Lenovo Legion Y530 gaming notebook review

PROCESSOR
8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H
RAM
16GB DDR4
HDD
256GB SSD + 2TB HDD
SCREEN
15.60-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS (up to 144 Hz, 300 nits)
GRAPHICS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
WEIGHT
2.3 KG
SUPPLIER
Lenovo
WEBSITE
www.lenovo.co.za

If you’ve been following my antics over on YouTube, you’ll know my diet these days consists of gaming notebooks in almost every shape and size. While I’ve worked on all types, I generally sway towards the more serious looking devices just because I spend so many hours in other people’s offices.

Lenovo (the guys with the awesome IBM heritage) has been producing a line of gaming orientated notebooks called the Legion range. Last year I played with the high-end Y720 and while I liked its dramatic look, I much prefer the redesign of the latest Legion range. It’s almost like they’re paying homage to their IBM past. As can be seen with this entry-level model, called the Y530, this machine looks great in any environment, especially the office. In fact, I managed to play two rounds of top 10 level PUBG games in the office once, and I was busted when I kicked the desk out of frustration. My fault.

In all seriousness, I really like Lenovo’s offering here, so let me get to the best bits of this little monster. From an exterior point of view, the Legion Y530 looks really slick with its textured top panel and slightly extended rear end. Most of the ports are situated at the back of the notebook with the exception of a USB 3.0 port on either side of the notebook chassis; there’s also a single headphone jack on the left-hand side.

As you open the lid, a set of white lit LEDs decorate the keyboard while the large LCD produced a vibrant and sharp image. This 15-inch display supports 144Hz, produces 300 nits of brightness, and runs at a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It’s a good screen for gaming and I had no complaints in this department. Powering this LCD is a GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card – although this is an entry-level gaming card, it’ll allow you to play many of today’s popular games like Fortnite and Apex Legends on low to medium settings. It goes without saying that this notebook also fits in perfectly in the hands of a creator who is looking for a notebook to edit video or work with graphics.

While I always advocate to upgrade your machine RAM to 32GB if you work with video, the 16GB in this machine offers sufficient performance for most scenarios. During my time using this machine as my daily driver, I didn’t experience any hiccups when using my Adobe Suite of tools – but additional RAM would have made certain tasks a little snappier. Rambling aside (see what I did there), I was very happy to find that sitting at the heart of this machine is the 8th gen Intel Core i7 8750H processor running at 2.2Ghz – overclockable to around 4GHz. The power of this processor of the Core i5 variant is another win for notebook users wanting to squeeze as much processing power out of a mid-range notebook.

For storage purposes, there’s a primary 256GB SSD drive installed with this machine. For larger storage requirements, like 50GB+ game installations, there’s also a secondary 2TB hard drive installed.

So on paper this machine has all the right elements to deliver a good entry-level gaming notebook that won’t empty your bank account, but how does it really fare in day-to-day settings? Well, as a business machine, the Legion Y530 tackled every task I threw at it. Even my usual video editing tasks didn’t prove much of an effort for this machine. For gaming, this machine also doesn’t disappoint. If you know that your GeForce GTX 1050Ti won’t let you run games at high or ultra settings, you’ll be happy with what this notebook has to offer. For most games I manged to get a respectable average of around 60fps on medium settings.

Overall construction of the chassis feels solid and I really like that the screen can fold flat on the desk when the notebook is opened. The touchpad did its job well but as someone who uses a mouse all the time, I still prefer to keep one connected for my work. When typing, I really enjoyed the low-rise keys on the Legion Y530. Although the keys feel a little smaller than what I’m used to, the inclusion of a full numpad is handy for old-school geeks like myself.

In terms of sound, the Legion Y530 features a set of Harman speakers with Dolby audio. The audio produced by this machine is not particularly loud but has good fidelity.

While battery life is important, it should be noted that the battery is not really there to let you game on the road. You can, but you’ll get around 45 minutes to an hour of game-time on the battery but for office productivity you can push that number up to around 3.5 hours depending on how heavy the workload is.

About the only thing I didn’t like about the Legion Y530 is the placement of its webcam. Because of that thin bezel, the engineers opted to place the webcam below the screen, this is never a good idea. While the camera produced a good picture quality, it’s placement makes it impractical for most uses, including a general Skype call. This angle will have your nostrils as the star of the show.

For around R19,000, Lenovo’s new Legion Y530 is a solid but entry-level gaming machine. I really love the new design and it looks far better than an overly designed gaming device. Even for office users, this notebook will offer enough processing power to edit video should you need to do so – just stay away from 4K, even my beefy desktop machine can struggle with that.

BOTTOM LINE
With its redesigned Legion range, Lenovo has entered a strong contender in the gaming notebook arena. This notebook offers great performance for an entry-level gamer and you’ll be able to tackle most of the latest titles at medium resolution.
PROS
Redesigned chassis
144Hz LCD panel
Keyboard includes numpad
CONS
Webcam placement
80