Lenovo ideapad Y700 Review: A Balanced Behemoth

by Reads (31,824)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 8
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 6
      • Usability
      • 7
      • Design
      • 7
      • Performance
      • 9
      • Features
      • 8
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 9
      • Total Score:
      • 7.71
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Great balance of performance and price
    • Excellent speakers
    • Bright and vibrant display
    • Runs quiet and cool
  • Cons

    • Keyboard not very crisp
    • Non-touch display
    • Gamers beware, limited build options
    • Lid prone to smudges and fingerprints

Quick Take

Lenovo achieves a near perfect balance of performance and price for this desktop replacement. The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is perfect for multimedia and mainstream gaming, but those looking for a dedicated gaming rig will be turned off by its limited build options and hardware compromises.


There’s a lot to like in a big laptop. While notebook and tablet makers continue to slice off inches and ounces, eliminating ports, cramping keyboards, and compromising performance, it’s refreshing to come across a behemoth like the 17-inch Lenovo ideapad Y700. 

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is a 17-inch gaming notebook.

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is a 17-inch gaming notebook.

Actually, it’s a 17.3-inch Windows laptop; the latest in Lenovo’s Y series that sits somewhere between a true multimedia and gaming device. That’s a good thing, as the team at NotebookReview has praised past Y series notebook for achieving a near perfect balance between price, mainstream appeal, and processing muscle. On paper, the new Lenovo ideapad Y700 fits the bill, with a 6th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and discreet Nvidia graphics, along with a price tag starting at less than $1000 as of this writing. 

Does that mean it’s time to clear off desk space to make room for this Windows 10 giant? Read on to find out.

Build & Design

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is unique in that it embraces an aggressive aesthetic that is just short of the garish style commonly found on gaming rigs. Its red highlights and angular accents are brash compared with a standard ThinkPad, but the Y700 wouldn’t be completely out of place in the office. Business users could consider it the tacky tie of notebooks.

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 lid is prone to smudges.

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 lid is prone to smudges.

It’s also a monster, measuring a whopping 16.65 x 12 x 1.1 inches, and weighing at least 7.7 pounds. Its display lid and bottom panel consist of high-quality brushed aluminum. This is great when it comes to shrugging off scuffs, but it picks up smudges and fingerprints more than it should, and it also makes the Y700 tough to grip. You’ll either have to carry it under your arm, or use two hands to move it.

The inside panel surrounding the keyboard is rubberized plastic, which feel pleasant but also picks up smudges. A hard plastic surrounds the speakers and power button on the back edge, spilling over to the rear of the device, covering the main exhaust vent, which hides underneath the center display hinge. 

The hinge itself is very stiff and requires two hands to open. It speaks to the overall notebook construction, as this is a solidly built notebook. The keyboard panel  has very little bounce, and the bottom panel simply won’t creak with moderate to heavy force. The display lid does have some give, which is acceptable given its size.

Ports and Connectivity

One benefit of big size is a decent port selection. The Y700 has two USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI, Ethernet, and a Kensington security lock on one side, and a Lenovo DC-in, USB 2.0 port, 4-in-1 media card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack on the other. This is plenty for most users, especially considering the dearth of ports and inputs on the latest mainstream devices. However given the Y700’s size, we’re a bit disappointed Lenovo didn’t go for overkill here.

 In addition to the Ethernet port, the Lenovo Y700 supports dual-band AC Wi-Fi, along with Bluetooth 4.0. 

Lenovo ideapad Y700 has two USB 3.0 inputs, HDMI port, Ethernet port, and Kensington security lock.

Lenovo ideapad Y700 has two USB 3.0 inputs, HDMI port, Ethernet port, and Kensington security lock.

Lenovo ideapad Y700 has a Lenovo DC-in, USB 2.0 input, multi-card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.

Lenovo ideapad Y700 has a Lenovo DC-in, USB 2.0 input, multi-card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.

Display

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 has a 17.3-inch IPS anti-glare display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which equates to a 16:9 aspect ratio and 127 pixels per inch. This is also a non-touch display with a thick bezel. 

With 4K slowly becoming the standard for high-end rigs, it’s tempting to call the Y700’s resolution a disappointment. This is part of Lenovo’s balancing act. A 17.3-inch 4K display would drive the price up considerably, and have a negative effect on the battery. It’s hard not to agree with the decision here, given the screen doesn’t look too shabby on its own. It’s bright at max settings, and colors pop, though a faint reflection is persistent and glare can overtake the display at extreme angles.

Compared side-by-side with a higher quality display will reveal the Y700’s weaknesses, most notably its slight pixilation.

Lenovo ideapad Y700 display Lenovo ideapad Y700 display
Lenovo ideapad Y700 display Lenovo ideapad Y700 display

We will gripe about the lack of touch here. Lenovo offers a touch-enabled 15-inch Y700, but not at this size. While Windows 10 is much better suited to mouse and touchpad control than its predecessor, the Y700 would benefit from touch given how natural it seems to reach out and tap the large display.

The JBL speakers are a different story. They are some of the best we’ve tested on a notebook in recent memory. The move to thin and light has degraded device speaker quality in recent years (TVs too), but a large device the Y700 has plenty of room. In addition to the two main speakers behind the keyboard, the Lenovo ideapad Y700 has an additional speaker and subwoofer on the bottom. They’re powerful, emitting both clear and robust sound, making them suitable for both gaming and media consumption.

Keyboard & Touchpad

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 has 102-key board with red backlighting and dedicated number pad. The Chiclet-style keys are large and well-spaced resulting in a comfortable typing experience. Gamers should take head however. Even though the keys have a decent travel distance, they lack snap and trigger with too little force. Resting your fingers on them will result in the occasional accidental press. Key spacing is even across the board, with nothing to separate the number pad from the QWERTY. This puts the backspace key too close to the number lock, and the right shift key too close to the up arrow. Both resulted in numerous accidental presses during our time with the machine.

Lenovo ideapad Y700 102-key keyboard

Lenovo ideapad Y700 102-key keyboard

Lenovo ideapad Y700 single-piece trackpad

Lenovo ideapad Y700 single-piece trackpad

The single-piece trackpad measures 4.2 x 2.7 inches, and rests off center from the keyboard, under the space bar. It’s large and responsive in terms both single- and two-finger gestures, but as we mentioned when we first saw the Y700 in late 2015, it will frustrate gamers. A multi-button trackpad is much better for them as it provides more control and feedback for right and left mouse clicks. 

Performance

Lenovo ideapad Y700The Lenovo ideapad Y700 ships with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 6700HQ Processor (2.60GHz 1600MHz 6MB) and Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics with either 2GB or 4GB. In addition it’s available with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM (PC4-17000 DDR4 2133 MHz), and various capacities ranging from 512GB to more than 1TB, including HDDs, SSDs, and hybrid hard drives. The Y700 was not built to be user upgradeable. As of this writing, prices from Lenovo range from $949.99 to $1449.99.

The NotebookReview evaluation unit of the Y700 had the following configuration:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 17.3″ FHD IPS AntiGlare with integrated camera (1920×1080)
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor (2.60GHz 1600MHz 6MB)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 4GB
  • 16GB PC4-17000 DDR4 2133 MHz
  • 1TB 5400 RPM+128GB SSD
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
  • 4 Cell 60 Watt Hour Li-Polymer battery
  • Dimensions: 16.65 x 12.00 x 1.10-inches
  • Weight: 7.7lbs.
  • Price as Configured: $1,349.99 (available for $1,099.99 as of this writing)

As it stands, Nvidia’s 960M is perfectly capable of running new games like Just Cause 3 and Fallout 4 at low and medium settings, and older games from 2014 and 2013 with high detail settings near or at 60 frames per second. We were able to run 2013’s Tomb Raider at Ultra settings, averaging approximately 52 frames per second. That said, gamers will be disappointed Lenovo doesn’t offer a configuration with a more powerful GPU, like the 965M, 970M, or 980M, which could better handle new games at higher settings. Again, it’s a balancing act. The 960M is an upper mid-range graphics card that’s as much about delivering value as it is about delivering oomph. The Core i7 processor and Nvidia GPU do very well for day to day use, however. In testing, the ideapad proved both swift and stable, with multiple programs and browser tabs open. 

There’s a preponderance bloatware here. Most of it is harmless Lenovo-branded utilities, but McAfee LiveSafe is both persistent and annoying with its popups pleading and urging users to sign on to its largely unnecessary service. We understand bloatware helps keep the cost of hardware down, but we wouldn’t mind paying a bit extra to not have to deal with it.

Heat and noise were both non-issue during testing, even while running strenuous benchmarks. The fan is quiet and combines with the vents to do a great job dispersing heat. The Lenovo ideapad Y700 never got more than slightly warm during our time with it.

Benchmarks

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

wprime

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

pcm8h

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):

pcm8w

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

3dm 11

3DMark Fire Strike is a newer benchmark measuring overall graphics card performance for visually demanding games (higher scores mean better performance):

3dmfire

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance tests:

cdmark cdmark2

Battery

To test battery life, we used Futuremark’s PowerMark benchmark. It’s “Balanced Mode” test consists of web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback. It’s more strenuous than typical use, even in an office setting with productivity tasks, as it simulates high-stress usage short of actual gaming. Consider this close to the minimum a user can expect out of the battery.

powermark

In this test the Lenovo ideapad Y700 lasted 3 hours and 37 minutes. That’s a good result for a gaming notebook considering many fail to hit two hours. In fact it’s second only to the Gigabyte P37x v4 which bested it by 28 minutes. Compared to multimedia machines with a dedicated GPU, it’s still a decent number, but not the best. The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 series, which has similar specs with a smaller, 15.6-inch display outlasted it by 32 minutes.

Conclusion

The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is a 17-inch gaming notebook.

Some users don’t need a thin and light laptop, especially if it comes at the expense of processing power. Some users don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end gaming rig, especially if it’s garish with an overly aggressive design. Some users just want a large and powerful machine to do work and play games. For these, the Lenovo ideapad Y700 is perfect provided they can handle a bit of design style.

Lenovo achieves an excellent balance, making just the right sacrifices to hit a reasonable price point. These compromises, including the mushy keyboard, single piece trackpad, and mid-range GPU, will keep the hardcore gaming set away. For more mainstream users, the Y700 blows the doors off of other thin-and-light devices like the Surface Book in terms of functionality and price. A Core i7 Surface Book with a less powerful Nvidia GeForce GPU (940M equivalent) costs about three times as much as the Y700 we reviewed. 

Of course, the Surface Book is an insanely engineered two-in-one and portable in ways that put the Y700 to shame. But for those looking for something to sit on a desk and occasionally travel from room to room or to the office and back, the Y700 is a much better choice, with some of the best notebook speakers to boot.

Pros:

  • Great balance of performance and price
  • Excellent speakers
  • Bright and vibrant display
  • Runs quiet and cool

Cons:

  • Keyboard not very crisp
  • Non-touch display
  • Gamers beware, limited build options
  • Lid prone to smudges and fingerprints



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  1. renesh19

    Is the hdmi port input or output?