Lenovo Ideapad Y700 impressions- graphic design overkill

In my most recent post regarding what components make up a good laptop, I described a few things that everyone should look for when purchasing their next portable work station. Soon after I made that post, I decided to upgrade from my HP Elitebook 8440p to a Lenovo Ideapad Y700; while I haven’t had the laptop for more than a week, here are my first impressions and thoughts on why the Y700 is a workhorse of a laptop.

Performance

When looking for my next workhorse, three things that I needed were an i7 core processor, a dedicated graphics card and a minimum of 8GB of RAM. My Lenovo Y700 boasts a 6700HQ i7, a GTX 940m and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, allowing me to crunch away at any graphic design work that I throw at the laptop.

While the bulk of the memory is in the form of 5400 RPM HDD, having 128GB of SSD is a nice benefit when opening applications or booting up Windows 10 in nearly five seconds. The Lenovo Y700 also stays relatively cool at around 40 degrees celcius when under load, ensuring that my lap isn’t burning away when the laptop isn’t placed on a table. I haven’t had an opportunity to game on the Y700, so I can’t attest to its performance in that area considering it’s also advertised as a gaming laptop.

The only drawback of having a high performance CPU and dedicated graphics card is the battery life, which leaves a little to be desired at about four hours under load. I’m personally content with this amount of battery, but only because my previous laptop lasted less than two hours without charge.

Display Screen

With a 1920×1080, IPS anti-glare touch display the Lenovo Y700 offers a quality screen. The colors are vibrant and a considerable step up compared to my Elitebook’s 1280x 768 LCD screen. Having said that, while the Y700 has wide viewing angles, the colors can look washed out if you don’t view them dead on. Its hinges are also very sturdy, requiring two hands to open, which is a testament to the overall build quality of the laptop.

A lot of users feel that the anti-glare cover washes out colors and suggest removing it with a blow dryer. I personally don’t have any issues with discoloration when I compared the screen with my HP 22er and Dell Ultrasharp 2414 monitors.

Keyboard and speakers

As much as I hate to admit it, one of my favorite features of the keyboard is its ability to light up. While it’s a really neat aesthetic feature, it’s very useful when I’m sitting outside at 10 p.m. writing articles or doing design work for my clients. The keyboard is also quite responsive and feels nice; it’s on the other end of the spectrum from that of a mechanical keyboard, but I enjoy it nonetheless.

The trackpad is responsive without feeling oversensitive and users are able to scroll by using two fingers, which is a small, yet great addition that makes the laptop delightful to use. One criticism that I have is the trackpad buttons are very tight, making it hard to highlight and drag items.

Regarding speakers the Y700’s JBL Dolby Home speakers are in a league of their own compared to my Elitebook’s, but they do leave a little to be desired in the bass department.

Ease of use and aesthetics

The display lid and case are brushed aluminum, while the inside panel around the keyboard is a rubberized plastic, which looks sleek but smudges easily. It’s also slick in the literal sense, making it a little difficult to carry without fear of it slipping out of your hands. Overall the 15.6” Lenovo Y700 isn’t the easiest laptop to lug around, weighing in at about seven pounds.

Because of its size, the Y700 also contains the following ports:

  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI,
  • USB 2.0 port
  • 4-in-1 media card reader
  • And a 3.5mm audio jack.

It also supports dual-band AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Final impressions

With its features and a price point of $1,100 the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 is an interesting hybrid of a design workhorse and a decent gaming laptop. For me it was a steal at $650 as Lenovo offered 35 percent off their refurbished laptops last week. TheY700 has a sleek build, considerably quick components that devour any work that I’ve pumped into thus far, as well as a number of features like the great display, speakers, keyboard and trackpad that aid in positively enhancing the overall user experience. For any designers it would be difficult not to recommend this laptop, although gamers might be better spent investing in a high-performance gaming desktop or a laptop with a stronger graphics card.

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What are some qualities that you look for when purchasing a laptop? Let us know in the comments below!

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