There’s a lot to like in a big laptop. While notebook and tablet makers continue to slice off inches and ounces, eliminating ports, cramping keyboards, and compromising performance, it’s refreshing to come across a behemoth like the 17-inch Lenovo ideapad Y700.
The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is a 17-inch gaming notebook.
Actually, it’s a 17.3-inch Windows laptop; the latest in Lenovo’s Y series that sits somewhere between a true multimedia and gaming device. That’s a good thing, as the team at NotebookReview has praised past Y series notebook for achieving a near perfect balance between price, mainstream appeal, and processing muscle. On paper, the new Lenovo ideapad Y700 fits the bill, with a 6th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and discreet Nvidia graphics, along with a price tag starting at less than $1000 as of this writing.
Does that mean it’s time to clear off desk space to make room for this Windows 10 giant? Read on to find out.
Build & Design
The Lenovo ideapad Y700 is unique in that it embraces an aggressive aesthetic that is just short of the garish style commonly found on gaming rigs. Its red highlights and angular accents are brash compared with a standard ThinkPad, but the Y700 wouldn’t be completely out of place in the office. Business users could consider it the tacky tie of notebooks.
The Lenovo ideapad Y700 lid is prone to smudges.
It’s also a monster, measuring a whopping 16.65 x 12 x 1.1 inches, and weighing at least 7.7 pounds. Its display lid and bottom panel consist of high-quality brushed aluminum. This is great when it comes to shrugging off scuffs, but it picks up smudges and fingerprints more than it should, and it also makes the Y700 tough to grip. You’ll either have to carry it under your arm, or use two hands to move it.
The inside panel surrounding the keyboard is rubberized plastic, which feel pleasant but also picks up smudges. A hard plastic surrounds the speakers and power button on the back edge, spilling over to the rear of the device, covering the main exhaust vent, which hides underneath the center display hinge.
The hinge itself is very stiff and requires two hands to open. It speaks to the overall notebook construction, as this is a solidly built notebook. The keyboard panel has very little bounce, and the bottom panel simply won’t creak with moderate to heavy force. The display lid does have some give, which is acceptable given its size.
Ports and Connectivity
One benefit of big size is a decent port selection. The Y700 has two USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI, Ethernet, and a Kensington security lock on one side, and a Lenovo DC-in, USB 2.0 port, 4-in-1 media card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack on the other. This is plenty for most users, especially considering the dearth of ports and inputs on the latest mainstream devices. However given the Y700’s size, we’re a bit disappointed Lenovo didn’t go for overkill here.
In addition to the Ethernet port, the Lenovo Y700 supports dual-band AC Wi-Fi, along with Bluetooth 4.0.
Lenovo ideapad Y700 has two USB 3.0 inputs, HDMI port, Ethernet port, and Kensington security lock.
Lenovo ideapad Y700 has a Lenovo DC-in, USB 2.0 input, multi-card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.
The Lenovo ideapad Y700 has a 17.3-inch IPS anti-glare display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which equates to a 16:9 aspect ratio and 127 pixels per inch. This is also a non-touch display with a thick bezel.
With 4K slowly becoming the standard for high-end rigs, it’s tempting to call the Y700’s resolution a disappointment. This is part of Lenovo’s balancing act. A 17.3-inch 4K display would drive the price up considerably, and have a negative effect on the battery. It’s hard not to agree with the decision here, given the screen doesn’t look too shabby on its own. It’s bright at max settings, and colors pop, though a faint reflection is persistent and glare can overtake the display at extreme angles.
Compared side-by-side with a higher quality display will reveal the Y700’s weaknesses, most notably its slight pixilation.
We will gripe about the lack of touch here. Lenovo offers a touch-enabled 15-inch Y700, but not at this size. While Windows 10 is much better suited to mouse and touchpad control than its predecessor, the Y700 would benefit from touch given how natural it seems to reach out and tap the large display.
The JBL speakers are a different story. They are some of the best we’ve tested on a notebook in recent memory. The move to thin and light has degraded device speaker quality in recent years (TVs too), but a large device the Y700 has plenty of room. In addition to the two main speakers behind the keyboard, the Lenovo ideapad Y700 has an additional speaker and subwoofer on the bottom. They’re powerful, emitting both clear and robust sound, making them suitable for both gaming and media consumption.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The Lenovo ideapad Y700 has 102-key board with red backlighting and dedicated number pad. The Chiclet-style keys are large and well-spaced resulting in a comfortable typing experience. Gamers should take head however. Even though the keys have a decent travel distance, they lack snap and trigger with too little force. Resting your fingers on them will result in the occasional accidental press. Key spacing is even across the board, with nothing to separate the number pad from the QWERTY. This puts the backspace key too close to the number lock, and the right shift key too close to the up arrow. Both resulted in numerous accidental presses during our time with the machine.
Lenovo ideapad Y700 102-key keyboard
Lenovo ideapad Y700 single-piece trackpad
The single-piece trackpad measures 4.2 x 2.7 inches, and rests off center from the keyboard, under the space bar. It’s large and responsive in terms both single- and two-finger gestures, but as we mentioned when we first saw the Y700 in late 2015, it will frustrate gamers. A multi-button trackpad is much better for them as it provides more control and feedback for right and left mouse clicks.