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Lenovo Legion Y545 review: Nvidia GTX or RTX? Lenovo's budget Y545 gaming laptop lets you decide

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The Good The Lenovo Legion Y545 has an edgier design than the rest of the Legion gaming laptop lineup without going over-the-top. It's loaded with some great components for its price including a choice of three Nvidia graphics cards.

The Bad The Y545 isn't as thin as its linemates or competitors and lacks extras like RGB per-key lighting and keyboard macros.

The Bottom Line Like its predecessor, the Y7000P, Lenovo's Legion Y545 outperforms its price.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 7

Lenovo's Legion gaming laptop line is sort of a mess at the moment because it's selling new and old models side by side. Both the new Legion Y540 and Y740 sit alongside the older but still excellent Y530 and Y730. The new models have the same understated black slab design of the old ones, but have newer ninth-gen Intel processors and the latest GTX and RTX graphics from Nvidia as well as better display options. Then there's the Legion Y545.  

The Y545 replaces the Legion Y7000P, which was only available at retail -- not direct from Lenovo -- and looked more like a typical gaming laptop. It was a great gaming value, though, and that's the case here with the Y545. It has the same chassis as the Y7000P, too, but now you're getting it with updated components that turned out impressive gaming performance for the money.

Also, unlike the Y7000P, the Y545 is available from Lenovo starting at $1,000. However, it seems you'll still find a better deal from a retailer. For example, my review laptop was available from NewEgg for $950, an amazing price considering what's in it including a GTX 1660 Ti GPU. A similar deal for $1,100 with twice the SSD storage and a 144Hz display is currently at Costco -- a configuration that'll run you $1,550 direct from Lenovo at the moment. But if you're even considering spending that much, you'd be better off spending $1,400 at B&H and get one with an Nvidia RTX 2060 and a 144Hz display

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The angular chassis of the Y545 looks more like a typical gaming laptop. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Because the Y545 is so similar to the Legion Y7000P, you'll see a lot of the same ground covered here. The conclusion is the same, too, for that matter: If you want a gaming laptop with performance that's above entry-level and without the crazy price tag, the Legion Y545 is worth putting on your short list. 

Lenovo Legion Y545

Price as reviewed $1,300
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 1,920x1,080 display
CPU 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2667MHz
Graphics 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Storage 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Choose your style

A lot of the component options are the same between the Legion Y540 and Y545, so design is much of what sets them apart. The Legion Y540 looks more like a black Thinkpad workstation with subtle Legion branding than a typical gaming laptop. The Y545 is a little more aggressive with flared cooling vents and an angular, iron-gray metal lid with a big glowing Y symbol. It's not over the top, but it's also not your average thin-and-light laptop, especially not at 5 pounds (2.3kg). 

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Most of the Y545's ports are in back. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like its linemates, though, most of the Y545's ports and power input are on back between its main cooling vents. It's a good setup for controlling cable clutter, particularly if it's going to regularly be at a desk connected to an external display, mouse and keyboard. However, it can also be a pain blindly reaching around back until you remember which port is which. There are single USB-A ports on each side and a headphone jack on the left in addition to what's in the rear, but no SD card slot. 

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