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Lenovo Legion Y530 laptop review

A premium gaming notebook at an entry level price.

Our Verdict

The Legion Y530 packs the GTX 1050 Ti into a compelling package you could easily mistake for a much more expensive machine.

For

  • Premium look and feel
  • Ultra thin bezels on three sides
  • Excellent cooling and audio

Against

  • Webcam angle isn't very flattering

Lenovo might not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think of gaming laptops. The company hopes to change that perception with the introduction of the Lenovo Legion series of desktops and notebooks. For decades, the Lenovo Thinkpad has reigned supreme as a symbol of reliability for enterprise and business use around the globe. Will the Legion family do the same for gaming? If the latest Y530 notebook is any indicator, the company is off to a great start.

Specifications

Price: $849
Processor: Intel Core i5-8300H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Memory: 8GB DDR4
Resolution: 1920x1080
Display Type: IPS
Primary Storage: 128 GB SSD
Secondary Storage: 1 TB HDD
Connectivity: HDMI2.0, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, 3x USB 3.1, USB 3.1 Type C (Gen 1), headphone, microphone
Dimensions: 0.95 x 14.37 x 10.24 inches
Weight: 5.10 lbs
Warranty: One year

Much like competitor Gigabyte's AORUS, Asus' ROG and Acer's Predator, Lenovo's Legion lineup hopes to differentiate itself as a dedicated family for gaming. In many cases, this can result in a bit of a premium for features like per-key RGB lighting, mechanical keyboards and edgy gaming aesthetics. This is precisely the reason why Lenovo's latest Legion Y530 stood out to us. From its lowest spec $750 model to its highest spec model that's twice the price, the Y530 offers the same sleek chassis and feature set making it a fantastic choice for gaming on a budget.

Priced at $849, the mid range model features Intel's Core i5-8300H, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, a 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. Aside from those internal components, the $849 Y530 offers the same lovely features as its $1500 counterpart. This includes: ultra thin bezels, Harman speakers with Dolby Audio, full-sized white backlit keyboard, exceptional cooling and all around killer looks. 

It even includes all of the connectivity options you'd expect from a high-end notebook with 3x USB 3.1 ports, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x Mini DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, ethernet and headphone/microphone ports. Everything is housed in a relatively lightweight 5.1 lb package too. The only minor inconvenience about the housing is that the webcam is located beneath the screen to assist with those narrow bezels. If you don't typically use a laptop webcam, this would surely be a welcomed feature.

With a modest price point of $849, the Legion Y530 is one of the cheapest laptops we could find with a GTX 1050 Ti discrete graphics card. It even has the thinnest bezels we could find at its price point, too. Considering the bezels and other aesthetics, the Legion Y530 truly rivals the premium gaming notebooks of its competitors priced several hundred dollars higher. As far as budget gaming laptops are concerned, we believe the Y530 offers some of the best value you can find under $900. And that's not even taking into account performance just yet.

As expected from an 8th gen Intel Core i5 and GTX 1050 Ti combo, the Legion Y530 generated respectable benchmark results and tested very well against all of the modern games we threw against it. The only major hiccup we had was its puny 128GB SSD. When you consider the fact that modern games like Fallout 76 will take up over 90GB of disk space, you'll quickly realize a 128GB drive will get you nowhere. Luckily, a 500 GB M.2 SSD can be had for relatively cheap these days. The Y530 makes it easy to upgrade both storage and RAM.

$850 may be enough to get you a fairly decent gaming desktop, but if you're looking for an all-in-one laptop in that range with balanced gaming performance and portability, Lenovo's Legion Y530 might be a perfect fit. With a PCMark score of 4608, the Y530 proved itself more than capable for everyday computer tasks and more. 3DMark Fire Strike produced scores up to 6598, barely falling short of a desktop GTX 1050 Ti alternative. 

Priced $100-$150 above the laptops we've tested with the GTX 1050, the Legion Y530 scored 20% higher in most of our performance benchmarks. The testing results were stronger all across the board except in battery testing. We were only able to squeeze 5 hours and 18 minutes out of the battery in our testing. As with any laptop, adjusting brightness, turning off backlit keyboards and minimizing plugged devices can definitely stretch that further.

We ran the Legion Y530 through our usual suite of game benchmarks including Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Total War: Warhammer II. The notebook scored a stabled 42, 36 and 39 frames per second on all three tests respectively at high settings in 1080p. It doesn't beat the 60+ FPS you'd get on a beefy gaming desktop, but the Y530 certainly held its own. Running Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Overwatch on the other hand scored over 110 FPS consistently.

If you're looking for a machine to run the newest games like Black Ops 4, Assassin's Creed Odyssey or the upcoming Battlefield 5 at glorious 60 or higher FPS, you may have to tweak some settings on the Legion Y530. But for just about every older classic and multiplayer hit, this laptop is definitely more than sufficient. 

Lenovo's Y530 also ran surprisingly cool throughout our extensive testing. We'd have to say one of the best features about the Y530 is its optimized cooling design. Thermal performance throttling was basically nonexistent and the laptop fans never became uncomfortably noisy, even while blowing at full speed.

At the end of the day, $850 can still be a pricey investment for most users. But if the Legion Y530 proves one thing about gaming laptops it's that you don't need to spend well over $1000 for a premium notebook. It may not be the lightest, thinnest or most powerful gaming laptop around, but the Legion Y530 might just be the best valued notebook in its class.

The Verdict

Lenovo Legion Y530

The Legion Y530 packs the GTX 1050 Ti into a compelling package you could easily mistake for a much more expensive machine.