While the Lenovo Legion Y530 has been available since late 2018, the model we have—with an i7-8750H and GTX 1060—only started hitting stores this year. Those of you keeping your ears to the ground listening for laptop news may already know that the Legion Y530 was widely considered to be an understatedly great little gaming laptop, so its return with a beefed-up CPU and GPU may be a pleasant surprise for anyone who wanted a bit more oomph from this model. The upgrades come at a cost, though. Are the new hexacore processor and stepped up graphics card worth the price bump, even if it means losing its place in the “budget” category? Let’s find out.
Lenovo Legion Y530-15ICH (Legion Y530 Series)
- Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
- Memory: 8GB DDR4-2666, Single-Channel
- Display: 15.6 inch 16:9, 1920×1080 pixel 141 PPI, LG Display LP156WFG-SPB2, IPS, 144Hz, Anti-glare
- Mainboard: Intel HM370
- Storage: WD SN720 512GB NVMe m.2
- Power Adapter: 135W
- Weight: 2.3kg (81.13oz/5.07lbs), Power Supply: 565g (19.93 oz/1.25lbs)
- Price: PHP 84,995
If you’ve seen the Y530 before, nothing’s changed here. The new SKU comes with exactly the same chassis as its lower spec versions, which sports an all-plastic body with thin 8mm screen bezels and a muted design accented only by a subtle spiral pattern emanating from the “O” in the Legion branding (which itself houses the only hint of LED lighting on the case).
It’s stable as a rock, with minimal screen and keyboard flex despite its plastic build. The lid hinges are satisfyingly tuned just to the point where you get that one-finger lift all the way to 180 degrees without excessive screen wobble—which is also a testament to its even weight distribution across the base. Exhaust vents wrap around the corners to allow for better cooling, while intake is handled through the rather large bottom vent. It sits confidently on flat surfaces thanks to its huge rubber feet. You know what they say about laptops with big feet: they’ve got big **** energy.
Not only does the Y530 sport an impressive shoe size, but baby got back too. This extension behind the lid houses most of the laptop’s connectivity ports while also helping with cooling. At 360 x 268 x 28 mm, the Y530 isn’t the smallest of bezel-less laptops (that honor probably remains with the Dell XPS 15—which started the whole trend) but it’s still impressively compact, which you will feel with all its 2.3kg heft.
One thing we’re not particularly thrilled about is the use of a soft touch coating on the palm rest. While it does feel very nice, it’s probably the biggest fingerprint magnet ever. We’re also not sure how well it would stand up to the test of time with constant exposure to skin oils.
This laptop’s got all the right ports in all the right places, which as we said before is all in the trunk. Across the back, it’s got a USB 3.1 Type-C port (no Thunderbolt), Mini-DisplayPort, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, power (which uses Lenovo’s weird proprietary rectangular plug that you should not mistakenly plug into a USB port), and a Kensington Lock.
Across either side, you get one additional USB Type-A port each, and a headphone/mic combo jack on the left side. Strangely enough the Y530 lacks an SD card slot, so make sure to bring an adapter if you expect to be using this for productivity tasks.
The integrated keyboard on the Y530 is par for the course when it comes to Lenovo laptops, which is to say it’s very good. Lenovo seem to be on point with regards to making the typing experience as satisfying as possible. The keys are large and well-spaced with a 3.35mm pitch between them, and have a nice 1.5mm travel before softly bottoming out. Lenovo was able to squeeze a numpad into the mix by shrinking its keys a little, which might take a while to get used to but is a welcome addition nonetheless. We mentioned earlier that the keyboard flex is minimal, with the most bendy part of it being the center of the board.
One thing that needs to be mentioned with regards to the keyboard is that the right Windows and Menu keys (between Right-Alt and Right-Ctrl) have been replaced with Print Screen and, oddly, “Record Screen” functions. The Record Screen button is basically a macro that opens up Windows Game Bar (opened with Win+G by default) and starts recording the active window (Win+Alt+R by default). As far as we can tell, the only way to disable this key is to turn off Windows Game Bar entirely.
The touchpad is smooth and responsive, using Windows Precision Touchpad drivers right out the gate. In terms of size, it’s sufficiently wide but would have been perfect if it was a bit taller. Increasing the touchpad sensitivity is one way to improve the reach of the cursor. It uses two physical buttons for left and right clicks, which are fairly loud but otherwise unremarkable.
Our biggest interface niggle though has to be the webcam placement. While it’s fairly common among thin bezel laptops for the webcam to be built into the bottom of the display, that doesn’t mean it’s desirable; neither for you, nor the people you’re video calling who have to live with that nice up-the-nose view of your face. The webcam video quality itself is just your standard 720p affair, and the included dual microphones are passable.
The Y530 is equipped with a 15.6-inch IPS panel with Full HD 1080p resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. It’s adequately bright enough to be able to use outdoors during the day, though of course not in direct sunlight. Contrast seems to be average-to-below-average, but color gamut is wide which makes this quite usable for people who need to do color-accurate work.
Viewing angles are also wider than average, allowing you to see the display clearly given almost any angle—even with it spread out completely flat. Sadly it’s not equipped with G-Sync (an incompatible option due to the use of Nvidia Optimus GPU switching technology), but it is still buttery smooth and achievable as you’ll see later in the gaming benchmarks.
While the Harman-branded speakers of the Y530 are not very loud, the quality of the sound is relatively balanced. They’re still tiny speaker drivers so it’s best to use external speakers or headphones if you want to watch Netflix, but there is some bass and they are usable for media consumption in a pinch.
Here is perhaps the biggest con about the Y530. With only a 52.5Wh battery, you shouldn’t expect much especially when it needs to provide juice for a 6-core processor and dedicated graphics card. Still, at just a little over 2 hours of doing basic home tasks nonstop (a little bit of each of the following: web browsing, video calling, word processing, photo editing, gaming) with screen brightness set to 30%, this has got to be the worst performing laptop of its class in terms of battery life.
That’s not long enough to get through some movies nowadays. You might be able to squeeze an extra 30-45 minutes or so out of it by sliding brightness down to 0%, turning off WiFi and Bluetooth, and setting Windows Power Mode down to prioritize battery life, but at that point why even use the computer?
While there is some merit to the argument that battery life in gaming laptops shouldn’t be considered an important factor in determining its value (as one expects to be stationary and plugged in while gaming anyway), this is not even enough time in some cases to move from one location to another without necessitating shutting down the laptop.
The Lenovo Y530 performs, in a word, great. Considering its top tier processor and perfectly capable graphics card, this comes as no surprise. Even compared to a desktop i7 like the 7700k, this mobile processor can stand on its own. The extra 2 cores certainly makes a big difference, bringing it just a couple hundred points shy of the aforementioned desktop processor in Cinebench R20 despite its nearly halved core clock speed.
It should be noted that the manufacturer has limited the CPU TDP from Intel’s max of 45W down to about 35W, and we saw it throttle down to as low as 20W during a 30-minute gameplay session of Monster Hunter: World when the CPU would peak at around 94°. However framerates were still playable and average temps for both the CPU and GPU hovered at around the 71°-78° mark. The fans do spin up loud to achieve this, but that’s to be expected in just about all but the beefiest of modern gaming laptops.
And while the Y530 does perform well in what it was designed and marketed to do as a gaming machine, it is no slouch when it comes to productivity tasks as well. If you’re only working on straight cuts, timeline performance in Premiere even with 4k files is snappy and responsive. The moment heavier effects are added though, such as warp stabilization, lumetry adjustments, or sharpening, this slows down considerably.
If you’re looking to stream to Twitch or YouTube on this machine, you’ll be happy to know that it’s perfectly capable of handling 720p30 streaming thanks to not only the 6 processor cores for x264 encoding but the dedicated h264 encoder in the GTX 1060 is an option as well. Bumping it up to 1080p30 introduced frame skipping due to encoder lag. These tests were done using Rise of the Tomb Raider though, which is quite a bit heavier on system resources than the more popular games to stream.
Finally, those of you who have been paying attention to previous Lenovo Legion Y530 reviews might have come across some complaints against the included SSD. We’re glad to report that, at least in the case of our review unit, the NVMe m.2 SSD performed swimmingly. While it’s no Samsung Evo 970, the WD SN720 512GB that we were equipped with gave us sequential read/write speeds that match the best of them, and random read/writes that should satisfy all but the most demanding of workloads.
|Game||Setting Preset||Setting Details||Min FPS||Avg FPS||Max FPS|
|Final Fantasy XV||Standard||Score: 5281||41||56||71|
|Forza Horizon 4||Medium||V-Sync Off, Variable Framerate||80||103||125|
|Monster Hunter: World||Medium||V-Sync Off, Frame Rate: No Limit, Volumetric Rendering Quality: Off||55||72||88|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||Medium||30||50||70|
|3DMark Time Spy||3678|
|Crystal Disk Mark||Speed (MB/s)|
|Random Read – Max||1302.7|
|Random Write – Max||963.8|
|Random Read – Min||40.9|
|Random Write – Min||108.5|
|Premiere Pro Project Render||Encoding Time|
|YouTube 2160p 4K Ultra HD||6:29|
|DNxHR HQ 4K 25||12:16|
Ever since its initial launch, the Lenovo Legion Y530 has been an excellent value purchase regardless of configuration options—which, at first, were limited to i5/i7 processors and GTX 1050/1050Ti graphics cards. The build, cooling, and tuning of the machine by Lenovo ensured that each component was utilized to the best of their abilities and, for the most part, led to a solid recommendation by many reviewers.
Now configurable with an i7-8750H and GTX1060, what’s changed? Obviously, the performance is better. The cooling system needs to kick in to maintain this, which results in loud fans under load. You might want to use headphones for prolonged gaming sessions. The battery life is abysmal. Students, beware; you’ll definitely be looking to charge this laptop between classes, so if you plan on getting it, make sure you get to class early so you can secure those precious power outlets. But everything else that made the original Y530 such a highly recommended machine remains true as well.
Of course, the original pricing was very much in favor of the older SKUs. While the build quality of the new unit is largely identical to the older ones, its price also shot up dramatically with relation to its hardware. At PHP 84,995.00, this is approaching high end gaming levels of cost—and performance. In the end, we see much value in the new top tier configuration of the Legion Y530 especially for those who expect to do more than game on the go. If you’re the kind of user who needs this kind of power, you’d be hard pressed finding a better deal anywhere else at this time.