The PC gaming market has been pretty strong market over the last couple of years, and recent developments have pushed the boundaries again. With the impending launches of virtual reality headsets, we’ve seen even notebook manufacturers getting prepared to drive these new devices, but it takes a lot of compute to do it. Manufacturers going after sales of gaming notebooks are going to be able to eke out better margins too, so it’s an area many of them focus on. But the typical gaming notebook is going to be quite expensive. A powerful mobile GPU, nice display, and good processor, are all going to add to the bill of materials. For those that want to get into the market for a gaming notebook, sometimes you don’t want to break the bank.

When you try to define what makes up a gaming notebook, it’s not always cut and dry. You are certainly going to expect a discrete graphics card in the mix, along with enough processing power and storage to keep some of the latest games, which are now often times 50 GB or more. Proper gaming notebooks are going to have sufficient cooling to keep everything working at peak capacity for extended sessions of high use.

Lenovo markets their gaming lineup under the Y branding, and they offer both notebooks and desktops targeted towards this market. To round out the collection, they also offer gaming keyboards, 7.1 headphones, and even a backpack to haul the equipment around in. Today we are going to take a look at the IdeaPad Y700 gaming notebook, which was launched with Skylake processors at IFA 2015. Lenovo offers a very impressive entry level price on the Y700, with it starting at just $899 for the 15.6-inch model. This is not the only Y700 they have on offer, and Ian was able to test out a pre-production model with AMD’s Carrizo APU and R9 M380 graphics. The model Lenovo sent for review though is the Intel Core i7-6700HQ version with NVIDA GTX 960M graphics and touch display. The touch version starts at $1099 with 8 GB of memory, and the model we have is the $1149 version with 16 GB of memory.

Lenovo Ideapad Y700
As Tested: Core i7-6700HQ, 16GB RAM, 128GB+1TB, 1920x1080 Touch
  Non Touch 15 Touch 15
CPU Intel Core i5-6300HQ (45W)
2.3-3.2 GHz Quad-Core 6MB Cache

Intel Core i7-6700HQ (45W)
2.6-3.5 GHz Quad-Core with Hyperthreading 6MB Cache
Intel Core i7-6700HQ (45W)
2.6-3.5 GHz Quad-Core with Hyperthreading 6MB Cache
GPU Integrated: Intel HD 530
Discrete: NVIDIA GTX 960M
(640 CUDA Cores, 2 or 4 GB GDDR5 depending on model)
Optimus Enabled
Memory 8GB or 16GB DDR4 RAM (SODIMMs)
Display 15.6" IPS 1920x1080 resolution
non-touch with matte finish
15.6" IPS 1920x1080 resolution
touch with gloss finish

Optional: 3840x2160 IPS panel
Storage HDD: 500GB or 1TB HDD
Optional SSD: 128 GB or 512 GB SATA SSD
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
802.11ac 1x1:1

Optional: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
802.11ac 2x2:2

Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek)
I/O USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 always on x 1
SD Card reader
HDMI 1.4
Headset Jack
Dimensions (mm) : 387 x 277 x 25.95
(inches) : 15.23 x 10.90 x 1.02
Weight 2.6 kg / 5.7 lbs
Camera Windows Hello (Front) optional
720p standard
Price $899+ $1099+ (As tested: $1149)

There is quite a bit of value here with the internals. The Core i7-6700HQ is a 45-Watt quad-core processor with hyperthreading, 16 GB of DDR4 memory should be plenty for any gaming scenario, and you even get a SSD for the boot drive. The PM871 Samsung drive is a SATA SSD based on TLC V-NAND, so write performance likely won’t be great, but regardless it’s going to be a lot nicer than using the 1 TB hard disk drive for the OS drive. The 15.-6-inch display is an IPS panel as well, and it’s great to even see low cost gaming notebooks ditching the TN option.

We also get our first sighting of the latest Intel wireless card, which is the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260. The baseline option appears to be just the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3265 which is a single stream solution, so the 8260 with 2x2:2 is the way to go. We’ll see later in the review how it fares.

Component wise, Lenovo has crafted a strong looking laptop for this price range. The GTX 960M is a decent pairing for 1080p gaming, and with options of either an i5 or i7 quad-core chip, there should be enough CPU power to keep everything running at maximum.

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  • JusSn - Friday, February 12, 2016 - link

    Really impressed with this laptop, got the 1 TB/8GB RAM model and put in an m.2 mSATA for less than $980 total. Other than the screen (which is indeed horrible and has terrible PWM flickering at lower brightness), the only thing that bothers me is that the trackpad is slightly uneven. Does the review unit also have this problem? Can't really tell from the photos.

    On my unit the upper-left corner is millimetrically higher than the surrounding wrist rest area. It's nitpicking but I'm wondering if I should get it exchanged once I get back to living with my desktop.
  • Timings - Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - link

    I was also disappointed the day I got this Y700 with just 1TB 5400 rpm drive. It was damn slow when booting as if it has Intel Celeron inside. I replaced the HDD with a Kingston hyper x SSD and then I liked it. Out of the box, the display is really horrible as you have said it. I peeled off the plastic on the screen the same day, still it did not impress me much. But here is a solution which you can do since you have already spent your money for it: calibrate it. 1. Go to Control panel then Intel HD graphics, then Display. Select colour settings then select Basic. Reduce brightness from 0 to -20. Leave gamma and contrast as default. Click Apply. Then select Advance. Increase hue from 0 to 16, increase saturation from 0 to 57. Click Apply and close Intel HD graphics. 2. While still on control panel window, select Display then select Calibrate colour. Click next next next until you reach Adjust colour balance. Move the Red and Green sliders from 100% to somewhere around 85% by eye. Leave the Blue slider at 100% (default) and click Next then Finish. If you thought of selling that laptop, you will now think twice after doing these settings.
  • Michael Bay - Saturday, February 13, 2016 - link

    Whatever OEM first makes a gaming laptop that doesn`t look any different from your run-of-the-mill machine will get incredible money.
    Those things aren`t just ugly, they scream loser.
  • GeorgeH - Saturday, February 13, 2016 - link

    "It does include a number pad, but it is compressed into the rest of the keyboard when there is plenty of space on the laptop deck to stretch it out a bit."

    I very much doubt that. If they did stretch it out there'd be no room for the ports on the side unless they made the laptop thicker.
  • ET - Sunday, February 14, 2016 - link

    I have a Y70-70, and I'm quite disappointed with it. Biggest problem is the laptop shutting down during gaming, probably due to overheating. The touch screen also acts occasionally, making the laptop non-responsive until I put it to sleep and out (with the power button). Keyboard isn't that great. In short, I'm weary of Lenovo's offerings right now.
  • medi03 - Sunday, February 14, 2016 - link

    Meh for no Carrize 380M... =(
  • horrorwood - Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - link

    It literally looks the same as the y50-70?

    Considering the GPU is the same and it comes with haswell instead of skylake (not much difference), I think the clearance prices on the y50-70 are a steal.
  • evolucion8 - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    Seeing how close the GTX 960M with its 640 cores can get when compared with the GTX 870M with its 1344 cores shows how nVidia stopped optimizing for Kepler and considering that Maxwell is essentially a distilled Kepler, it will face the same fate once Pascal is launched, the fast aging syndrome.
  • deeps6x - Friday, February 19, 2016 - link

    Why is it so much heavier than the MSI GS60 with the same specs? 2.7kg vs 2.0kg. Or if you prefer, 5.7 lbs vs 4.4 lbs.
  • Billybadass - Monday, July 4, 2016 - link

    This is the dumbest article I've ever read in my entire life and this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

    The Lenovo y700 (every model) comes with a battery that lasts UP TO 5 hours ( but that lasts only 4 hrs 16 mins upon continuous web surfing ( so there is NO WAY IN HELL this guy found it to last for EIGHT hours of continuous gaming.

    Not to mention since I just bought mine and have been using it for light customization and light web surfing the battery has lasted me at, yep... just above 4 hours. Can you IMAGINE if I had been gaming?

    Ignore this article.

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