The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is a colossal 17-inch laptop aimed squarely at the hardcore gaming set. It boasts an overclockable 6th generation Intel Core i7 K-series quad core processor, a Nvidia GTX 980M discrete graphics cards, up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM and a full mechanical keyboard. We checked out the device on the CES showroom floor. Here are our first impressions.
Gaming enthustasists are among the toughest consumers to crack — especially when it comes to hardware specifications. Skimp out on a component and you might as well be hawking an expensive doorstop. Lenovo is keenly aware of this fact as evidenced by the Y900. A "laptop" in name only, it is a monolithic structure bristling with garish lights and high-end hardware — just like those oversized gaming rigs of old.
Lenovo is billing the Y900 as a "professional" gaming laptop. We don't know any professional gamers who use laptops in competition, but if such a breed exists, they could certainly do worse than this kitted-out monster.
As mentioned, it comes packing an overclockable Intel Core i7-6700K CPU (4.0Ghz), a powerful Nvidia GTX 980M graphics card with 1536 CUDA Cores and a base clock of 1038MHz, a 17.3in 16:9 Full HD display and a full-size mechanical keyboard.
As befits a desktop replacement model, there are plenty of ports lining both sides of the Ideapad Y900. These include five USB ports (1 x USB-C, 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0), HDMI, a 4-in-1 Card Reader and a Display Port. There's also an option for a second-gen Killer Wireless-AC networking adapter.
Check out the table below for a rundown of the major specifications:
|Display||17.3” 16:9 FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-glar|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||Up to overclockable 6th Gen Intel Core i7 K|
|Memory||Up to 64GB DDR4 (4 x SODIMM)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GTX 980M 4GB/8GB GDDR5|
|Storage||512GB SSD PCIe RAID0/1TB HDD SATA 3|
|Audio||2 x 2.0W JBL Speakers & 3.0W Subwoofer with Dolby Home Theater|
|Connectivity||3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB Type C (Supports USB 3.1, Display Port, Thunderbolt), Audio jack, Mic jack, HDMI 2.0, 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), SPDIF, Display Port, WLAN: Up to Killer Wireless-AC 1535 + Bluetooth 4.0, WiDi|
|Battery||Up to 5 hours (Li-polymer, 6 Cell, 90 Wh)|
|Dimensions||425.4 x 315.2 x 35.9mm, 4.6kg (starting weight)|
Design and handling
Weighing in at close to five kilograms and measuring 36mm at its thickest point, this is a drastically different product to Lenovo's business laptop range. It belongs permanently mired to a desk; preferably a steel one with reinforced legs.
Kidding aside, the size of this thing is actually pretty reasonable when you consider the components it packs in. We've certainly seen bulkier gaming laptops with less grunt beneath the hood. Nevertheless, this isn't something you'd want to lug around on a daily basis.
In terms of design, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 takes an "if-it-ain't-broke" approach: like most other gaming laptops on the market it's big, black and flashy thanks to the backlit keys which are kitted out in Chroma Full Spectrum Lighting. The back of the lid sports a sleek Y logo that brings the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica to mind.
But the most eye-catching feature is definitely those light-up keys: you can program different colours for different zones on the keyboard, trackpad and speakers. There are also a handful of hypnotic cycling effects such as strobe and "breathing". If you want to feel like you're using an '80s cyberpunk terminal, this is the effect for you.
All in all, the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 is a winner in the looks department. It has the sort of loud and imposing design that most gaming enthusiasts crave. We particularly like the velvety red detailing around the vents and speakers — it's a striking flourish that skates just outside of gaudy.
Needless to say, you can expect the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 to handle almost any game you can throw at it. Its CPU boasts Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology which allows each processor core to work on two tasks at the same time, while the GTX 980M graphics card is reportedly the match of its desktop equivalent.
Curiously, Lenovo set up Rocket League to showcase its new system, which is hardly the most graphically demanding game on the market. Nevertheless, playing a few rounds of soccer-with-cars gave a pretty good indication of how the keyboard and trackpad handle.
We really can't say enough good things about the Y900's mechanical keyboard — its wonderfully precise and gives off that pleasing 'clack' without being distractingly loud. The trackpad is generously sized and will respond well to touch commands on those odd occasions when a mouse isn't handy. We're also big fans of the expanse of textured plastic that surrounds the trackpad.
Another welcome feature on the Y900 is its One Key Turbo Boost. As its name implies, this boosts system performance by ramping up the CPU and GPU clock speeds at the flick of a switch. Very nifty.
For audio, the Y900 comes with a pair of 2.0W JBL Speakers and a 3.0W Subwoofer with Dolby Home Theater. As you can probably imagine, CES isn't the best environment to review laptop speakers — it's insanely noisy. From what we could tell though, the Y900 provides a decent amount of oomph.
Our time with the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 was obviously limited and we didn't get to run any meaningful benchmarks. But on first pass, this seems to be a suitably powerful and well-made gaming laptop that doesn't skimp on any essentials. If you belong to the insane hardcore mobile gamer niche, we doubt you'll be disappointed.
The Ideapad Y900 will initially launch in the US in June, with all other territories confirmed to follow. Lenovo has yet to announce US pricing but the $1999 price tag suggests an Australian starting price over $2500. Eek. But then, when it comes to high-end gaming laptops, stupid pricing is part of the appeal.
Chris Jager traveled to CES 2016 as a guest of Lenovo.