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Lenovo Legion Y740 (17-inch) review: Understated design conceals superior Nvidia RTX firepower

Lenovo's triple threat: cutting-edge components, an understated design and a very competitive price.

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Justin Jaffe
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Justin Jaffe

Managing editor

Justin Jaffe leads the CNET Money team. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which explores how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how you can protect yourself. Justin has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on technology and financial subjects for Wired, IDC and others.

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Many gaming laptops wear their credibility on their proverbial sleeves, garnished with glowing serpents or alien logos. The top dog of Lenovo's Legion series, the Y740, is straightforwardly all business.

Lenovo Legion Y740 17
8.3

Lenovo Legion Y740 (17-inch)

The Good

One of the first laptops on the market with the latest Nvidia RTX graphics cards. High-performance display. Rear ports prevent cord tangles on the sides. Highly programmable RGB keyboard lighting. Understated, professional look.

The Bad

Heavy. Keyboard feels a bit mushy.

The Bottom Line

The Legion Y740 delivers cutting-edge gaming performance at a considerably lower price than the competition.

We really liked last year's edition of this laptop for its subtle design, competent performance and reasonable price. Then the 2019 version surfaced at CES in January looking quite similar but with some new, cutting-edge GPU options and an enhanced display, addressing two shortcomings of the Y730. Now, our like has evolved into something more like love.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

New display and GPU for 2019

Available with a 15-inch or 17-inch IPS display, the Y740 now features 144Hz full HD with G-Sync support, providing smoother gaming performance with fewer artifacts. And, more importantly, it can be configured with the new GeForce RTX series -- the 2060, 2070 Max-Q or 2080 Max-Q. These new graphics cards feature ray-tracing technology that enhances in-game lighting and reflection. (The Max-Q variants, which deliver slightly less power than their full-size counterparts, are designed to fit inside of thinner laptops.)

The 15-inch model starts at $1,750 (£1,370 and AU$2,450), and the 17-incher at $1,950 (£1,530 and AU$2,730). Our $2,203.99 test configuration (model 81HH0004US) features the larger display plus most of the top component options: a Max-Q RTX 2080 GPU, a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor running at 2.2GHz, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB 7,200 RPM hard drive paired with a PCIe-NVMe 256GB SSD. 

Lenovo Legion Y740-17ICHg

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Lenovo Legion Y740 (17-inch)

Price as reviewed $2,203.99
Display size/resolution 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 display
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz
Graphics 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Storage 1TB hard drive, 256GB SSD PCIe-NVMe
Networking Killer Wireless 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

RTX speed at a GTX price

Equipped with some of the most powerful hardware on the market, the Y740's performance is pretty much what you'd expect: straight flames. But, interestingly, it held its own among some other, pricier RTX 2080-equipped configurations we tested, including the $3,299 Asus ROG Zephyrus GX701 and the $3,000 Acer Predator Triton 500 -- a lighter, more compact 15.6-inch laptop.

The data is fairly conclusive: among the four RTX 2080 Max-Q systems we've tested, the Y740 turned in the most frames per second in Far Cry 5, took second place in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and landed in the middle of the pack in the Metro Exodus RTX benchmark. It also took the top spot in our PCMark 10 Pro and Cinebench R15 tests. And yet the Y740's price is more in line with laptops from last year equipped with Nvidia's previous GeForce flagship graphics card series, the GTX. 

Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
Sarah Tew/CNET

My hands-on testing reinforced these findings. A few hours roaming the virtual landscapes of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided convinced me that Lenovo Legion Y740 can capably handle games as well as systems that cost considerably more. And a bonus: the battery life is halfway decent, lasting more than 3.5 hours.

A tried-and-true design

Apart from the display and GPU, the Legion Y740 is virtually identical to the Y730 we reviewed last November -- but for one minor but welcome departure: Lenovo has moved the webcam to the top of the display. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same sturdy, heavy aluminum chassis that nicely accommodates an illuminated and highly programmable but somewhat limp keyboard and, on the 17-inch model, a dedicated number pad. The touchpad is petite but responsive. A complement of glowing ports neatly line the laptop's back edge: two USB 3.1 (Gen 2), Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0. Along the sides are a headphone jack, a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port and a USB 3.1 (Gen 1) port. 

Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The verdict

If you're looking for a deal on an understated but powerful RTX laptop, the Lenovo Y740 is your jam. Lenovo often discounts its products -- even newer laptops -- and we've seen Max Q 2080 configurations for under $2,100. This portable gaming system will do the job as well as plenty of comparable laptops that cost many hundreds more.

Disclosure: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

RTX laptops

MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) $2,999See it at Amazon
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) $2,204See it at Lenovo
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) $3,299See it at Amazon
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) $2,999See it at Amazon
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) $2,349See it at Best Buy

Far Cry 5 (fps)

Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 103Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 99MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 96Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 95Alienware 17 R4 (Nvidia GTX 1080) 90Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) 79
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (fps)

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 88Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 88Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 88MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 83Alienware 17 R4 (Nvidia GTX 1080) 81Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) 57
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 5,299Alienware 17 R4 (Nvidia GTX 1080) 5,024Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,642Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,472MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,464Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) 3,362
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Port Royal

Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,523Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,253Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,064MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) 4,050Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) 2,992
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

MSI GS75 Stealth 8SG (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD
Acer Predator Triton 500 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; (2) 512GB SSD RAID 0
Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 24GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 1TB SSD
Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Legion Y740-17 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Alienware 17 R4 (Nvidia GTX 1080) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080; 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Lenovo Legion Y740 17
8.3

Lenovo Legion Y740 (17-inch)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 9Battery 7