For less than 1000 dollars you can get Lenovo’s Legion Y520-151KBN gaming notebook which allows you to play all current titles with decent performance. It offers a 15,6” Full-HD display, an Intel Core i5 quad-core CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI GPU allowing you to play games like Battlefield 1 or For Honor with framerates of over 60 FPS. That means titles will run really well at native Full-HD resolution even with high graphics settings.
We will explore what else the Lenovo Legion Y520 has to offer in this review.
The Lenovo Y520-151KBN has a 15,6” display with Full-HD resolution. Thanks to its matte surface, reflections are practically non-existent. The IPS panel assures great off-axis viewing and the panel has a decent average brightness of 241 cd/m2.
The Lenovo Legion Y520-151KBN is powered by a 7th generation quad-core Intel Core i5 with a base clock speed of 2,5 GHz. Turbo Boost can also dynamically overclock the CPU to up to 3,5 GHz dynamically depending on the load your system is under. For graphics, this notebook comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. This makes sure you’ll get decent framerates on the 15,3” display. The integrated Intel HD Graphics kick in when there’s no need for graphics horsepower (like office work or browsing).
The RAM consists of one 8GB DDR4 module. By adding another module, the RAM can be updated to 16 GB. The operating system (Windows 10) comes pre-installed on an M.2 SSD module with 256 GB of memory. Out of the box, this has 214 GB of storage space left. The module achieves great read-speeds of over 3.195 MB/s (measured with Crystal Diskmark 5.2.0.). When writing, the M.2 module is significantly slower: We only measured speeds of up to 710 MB/s – which is still fast, don’t get me wrong. Internet connectivity is handled by AC standard Wi-Fi or GBit LAN over the RJ-45 port.
The integrated 3-cell Lithium-Cylindrical battery is good for around 4 ½ hours of light use (surfing/office). When gaming, battery life shortens drastically.
The Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN is distinguished by the following specific product characteristics:
- Display: 15.6 “(39 cm), IPS, anti-reflective, WLED
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels (full-HD), 16: 9 format
- Processor: Intel® Core ™ i5-7300HQ (6M cache, up to 3.50 GHz)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (4 GB)
- Memory: 8GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM
- Hard Drive: 256GB SSD (M.2 PCI Express) )
- Card Reader: 4-in-1 (SD / SDHC / SDXC / MMC)
- Battery: Li-Cylindrical battery, 45 Wh, 3 cells
- Sound: Dolby®-certified surround sound system with two built-in stereo speakers
- Camera: HD 720p Webcam
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64 Bit)
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 48.00 x 26.50 x 2.58 cm
- Weight: approx. 2.40 kg
- Keyboard with number pad and backlight
- WLAN 802.11 a / ac / b / g / n
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Gigabit Ethernet LAN
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C)
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB 2.0
- 1 x headphones
- 1 x microphone
- 1 x RJ-45
Lenovo’s gaming laptop offers plenty of connectivity. In total, there are four USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0, one USB type C (without Thunderbolt support), and one USB 2.0. External displays can be connected vie DisplayPort and HDMI. Also on the right side, you’ll find an SD card reader. To the left there are the single USB 2.0 port, an audio jack for your headset, a Kensington Lock port, as well as the RJ-45 port for Ethernet.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard of this 15” laptop is large as is to be expected. On the right, you’ll find a big numeric keypad that is quite close to the rest of the keyboard. All keys have backlighting that can be adjusted in two increments as well as switched off completely. The key travel is shallow and the keys are practically noiseless when typing. Gamers who like to use the arrow keys will love the full-size ones on this notebook. In the palm rest area, Lenovo fitted a big trackpad that supports multi-touch gestures.
To upgrade the machine, you need to remove the bottom of the gaming notebook entirely. This is easily done by simply loosening a couple of screws and removing the bottom plate. Right away, you’ll find lots of electronics inside. The RAM sockets however, are not in plain sight. Lenovo has hidden those behind a metal shield that can easily be lifted out. One of the two sockets is still free, meaning that you can upgrade it to 16 GB of RAM.
The 2,5” HDD and M.2 SSD module are preinstalled in the device and there are no additional slots or connectors for extra drives. This means that for more storage one of the original drives would need to be swapped out.
Thermal Management / Noise
In our stress test, the top of the plastic body stayed pleasantly cool. Only at the rear our CAT S60 thermal imaging camera found a hot spot at 45,1℃. The palm rest and trackpad stayed at room temperature. The bottom gets a lot warmer though. We measured a hot spot at 46,2℃.
The excess heat of the Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU is propelled out the rear air vents where we measured up to 53,6℃. During everyday tasks like office work or browsing, the fans are barely audible. During intensive gaming sessions the cooling systems gets quite a bit louder. The external 556g power supply also heats up when the notebook is under load. We measured up to 44,5℃ here.
Pros & Cons
+ great value for money
+ very fast M.2-SSD module
– loud fan noise during gaming
– plastic body
The Lenovo Legion Y520-151KBN is an affordable gaming notebook available for less than 1000 dollars. It comes with a fast Intel Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI GPU. A combination that achieves framerates of over 60 FPS, even at native Full-HD resolution. Memory (8 GB stock) can easily be upgraded to 16 GB. We were surprised by the sheer speed of the M.2 module which, at 3.100 MB/s is way above average. At only 256 GB of capacity, storage on it is miniscule. Good thing you can add an extra 1TB hard drive easily.
In their Legion Y520-151KBN, Lenovo went with a 15,6” IPS display with Full-HD resolution. The average brightness lies at 241 cd/m2 which makes the notebook very usable even in bright outdoor conditions. The built-in battery is good for up to 4,5 hours of battery life.
The Lenovo Legion Y520-151KBN is ideal for all those gamers, who are looking for a powerful gaming notebook that is also affordable.