Notebookcheck

Lenovo Legion Y520 15IKBN (7700HQ, FHD, GTX 1050 Ti) Laptop Review

Subdued, yet capable. Lenovo’s latest budget gaming notebook may not possess the pomp and showmanship of the Legion Y720, but it still manages reasonably good performance—even in spite of its relatively affordable price tag. We take it for a (lengthy) spin in our full review.

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Just a couple of weeks ago, we reviewed the new Lenovo Legion Y720, which we found to be a terrific contender within the midrange gaming notebook segment. Not only was it well-priced given its specifications, but it was solidly built with predominantly reliable performance during gaming. Still, those looking for an even more affordable option—and not concerned with the flashier aspects of typical gaming rig yore, or 4K display options, or potential VR capabilities—will be pleased to hear that today, we’re evaluating the Y720’s more ordinary, middle-of-the-road sibling, the Y520.

Currently priced at around $1,060 for our configuration, the Y520 setup we’re evaluating today may succumb to some inevitable compromises, but nevertheless, at the component level, this is still nothing to sneeze at. It packs an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, and augmented by a 256 GB NVMe SSD and 16 GB of DDR4 memory. Let’s see how it stacks up against other budget gaming notebooks, courtesy of our unrelenting testing routine.

Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS (Legion Y520 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook) - 4096 MB, Core: 1493 - 1620 MHz, Memory: 1752 MHz, GDDR5, 21.21.13.7350 (ForceWare 373.50), yes
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2400
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 141 PPI, no, LP156WF6-SPK3, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Sunrise Point, Intel Kaby Lake-H
Storage
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Realtek ALC235 @ High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio, Card Reader: SDXC
Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC (ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 26 x 380 x 267 ( = 1.02 x 14.96 x 10.51 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p HD
Primary Camera: 1 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.524 kg ( = 89.03 oz / 5.56 pounds), Power Supply: 540 g ( = 19.05 oz / 1.19 pounds)

 

Case

While the Y720 featured an aluminum-lined display back and a showier overall presentation, the Y520 is forced (by cost constraints) to defer to a purely plastic construction. This hardly affects the stability of the base unit, which—while resting on a surface especially—easily rivals that of most other comparable competitors, with hardly any flex when pressure is applied (thanks also to the large rubber feet lining the bottom of the device). However, the display lid seems unmistakably flimsy, and it’s admittedly a bit difficult to shake the budget PC sentiment at first glance. In other words, whereas the Asus ROG Strix GL553VD fought to preserve construction materials and aesthetics in pursuit of its (roughly) $1,100 price tag, the Y520 does enough to get by and focuses instead on what’s inside.

Fortunately, the concerns over construction subside fairly quickly upon opening the machine. While it isn’t the most extroverted of gaming notebook designs by a far cry, the matte black palm rest and keyboard surround paired with red accents (and keyboard backlighting) is unmistakably Alienware/ASUS ROG in its styling. It’s been said before (in our Y720 review), but the material here is extremely prone to fingerprints. Nevertheless, it’s haptically-pleasing, and (as we’ll explore later in greater detail) it doesn’t heat up much at all under load.

Partially thanks to its plastic construction, the Y520 is among the lighter of the 15.6-inch gaming notebooks in its class. We measured a total weight of just 2.524 kg. The hinges (center-mounted) also bode well for portable use; they easily handle the lightweight display, effectively suppressing vibration and bouncing during motion or typing. It’s also possible to open the display lid with one hand, thanks to nearly all the weight being concentrated in the base unit.

Connectivity

The Y520 features a fairly standard array of ports for a 15.6-inch machine—but a little thin overall for a gaming notebook. On the positive side, there are four total USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0, one which is USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, and the final of which is USB 2.0. Apart from this, other items worth mentioning are the lack of video output apart from a single HDMI port (though USB Type-C technically can be repurposed for this), and the full-sized SD card port, which actually only accepts half of an inserted card (and thus cannot be relied upon for long-term storage expansion).

Front: no connections
Front: no connections
Rear: no connections
Rear: no connections
Left: Kensington Lock port, Charging port, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, 3.5 mm combo audio (headset), Lenovo OneKey Recovery
Left: Kensington Lock port, Charging port, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, 3.5 mm combo audio (headset), Lenovo OneKey Recovery
Right: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, SD card port, USB 3.0 x 2, HDMI
Right: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, SD card port, USB 3.0 x 2, HDMI

SD Card Reader

Though some machines feature considerably faster card readers, the Legion Y520’s isn’t bad. With 74.74 MB/s and 89.74 MB/s in our JPG copy test and AS SSD Read Tests, respectively, it’s near the top of the pack of direct competitors we’re comparing against in today’s review. Notebooks such as the Dell XPS 15-9560, however, manage speeds that are roughly anywhere from 60 to 180 percent faster. The card reader only accepts half of an inserted card.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
120.5 MB/s ∼100% +61%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
74.74 MB/s ∼62%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
61.32 MB/s ∼51% -18%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
23.59 MB/s ∼20% -68%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
21.2 MB/s ∼18% -72%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
252.6 MB/s ∼100% +181%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
91.72 MB/s ∼36% +2%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
89.74 MB/s ∼36%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
20.96 MB/s ∼8% -77%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
17.9 MB/s ∼7% -80%

Communication

It’s probably no surprise that the Y520’s Realtek 8821AE Wireless-AC adapter can’t match the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 of the Y720 or the Killer Wireless options in the Alienware/MSI devices, but even still, the 307 MB/s and 282 MB/s receive/transmit results we received are a bit underwhelming. It’s certainly fast enough for most purposes, but for heavier-duty transfers, it would probably be wise to opt for an Ethernet connection.

Speaking of which, the Realtek Gigabit Ethernet port features an expandable flap to accommodate its presence along the left side of the machine.

The internal WLAN adapter
The internal WLAN adapter
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware 15 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
681 MBit/s ∼100% +122%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
662 MBit/s ∼97% +116%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
661 MBit/s ∼97% +115%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
511 MBit/s ∼75% +66%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 Wireless Network Adapter
343 MBit/s ∼50% +12%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
307 MBit/s ∼45%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
661 MBit/s ∼100% +134%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
594 MBit/s ∼90% +111%
Alienware 15 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
560 MBit/s ∼85% +99%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
434 MBit/s ∼66% +54%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 Wireless Network Adapter
341 MBit/s ∼52% +21%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
282 MBit/s ∼43%

Software

The Y520 includes a few different software packages. The first is Lenovo Companion, which can be used for system/driver updates, support, and diagnostics. Lenovo Settings is a central hub drawing together various options for battery management, input devices, audio, webcam, and display. Finally, Lenovo Nerve Sense features on/off toggles and some supplemental options for Extreme Cooling, network prioritization of gaming apps, palm/Windows Key rejection during gaming, and automatic Dolby sound enhancement with detected games.

Lenovo Companion
Lenovo Companion
Lenovo Settings
Lenovo Settings
Lenovo Nerve Sense
Lenovo Nerve Sense

Accessories

The Legion Y520 includes no other accessories apart from a mid-sized (540 g) 135 W AC Adapter.

Maintenance

Maintenance is relatively easy apart from a large number of screws
Maintenance is relatively easy apart from a large number of screws

13 Phillips-head screws and a somewhat tightly-affixed bottom panel come between the user and the Legion Y520’s replaceable/upgradeable FRUs. Those include both storage devices (2.5-inch hard drive and M.2 NVMe SSD), both RAM DIMMs (covered by a metal shield), the WLAN adapter, the CMOS battery, the heatsink/fan assembly, and the internal battery. Disassembly certainly isn’t as easy as many other gaming models, but it’s not really all that difficult either.

Warranty

The Y520 comes standard with a 1-year depot (carry-in or mail-in) warranty.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Y520’s keyboard features well-sized and spaced keys with a comfortable smooth surface (which is unfortunately as much of a fingerprint magnet as the rest of the casing materials). The oversized arrow keys feature an extended width to better accommodate gaming usage, though the number pad on the right side is, oppositely, a bit cramped due to its reduced width. The keys overall operate with a medium stroke and a comfortable sense of feedback. They’re also relatively quiet. The only criticism is the visibility of the key labels, which are colored red against a black background—not the best contrast. Fortunately, backlighting does remediate this problem in lower-light conditions.

There is a dedicated key for video recording located directly to the left of the right CTRL key. Recorded videos can later be easily viewed from within the Lenovo Nerve Sense application (which we covered previously).

Touchpad

The Synaptics touchpad, as usual, is quite good overall. Its responsiveness and accuracy are solid, and the surface is smooth and comfortable (it’s a far cry from glass, but it’s an agreeable plastic finish). The two separate physical buttons are center-mounted, meaning that the left side of the right button (and the right side of the left button) does not depress. This can lead to some headaches during the adjustment period to the input devices, but overall, the buttons are still fairly comfortable to use.

The keyboard is very good overall.
The keyboard is very good overall.
We also have few complaints about the touchpad, though the buttons take a little bit of acclimation.
We also have few complaints about the touchpad, though the buttons take a little bit of acclimation.

Display

Unlike its higher-end sibling, the Legion Y520 does not include an option for a 4K screen. Instead, we received a 1920x1080 resolution IPS anti-glare panel. That computes to a PPI of 141, just fine for most purposes—and, unlike 4K, 1080p is appropriate for gaming at native resolution when paired with the GTX 1050 Ti. Upon first glance, brightness and contrast seem average, and color saturation doesn’t appear to be the panel’s strong suit.

Subpixel array, Legion Y520
Subpixel array, Legion Y520
Backlight bleed/clouding
Backlight bleed/clouding
231.3
cd/m²
237.4
cd/m²
261.5
cd/m²
232.2
cd/m²
239
cd/m²
264.3
cd/m²
234.9
cd/m²
237.9
cd/m²
259.8
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 264.3 cd/m² Average: 244.3 cd/m² Minimum: 2.49 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 239 cd/m²
Contrast: 683:1 (Black: 0.35 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.3 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 4.9 | - Ø
55% sRGB (Argyll) 35% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.19
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
LP156WF6-SPK3, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
LG Philips LGD0533 LP156WF6-SPK3, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
BOE HF NV156FHM-N43, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Alienware 15 R3
HPJGK_B156HTN (AUO51ED), TN, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
19%
10%
-3%
-1%
62%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
58.8 (33.6, 25.2)
43 (22, 21)
27%
38.8 (20.8, 18)
34%
28 (15.6, 12.4)
52%
57.6 (23.6, 34)
2%
25 (12, 13)
57%
Response Time Black / White *
36 (23.6, 12.4)
24 (12, 12)
33%
33.6 (18.8, 14.8)
7%
23.6 (15.2, 8.4)
34%
37.2 (4.8, 32.4)
-3%
12 (4, 8)
67%
PWM Frequency
21550 (99)
21000 (90)
-3%
19230 (99)
-11%
1351 (39)
-94%
Screen
9%
1%
-7%
42%
8%
Brightness
244
275
13%
249
2%
263
8%
280
15%
382
57%
Brightness Distribution
88
86
-2%
90
2%
92
5%
93
6%
93
6%
Black Level *
0.35
0.36
-3%
0.48
-37%
0.44
-26%
0.29
17%
0.39
-11%
Contrast
683
800
17%
533
-22%
623
-9%
998
46%
990
45%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.3
5.29
28%
5.9
19%
8
-10%
3.1
58%
10.2
-40%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.9
4.5
8%
5.6
-14%
9.1
-86%
2.1
57%
11.28
-130%
Gamma
2.19 110%
2.39 100%
2.21 109%
2.24 107%
2.22 108%
2.23 108%
CCT
7332 89%
6839 95%
7250 90%
5020 129%
6226 104%
11383 57%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
35
37
6%
44.8
28%
45.7
31%
59
69%
59
69%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
55
57
4%
70.1
27%
72.1
31%
91
65%
90
64%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
14% / 12%
6% / 3%
-5% / -6%
21% / 33%
35% / 18%

* ... smaller is better

We measured an average brightness of just 244.3 cd/m², which is subpar, but suitable for indoor environments. Meanwhile, the black value of 0.35 cd/m² yields a contrast ratio of just 683:1, which is also merely adequate. At least brightness is fairly uniform across the breadth of the panel; we recorded a brightness distribution of 88%, which is relatively even. The right side of the panel is measurably brighter than the left, but in practice, it’s unnoticeable. What is noticeable, however, is the visible clouding/backlight bleed on dark screens.  Have a look at our attached photo above for an (exaggerated) example of what this looks like in a dark room.

Color saturation and sRGB/AdobeRGB coverage, meanwhile, is sorely lacking. With just 55 percent of the sRGB color space covered by the panel, colors predictably appear rather drab and washed-out.  AdobeRGB, of course, is even further from ideal, with only 35 percent coverage measured. The results from competing machines from other manufacturers are all considerably more positive.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. ASUS ROG Strix
vs. ASUS ROG Strix
vs. Samsung Odyssey
vs. Samsung Odyssey

CalMAN 5’s results aren’t terribly offensive, but they’re nothing impressive, either. With ColorChecker and Greyscale DeltaE values of 7.3 and 4.9, respectively, color accuracy isn’t the panel’s strong suit. Total gamma, however, is close to ideal at 2.19 (ideal: 2.4), while the CCT average of 7332K is on the cool side (ideal: 6500K). The panel responded well to calibration (for those so inclined), however, which brought the average Colorchecker / Greyscale DeltaE readings down to 5.5 / 2.0 with a nearly perfect CCT Average of 6580.

Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23.6 ms rise
↘ 12.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
58.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 33.6 ms rise
↘ 25.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 93 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 21550 Hz99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 21550 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 21550 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 56 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8105 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Although we did detect PWM from the display on all brightness levels below 100 percent, the frequency (21550 Hz) was sufficiently high that it is unlikely to be bothersome to most users.

Outdoors, the panel is usable in shaded areas thanks to the anti-glare coating and wide IPS viewing angles… though it does struggle a bit thanks to its subpar brightness and merely decent contrast ratio. Those same deficiencies, predictably, render usage in sunlight considerably more challenging.

In the sun
In the sun
In the shade
In the shade
Viewing angles, Lenovo Legion Y520
Viewing angles, Lenovo Legion Y520

Performance

While the Legion Y520 isn’t necessarily going for the most luxurious build or attractive styling, its internal components are hardly anything to be ashamed of. Our review unit features an Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, 16 GB of DDR4 dual-channel memory, and a 256 GB NVMe SSD. While 4K gaming isn’t in the conversation, this machine ought to be handle most 1080p challenges without too much trouble.

Entry-level Y520 notebooks with a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a conventional mechanical hard drive (no preinstalled SSD) can be had for as little as $780 as of this writing. As previously mentioned, the RAM and SSD are mostly easy to upgrade if the user chooses to do so post-purchase. Straight from the factory, our exact configuration will currently run you around $1,060.

We’ll take a much deeper look at each facet of the machine’s performance next. Before we get to that, however, a couple of quick notes: performance while on battery is (as is usually the case with gaming machines) notably diminished; a secondary run of 3DMark Fire Strike produced a score of 5549, 28 percent below our original score (7682).

LatencyMon reports no latency issues, meanwhile, suggesting that the device should be able to handle real-time audio and video streaming without difficulty.

CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z RAM SPD
CPU-Z RAM SPD
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
SPECviewperf 12
SPECviewperf 12
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

The Intel Core i7-7700HQ has already been exhaustively evaluated here at Notebookcheck. This quad-core Kaby Lake 14 nm CPU features a 2.8 GHz base clock rate with the capability of increasing its frequency to up to 3.8 GHz/3.6 GHz/3.4 GHz (single-core/dual-core/quad-core), provided thermal headroom exists. With a max TDP of 45 W, it’s also well-suited for notebooks of this size.

Oddly enough, however, although single-core performance is right where we’d expect it to be, our multi-core tests revealed a deficiency of over 10 percent as compared to the Y720 (which features the same CPU). For instance, although the Y720—along with every other notebook in our comparison field—scores well above a 700 on this test (737 to be exact), the Y520 only manages a score of 652. At first we suspected possible thermal limitations, so we engaged the so-called Extreme Cooling mode and monitored temperatures while re-running the test—and the results were practically unchanged. Of course, a score of 652 in Cinebench R15 isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but when it’s 10 to 15 percent below the rest of the notebooks out there packing the same CPU, it is a little bit disappointing.

Our new Cinebench R15 loop test, which seeks to approximate real-world stability under realistic sustained loads, at least yielded positive results. The graph featured a bit of unexplained fluctuation, but the differences between scores, at their extremes, were still below 5 percent. This test was performed with Extreme Cooling off, also, so it’s possible that enabling it might further compress the graph. The results here suggest mostly stable performance in real-world usage—so at least we know that thermal limitations are not of paramount concern on the CPU side. We’ll explore this from another angle in our Stress Test section later on.

Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
162 Points ∼81% +2%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼80% +1%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼80% +1%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼80%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
155 Points ∼78% -3%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
148 Points ∼74% -7%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼35% +14%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
738 Points ∼34% +13%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
737 Points ∼34% +13%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
737 Points ∼34% +13%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
732 Points ∼34% +12%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
652 Points ∼30%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.83 Points ∼30% +6%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.82 Points ∼29% +6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.77 Points ∼29% +3%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.72 Points ∼28%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.7 Points ∼27% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.18 Points ∼34% +15%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.17 Points ∼34% +15%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.16 Points ∼34% +15%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.08 Points ∼34% +13%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
7.12 Points ∼30%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
323.56 s * ∼4%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
236 s * ∼3%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
211.321 s * ∼2%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
579.909 Seconds * ∼3% -7%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
543 Seconds * ∼2%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
541.28 Seconds * ∼2% -0%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
519.371 Seconds * ∼2% +4%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.72 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.12 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
66.9 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
159 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
652 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
99.08 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

Subjectively, general operation of the Y520 is smooth and without hiccups or pauses. Startup and shutdown procedures are also very fast, as are sleep/resume cycles. Due to a problem with the system configuration, we have been unable to collect scores from successful PCMark 8 benchmark runs thus far. However, we are currently troubleshooting the matter and will reach out to Lenovo for answers if we continue to have no success. We will update this article with any new information as soon as it becomes available.

Storage Devices

At the lowest end of the pricing spectrum, Y520 configurations with basic 1 TB 5400 RPM hard drives are available. Naturally, much more positive results are possible with solid-state storage, and in the case of our review unit, we received the best of both worlds: the speed of a 256 GB M.2 NVMe SSD combined with a 2 TB mechanical hard drive. This is (currently) a $190 upgrade total, with the SSD alone comprising $160 of the premium. The results, however, speak for themselves.

The PCIe SSD in the Legion Y520 is already fast from the start, but in order to further boost performance and solicit more realistic benchmark values from our tests, we performed a switch from SATA RAID interface over to AHCI in the system firmware setup menu, after which we followed these steps to switch from RAID to AHCI drivers within Windows 10 without requiring a reinstallation of the operating system. The result was an excellent total score of 2617 from AS SSD (1232 Read, 807 Write) with sequential read/write values of 2649 MB/s and 1392 MB/s, respectively. Coupled with the also very high 4K-64 R/W values, those are blistering speeds which should easily communicate the fluidity with which the system moves through everyday tasks.

As we mentioned previously, storage upgrades are relatively easy on the Y520, requiring only the removal of the rear cover (which isn’t too difficult a task).

AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD Copy Benchmark
AS SSD Copy Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
HD Tune (HDD)
HD Tune (HDD)
The internal M.2 NVMe SSD
The internal M.2 NVMe SSD
The internal hard drive
The internal hard drive
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Alienware 15 R3
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
1%
-31%
20%
-22%
Write 4k QD32
392.9
396.3
1%
176.4
-55%
526.9
34%
429.8
9%
Read 4k QD32
457.7
485.4
6%
521.4
14%
631.7
38%
541.7
18%
Write 4k
146.4
153.5
5%
143.1
-2%
158.2
8%
122.9
-16%
Read 4k
58.93
60.07
2%
47.16
-20%
54.2
-8%
37.8
-36%
Write 512
822
810
-1%
195.8
-76%
1531
86%
428.1
-48%
Read 512
785.8
746.5
-5%
460.5
-41%
499.7
-36%
833.2
6%
Write Seq
1202
1144
-5%
798.4
-34%
1621
35%
429.2
-64%
Read Seq
2170
2196
1%
1518
-30%
2141
-1%
1123
-48%
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Sequential Read: 2170 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1202 MB/s
512K Read: 785.8 MB/s
512K Write: 822 MB/s
4K Read: 58.93 MB/s
4K Write: 146.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 457.7 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 392.9 MB/s

GPU Performance

The performance of the GTX 1050 Ti essentially splits the difference between the GTX 1050 and GTX 1060, and that should be fine for most gaming purposes at 1080p resolution. The score of 7682 we received in Fire Strike Graphics is 45% below that of the GTX 1060 in the Legion Y720, but that still indicates a very capable machine nonetheless.

3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Alienware 15 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8923 Points ∼56%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8873 Points ∼56%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
7440 Points ∼47%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7281 Points ∼46%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
6999 Points ∼44%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Alienware 15 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
22810 Points ∼45%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
14450 Points ∼28%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
14233 Points ∼28%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
9725 Points ∼19%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
7760 Points ∼15%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
7457 Points ∼15%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Alienware 15 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
17675 Points ∼43% +130%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11261 Points ∼28% +47%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11134 Points ∼27% +45%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7682 Points ∼19%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7646 Points ∼19% 0%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
6013 Points ∼15% -22%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
5990 Points ∼15% -22%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Alienware 15 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
111106 Points ∼68% +118%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
66856 Points ∼41% +31%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
50981 Points ∼31%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
49539 Points ∼30% -3%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
38001 Points ∼23% -25%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
37840 Points ∼23% -26%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
32344 Points ∼20% -37%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
103946 Points ∼14% +9%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
95568 Points ∼13%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
73576 Points ∼10% -23%
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
80136 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
19356 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
6554 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
3492 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Our benchmarks show that, as expected, most modern games are playable on high settings at the native resolution (1920x1080). However, the machine is not nearly as future-proofed as the Y720, which packs a GTX 1060 instead.

BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
74 fps ∼34%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
99.51 fps ∼46% +34%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
63.6 fps ∼30% -14%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
100.6 fps ∼47% +36%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
62 fps ∼29% -16%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
72.8 fps ∼34% -2%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
174 fps ∼57%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
159.5 fps ∼52% -8%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
128 fps ∼42% -26%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
147 fps ∼48% -16%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
189 fps ∼59%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
171.12 fps ∼54% -9%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
154.1 fps ∼48% -18%
1280x720 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
227 fps ∼63%
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
204.3 fps ∼57% -10%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
182.1 fps ∼51% -20%
Batman: Arkham Knight
3840x2160 High / On (Interactive Smoke & Paper Debris Off) AA:SM AF:8x (sort by value)
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
29 fps ∼50%
1920x1080 High / On AA:SM AF:16x (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
41 fps ∼29%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
25 fps ∼18% -39%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
58 fps ∼41% +41%
1920x1080 High / On (Interactive Smoke & Paper Debris Off) AA:SM AF:8x (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
64 fps ∼45%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
47 fps ∼33% -27%
1366x768 Normal / Off AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
101 fps ∼65%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
79 fps ∼51% -22%
1280x720 Low / Off AF:Trilinear (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
113 fps ∼66%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
91 fps ∼53% -19%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
3840x2160 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
25.5 fps ∼33%
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
38 fps ∼24%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
33.4 fps ∼21% -12%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
64.1 fps ∼40% +69%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
30 fps ∼19% -21%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
38.3 fps ∼24% +1%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
45 fps ∼25%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
38.7 fps ∼22% -14%
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
36 fps ∼20% -20%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
46.6 fps ∼26% +4%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
76 fps ∼34%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
70.1 fps ∼31% -8%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
86.6 fps ∼39% +14%
1024x768 Lowest Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
122 fps ∼42%
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
117.5 fps ∼41% -4%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 22718917474fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 38fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 1131016441fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 122764538fps

Stress Test

Full synthetic system stress
Full synthetic system stress

Our conventional stress testing regimen of weighing down a machine with FurMark and Prime95 is a great way of discerning just how far a machine can be pushed before it reaches its thermal and power consumption limits. In this test, we witnessed CPU clock rates stable at 2.7 GHz (never above) with temperatures of around 84 °C alongside GPU clock rates hovering within the 1700 MHz range (with a temperature of 65 °C).  The CPU clock rate is actually slightly below the base frequency for the chip, which classifies the behavior as throttling.  However, it is highly unlikely that the user will ever experience such conditions during real-world usage.

On the other hand, for a more realistic look at a device’s sustained performance (separate from our Cinebench R15 loop test we explored earlier), we turn to our new Witcher 3 Ultra stress test. Over the course of an hour, we tracked and graphed the FPS reported during the test, along with thermal data. During the test, CPU temperatures remained safely positioned in the 60 °C – 66 °C range, while GPU temperatures never exceeded 68 °C (sticking most of the time around the 66 °C mark). No thermal throttling of any type was reported by the system during the test.

01234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272829303132333435363738394041Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra

Emissions

System Noise

The dual-fan cooling system is normally pretty unobtrusive.
The dual-fan cooling system is normally pretty unobtrusive.

Without Extreme Cooling enabled (which is most of the time, as the setting automatically reverts to off after a reboot or sleep/resume cycle), the Legion Y520 is a relatively unobtrusive machine. Even while under load, the average noise level we recorded was 40 dB(A) with a maximum of only 42.6 dB(A). That’s within a couple percentage points of the Y720’s values, and it’s considerably better than all of the rest of the notebooks in today’s comparison field—even including the Samsung Odyssey, which is only running a GTX 1050 (and which still is 23% louder on average under load).

While idling, although the fan does continue to run, it’s practically inaudible.

Noise Level

Idle
30.5 / 30.5 / 30.6 dB(A)
Load
40 / 42.6 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 27.7 dB(A)
Fan noise profile
Fan noise profile
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Noise
-2%
-4%
-12%
-15%
off / environment *
27.7
30.3
-9%
28.1
-1%
30.6
-10%
30
-8%
Idle Minimum *
30.5
31
-2%
28.1
8%
33.4
-10%
31
-2%
Idle Average *
30.5
30.9
-1%
29.1
5%
33.4
-10%
32
-5%
Idle Maximum *
30.6
31.5
-3%
29.1
5%
33.4
-9%
42
-37%
Load Average *
40
38.7
3%
49.2
-23%
46.5
-16%
49
-23%
Witcher 3 ultra *
40
42
-5%
Load Maximum *
42.6
41.9
2%
49.2
-15%
49.6
-16%
50
-17%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

A view of the heatsink from the rear
A view of the heatsink from the rear

Even alongside the Legion Y520’s low noise levels, temperature development still remains mostly unproblematic. Under max load, we measured average temperatures of 30.7 °C / 29.9 °C on top/bottom respectively (against an ambient room temperature of 21 °C), which is extremely reasonable for a gaming notebook. The palm rests also remain cool, with only the number pad exhibiting any noticeable thermal development (at 40.6 °C). The only hot spot worth mentioning is the top left quadrant of the underside of the notebook, which reached 55.8 °C and would be rather uncomfortable if resting on the lap.

Idle temperatures were only slightly higher than ambient ones, with readings of 25.1 °C / 24.7 °C on top/bottom, respectively.

Max. Load
 26.6 °C33.6 °C46.8 °C 
 23.6 °C33 °C40.6 °C 
 21.4 °C23.6 °C27.2 °C 
Maximum: 46.8 °C
Average: 30.7 °C
55.8 °C38.2 °C24 °C
31 °C29.6 °C22.4 °C
23.2 °C22.4 °C22.2 °C
Maximum: 55.8 °C
Average: 29.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  52 °C | Room Temperature 21 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer
Thermal profile, top of base unit, full stress
Thermal profile, top of base unit, full stress
Thermal profile, underside, full stress
Thermal profile, underside, full stress
Thermal profile, top of base unit, Witcher 3
Thermal profile, top of base unit, Witcher 3
Thermal profile, underside, Witcher 3
Thermal profile, underside, Witcher 3

Speakers

The Legion Y520 features two top-mounted speakers flanking the central hinge beneath the display, and for the most part, they sound pretty balanced (apart from a predictable lack of bass). The included Dolby Audio software applies an annoying reverb effect by default as a part of its Surround Virtualizer feature, which we immediately disabled. The Volume Leveler feature is perhaps more useful, though while gaming with headphones especially you’ll want to disable it for full dynamic effect.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2038.738.736.62534.434.633.63135.433.8354035.235.134.15033.634.435.96333.533.735.38032.531.232.910031.930.630.612530.328.730.516040.828.240.920049.526.850.725058.926.159.131560.126.560.540058.525.959.650055.824.758.363055.424.557.580058.425.360100058.626.160.3125059.924.462.2160061.22463.1200059.52361.6250058.722.960.5315057.822.560400052.122.654.1500058.522.661.1630054.822.457.3800048.622.450.91000049.922.451.61250048.122.3501600043.922.445.8SPL69.935.871.9N26.82.630.1median 55.8Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUSmedian 24.4median 58.3Delta5.52.1637.638.233.436.426.529.128.429.924.926.725.22625.527.123.131.12336.721.543.42150.121.353.318.955.619.359.218.662.119.366.419.672.418.275.218.372.618.870.817.774.317.470.91768.917.269.917.368.717.564.117.465.317.36217.455.317.549.730.282.51.452.3median 18.3Alienware 15 R3median 64.11.68.9hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (71.92 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 13.9% lower than median
(-) | bass is not linear (15.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.2% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (10.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 59% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 36% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 37% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 58% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Alienware 15 R3 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 19.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 6.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 67% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 23% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 44% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 49% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Legion Y520 manages lower power consumption than just about every other laptop in our field apart from the Samsung Odyssey, with which it’s essentially neck-and-neck (and which only features a GTX 1050). The idle average consumption of 9.1 W is very reasonable for its size and class, and even under load, the average of 79.9 W isn’t bad. We measured a load maximum value of 121.5 W, which is well below the power adapter capacity of 135 W. Hopefully these values will lead to respectable battery life figures.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.3 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 8.5 / 9.1 / 9.7 Watt
Load midlight 79.9 / 121.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), , TN, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
-8%
3%
-10%
-108%
Idle Minimum *
8.5
8
6%
6.7
21%
7.7
9%
19
-124%
Idle Average *
9.1
10.9
-20%
8.9
2%
11.7
-29%
23
-153%
Idle Maximum *
9.7
11.8
-22%
10.8
-11%
12
-24%
29
-199%
Load Average *
79.9
70
12%
81.8
-2%
80.5
-1%
85
-6%
Load Maximum *
121.5
148
-22%
122.7
-1%
128.4
-6%
192
-58%
Witcher 3 ultra *
97.7
102
-4%
92.2
6%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Unfortunately, the 45 Wh 3-cell battery in our review unit doesn’t do the device any favors in this department. There are also no upgraded sizes available for the Y520, so those looking for better battery life would be happier with the Y720 instead (which packs a 33% larger 60 Wh battery). Fortunately, most users probably don’t mind this, seeing as a gaming PC even as portable as this one still generally remains a gaming PC these days; it’s unlikely that it will be meant to replace the Dell XPS 13s and HP Spectres of modern-day computing.

Our Wi-Fi Surfing benchmark lasted for just 4 hours on the Legion Y520, enough to get you through a brief trip or for some occasional unplugged use around the house. Under load, the Y520 succumbed in just 46 minutes, while the Battery Eater Pro Reader’s Test went for 8 hours and 29 minutes.

Battery Eater Classic Test
Battery Eater Classic Test
Battery Eater Reader's Test
Battery Eater Reader's Test
Surfing with Wi-Fi
Surfing with Wi-Fi
A view of the 45 Wh 3-cell internal battery
A view of the 45 Wh 3-cell internal battery
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 29min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
4h 00min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 46min
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 45 Wh
Lenovo Lenovo Legion Y720 80VR002XGE
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 60 Wh
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 43 Wh
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
Asus ROG Strix GL553VD-DS71
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 48 Wh
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 99 Wh
Battery Runtime
50%
32%
12%
1%
36%
Reader / Idle
509
707
39%
612
20%
386
-24%
440
-14%
382
-25%
WiFi v1.3
240
380
58%
263
10%
232
-3%
276
15%
264
10%
Load
46
71
54%
76
65%
75
63%
47
2%
102
122%

Pros

+ solid CPU and GPU performance
+ good input devices
+ reasonable price
+ fast SSD and application performance
+ dual-storage configuration
+ easy maintenance and upgradeability

Cons

- plastic construction and rather flimsy display lid
- washed-out display color
- middling brightness and contrast
- subdued, low-cost appearance
- display clouding visible on dark screens

Verdict

In review: Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS. Test model provided by Lenovo US
In review: Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS. Test model provided by Lenovo US

The Lenovo Legion Y520 is a good choice for a gamer on a budget. It features solid CPU and GPU performance, relatively easy maintenance and upgradeability, and good input devices. While construction and styling obviously was forced to subordinate to raw functionality, the sacrifices will soon be forgotten if the machine is mostly used around the house anyway… and the price ($1,060 as configured) certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

The NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti is a far cry from the GTX 1070/1080 adapters we find in higher-end gaming notebooks, but it should be able to handle most modern games at 1080p resolution and high settings with respectable framerates. Stability under sustained gaming loads (as well as heavy CPU operation) is very good overall, revealing no signs of weakness in the realm of thermal management. And the Y520 configuration we evaluated today is also well equipped in the storage department, with an extremely fast 256 GB NVMe SSD supplemented by a 2 TB secondary mechanical hard drive.

The Lenovo Legion Y520 is a good choice for a gamer on a budget. It’s fast, it’s reliable and stable, and it provides the basics at a significant discount over higher-end models.

The biggest drawback here is the lack of available GPU upgrade options—though we suppose it’s hardly a surprise given the existence of the Y720 as the logical next step up. Apart from the merely midrange GPU capabilities, however, the Y520 does cut a few other notable corners to reach its goal of affordability in the gaming sector. The first of those is the aforementioned construction and design; gone are the rigid metal surfaces and RGB zoned keyboard backlighting options of the Y720—the Y520 is all plastic and unapologetically red and black. Other notebooks, such as the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD, emphasize casing and design quality over other items, and so they feature some of the higher-end design and bells and whistles that are absent from the all-business Y520. The other significant disappointment is the screen, which—while decent—lacks in brightness and color saturation. Again, the Y720 offers upgrade options, while the Y520 doesn’t.

For a few hundred bucks more, the Y720 may prove an even more compelling package (depending on budget). And other machines, such as the Dell Inspiron 15 7567, are comparably-priced and also worth a look. But for what it is, the Y520 succeeds well enough. It’s fast, it’s reliable and stable, and it provides the basics at a significant discount over higher-end models.

Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS - 05/26/2017 v6
Steve Schardein

Chassis
71 / 98 → 72%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
50 / 81 → 62%
Weight
60 / 66 → 89%
Battery
75%
Display
82%
Games Performance
90%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
89 / 95 → 94%
Noise
87 / 90 → 97%
Audio
54%
Camera
40 / 85 → 47%
Average
74%
81%
Gaming - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo Legion Y520 15IKBN (7700HQ, FHD, GTX 1050 Ti) Laptop Review
Steve Schardein, 2017-05-27 (Update: 2017-05-28)
Steve Schardein
Steve Schardein - Review Editor - @othersteve
In grade school, my first computer—an Apple IIGS—started it all for me. Later, in the nineties, if I wasn’t repairing computers for family and friends, I was busy cooking up nifty Visual Basic projects and playing PC games like Command & Conquer and Heroes of Might and Magic. Soon, much of my free time was spent moderating popular gaming forums and covering the industry for various websites. All the while, I never stopped repairing computers, and in 2006, I started a technology consulting company in Louisville, KY—Triple-S Computers—which I have been fortunate to nurture to great success by specializing in not only repairs, but also new machine consultations and purchasing, data recovery, and malware/security. And since 2012, I have proudly contributed many dozens of reviews to Notebookcheck, a site which I have long considered to be the ultimate authority on laptops and related technology. Today, I am truly living my dream: still a child at heart, ever-curious, constantly learning, and thankful to you, our readers.