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

The subtle design continues inside with a slim bezel around its nice-looking 15.6-inch full HD display. Although it does have a chin where you'll find the webcam that's either pointing at your knuckles or up your nose. Display brightness is average for its class at around 300 nits and color performance is good enough for gaming. If you need a wide color gamut for photo and video work, this won't cut it. You can, however, get it with a 144Hz refresh rate display. 

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The Y545's keyboard is good, but you might want to attach a gaming keyboard when you're not traveling. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard is good, but nothing special. There's 1.7mm of key travel, which is nice, and they readily pop back up when pressed. However, they do have a softness to them that some might not care for, but I found comfortable for long gaming sessions. The shrunken number pad might bother some as well, although it does allow for larger separate arrow keys. There's a single-color white backlight with two levels of brightness. 

The touchpad is fine, but missing discrete buttons, which is kind of annoying not to have for casual gaming. It's a Windows Precision touchpad, too, so you get multitouch gesture support. It's smooth and responsive, but you should feel free to adjust the sensitivity to tame your cursor. 

More performance, less $$$

Getting a six-core Intel processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics for around $1,000 is pretty great, and while there are other $1,000 gaming laptops out there, the performance-to-price ratio here is impressive. You'll be able to play the latest games at native resolution and high settings, and it gives you headroom for the future. Not a lot, mind you, but it's room that you won't get by going with a GTX 1650 or the older GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti. Also, if you're toying with the idea of getting a VR headset, the GTX 1660 Ti can handle it.  

Despite the laptop's relative portability, battery life is still that of a typical gaming laptop. This configuration hit 4 hours and 59 minutes on CNET's streaming video test. Don't expect to get anywhere near that playing games, though -- you'll be lucky if you get past an hour and a half. Still for day-to-day stuff like web browsing, streaming video and music and office or school work, you'll be able to get four or five hours out of it. 

Like its predecessor, the Y7000P, Lenovo's Legion Y545 outperforms its price. The design might not be for everyone (I prefer the Y540's boxier build), but it's hard to argue with its overall value. You'll definitely want to keep an eye on pricing from retailers as well as Lenovo, especially as we push into holiday shopping season. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Y545
21,528
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
20,965
Alienware m15
20,851
Lenovo Legion Y730
17,786
Dell G5 5590
15,615

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Y7000P
1,182
Lenovo Legion Y730
1,181
Alienware m15
1,142
Lenovo Legion Y545
989
Dell G5 5590
844

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (streaming)

Dell G5 5590
490
Alienware m15
397
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
346
Lenovo Legion Y545
299
Lenovo Legion Y730
169

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Alienware m15
3,669
Lenovo Legion Y545
3,066
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
2,716
Lenovo Legion Y730
1,899
Dell G5 5590
1,867

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Far Cry 5 gaming test (fps)

Lenovo Legion Y545
86
Alienware m15
82
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
66
Dell G5 5590
48
Lenovo Legion Y730
44

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (fps)

Lenovo Legion Y545
79.2
Alienware m15
71.5
Lenovo Legion Y7000P
58.1
Dell G5 5590
48.7
Lenovo Legion Y730
37.7

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

System configurations

Lenovo Legion Y545 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1660Ti; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Dell G5 5590 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1650; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Lenovo Legion Y7000P Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1060; 1TB SSD
Alienware m15 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeFroce GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Legion Y730 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD

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