2019 has seen a host of gaming laptops come out at various price points. At India Today Tech, I have lived with the fanciest gaming laptops for weeks costing almost as much as a small car, and with the latest entry-level gaming laptops that offer just enough firepower to run the latest bunch of games. As an enthusiastic gamer, it’s obvious to fall in love with the expensive machines toting the latest Nvidia RTX graphics cards. However, the grown-up part of me inclined more towards the affordable bunch of laptops.
Wonder why? It’s because, for less than Rs 1 lakh, you can get a laptop that can run any of the latest games at decent graphics and frame rates. At the same time, these can become a part of your daily life easily, with some of them offering a tinge of bling in the form of RGB lighting strips. Under Rs 1 lakh, Asus has a dozen of ROG and TUF laptops on offer but the one that stood out for me this year came from Lenovo.
It’s called the Legion Y540 and prices start at Rs 74,990 for the base variant. In person, the Lenovo Legion Y540 may not appeal to the bling-loving gamer eyes but after living with it for a few weeks, it proved itself to be the best option you can buy today. Not only does it go easy on the wallet but it also massages the gamer ego in you – that’s a combination that not many laptops have achieved this year.
What has Lenovo done right?
With the Legion Y540, Lenovo hasn’t bested the segment but it has done the core things just right. It starts right from the design and build, which is a class apart from other laptops in this segment. Most entry-level gaming laptops from Asus, Dell and HP look like they have been made to fit a budget. That’s not the case with the Lenovo as it goes for a classy design with a design flair that won’t make you go red-faced in the coffee shop.
It has an entire plastic made chassis which keeps the weight under check. The lid has a nice rough texture that can take daily abuses with ease. And if you were wondering, there’s an LED-backlit Legion logo done tastefully. Inside, the display has narrow bezels and you get a full-sized keyboard with a massive trackpad that’s responsive. This design worked for me and even while using it for regular laptop work, it never felt out of place.
The display in itself is also quite impressive. My variant came with a 15.6-inch IPS LCD panel with 144Hz refresh rate. The display renders games and movies in quite vibrant colours and high brightness, and there’s no loss of colours even when you look at it from an angle.
Performance is where a gaming laptop has to shine the most and the Lenovo legion Y540 does that impressively. In terms of specifications, you can equip your with a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9570H processor that’s paired with up to 32GB RAM and a choice of either a 512GB SSD (my choice for faster performance) or a 2TB HDD.
Along with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, the Legion Y540 can manage to run all the latest games at decent graphics. Games like GTA 5 run at highest graphics settings with frame rates of 40-50 fps. My favourite title F1 2019 by Codemasters was running on the highest settings at 60fps at a stretch of 2-3 hours. The heaviest titles like Wolfenstein Youngblood, Battlefield 5 and Red Dead Redemption will take only medium settings with frame rates lurking round 30-40 fps. The 144Hz refresh rate does help to smoothen things out and most of the time, the experience is certainly enjoyable. Thermals are done well but given the slim chassis, you need to ensure some passive cooling (keep it on a table or elevate it while keeping it on bed).
This level of performance is great for a gaming laptop under Rs 1 lakh. What’s also nice is the battery life that can make the laptop last up to 4.5 hours at a stretch on an average when you are doing regular work such as working on word documents, web browsing and streaming music. The speakers are sub-par but on a sub-Rs 1 lakh laptop, I can live with it.
The Lenovo Legion Y540 is one of the best gaming laptops you can pick from the store shelves today if you want to hit the sweet spot of an affordable price under Rs 1 lakh and performance that’s good enough for the latest titles. Most importantly, it’s a gaming laptop that has been designed smartly. Lenovo gives you a wide option of components to choose the right graphics card or processor to get the best out of your budget.
On the whole, the Lenovo Legion Y540 is the best overall gaming laptop for most casual gamers in 2019 and if you buy one now, you could easily stretch it for the next two years while playing the latest titles.