup in a notebook.

 

Performance

The Y70 is touted as a gaming notebook, but is probably better classified as a multimedia notebook considering its Nvidia GTX 860M graphics card is decidedly mid-range. Competing notebooks offer a more powerful Nvidia GTX 965M or better yet a 970M. That said the Y70 is most certainly capable of playing the latest demanding games at a 1600×900 resolution and medium to high settings. We tested Battlefield 4 which ran between 30-40 frames per second using a combination of medium and high settings at a 1920×1080 resolution or all high settings at a 1600×900 resolution.

The Y70’s other specifications are appropriate for its price range. The quad-core Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor provides desktop-like power for even the most demanding tasks and an ample 16 GB of RAM means no slow-downs when running multiple programs at the same time.

Our performance qualm is with the high capacity but exceptionally slow 1 TB hybrid hard drive. Its inbuilt 8GB SSD cache did little to alleviate it from feeling like a hard drive. Compared to an all SSD setup, we found ourselves waiting for what seemed like forever starting Windows, opening applications, installing updates and almost anything that involved reading and writing to the storage drive. The Y70 is available with a 512 GB SSD as of writing which we highly recommend.

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 front 2Our review unit of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y70 Touch has the following technical specifications:

  • 17.3-inch full HD touch display (1920×1080 resolution, IPS panel, glossy surface, 10-point touch support)
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-4710HQ quad-core processor (2.5GHz, up to 3.5GHz Turbo Boost, 6MB cache, 47W TDP)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M w/ 2GB GDDR5 memory
  • 16GB DDR3L-1600 RAM (2x 8GB; max. supported)
  • 1TB 5400RPM hybrid hard drive (WDC WD10S21X-24R1BT0-SSHD-8GB)
  • No internal optical drive
  • Realtek 802.11ac Wireless LAN
  • Integrated Bluetooth 4.0
  • Integrated HD webcam
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Dimensions: 16.64″ x 11.44″ x 1.02″
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Starting Price: $1,199
  • Price as Configured: $1,299

Benchmarks

wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
Lenovo Ideapad Y70 wprime

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
Lenovo Ideapad Y70 PCM 8 Home

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
Lenovo Ideapad Y70 PCM8 Office

3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
Lenovo Ideapad Y70 3DM 11

 

Heat and Noise

The Y70’s cooling system might be hard to spot to the untrained eye because its cooling vents are carefully recessed into the back of the chassis in front of the display hinge. the fans remain off for most general usage including web surfing meaning the Y70 is more or less silent. The fans are whisper quiet even while running 3D games and other demanding tasks, picking up a slight whine at top speed but nothing that isn’t ignorable. The chassis remains cool to the touch top and bottom even after gaming which is impressive. The only area of the notebook that gets warm is the display hinge since the cooling vents are aimed directly at it.

Power Adapter

The Y70’s 135W AC adapter is noticeably larger than most notebook power supplies at 5.5″ x 2.5″ x 1.25″ though it also provides more power. Its cables run just short of 10 feet including the power adapter. The power adapter gets warm while charging the notebook which is expected.

Battery Life

Our stressful Powermark battery life test simulates the computer running through a variety of different tasks including web browsing, word processing, video playback and 3D gaming. The Y70 lasted for three hours, 21 minutes which is a good time for a 17.3″ desktop replacement notebook. This time translates to about five hours of non-demanding general usage and likely more with reduced screen brightness.

Powermark “Balanced” battery life test results (listed in minutes – higher scores mean better battery life):
Lenovo Ideapad Y70 powermark

As of this writing, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y70 Touch is available from Lenovo starting at $999.

Conclusion

Editors ChoiceThe Lenovo IdeaPad Y70 Touch is a well-balanced large screen notebook with an abundance of likeable attributes. We thoroughly appreciated its beautiful 17.3″ touch display which is one of the brightest we’ve seen. Its Nvidia GTX 860M graphics card is mid-range but still plenty capable of playing today’s games at respectable settings. We also gave the Y70 high marks for its design, solid build quality, good keyboard, solid speaker setup, quiet cooling fans and its favorable five hour battery life. Our only major con was the slow included hard drive which held back overall performance but the Y70 is available with an SSD as an option.

The base Y70 configuration is $1,199 as of writing which should have all most users need. We recommend the $1,299 and up setups to gamers because they include more graphics card memory (GTX 860M 4GB vs. 2GB).

We’re happy to recognize the Lenovo IdeaPad Y70 Touch with our Editor’s Choice award for being a great large screen entertainment notebook.

Lenovo Ideapad Y70 front 3Pros:

  • Outstanding touch display
  • Solid quality
  • Good keyboard
  • Good speakers
  • Decent battery life
  • Quiet cooling

Cons:

  • Slow hard drive
  • Average gaming performance

 



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