17-inch Lenovo Y70 Touch gaming laptop running Windows 8.1 hands-on review

Hands-on review of the 17-inch Lenovo Y70 Touch gaming laptop

I’ve always enjoyed using a desktop PC, complete with a set of widescreen monitors to compliment my entertainment experience. Smartphones and tablets are ideal for on-the-go entertainment, along with notebooks. But what about gaming laptops for those who enjoy games or multimedia on the go? I’ve never used or owned a gaming laptop before, so when the Lenovo Y70 arrived on our doorsteps for review, I was quite shocked at how heavy and powerful a gaming laptop can be. Let’s explore it!

Hardware

Starting with specs, this monster device comes powered by an Intel Core i7 4710HQ (2.50Ghz) processor, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GDDR5 4GB as the graphics power horse. The display is massive too — a 17.3-inch 1080p display with LED AntiGlare multi-touch. The device features a 1TB 5400RPM HD and 8GB SSD, 16GB of DDR3 PC3-12800 RAM, Dolby Advanced Audio v2, integrated 720p camera, and more.

There are two USB 3.0 ports located on the device, as well as a USB 2.0 port, 4-in-1 card reader, HDMI, SPDIF, RJ45, and a audio combo jack. The device also weighs seven pounds, although it feels like it weights a lot more. Seriously, it is quite heavy. If you have never picked up a gaming laptop before, you will be amazed at how heavy a device like this can be. You can easily do front deltoid raises with it to work your front delts! (those who workout will get this reference).

Hands-on review of the 17-inch Lenovo Y70 Touch gaming laptop

Hands-on review of the 17-inch Lenovo Y70 Touch gaming laptop

Impressions

This device is massive and it is heavy. The design is nothing to be too excited over, as it features a black design with red accents. It is an elegant looking gaming laptop that can easily leave smudges all over the outside of the device, so be prepared for that.

You can’t carry it in one hand without the risk of dropping it. The keyboard is quite nice and is back-lit, as you can see in the images above. The keyboard layout is very nice too, making it quite enjoyable to play games. There is plenty of space on the device to rest your palms, making your experience comfortable.

The 17-inch screen is massive and my biggest complaint was the “AntiGlare” display, which to me was not 100% accurate. I could see myself in the display like I was looking into a mirror whenever the screen was dark. For example, during the loading phase of Dying Light, the screen goes dark, and I can see myself looking at the screen. 

Other than the glare, the colors were vivid, the brightness is high, and watching a movie on the Y70 was an enjoyable experience. Don’t want to use the trackpad? Touch the screen! The Y70 is touch capable, which is awesome. Sound quality on the Y70 was phenomenal — the JBL speakers really pack a punch. I found myself listening to my favorite tracks on Spotify and enjoying a BluRay movie thanks to the amazing quality and loud speakers.

The Lenovo Y70 Touch is quite powerful in terms of specs and navigating around Windows 8.1 was a breeze. Launching applications and games were also quick and snappy. However, gaming performance was a different story.

Games like Far Cry 4 and Crisis 2 played well, while games like Dying Light played a little rough on high settings. In fact, playing Dying Light on the Y70 Touch wasn’t as smooth as I expected. I experienced lag and poor frame rates while playing the game on high setting.

Of course, if you lower some of the settings, your frame rates will improve, but for an expensive gaming laptop like the Y70, I expected to be able to play any game at a high setting — I was disappointed. Take a look at some videos below showcasing the device in action. (keep in mind that if you lower the “shadow” settings, you can improve your frame rates)

Performance

The performance of the Y70 is phenomenal, this device is blazing fast when it comes to running applications or watching movies. It’s snappy, feels fast, and allows me to move around the operating system quickly and efficiently. In this day and age, it’s quite easy to become spoiled with the quickness of the latest technology in your home, especially when your work office operates on older technology. The Y70 made me feel like I was lugging around my powerful desktop PC in a laptop form — and that’s a cool feeling for a power-hungry consumer like me.

“As Lenovo’s largest touchscreen laptop, the Y70 Touch aims to open up a whole new level of interaction for video editing, social sharing and gaming. The new Y70 is equipped to take advantage of NVidia’s advanced Maxwell architecture. In addition, the GeForce GTX 800M Series of notebook GPUs are designed for performance with power efficiency improvements so users can enjoy the highest quality mobile gaming experience,” Lenovo states.

We ran PCMark 8, a computer benchmark tool developed by Futuremark, which gave us a Home Conventional score of 3045.  The test lasted close to one hour. In comparison, this score beats the average Office PC score of 2498, Gaming laptop score of 2521, Ultralight notebook score of 2633, and comes close to the high end gaming PC score of 4908. This Home Conventional test measures the performance of the CPU, GPU, RAM, and more, offering a well rounded score of the device.

The PCMark Work test gave us a score of 4491. The Work benchmark test measures the system’s ability to perform basic office work tasks, such as writing documents, browsing websites, creating spreadsheets, and using video chat. 

We also ran 3DMark RT, an app from Futuremark available in the Windows Store, and achieved a score of “maxxed out” for the Ice Storm Extreme test. This test is for high performance mobile devices. Comparatively, the Surface Pro 3 has a 47191 score for the Core i5 model. The Asus Transformer Book T100A scores 7630 and the Dell XPS 10  scores 3036. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 has a score of 3266. The first-generation Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 has a 2530 score.

The Lenovo Y70 Touch comes with NVIDIA’s older generation GeForce GTX 860M GPU, with 4GB of RAM. Although it seems powerful, this basically means the Y70 can play most of today’s latest games with less-than-high settings. If you can settle for this, then the Y70 is your complete gaming package.

Hands-on review of the 17-inch Lenovo Y70 Touch gaming laptop

Battery Life

The Lenovo Y70 averaged roughly 4 to 6 hours of battery life with moderate usage (web surfing, light gaming, watching a movie), considering Lenovo promises “up to 5 hours” battery life. If you play a game like Dying Light for two hours straight, you will notice your battery life will decrease significantly. This is quite annoying considering gaming laptops should be able to accommodate the gamer, since the device will primarily be used for resource-intensive functions. Then again, you can easily fix the battery problem by having your device plugged into the outlet all day long.

Hands-on review of the 17-inch Lenovo Y70 Touch gaming laptop

Final Thoughts

The Lenovo Y70 Touch comes in four different variants, with the cheapest option being $999 and the most expensive option costing $1,399.00. Each option has a different CPU spec and GPU spec. This particular review unit features the most powerful specs, costing $1,399.00, and comes with a one year warranty. You can also snag the Signature Edition of the device, with Office 365, for $1,278.99 at the online Microsoft Store.

So is the Lenovo Y70 Touch worth the price? Well, it all depends on your needs. If I were in the market for a gaming laptop, ideally it’s because I want a device that can play games at max settings, not at medium settings. If you don’t mind this annoyance, then you will enjoy your purchase of the Y70. However, if you are expecting more out of a gaming laptop, look elsewhere.

The bottom line? The Lenovo Y70 Touch delivers mid-range gaming performance with a sharp display and great audio, but battery life sucks and the device is quite heavy. However, the Y70 is a solid device with a reasonable price. You can check out the device on Lenovo’s website here. 

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