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Lenovo Legion Y730 (15-inch) review: Good gaming extras without the budget-busting price

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MSRP: $1,179.99
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The Good The Lenovo Legion Y730 is a notch above other entry-level gaming laptops with its programmable per-key RGB lighting for the keyboard, custom macro keys and nice-looking full HD display. Despite the gaming extras, it wouldn't look out of place at the office and it's relatively thin and light.

The Bad Graphics options tap out with an upper entry-level Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Shifted keyboard layout takes some adjustment. Webcam is below the display. Battery life is short against competing models.

The Bottom Line Lenovo steps up the build quality and game-oriented features for the Legion Y730 while keeping its price reasonable for an entry-level gaming laptop. If graphics performance is your priority, though, you'll want to keep looking.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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

Review Sections

Lenovo's 2018 Legion Y530 and Y730 gaming laptops are like mash-ups between its last-gen Legion systems, which had more typical "gamer" styling, and one of the PC maker's ThinkPad workstation notebooks. 

There are no big stylized fan vents or angular edges with color highlights. They're just black and gray and even the Legion logo on the lid is reasonably discreet. The most striking thing about the design is that the display hinge on both is shifted forward, which allows for better cooling with rear and side air vents. It also gave Lenovo space to move power and a majority of its ports to the back, so you don't have a tangle of cords coming from the sides. 

However, while the Y530 and Y730 look alike at first glance, there are some meaningful differences. The Y530 is mostly plastic and has white lights for the keyboard backlight. The higher-end Y730 has an all-aluminum chassis and is fitted with RGB lighting for the keyboard, fan vents, side ports and lid emblem. The lighting is all programmable, too, right down to individual key colors with included software from gaming hardware and peripheral company Corsair. The Y730 also adds an extra row of keys on the left side of the keyboard for custom macros. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

While the Y730 also has slightly better memory and storage options as well as a better display than the Y530 we reviewed, the system processor and graphics options are the same: An eighth-gen Intel Core i7-8750H or i5-8300H and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti. 

Pricing for the Legion Y730 starts at $907.49 and £1,200 in the UK. It currently isn't available in Australia, but the Y530 is and it's available with a GTX 1060 card starting at AU$1,511.10. As reviewed here, the price is $1,549, but after discounts it's $1,162.49. It's also currently listed as sold out on Lenovo's site. You'll have to keep checking with Lenovo for this configuration, go with this $1,100 configuration (it just has less storage than my review system) or pick one up from a retailer like Best Buy.   

If having good gaming performance now and well into the future is crucial, you'll want to get a laptop with at least a GTX 1060 graphics card. That's not offered on the Y730, but is on the Y530. If you don't mind dialing back your video settings to save some money however, the Legion Y730 is an excellent choice for the money.   

Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH

Geekbox Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH
Price as reviewed $1,549
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Storage 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Window 10 Home (64-bit)

The keyboard is key

The aluminum body is nice, but the higher-end keyboard and lights are the better upgrades from the Y530. Having 16 million customizable color combinations at your fingertips is a lot of fun and pretty useful. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The included Corsair iCue software lets you easily set the color for individual keys or select keys en masse by using your cursor to draw a box around them. There are preset patterns you can choose from or you can set up your own patterns and save them to call up when you want, say for a specific game or if you simply want to switch to a more businesslike all-white backlight. 

There is also another app for setting up custom macros for a row of six keys on the left side of the keyboard. It, too, is easy to use. However, the macro key placement shifts the entire keyboard slightly to the right, which, for touch typists like myself, might cause some initial frustration. There's also a softness to the key travel that feels fine for long gaming sessions, but might disappoint for typing.

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