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Lenovo Y50 Touch

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star

What's Hot: One of the most affordable thin and light 15" gaming laptops.

What's Not: Base option 1080p display is mediocre at best, slow HDD for base models.


Reviewed January 12, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)


The Lenovo Y series has been a value leader for moderately priced gaming laptops with some punch. It's also less chunky than hardcore gaming laptops, and the Lenovo Y50 is the sleekest model yet. At 5.3 lbs. and 0.9 inches thick, it's similar to many non-gaming 15" laptops on the market, yet it packs a quad core Intel Core i7 CPU and dedicated NVIDIA GTX 860M graphics. The Y50 is the value proposition to the Dell XPS 15, 15" Retina MacBook Pro, 2014 Razer Blade and MSI GS60 Ghost series. You'll save a few hundred dollars or more, and in return you'll get an acceptable but duller look and a mediocre 1080p TN touch display on our Y50 Touch model (don't fret, there's a much better looking QHD display option). The Y50 Touch starts at $1,099, while the non-touch 1080p model starts at $949. The UHD model (non-touch) starts at $1,199 and the UHD Touch starts at $1,249.

The laptop has Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 for decent but not high end wireless performance, Bluetooth 4.0, a 720p webcam, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet, an SD card slot and a combo audio jack with SPDIF. For those who want something smaller, Lenovo offers the 14" Lenovo Y40 with AMD Radeon R9 M275 2 GB graphics and ULV Ultrabook dual core CPUs that are significantly less powerful than the full mobile M series quad core in the Y50. For the 17" fans, there's the Lenovo Y70 Touch that's outfitted identically to the Y50 other than display and chassis size.

Design and Ergonomics

The Y50 has a thin black Aluminum layer on the lid and bottom cover that somehow manages to look more like plastic. It's an unassuming looking machine but the red backlit keyboard and more aggressive hinge area design give it some flair. At this price you won't get a programmable or RGB backlit gaming keyboard, and we suspect that quite a few folks who buy the Y50 and its bigger brother the Y70 are using it equally as often for multimedia and work anyhow. We love the soft touch matte black keyboard deck that's silky smooth yet somehow offers just enough grip to stop your hands from sliding around.

Lenovo Y50

Given the powerful quad core CPU and upper mid range dedicated graphics, we're pleased that it's fairly quiet and cool though the keyboard area gets quite warm when gaming--as hot as 101F, which is toasty but not hot enough to harm you. We saw no thermal throttling, even when playing Tomb Raider for an hour and the Y50's dual fans never sounded shrill or annoying. In the name of slimming and making the Y50 the most compact Y series laptop yet, there's neither an internal DVD drive nor a bay for a second graphics card in SLI as with the Y500.

The typist-friendly Accutype keyboard with red backlighting has a number pad, which is great for number crunchers and gamers who prefer numbers to WASD input. But there's no space between the main keyboard area and number pad, which is a bit disconcerting (another concession to the small footprint). Key travel isn't high but tactile feel is good and the keyboard deck doesn't flex. The Synaptics trackpad is serviceable and is neither stellar nor poor. It works well with single touch and multi-touch gestures, but it's too easy to trigger swipe actions from the side, and the right and left click button zones sometimes missed a click.

Lenovo Y50

The laptop has full and fairly loud stereo JBL speakers plus a subwoofer that fires from the bottom. The subwoofer is covered by a red grille beside the vents, so you can't miss it. If you want to upgrade or service the laptop (including the battery), you'll need to remove several Phillips head screws to remove the bottom cover.


The very glossy TN touch screen has plenty of glare and mediocre viewing angles. Brightness is just OK at 215 nits (we like to see closer to 300 nits on a higher end machine like this). It manages just 46% of Adobe RGB and 60% of sRGB, while competitors average 98% of sRGB color coverage. We recommend the UHD 3840 x 2160 Samsung PLS panel option that looks much better. While I don't really feel a strong need to have better than 1080p resolution on a 15.6" laptop given Windows 8.1 and programs mediocre handling of scaling on the desktop, for viewing angles, colors and contrast the UHD panel is a must. We wouldn't recommend gaming at UHD resolution since the GTX 860M (and most mobile graphics cards) aren't strong enough to play demanding games at 4K resolution, but you can set the resolution to 1080p and avoid gaming issues and Windows scaling. As with the 2K 1080p display, the UHD 4K panel is available in touch and non-touch versions.

Performance and Horsepower

Like most higher end, powerful 15.6" laptops meant for demanding tasks like gaming, compiling code and editing 1080p or 4K video, the Lenovo Y50 Touch runs on the Intel Core i7-4710HQ (when it first came out it shipped with the 2.4 GHz 4700HQ). The 4710HQ is clocked at 2.5GHz with Turbo Boost to 3.5 GHz, and it's one of the fastest CPUs you'll find in a laptop. The Y50 and Y50 Touch ship with 8 or 16 gigs of RAM in two RAM slots. Most configurations have a hybrid 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD with 8 gigs of flash memory cache, as did our review unit. It's a slow drive, and we often found ourselves waiting for programs to load, and game scene changes seemed to take forever to load. I'd replace the 2.5" standard SATA HDD with an SSD. The machine has a standard 2.5" SATA drive bay, 2 RAM slots and a socketed wireless card.


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo Y50 Video Review


Lenovo Y50 Gaming Demo Video


(Core i7-4700HQ, GTX 860M) PCMark 7: 2874

wPrime: 8.9 sec.

3DMark 11: P4790, X1621

Geekbench 3: 2449 single core, 9494 multi-core

PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table

Lenovo Y50 Touch 2874
MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 2QE-064 (GTX 970M) 6006
HP Omen 15 5843
Dell XPS 152014 model 5805
Alienware 18 Core i7-4700MQ, GTX 770M, HDD 3754
Asus ROG G750JX ( i7-4700HQ, GTX 770M) 3804 (6131 w/SSD)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 (upgraded to SSD boot drive) 4603
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Core i5 5111


When Lenovo Y50 models first shipped they had the Kepler GeForce NVIDIA GTX 860M with 2 or 4 GB DDR5 VRAM. Lenovo has since updated to the newer Maxwell architecture version of that card for lower temperatures and slightly reduced power consumption. The model we reviewed in our video had the 4700HQ CPU and Kepler GTX 860M, but performance doesn't differ much from the fresher model. It's a very fast machine overall (except that darned slow HDD) and the GTX 860M is high-end among middleweight graphics cards. It's at the beginning of the serious gaming tier of cards and it's strong enough to play the latest games like Battlefield 4 and Tomb Raider with a mix of medium to high settings at 1080p with frame rates holding at 45 fps. This is a popular graphics card that's also in the Asus ROG G551, 2014 Razer Blade, MSI GS60 Ghost (not Ghost Pro) and HP Omen 15. It's considerably newer and also faster than the cards used in the 2014 Dell XPS 15 and 15" Retina MacBook Pro.

The laptop has NVIDIA Optimus switchable graphics so you can use the Intel HD 4600 integrated graphics for productivity work, playing 1080p video and other non-graphically intensive tasks, thereby increasing battery life while reducing noise and heat.

How it did on games at 1080p:

-Bioshock Infinite: averaged 60 fps with quality preset at very high.

-Battlefield 4: full screen mode, quality set to high averaged 54 fps with a range of 37 to 58 fps.

-Crysis 3: ranged from 35 to 56 fps with an average of 44 fps at the medium system spec setting. At the high system spec setting, frame rates were too low for good gameplay, ranging from 24 to 33 fps (most games look and play decently at 30 fps, Crysis 3 does not).

Battery Life

Relatively speaking, for a gaming laptop battery life is good on integrated graphics with the 4 cell, 54 WHr battery. Lenovo claims 5 hours for productivity use and we averaged 4.5 hours with brightness at a barely tolerable 50% and WiFi on. The power brick isn't insanely huge as it is with some gaming laptops, but it offers enough watts to avoid power throttling or charge level drops when doing taxing chores.


If you're on a budget and need a truly portable 15" laptop that's strong enough to play today's 3D games, export full HD video quickly, compile code and handle college CAD work, the Lenovo Y50 is worth a look. At 5.3 lbs. and 0.9" thick it's extremely portable and it carries a lower price tag than the competition. Of course, it makes some concessions to reach that low price including a truly mediocre 1080p display, a slow hard drive and single color keyboard backlighting. The styling won't turn heads, but it's not a bad machine to look at. The display and HDD failings are easily overcome if you order the QHD display model and an SSD (or install your own SSD), but then the price creeps up beyond the ASUS ROG G551 and approaches the HP Omen 15 and MSI GS60 Ghost with the same graphics card. Still, it's a lot of bang for the buck and the price even well configured, undercuts the Dell XPS 15 and 15" Retina MacBook Pro.


Price: starting at $949 for non-touch base 1080p model

Related Reviews:

Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 Review (newest Y model)

HP Omen 15 Review

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro (GTX 970M) Review

Dell XPS 15 Review

Alienware 15 Review

ASUS ROG G750 Review

2015 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review

Alienware 18 Video Review

Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 / Y510 Review


Lenovo Y50



Lenovo Y50



Lenovo Y50


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Display: 15.6", 1920 x 1080 TN backlit display, QHD 3840 x 2160 PLS display also available. Matte non-touch and gloss touch display options available. NVIDIA GTX 860M graphics, switchable on the fly via NVIDIA Optimus with Intel HD 4600 integrated graphics. HDMI port.

Battery: 4 cell, 54 Wh Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside.

Performance: 2.4GHz Intel 4th generation Core i7-4700HQ (early) or 2.5 GHZ Core i7-4710HQ (current) processor. 8 to 16 gigs RAM, 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD, SSD available as an option.

Size: 15.3 x 10.37 x 0.9 inches. Weight: 5.3 pounds.

Camera: 720p webcam.

Audio: Built-in JBL stereo speakers with down-firing subwoofer, mic and 3.5mm combo audio jack with SPDIF.

Networking: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8.1 64 bit.

Expansion and Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, RJ45 Ethernet and SD card slot.



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