I very rarely review hardware but having spent over £1000 for a computer I decided it was worth documenting my experiences thus far.
Today I will be looking at the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 gaming laptop which is a beast of a machine.
I have used the same hardware for a while now. I generally flip flop my reviews between the Toshiba Satellite Pro and the Dell Inspiron.
I bought the Toshiba about 3 years ago and it was a mid range laptop at the time. The Dell I received as a gift about 2 years ago and it would probably be considered a budget range laptop.
Both of these computers have served me well and continue to serve me well. I also own an old Samsung laptop which is now being put out to pasture. I have written all the guides necessary for converting from Windows XP to Linux on old computers and from Windows Vista to Linux.
I have also given away my Acer Aspire One netbook because quite frankly I was overrun with hardware.
I still have a Chromebook and a number of Raspberry PIs including a model B, B+, 2 and zero.
With the remaining hardware and the new laptop I hope to be able to cover a wider array of topics.
My reasoning for buying the Lenovo is that a number of emails recently have asked about installing Linux on an SSD, how to get Linux working with NVidia graphics cards and general UEFI issues with new computers.
The only way I could really answer the questions was to get something new. It is a dirty job but somebody has to do it.
Lenovo Y700 Ideapad Specifications
The Lenovo Y700 Ideapad comes pre-installed with Windows 10 as expected and boasts the following hardware specifications:
- Intel I7 - 6700HQ Processor
- Quad Core
- 2.6 ghz / 3 ghz with turbo boost
- 6 MB Cache
- 16 GB DDR4
- NVidia GeForce GTX 960M
- 1 TB hard drive, 5400 rpm
- 128 GB SSD
- 15.6 inches
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Wireless 802.11 ac
- Gigabit ethernet
- Bluetooth 4
- 2 x USB 3 ports
- 1 x USB 2 port
- 1 x HDMI
- 3.5 mm Jack
- Dolby home theatre
- Integrated JBL speakers
- Integrated JBL woofer
- 1 megapixel webcam
- Multitouch trackpad
- Backlit keyboard
- Kingston lock slot
- 4 cell lithium ion
- up to 5 hours
- Microsoft Office trial version
- McAfee trial version
- Lenovo photo master
- Lenovo ShareIT
- Lenovo solution centre
- Lenovo companion
- Lenovo settings
- Lenovo ID
The computer boots into Windows 10 very quickly, somewhere around the 5 seconds mark.
You are greeted with the dark background shown above. I didn't really like it so I changed it.
You will have seen in the previous section that there isn't really much software installed.
The Microsoft Office is a trial version. I replaced this with the Office 365 version that I subscribe to. I know I am a Linux guy but working in the software industry I quite often have the need to do things in Excel and it is good to format your CV using Microsoft Word to guarantee that clients see it the way it is supposed to look.
There are usually some subtle differences between Word and LibreOffice Writer as well as Google Docs. The way around this would be to export to PDF but many recruitment agents don't like to receive CVs in this format because they can't butcher them.
At £5.99 a month for a single computer or £7.99 a month for 5 computers it is something I am willing to pay for.
I have subscribed to the free McAfee trial but beyond the trial period I will probably go for one of the free options because I don't use Windows regularly enough to warrant paying for security software. There is also no reason to trust McAfee over AVG.
The rest of the Lenovo software is pretty much the standard bloatware that you expect from hardware manufacturers.
Personally I am not sure I would use this over bluetooth
You have to install the Lenovo ShareIT application to every other device anyway.
Bluetooth is already enabled on all of my devices without any extra software required.
The images can be stored anywhere you wish but as you will see later the disk is pre-setup with a Lenovo partition on the hard drive.
The one other piece of software that might be worth looking at is the Lenovo One Play application which lets you rent or buy games.
There is a free 90 day subscription to start you off. The gaming library isn't massive and long term I think you will end up going back to Steam.
You aren't buying a gaming laptop for the junk that comes as pre-installed software. You are buying this computer for performance.
I will start off with a comparison between this computer and my other two main laptops.
The above screen shot shows the stats for the Dell Inspiron 3521. In its own right it isn't a slouch. It has 6 gigabytes of RAM and an Intel I3 dual core processor. It is not really any good for gaming but for general office tasks and web browsing it is perfectly decent, especially when running any form of Linux.
The other computer is the Toshiba Satellite Pro L870. It boast 8 gigabytes of RAM and a quad core i5 processor.
The Satellite Pro is very dependable and still fairly high end, especially when it comes to running Linux. There is nothing that it isn't capable of doing.
Needless to say, the Lenovo Ideapad makes both of these laptops look like Sinclair ZX81s. Everything loads instantly and you can have dozens of tabs open on Chrome without a hitch. Transferring files, watching videos and encoding music can all be handled at the same time.
I benchmarked the graphics performance using the 3D Marks software. There are a series of graphical and physics tests resulting in an overall score.
As you can from the image above it is no match for a 4K gaming PC but it comes in very well against other gaming laptops as well as standard laptops, notebooks and office PCs.
The two image above show the rest of the stats from the benchmark tests. Whilst performing the tests I had the OBS video recording software running.
The images are powerful and resource heavy yet the computer handled them with ease and the experience was smooth, much like a cinema. I haven't mentioned the sound quality yet which is absolutely phenomenal.
I will compare again against the only other 2 devices I have that a remotely close and to be honest they are nowhere near.
The Dell was better than 0% of any other computer. The pictures were jerky even though there were no applications running.
Despite having a much better graphics card than the Dell, the Toshiba was only marginally better.
The real test of the graphics card comes by playing games on the computer and I tried my favourite games including Grand Theft Auto 5, Call Of Duty and various other titles. The performance is perfect.
Generally I am a console gamer but I have to admit to being impressed with the way the laptop plays.
The first thing I did when I got the computer home was to install Linux Mint as part of a dual boot setup.
Disk 0 is a 128 gigabyte SSD. Disk 1 is a 1 terabyte hard drive.
Disk 0 was setup with a 260 megabyte EFI partition and a 100 gigabyte Windows partition. There are then 3 other partitions for recovery and OEM stuff. To be quite frank a good portion of the SSD is being used for nonsense. Why put the Windows recovery partition on the SSD? It is my aim to remove those recovery partitions and use Macrium Reflect as a method for backing up the computer.
Disk 1 has a 100 gigabyte partition called system image. The rest of the disk was previously unformatted but I have used the entire space for Linux Mint which is a little bit wasteful.
When I first booted the computer I continually received the above error from the NVidia GeForce Experience application which is used to keep your drivers up to date.
It didn't matter what I did I couldn't get it to connect. I ended up using the following solution.
Whilst this is technically a review of the Lenovo Y700 Ideapad, this article isn't just about the hardware involved.
In the coming weeks I will be showing you how to install Linux on an SSD and I will show you how I fixed some of the hardware issues I faced with such modern graphics cards and how I resolved wireless issues.
You see, the problem is that new hardware is just as vulnerable to driver issues within Linux as older hardware.
Older hardware sometimes drops off the radar and you end up having to jump through hoops to get it working. Newer hardware suffers from the fact that the drivers are included in newer versions of the Linux kernel which aren't used by default by many of the top Linux distributions.
The Lenovo Y700 Ideapad is a great computer. It is by far the best piece of hardware that I have ever owned and I look forward to using it in the coming years.
If you are in the market for a new laptop and you are willing to spend slightly north of £1000 then it is definitely worth it.
Click the link below for more information. Feel free to use your shop or website of choice to buy the computer.
Lenovo ideapad Y700 15.6-inch FHD Laptop Notebook (Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, External DVDRW, WLAN, BT, Camera, NVIDIA GTX960M 4 GB Graphics, Windows 10 Home) - Black
Posted at 22:34 |  by Gary Newell