Lenovo ideapad Y700 Review: A Balanced Behemoth

Lenovo ideapad Y700The Lenovo ideapad Y700 ships with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 6700HQ Processor (2.60GHz 1600MHz 6MB) and Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics with either 2GB or 4GB. In addition it’s available with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM (PC4-17000 DDR4 2133 MHz), and various capacities ranging from 512GB to more than 1TB, including HDDs, SSDs, and hybrid hard drives. The Y700 was not built to be user upgradeable. As of this writing, prices from Lenovo range from $949.99 to $1449.99.

The NotebookReview evaluation unit of the Y700 had the following configuration:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 17.3″ FHD IPS AntiGlare with integrated camera (1920×1080)
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor (2.60GHz 1600MHz 6MB)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 4GB
  • 16GB PC4-17000 DDR4 2133 MHz
  • 1TB 5400 RPM+128GB SSD
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
  • 4 Cell 60 Watt Hour Li-Polymer battery
  • Dimensions: 16.65 x 12.00 x 1.10-inches
  • Weight: 7.7lbs.
  • Price as Configured: $1,349.99 (available for $1,099.99 as of this writing)

As it stands, Nvidia’s 960M is perfectly capable of running new games like Just Cause 3 and Fallout 4 at low and medium settings, and older games from 2014 and 2013 with high detail settings near or at 60 frames per second. We were able to run 2013’s Tomb Raider at Ultra settings, averaging approximately 52 frames per second. That said, gamers will be disappointed Lenovo doesn’t offer a configuration with a more powerful GPU, like the 965M, 970M, or 980M, which could better handle new games at higher settings. Again, it’s a balancing act. The 960M is an upper mid-range graphics card that’s as much about delivering value as it is about delivering oomph. The Core i7 processor and Nvidia GPU do very well for day to day use, however. In testing, the ideapad proved both swift and stable, with multiple programs and browser tabs open. 

There’s a preponderance bloatware here. Most of it is harmless Lenovo-branded utilities, but McAfee LiveSafe is both persistent and annoying with its popups pleading and urging users to sign on to its largely unnecessary service. We understand bloatware helps keep the cost of hardware down, but we wouldn’t mind paying a bit extra to not have to deal with it.

Heat and noise were both non-issue during testing, even while running strenuous benchmarks. The fan is quiet and combines with the vents to do a great job dispersing heat. The Lenovo ideapad Y700 never got more than slightly warm during our time with it.

Benchmarks

wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):

wprime

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):

pcm8h

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):

pcm8w

3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

3dm 11

3DMark Fire Strike is a newer benchmark measuring overall graphics card performance for visually demanding games (higher scores mean better performance):

3dmfire

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance tests:

cdmark cdmark2

Battery

To test battery life, we used Futuremark’s PowerMark benchmark. It’s “Balanced Mode” test consists of web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback. It’s more strenuous than typical use, even in an office setting with productivity tasks, as it simulates high-stress usage short of actual gaming. Consider this close to the minimum a user can expect out of the battery.

powermark

In this test the Lenovo ideapad Y700 lasted 3 hours and 37 minutes. That’s a good result for a gaming notebook considering many fail to hit two hours. In fact it’s second only to the Gigabyte P37x v4 which bested it by 28 minutes. Compared to multimedia machines with a dedicated GPU, it’s still a decent number, but not the best. The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 series, which has similar specs with a smaller, 15.6-inch display outlasted it by 32 minutes.

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