We tested and compared the Lenovo Legion Y740 vs Legion Y540 in terms of Gaming Performance, Price, Portability, Display Quality, Battery life and more.
Above you can see the Ranking with the results and below you are going to find the in-depth reports of each Lenovo Legion Laptop.
Ranking First: Lenovo Legion Y740
- Better Gaming Performance than Legion Y540
- Awesome 144 Hz Display
- Very Silent
- More expensive than Legion Y540
Gaming notebooks are not only available from dedicated gaming brands like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, or Razer, but also from the classic OEMs. At Lenovo they operate under the umbrella brand “Legion”. The 15-inch Legion Y740 with GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q at a price of “only” $2400 could convince in the test.
Lenovo offers current gaming notebooks in two series: Legion Y740 and Y540, both in 17 and 15 inch. The 500 series is aimed at “enthusiasts”, while the 700 series includes “hero products” – in other words, the best of the best. Products above those for enthusiasts, made by Lenovo.
The bottom line is that the Legion Y740 is available in six versions: three 15 inch and three 17 inch versions, whereby the choice of GPU within a display diagonal determines the three versions. Whether 15 or 17 inches, you can always choose between the GeForce RTX 2060, GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q and GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q.
As a rule, the Core i7-9750H is used as CPU, only the 15 inch model is also available with the Core i5-8300H in combination with the RTX 2060.
The laptop is in parts less than 2 cm thick in an aluminum case with comparatively narrow display edges. In comparison to the even more compact Razer Blade 15 inch, the Lenovo Legion is only 6 mm wider.
The difference in depth is more obvious: 3.2 cm – and thus quasi 1:1 the area with the display hinge and the ports behind it – Lenovo’s gaming notebook is longer.
In comparison to more expensive devices, the relatively small touchpad with the two classic keys and the rubber dome keyboard with a spongy stroke and low-contrast RGB backlight (controlled by Corsair iCUE) also has to be made concessions.
Despite the frame above the display, the webcam sits centrally under the screen. The chassis also yields slightly under strong pressure on the wrist-rest or keyboard, and if you lift the notebook with one hand when it’s open, you’ll feel that it warps slightly.
Not only the keyboard is illuminated, but also the star in Lenovo’s O on the lid. Furthermore, it shines from the two ventilation openings on the sides.
After loosening eleven Phillips screws, the hardware is accessible via the base plate. In the test model with 1 TB SSD, the 2.5-inch slot is still free or occupied by a “dummy bracket”. The cable to connect a SATA drive to the mainboard is included in the scope of delivery.
Because there is only one M.2 slot for NVMe storage media, upgrading is only possible by replacing the drive. This also applies to buyers of the versions with SSD and HDD. The battery is screwed and not glued.
Two SO-DIMM banks are centrally located behind a cover that can be removed without tools. Lenovo explains: “The warranty doesn’t expire through proper opening/retrofitting. The warranty period is two years from date of purchase. Customers must send the device in themselves.
Lenovo’s configuration software, Vantage, doesn’t appear on the Legion notebooks in a white, but rather in a black robe and offers three performance profiles in a comparatively unclear and in terms of “assistance” very weak-chested design: “Performance”, “Balanced” (standard) and “Quiet”.
They influence the maximum power dissipation of CPU and GPU as well as the fan control. At least in theory. In practice, however, “Performance” and “Balanced” prove to be identical, only “Quiet” makes a difference.
When the Core i7-9750H is loaded in Blender on all cores, it starts with just under 80 watts in “Performance” and “Balanced”, only to drop back to 60 watts and still deliver 3.3 GHz permanently. In contrast, it starts at 45 watts in the “Quiet” setting and only 25 watts are left permanently.
Thus, the clock rate of 2.2 GHz falls below the base rate of 2.6 GHz, which is specified at 45 watts (TDP). The two faster profiles reach 47 decibels. “Quiet”, on the other hand, is in fact not only significantly quieter at 31 decibels, but is also quiet in absolute terms.
Not surprisingly, the result of the two faster profiles in the Blender benchmark is absolutely identical due to the same CPU package power, while the “Quiet” profile allows 50 percent more computing time. Lenovo thus covers a broad spectrum of CPU power and noise emissions with the two effective profiles.
This isn’t the case in games, though: No matter which setting is chosen, Shadow of the Tromb Raider runs almost equally fast in Full HD at ultra-high detail settings without RTX – and the volume is always at 48 decibels.
The reason for this is that in this case the maximum set 25 watts in “Quiet” is sufficient for the highest clock rates and the GPU is obviously hardly influenced by the profiles.
In steady state there is only a 5 percent difference between the fastest and the slowest profile at the end and interestingly enough, “Quiet” is minimal and reproducibly faster than “Balanced”. Lenovo couldn’t explain the behavior on demand with details about the settings made by the profiles.
The fact that the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q in the Legion Y740 15 inch performs a bit slower than in the Razer Blade Pro and the Asus Zephyrus S GX701 can be explained by the chosen variant of this GPU: In this case it only offers 80 instead of 90 watts TDP, which costs between 10 and 15 percent performance.
The performance drops considerably in battery mode, and in Shadow of the Tomb Raider an average of 26 FPS remains. However, the fact that the FPS fluctuates strongly in the benchmarks is not reflected by this measurement value: Again and again the FPS drops below 15 FPS over several seconds. The title isn’t playable this way.
The following table contains the essential key data (CPU/GPU) of the gaming notebooks listed in the diagram.
The tested Lenovo Legion Y740 15 inch (81UH0020GE) has exclusively an SSD as the top model of the series. The 1 TB NVMe drive in the sample comes from Samsung. Once again, it is the PM981 in M.2 format.
Temperature & Noise levels
The Lenovo Legion Y740 can be quiet if only the CPU is required and the “Quiet” profile is selected. In return, it reaches the level known from many gaming notebooks with measured 48 decibels in games, even if it doesn’t quite reach their performance with the somewhat weaker configured GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q.
And it can also be quieter: The current Razer Blade with GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q achieves a maximum of 45 decibels.
The CPU lets Lenovo warm up to 90°C under load in the “Performance” and “Balanced” settings, and 65°C in “Quiet”. The GPU usually hangs in the power target, a maximum of 75 °C could be observed in the test. The notebook’s surface doesn’t become unpleasantly warm under constant load, neither on the keyboard nor in the wrist-rest area.
With a peak of 478 cd/m² and an average brightness of 445 cd/m², the IPS display shines very brightly on demand, but with a minimum of only 3 cd/m² it can also be very dark – which is rare.
The homogeneity still turns out well with a maximum of 18 percent deviation on the left edge. The color temperature is 6,980 Kelvin.
The contrast turns out very good with an average of 1,120:1. The “up to 500 cd/m²” specified by the manufacturer is almost achieved.
The Lenovo Legion Y740 with 15 inches has a relatively small 3 cell battery with 57 watt hours; the 17 inch competitors represented in the diagram offer more with over 70 watt hours.
In combination with the 144 hertz display, which is standardized to 200 cd/m², the battery life turns out disappointing with just under two and a half hours – Lenovo itself speaks of up to five hours. The keyboard’s RGB illumination was disabled in both test scenarios.
G-Sync also has a negative impact on the battery life in addition to the fast display: The function can be disabled in the driver as usual, but Nvidia Optimus still can’t be used then. The GeForce RTX therefore continuously gnaws at the battery.
The Lenovo Legion Y740 is a solid gaming notebook with a 15-inch screen, which is currently offered by Amazon for “only” $2,400.
Buyers get a gaming notebook with performance from the top group for this, which doesn’t have a really serious weakness, but a few limitations. They turn out very small in terms of performance and volume, though.
With the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 80 watts TDP, the Legion Y740 automatically belongs to the currently fastest gaming notebooks, but there are even faster systems in this segment with 90 watt GPUs. If only the CPU is loaded, the Core i7-9750H in the Y740 even calculates very fast thanks to the 60 watt concession.
Moreover, the Lenovo Legion Y740 isn’t any louder than many other devices of this kind in games, but there are quieter ones with systems like the current Razer Blade 15 from 2019.
The display with Nvidia G-Sync can once again even be described as very good with a maximum of 450 cd/m² on average and a measured average contrast of over 1.100:1, even though the AntiGlare coating dampens the color brilliance.
More relevant drawbacks in comparison to a Razer Blade that costs 800 Dollars more can be found elsewhere, for example in the keyboard and touchpad, as well as the dimensions and battery life.
The switch to hybrid mode, which enables the energy-saving Optimus operation despite the use of Nvidia G-Sync, doesn’t change anything in the test results of less than three hours.
Those interested in buying this gaming machine will get an extremely fast gaming notebook with the Lenovo Legion Y740, which doesn’t need to hide from the more expensive competition in terms of volume and display, which is why the Legion Y740 is ranking first versus Legion Y540.
Ranking Second: Lenovo Legion Y540
- Good Gaming + CPU performance
- Better Price than Legion Y740
- Lots of Storage (2 TB)
- No Thunderbolt 3 & card reader
Cheap gamer. The Legion Y540’s hardware upgrade not only brings RTX graphics to Lenovo’s gaming platform, but also the cheaper revisions of the GTX GPUs.
With an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, the price drops to about $1200, whereby the savings are limited. What exactly this means for prospective buyers is clarified in this review.
In our review of the Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH, in comparison to its predecessor, the Legion Y530, the case already showed some subtle improvements, a more powerful cooling system and the more powerful hardware.
The maximum configuration of the Legion Y540 was used, which consists of 16 GB RAM, a 1 TB SSD and 2 TB HDD, as well as an Intel Core i7-9750H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060.
Our current test model retains the CPU and 16 GB RAM, but only offers a 512 GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. This medium configuration is available for about $1,400.
Aside from the predecessor model and the Legion Y540 with RTX 2060, the Lenovo notebook will also compare with other gaming laptops in this price range.
These include, among others, the ASUS ROG Strix G GL531GV, CUK Model Z and the HP Gaming Pavilion 15. Further notebooks from our database can also be added under each table for comparison.
The underside of the Legion Y540 can be removed with a bit of skill as soon as all the respective screws have been loosened. Afterwards, access to the inner components is free.
Here the RAM can be exchanged, an additional SATA drive can be placed in a 2.5 inch bay and the SSD can be replaced. However, users should be careful when opening it, as otherwise various plastic lugs may break off.
Lenovo offers buyers of the Legion Y540-15IRH a 24 month warranty period. Further information on this topic can be found in our FAQ “Guarantee, Warranty, Right of Return”.
The screen of the Legion Y540 consists of a 15.6-inch 144-Hz-IPS panel and offers a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. With an average brightness of 290 cd/m², it is in the midfield of our chosen comparison devices.
The Legion Y540 can even lead our test field with an illumination of 89 percent. Our measurements also show that no PWM is used for brightness control.
The Legion Y540’s display offers a good contrast ratio of 1.031:1 and an only slightly increased black value of 0.29 cd/m². The Lenovo notebook can lead our test field with these rates and shows well separated colors as well as black tones that only have a very light gray haze.
The CalMAN analysis also shows that the screen displays colors with only slight deviations. But a calibration still brings a small improvement here. The respective ICC-file can be downloaded in the upper left window, beside the graphic for the illumination of the screen.
The Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH can be used outdoors as long as shady places are preferred. However, the brightness isn’t sufficient to display image contents on the matt screen in a readable manner even in direct sunlight.
The Lenovo Legion Y540’s IPS panel has a very stable viewing angle. Content can be read from almost any angle without being distorted or displayed with falsified colors.
The Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH can be described as a gaming notebook of the middle class. The available hardware can run most current games in FullHD, whereby users have the choice between the Nvidia GPUs GeForce GTX 1650, GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060.
The mass storage equipment can be configured with an SSD with up to 1 TB and an HDD with up to 2 TB. An Intel Core i7-9750H, as in our test model, and an Intel Core i5-9300H are also available as CPUs.
Intel’s Core i7-9750H is a six-core CPU with a base clock of 2.6 GHz. The turbo clock varies depending on how many cores use it simultaneously.
Two cores can reach up to 4.5 GHz, whereas the CPU only reaches 4 GHz under full load with all cores. How long the turbo clock can be maintained depends on the cooling system installed.
Our Cinebench R15 endurance test shows that the Core i7-9750H in the Legion Y540 doesn’t provide full performance right from the start. After a short time, the performance increases abruptly, however, and shortly afterwards falls to a level that is comparable to other notebooks with this CPU. In the individual tests, the single core result is sufficient for a good place at the top of our test field.
The multi-core performance turns out lower, though, so that it only suffices for the penultimate place in our test field here. Users have to calculate with up to 25 percent less performance in battery mode.
The Lenovo Legion Y540 offers a smoothly running system without micro jerking or similar. The PCMark benchmarks turn out very differently depending on the discipline.
Whilst the Lenovo gaming notebook achieved second place in our test field in the PCMark 10 overall score, it can only claim the last place for itself in the PCMark 8 work test.
In return, the PCMark-8-Home turns out very good again. Despite the fluctuating rates, the performance is on par with comparable devices and can be described as very good.
A 512 GB SSD from Western Digital is built into our Legion Y540 test model. This offers users about 454 GB of free memory for installing applications and storing their own data. Users can not only exchange the SSD for a larger one, but can also install a mass storage device in 2.5-inch format later.
The mass storage installed here delivers a good performance in the benchmark tests. The write and read rates are, as typical for SSDs, very good and are sufficient for a placement in the middle of our test field. How other mass storage devices performed in our test can be seen on our HDD/SSD benchmark page.
The Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH is available with different graphics cards. Our current test model is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and thus reaches values in the 3DMark benchmarks that the Legion Y540-15IRH with RTX 2060 also offers.
Thus, prospective buyers have to decide whether functions like raytracing and DLSS justify the surcharge of about 100 Dollars. In battery mode, the 3DMark 11’s result drops to a value of 6858 points.
The Intel UHD Graphics 630 integrated in the CPU can be activated via the BIOS, which also allows Nvidia’s Optimus technology to be used. This has a significant effect on the battery life.
Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti can also run current games in high resolutions and with full details. The titles we tested all ran smoothly and even the quite demanding Anno 1800 could achieve high frame rates in FullHD.
However, if a 4K resolution is realized on an external monitor, very demanding games can already require a reduction of the graphic settings.
Temperature & Noise levels
The Legion Y540’s fans also rotate when idling, but are so quiet that no audible noise is produced. The level increases considerably under load, but in comparison to other notebooks from various brands in this class, the Lenovo gaming notebook doesn’t get very loud. Thus, headphones can also be dispensed with during gaming.
While the battery was being charged, we could hear noises caused by coils or capacitors inside our test device even when it was turned off.
Our measurements confirm that the Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH has surface temperatures of up to 41°C in idle and a maximum of 53°C under load. The device feels quite warm and can only be placed on the thighs, for example, with restrictions. The gaming notebook warms up to just under 50°C in the Witcher 3 test.
The temperatures inside the Legion Y540 briefly rise to about 95°C in our one-hour continuous stress test.
Thereby, the clock rates also sink below the base rate of 2.6 GHz, but can then be kept at a constant level of about 2.2 GHz until the end of the test.
Since our own stress test scenario is almost impossible in everyday life, users don’t have to expect restrictions due to too high temperatures.
The Lenovo Legion Y540’s loudspeakers offer a medium volume with a relatively wide sound spectrum. Deep tones drop off a bit, but the sound quality is definitely suitable for the occasional playback of media content.
In the long run, external loudspeakers or headphones that can be connected to the gaming notebook via the existing 3.5 mm jack are recommended. The latter accepts corresponding plugs firmly and doesn’t negatively influence the sound quality.
In our practical WiFi test, the Legion Y540 reaches a runtime of about two and a half hours. This value is sufficient for a place in the middle of our test field, but is somewhat lower than for example the Legion Y540 with an RTX-2060 graphics unit.
The internal Intel UHD Graphics 630 can be activated in the BIOS. Thus, users can also use Nvidia’s Optimus technology, which extends the runtime in our WiFi test by about two hours.
The battery is fully recharged after about two and a half hours with the included adapter.
Buyers of the Lenovo Legion Y540 with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti get a powerful gaming notebook that can run all current titles smoothly. However, users should limit themselves to FullHD and don’t attach importance to functions like raytracing.
The performance is in the midfield and the cooling can maintain this over a longer period of time. In addition, there are good maintenance options and a 2.5 inch bay, which allows for the subsequent installation of large mass storage devices.
With the Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH, buyers get a powerful gaming notebook even without RTX graphics.
The battery life turns out very short due to the constantly active GTX 1660 Ti, but it shouldn’t have been necessary.
The simple activation of the integrated GPU in the BIOS provides a significant increase in endurance, which is perhaps a bit impractical for technically inexperienced users. In view of the price and other features, the Lenovo Legion Y540 is definitely worth a recommendation.
All in all the Legion Y540 is ranking behind versus the Legion Y740, but is way cheaper, so if you don’t need the greatest but good Gaming performance you can buy this Laptop without worries.