Lenovo Legion Y540 – Is still worth buying in 2021?

The Lenovo Legion Y540 has been such a highly requested and most anticipated gaming laptop.

The laptop comes with some cool stuff and pretty decent features and specifications.

Overall design and specification make it a highly competitive gaming laptop. The Legion Y540 is offered in 15-inch and 17-inch sizes with various different configurations and prices.

so let’s dig into the details and find out if it lives up to the hype in this review.

Lenovo legion y540

Key Specifications:

Hard Disk:1 TB SSD
Processor:Intel Core i5-9300H with Turbo Boost Upto 4.1 GHz
Generation:9th Generation
Display:15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 Pixel
Graphics:NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1660Ti (6 GB)
Software:Windows 10 Home
Weight:2.3 kg
Warranty:1 Year Onsite warranty

Lenovo Legion Y540 Design

The lid is black plastic with a grooved finish, while the interior is matte black and some sort of rubberized material like the older Y530.

All edges and corners were smooth, and the overall build quality felt good. The starting weight is listed at 2.3 kg on the Lenovo website.

With the large 230-watt power brick and cables included this rises by about a kilo.

The dimensions of the laptop are 36 cm in width, 26.7 cm in-depth, and around 2.6 cm thick at the highest point.

This smaller footprint allows for thinner screen bezels, which I measured at around 8 mm on the sides.

The 15.6-inch FHD IPS screen has a matte finish and sharp and accurate color vibrancy. although No G-Sync presents here like the more expensive Y740.

The lid is pretty clean. Legion branding on the side with white lighting. This was not from the display’s backlight and it cannot be controlled from there.

Underneath there are some air intake vents towards the back. And the rubber feet did a decent job of reducing movement.

Everyday performance on the Lenovo Legion Y540 is powerful and speedy. Lenovo’s newest gaming laptop handled multiple instances of common applications such as Google Chrome, One Note, Word, Excel, File Explorer, Photos, and Microsoft Store across multiple virtual desktops without any signs of lag or stuttering.

Switching between slightly heavier applications such as Adobe Lightroom Classic and Epic Games Launcher happened smoothly without any problems. Simultaneous game downloads happened without any fuss too.

Gaming Performance

Performance with this laptop was generally excellent, though there were some moments where the machine would hitch during aspects of running the game.

The video that plays when one launches Apex Legends for the first time, for example, frequently stuttered during playback, including a few moments where the video entirely froze while the audio continued to play.

The experience during actual gameplay, however, was smooth and crisp. I was able to play Apex Legends with the various graphics settings set to “High” without any issues.

The result was game quality akin to what I’d get when playing on the PlayStation 4.

The legion y540 comes with two options 60/144 Hz panel. So we expect different results from these two panels.

You’ve also got the option of pushing the screen back pretty much a full 180 degrees. Backlight bleed wasn’t too bad here, but some minor imperfections you notice while viewing darker content.

lenovo legion y540

There was some screen flex despite it being thicker plastic, however, it felt sturdy with the hinges being out towards the far corners.

Absolutely no problems at all opening it up with one finger. It felt quite well balanced and no problems using it on my lap.

The screen bezel is on the thinner side they’ve taken the nose cam approach. The 720p camera just isn’t very good, it’s a nose cam so when you type your fingers kind of get in the way, and if you want to be properly in the frame I’ve got to move it right back, and it’s just not very good.

The Lenovo legion y540 keyboard has white backlighting which can be adjusted between two different brightness levels or turned off by pressing the function key and space bar shortcut. And the lighting even lights up all secondary key functions.

Lenovo legion Y540

The number pad is on the smaller side, but that sacrifice gets us larger than usual arrow keys for a laptop.

Overall I liked typing with the keyboard. There was more flex while pushing down on the keyboard than during normal use.

The touchpad of legion y540 comes with windows precision drivers. On being smaller side touch was pretty smooth and comfortable.

The touchpad itself does not click down. however, there are separate left and right-click buttons below it which make a very audible click sound when pressed.

Fingerprints showed up fairly easily on the black interior. And as a smooth surface, they were mostly easy to clean, though as a rubber material some dirt was harder to remove.

Lenovo legion y540 comes with a good selection of ports. On the left from the back, there’s an air exhaust vent, USB 3.1 Generation 1 Type-A port, and 3.5 mm audio combo jack.

On the right there’s just another USB 3.1 Generation 1 Type-A port and air exhaust vent.

The majority of the I/O is found on the back. From left to right you got a USB Type-C port, no mention of Thunderbolt though.

mini Display Port 1.4. Third USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port.HDMI 2.0 output, gigabit ethernet, power input, and Kensington lock. Above the rear I/O there are little images/symbols of ports.

The front is just smooth plastic, and you can see the two speakers towards the left and right corners.

The speakers were above average with a little bass present. Although the speaker was not too loud I thought it was loud enough.

The laptop has a 3 cell 57-watt hour L shape battery. streaming YouTube videos makes great battery life with hybrid mode enabled, so with Nvidia Optimus and using the Intel integrated graphics.

I’ve also tested with this disabled, So with only the Nvidia graphics in use, and this burns battery faster as expected.

The 230-watt power brick that Lenovo includes with the Legion y540 was plenty for these specs.

I was seeing some drain during my testing but it would stop at around the 95% mark which is pretty standard behavior.

It’s worth noting the brick was quite large and heavy compared to most other 230 Watt ones in the market.

Air comes in this Legion y540 laptop through the bottom, and the rubber foot at the back raises it up a little to assist airflow.

Air exhausts out the two vents on the back corners, as well as the vents up the back on the left and right-hand sides.

Inside we got a heat pipe between the processor and graphics along with a couple of fans. It’s a very similar design to what we saw in the older Y530.

The Lenovo Vantage software allows us to swap between three modes, quiet, balanced and performance.

I found these modes to adjust the power limit on the CPU between these different levels.

The software also notes that these modes adjust fan speed, however under combined CPU and GPU load, as you’ll hear later, I observed no difference. Otherwise, I did not find these modes to affect GPU performance at all.

Thermal testing was completed at an ambient room temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, so expect different results in different environments. At idle it was a little warm, however, the fans were also silent in quiet mode.

Overall the Lenovo Legion y540 is a pretty nice gaming laptop. There is nothing perfect and have some important issues.

let’s review the good and the bad. The worst issue was the lack of higher fan speeds when swapping between quiet, balanced, and performance modes.

The machine was quieter compared to most other gaming laptops. There was some thermal throttling in my worst-case tests, but you can improve on this with some simple changes.

We want here settings of the older Y530 allowed us to at least have the option of manually setting the fan speed to maximum. it would be great to see this return in a future update.

The machine was performing very well for the price, and this seems to be due to the combination of hybrid mode.

Once we overclock the graphics and under volt the CPU in a similar manner to what the Helios 300 provides out of the box. we get much better performance.

The battery life was quite good with hybrid mode enabled. At gaming, the frame rate drop after 48 minutes puts it below average in that regard.

The screen was fine. If you are using it for games in many cases you’d probably benefit from getting the 144 Hz option.

Compared to the more expensive Lenovo Y740 gaming laptop, there are some missing features like G-Sync and RGB lighting.

However, Overall the Legion y540 does appear to be offering good value for the money, I just hope they improve fan speed in a future update. Personally I’m a fan of the more subtle design compared to most other designs.

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