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