Lenovo Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop Review

Today we continue our series of affordable gaming laptops under 900 dollars with the new Lenovo Legion Y520 gaming laptop. This laptop is the newest model in Lenovos lineup of affordable laptops of the last couple of years. So let’s see what Lenovo did to improve its already very good gaming laptop family.

The Exterior

If you already know the previous Lenovo Y700 gaming laptop model you pretty much know what to expect. This new model has become part of Lenovo’s Legion brand of gaming related products. The full name of the new model is Lenovo Legion Y520. From the outside the new gaming laptop from Lenovo comes with a new carbon fiber textured finish. It’s not real carbon fiber, but plastic made to look like it and that’s a good thing. Carbon fiber is very expensive and that would make this laptop much more expensive. Apart from one crease down the middle and another 2 on the bottom sides the back cover features just the basic carbon fiber texture finish. A matte black lenovo logo in the usual top left corner of the cover is also present.Lenovo Legion Y520 gaming laptop review back left view

The 15.6-inch FullHD IPS screen in surrounded by an atypical matte black border. The top edge is raised in the middle following the crease on the top cover. The top border contains the built in webcam and stereo microphones. The only other design queue is the grey lenovo logo on the bottom left corner. The screen features the same long middle hinge that can be found on the previous model, making for a sturdy screen area.Lenovo Legion Y520 gaming laptop review speaker detail

Also in the screen area are the 2 built in speakers. These are located on either side of the large hinge and are oriented towards the front. This is a very good design choice and is also in keeping with the previous model.

The palmrest features a thin stripe of brushed aluminium below the screen that also contains the power button on the right side. The rest of the palmrest is finished in soft touch matte black. The full sized keyboard features red lettering and red backlighting. The touchpad also gets the same red border all around it. As a final detail you get a small legion badge on the bottom right corner in keeping with lenovo’s usual branding on other laptops.

As final design details, the back and 1 third of the underside feature corrugations that hide the dual fan cooling solution. A big plus point goes to the fact that the entire back panel can come off with just a few screws.

The Connectivity

Lenovo Legion Y520 gaming laptop available connectivity

When it comes to connectivity the Lenovo Legion Y520 has everything you’d come to expect from the latest gaming laptop. Present on this model are as follows:

  • The right side of the body features HDMI-out, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, the built in SD Card Reader and an USB Type C Port.
  • The left side features the lock port, the proprietary lenovo power port, Ethernet LAN port, one more USB 2.0 port, and the headset jack.
  • On the inside it feature Wireless WiFi 802.11 AC connectivity and Bluetooth 4.1

The Performance

This is where we come to the main event and the Lenovo Legion Y520 doesn’t disappoint. While you can spec this gaming laptop with an i7 and up to 16GB of RAM, I think the 80WK00FHUS version we are looking at today is more than enough.

This version of the laptop comes with the latest 7th Generation high power Intel Core i5-7300HQ running at 2.5GHz and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. On top of this it is equipped with the best value for money mobile GPU currently on the market, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of video memory. This combination is more than capable of running the latest games and high frame rates and quality. Have a look at this video:

For storage you get a 256 GB M.2 SSD and a free 2.5-inch bay where you can install more storage at a later date. The battery is a 45wHr unit good for up to 4 hours of regular use. Lenovo has made it very easy to make updates to this laptop thanks to the entire back panel coming off with just a few screws.

While this laptop does indeed feature dual fan cooling setup, because they are both installed in the middle of the chasis and effectively share both the cooling fins and heat-pipes I don’t think it is as efficient as designs we have seen in the past. 

At the time of this review this laptop is priced just around 900 dollars and compared to the ASUS K501UW-AB78 I reviewed last week, I think this is a much better value for the money laptop.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Lenovo Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
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Who is it for? discussing who would benefit most from this laptop...

  • Gaming
    If there ever was a doubt about the gaming credentials of the Lenovo Legion Y520 then you can definitely lay them to rest. It features the latest in both processor and graphics technology and even in this affordable specification it is more than capable to run the latest and greatest games out there. It is very well designed, comes with a very good IPS screen and has the typical lenovo fit and finish you would expect. Lenovo's Y line of gaming laptops still contains one of the best value for the money gaming laptops out there. I can only highly recommend these laptops for gamers.

  • Student
    If you know you're and engineering student and need to run 3D CAD applications or maybe an architect looking to do a lot of renders, then you can't go wrong with the Lenovo Legion Y520. If on the other hand you are just a gamers and don't want to give this hobby up while in college then you are also very well served. While this is specifically a purpose built gaming laptop and it can afford to skip a larger battery, for anyone else who doesn't fit the criteria above it isn't such a good choice. The 4 hours of battery life can barely make it through a half day away from an outlet. It also isn't built to be light, making it heavier than other laptops.

  • Power User
    While the red and black design of the Lenovo Legion Y520 is a take it or leave it sort of deal, I think we can agree that it is a very good base chasis for upgrades. You can get the i7-powered version and upgrade it to 16GB of RAM and a bigger or faster SSD later. The build quality is good and it is very well designed. I think a power user can definitely use this gaming laptop to suite their every need.

PROs Vs. CONs

While the Lenovo Legion Y520 comes in many more configuration, I think the most important one is the one with the nVidia GeForce GTX 1050ti no matter what CPU, RAM and storage combination you decide to go for. At the moment this GPU is the best value for money GPU available on the market. I will go as far as to say that the entire laptop is one of the best value for money models out there coming with a bit more of everything than everybody else.

The only thing I can come up to complain about the Lenovo Legion Y520 is that it starts out with just a 256GB SSD. While it is indeed a very fast SSD, it still isn't that much for a gamer. That's 2-3 games tops and an upgrade to an extra HDD is inevitable. Another thin that I'm not particularly sure if it's worth mentioning, but for a gaming laptop it doesn't feature that much eyecandy. The design looks good but it's missing the nowadays required RGB lights. It only features red keyboard backlight.



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Summary

I've been a long term fan on Lenovo's Y-line of gaming laptops. The Lenovo Legion Y520 gaming laptop didn't disappoint. If you have seen the previous models you would immediately identify this model if it was without any badging. It takes everything that made the previous models such amazing value for the money buys and improves on them. It now comes with the latest CPU, GPU and storage technology and on top of that it also comes with the best mobile GPU currently available. I think the GeForce GTX 1050ti perfectly compliments the Y-lines value for money core concept. I can only recommend this laptop to any gamers looking for an affordable gaming laptop.
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Technical Details

Processor Intel Core i5-7300HQ 2.5GHz
Video Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
RAM Memory 8GB DDR4
Audio Two Built-in Stereo Speakers with High Definition Audio
Operating System Windows 10
Display 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080px
Storage Drive 256 GB SSD -rpm
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
USB 2.0 Ports 1
USB 3.0 Ports 2
Built-in Camera Yes
Built-in Microphone Yes
Optical Drive -
Memory Card Reader Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Headphone-out Yes
VGA-out -
HDMI-out Yes
LAN-out Yes
Color Black with Red Accents
Width 14.96 in.
Depth 10,42 in.
Height 1.01 in.
Weight 5.28 lbs.
Battery Life up to 4 hours
Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty

Updated on May 1st, 2017

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