Lenovo Y50 Gaming Laptop Review


I have been using the Lenovo Y50 gaming laptop for the past few weeks [I am a Lenovo INsider and received the Y50 for review purposes]. While I don’t necessarily play the most hardcore of games, I do enjoy a lot of titles that tax your average laptop. A good gaming laptop requires a tradeoff between portability and power. Even with that, they can be very expensive. I am pleasantly surprised by the Lenovo Y50. My 15.6” model weighs just over 5lbs and packs quite a punch for both gaming and all of the video and image editing I do for work.


The Specs

The model I’m using has a full HD display, an Intel i7-4710HQ chip, and 16GB of RAM. It sports a hybrid 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive with an integrated 8GB solid state drive. It also has a 4GB NVIDIA GTX-860M graphics card. There are models that have a touch screen, but mine is just a standard LED. I deliberately purchased my last laptop to have a touch screen and I almost never used it. In fact, people would regularly point to something on the screen and end up clicking on it. I don’t miss the touch screen! The model I have retails in the realm of $1500-1600 (I was unable to find the cost for my exact specs).

In terms of ports, the Y50 has two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, an HDMI, a , 4-in-1 card reader (SD/SDXC/SDHC/MMC), an RJ45, an audio combo jack (mic/headphones), and an S/PDIF jack (for digital audio output). There is also a spot for use with a Kensington lock.

The laptop also has built-in JBL speakers, which put out a pretty nice sound for a laptop! It does not have a built in optical drive, so you’ll need an external drive for playing/recording DVDs/Blu-Ray, and also for installing games on disc.

The Design

The Lenovo Y50 looks like it’s designed for a cliché gamer. It’s matte black and a bit chunky with some sharper corners and a backlit keyboard with keys that are backed in red. The whole thing glows red when the backlighting is on. The speakers are also highlighted with a red mesh look. It’s not my style at all. In fact, I thoroughly dislike the red, but in the end it’s more about substance than style. And, of course, this is entirely subjective. There are a whole lot of people who will love the red highlights.

Lenovo Y50 Keyboard

The Y50 has a full size keyboard, including a keypad, but it’s on the compact side, due to the size of the machine. The full keypad on the right is useful for gamers and anyone that has to enter a lot of numbers. For some reason, there is no mute button (or any other media buttons). It’s something I always took for granted, so I’m particularly annoyed by its absence. I typically have my machine muted, but like to be able to quickly turn the sound on for a video and then turn it off again. Otherwise, I find the keys well-spaced, albeit just a bit small. They are somewhat mushy and I am missing keystrokes as a result. Some of that is just part of the adjustment to a new machine. I do like the slightly rubbery texture surrounding the keyboard, which makes it appealing for using as a wrist rest. It doesn’t get cold or slippery, although it does tend to show fingerprints.

The touchpad seems to be working well overall. It’s centered on the QWERTY side of the keyboard (where the spacebar is), but feels just a bit too far to the left. When enabled, I am regularly tapping on it while I type, causing an erratic cursor, unintended zoom, and other hassles. I typically have it disabled, as I use a marble mouse, but it likes to turn itself back on now and again. Still working on that one!

The fans are located under the laptop which has some pros and cons. You’ll definitely need a laptop desk to actually use this in your lap without blocking the fans. That said, I like that they aren’t blowing in one direction. Time will tell how well they do in the summer, but I find that the keyboard gets a bit warm when I’m using processor-hungry applications and games.

My Y50 has a matte LED screen. It’s full HD, but I’m not in love with it. My last laptop had the shiniest screen and it drove me insane with glare and fingerprints although it looked beautiful in the right lighting and at the right angle. I was excited to see the matte finish on this screen, but it seems to rob some of the life from images and video. There are other screen options available and I’d recommend thinking carefully about how you use your computer and what type of screen would work best for you. The Y50 has a few other options, including utra HD and IPS LED backlit, so you should be able to find the right match.

The Pros

  • Cost. The Y50 brings the gaming laptop into a budget range that’s more accessible.
  • Sound. Nice speakers with solid bass built right in.
  • Overall specs
  • Plenty of ports

The Cons

  • Mushy keyboard
  • Mediocre screen
  • No media keys

Bottom Line

When shopping for a laptop, my budget often necessitates that I skimp in some gaming areas that tend to leave me frustrated later on. The Lenovo Y50 line provides solid gaming at a reasonable price. It’s not the perfect machine, but it’s a great option for those who want strong specs with limited funds. My games (Civ 5, Sims 4, etc.) run beautifully on the highest graphics settings with no flickering and lag. I can multi-task up a storm with no delays or crashes. And I still have a reasonable portable machine to take on vacations when I’ll want some technology entertainment. I miss the optical drive, but I’d think most people nowadays stream a lot of content and an external drive is easy to find.

You can purchase a Lenovo Y50 gaming laptop, or other devices at a slight discount through the Lenovo INsiders portal.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Lenovo INsiders. I received this unit for review. There was no additional compensation and the opinions contained in this post are my own. Y50 image courtesy of Lenovo.

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