A common theme of gamer-oriented hardware is that it’s ostentatious and often ugly, with bright lights and logos and LEDs making it all feel rather distasteful. Lenovo’s Legion gaming hardware consciously bucks that trend by producing machines that offer gaming specs (and all the colorful lighting that for some reason goes with those specs) while still looking respectable and grown-up once you turn all the colored lights off.
Lenovo says that this is a very deliberate decision; after consulting with a wide range of gamers, the company found that an overall more conservative appearance was popular with gamers of all ages. While configurable RGB lighting is popular, many would-be buyers of gaming systems want the ability to turn all that off and have a machine that doesn’t look out of place in the office or classroom. The price of gaming systems often means that they’ll be their owners’ sole or primary system, which makes this kind of adaptability important. Systems with an ominous red glow, angular designs, and aggressive styling might appeal to some buyers but lack this kind of “acceptable anywhere” versatility.
The Legion laptops all have a “butt” that sticks out behind the screen hinge, presumably to aid in cooling; the rear of the machine contains all the ports and large air vents. The more expensive systems put RGB lighting in all the air vents, behind the keyboard, so they can be lit up and multicolored if you want, but turn the lights off and the machines become unobtrusive, with little to betray their gaming intent.
The higher-end Y740 comes in both 17- and 15-inch versions with identical internals: up to a 6 core/12 thread Coffee Lake processor with 8, 16, or 32GB RAM. The GPU is a mystery, with Lenovo describing it as an “unannounced Nvidia GeForce GPU.” Presumably this means one of the new Nvidia 2000-series mobile chips; current-generation systems use a GeForce 1050 Ti, so we expect something as good or better than that.
The standard display is a 144Hz 300 nit 1920×1080 screen with G-Sync variable refresh rates, with the option of a 500 nit HDR panel. Storage options are up to 512GB PCIe SSD and up to 2TB hard disk. Sound comes from a Dolby Atmos four-speaker system (with a subwoofer in the 17-inch models). The systems have one Thunderbolt 3 port, three USB 3.1 generation 2 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and mini-DisplayPort.
The 15-inch version has a 57Wh battery, starts at 2.2kg/4.8lbs, and 19.95mm/0.78 inches thick. That goes up to a 76Wh battery for the 17-inch device, which is 2.9kg/6.3lbs and 21.95mm/0.86 inches thick.
Prices start at $1749.99 for the 15-inch and $1979.99 for the 17 inch, with sales starting in February.
For something a bit cheaper but still with an unannounced discrete Nvidia GPU, look no further than the 15-inch Y540. The specs are less complete for this system; it’ll include an unspecified Intel processor, up to 32GB RAM, and up to 25GB PCIe SSD or 2TB hard disk. Depending on the configuration, you’ll get a 52.5Wh or 57Wh battery. There are three USB 3.1 generation 1 ports, one Type-C port (but no Thunderbolt 3), HDMI 2.0, mini-DisplayPort, and Ethernet. The display options are either a 144Hz 1920×1080 300 nit screen or a 60Hz 1920×1080 300 nit screen.
While not as powerful as the Y740 machines, the Y540 is being pitched at the players of MOBAs like Dota 2 and League of Legends; it’d probably be a reasonable machine for titles such as Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, too. These games have substantial competitive multiplayer scenes, but they all run on relatively low-end hardware: they can limp along with an integrated GPU and become fully playable with a discrete chip.
Instead of fancy colored lights, the Y540 has just a plain white backlight for its keyboard.
Prices will start at $929.99, with availability beginning in May.
Listing image by Lenovo