CES 2019 showcased a multitude of PC gaming announcements from many different vendors, including Lenovo . Lenovo has been building up its Legion line of gaming hardware for the last few years and is starting to refine it, with new gaming laptop, desktop, and monitor offerings. PC gaming is growing at such a fast rate that no major PC manufacturer wants to be left out of the market. Let’s look at the newest from Lenovo.
The first products Lenovo announced at CES 2019 were updates to its Legion Y-Series of laptops. Lenovo introduced the Legion Y740 and the Y540 17” and 15” laptops, with the latest processors from Intel and NVIDIANVDA -0.67%. The Y740 is Lenovo’s top-end gaming laptop, featuring an NVIDIA GTX 2070 or 2080 GPU and MAX-Q design for proper cooling to ensure for a sustained gaming experience. The Y540 has the same 8th Gen Intel INTC +0.04% processor offerings but is restricted to an RTX 2060 GPU design—which makes sense, because it’s harder to dissipate that much heat in a smaller chassis with less cooling capacity. That being said, some of Lenovo’s competitors have managed to squeeze GTX 2070s into 15” notebooks without issue.
Both versions of the new Y740 laptop come with up to 32 GB of RAM running at 2666 MHz, and an RGB backlit keyboard powered by Corsair’s iCue (a good call on Lenovo’s part, to rely on a trusted PC brand). The Y740 also has options for NVIDIA G-Sync 144 Hz display and comes standard with Dolby Atmos speakers for immersive sound. The Y540 features a more simplified white backlit keyboard and Harman Kardon speakers, which also support Dolby Atmos. Available in February, the Lenovo Legon Y740 will start at $1,949.99 for the 17” model and $1,749.99 for the 15” model. The Y540 will start at $929 and be available in May. This, in my opinion, leaves quite a gap in Lenovo’s gaming laptop product line, and between the 15 and 17” versions of the Y530, Y540, Y740 and Y730, makes the entire product line a little confusing.
Lenovo is also updating its Legion T730, T530, C730, and C530 gaming desktops with NVIDIA’s latest GPU, the RTX 2060. This means that Lenovo can offer the latest generation of NVIDIA GPUs at a lower cost point. Availability and pricing information for the new desktops was not available at CES, but I’m sure we’ll hear more soon.
In addition to the three new laptops and four new desktops, Lenovo announced a new ultra-wide 43.4” curved gaming monitor with a 3840 x 1200 resolution. This monitor claims a peak brightness of 450 nits, which makes it VESA DisplayHDR 400 compatible, but not necessarily as bright as you’d want from a gaming HDR monitor. It does, however, come with a 144 Hz refresh rate and support for AMD FreeSync 2 adaptive refresh technology, which should result in smoother game play. The Y44w Monitor is a pretty good looking monitor, but I can’t help but feel like Lenovo is a little late to the market. The rest of the competition put out monitors with similar specs last year and have since moved on to newer, more capable models with higher resolutions and brightness. Available in April for $1,199, it is selling for around the same expected price of Samsung’s new 49” curved gaming monitor, which features HDR1000 capability and a much higher resolution of 5210 x 1440 (though Samsung hasn’t announced official pricing yet). I believe that Lenovo needs to up its game in this area if it wants its monitors to be competitive with the rest of the market.
Lenovo also introduced a 27” Y27gq monitor (available in April for $999) that will sport a super-fast 240 Hz refresh rate, 2560 x 1440 resolution, and NVIDIA G-Sync adaptive refresh. This is more along the lines of cutting-edge display tech that I would expect from Lenovo. Most current 240 Hz monitors are 1080P resolution, a 1440P option is actually quite welcome.
To complement Lenovo’s new systems and monitors, it also introduced a new series of headsets, mice, and keyboards. The new Lenovo Legion H300 and H500 headsets are designed to offer different tiers of audio experiences for gamers looking to improve beyond built-in speakers. No self-respecting gamer doesn’t own a gaming headset, so it makes sense that Lenovo would introduce a stereo (H300) and 7.1 surround sound (H500) gaming headset for the Legion brand.
Gamers also need gaming keyboards and mice; on that front, Lenovo introduced the Legion M500 RGB gaming mouse and Legion K500 RGB mechanical keyboard. I expect they will be easy, common sense add-ons to the purchase of any Legion gaming desktop or laptop, as both match the Legion design language quite well. While there are no details about what kind of mechanical switches Lenovo is using in the K500 RGB keyboard, the mouse features a Pixart PMW 3389 sensor with 16,000 DPI and OMRON micro switches. While I don’t expect anyone to use it in that high of a resolution, this incredibly high DPI represents yet another volley in the mouse technology spec wars. I haven’t had a chance to use the keyboard or mouse, but it seems that Lenovo put a decent amount of effort into them. All these peripherals will be available in April with retail prices ranging from $59 to $99.
Lenovo continues to grow its Legion gaming product portfolio and update it with the latest technology. While I do believe the company has done a good job of bringing visibility to the Legion brand, I think that HP and Dell are outpacing them on marketing and design. While the latest generation of Legion laptops is competitive on specs, gamers care a lot about brand reputation and design. I believe that’s where Dell and HP currently have Lenovo beat. I do like the looks of Lenovo’s 27” Y27gq gaming monitor, but I’m not sure it will get the attention it deserves. Lenovo is the world’s #1 PC manufacturer and has shown itself to be a noteworthy risk-taker in new and growing markets. Its gaming brand doesn’t seem to reflect that level of ambition—yet.