Lenovo Legion Y540 review – once again the Legion series does not disappoint

Lenovo is king when it comes to mid-range gaming laptops. It’s been like that for a couple of years now, and last year they introduced a new design, that put the gaming Legion series undercover.

Interestingly, Lenovo has decided to keep the apparently successful design for the Legion Y540. However, now, it pairs it with a significantly more powerful graphics cards – the RTX 2060 or the GTX 1660 Ti (pretty much the same GPU with the RTX 2060 featuring ray-tracing units, that are not found on the GTX 1660 Ti). Expectedly, you can see the 9th Gen Intel processors – the Core i5-9300H and the Core i7-9750H onboard.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-legion-y540/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo Legion Y540 review – once again the Legion series does not disappoint - Specs

  • BOE NV156FHM-N4G
  • Color accuracy  3.9  1.6
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD + up to 2000GB HDD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows OS, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 57Wh, 57Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 365 x 260 x 25.9 mm (14.37" x 10.24" x 1.02")
  • Weight
  • 2.30 kg (5.1 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • Displayport mini
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ac (2x2)
  • Bluetooth
  • 4.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • 720p HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Digital-array microphones
  • Speakers
  • Harman speakers (2x 2W)
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

All Lenovo Legion Y540 (15″) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the box, there is nothing more than the laptop itself, the mandatory paper manuals and the 230W power brick.


Design and construction

As we already mentioned, the design of the Legion Y540 is somewhat unchanged from the one on the Legion Y530. Well, its chassis is thicker – 25.9 mm vs 24.9 mm of the predecessor, and the logo on the pack lights up, but other than this, everything looks and feels the same. It also weighs the same – 2.30 kilos.

Its lid can be easily opened with a single hand and is not very bendy under pressure – not bad, not terrible. Additionally, it still features the awkwardly placed camera, beneath the display.

Further below there is the keyboard that has one of the largest keys in the laptop world. The keys themselves are backlit and have a decent travel paired with relatively clicky feedback. Moreover, the Legion Y540 is a one-shot device in terms of arrow keys size – racing game enthusiast are gonna love it.

Beneath the keyboard, you are going to find the touchpad, which is fast and accurate, especially paired with a 144Hz display. However, we find its dedicated buttons to be a little hard to press.

Ventilation is realized via a huge grill on the bottom that features inner and outer mesh to collect dust and particles. Speakers are firing towards the desk and then the user, while the hot air comes out from both the back and the sides.


Ports

Most of the I/O is conveniently placed on the back of the laptop – where you can find a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) port (with DisplayPort 1.2 functionality), a Mini DisplayPort, USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1), an HDMI connector, an RJ-45 port, and the power plug. Then there are two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports (one at each side), as well as a headphone jack on the left.


Disassembly and upgrade options

You can read more on how to disassemble the Legion Y540 in our dedicated article.

Display quality

Lenovo Legion Y540 (15″) is equipped with a 144 Hz Full HD panel – BOE NV156FHM-N4G. Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

It has excellent viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 307 nits in the middle of the screen and 291 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 9%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7380K – colder the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K – not bad. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 7300K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1160:1 (1000:1 after profiling)

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo Legion Y540 (15″)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 94% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Legion Y540 (15″) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 9 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo Legion Y540 (15″)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness. The lack of flickering makes the laptop comfortable for long periods of use.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

In this configuration, the Legion Y540 has a 144Hz IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio and non-flickering backlight. Additionally, it covers 94% of sRGB and has extremely fast reaction time – typically for a high refresh rate panel.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo Legion Y540 (15″) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-N4G.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Legion Y540 (15″)’s speakers are tuned by Harman Kardon. It has a decent volume and good quality. Additionally, it is clear of deviations throughout the entire frequency spectrum.


Drivers

You can download all of the drivers and utilities you need on Lenovo’s official support page: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/legion-series/legion-y540-15irh/downloads

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Lenovo Legion Y540 uses a 57Wh battery pack. Sadly, it turns out it is not enough for the 144 Hz display.

During web browsing, we were able to get around two hours and a half, while video playback settled us with 3 hours of battery life.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.


CPU options

CPU-wise we see the standard for a 2019 gaming laptop – a choice from the quad-core Intel Core i5-9300H and the hexa-core Intel Core i7-9750H.


GPU options

In terms of graphics cards, you have the opportunity to go for a Ray-tracing enabled GPU (RTX 2060), but you should know that your budget will take a hit. Otherwise, there is the similarly performing in non-Ray-tracing tasks – the GTX 1660 Ti.

Lenovo Legion Y540 (15") GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo Legion Y540 (15") models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo Legion Y540 (15") model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 124 fps 68 fps 43 fps

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 96 fps 89 fps 84 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 109 fps 63 fps 42 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 76 fps 67 fps 44 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 75 fps 73 fps 47 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Core i7-9750H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo Legion Y540 2.78 GHz (B+7%)@ 74°C 3.08 GHz (B+18%)@ 90°C 2.87 GHz (B+10%)@ 79°C
ASUS ROG G731 3.38 GHz (B+30%)@ 87°C 3.43 GHz (B+32%)@ 94°C 2.63 GHz @ 73°C
ASUS ROG G531 3.41 GHz (B+31%)@ 95°C 3.23 GHz (B+24%)@ 95°C 2.72 GHz (B+5%)@ 79°C
HP Omen 17 2019 3.44 GHz (B+32%)@ 86°C 2.74 GHz (B+5%)@ 71°C 2.67 GHz (B+3%)@ 71°C

Contrary to what we saw with the other Legion gaming laptops from earlier this year and last year, the Legion Y540 manages the CPU a bit more lenient. It doesn’t push it to the limit so that the device remains a little quieter and there is more headroom for the GPU. Interestingly, the Core i7-9750H starts off disappointingly and then it pumps the frequency with some 300 MHz per core. Saying that the Legon Y540 is one of the few devices that finish the stress test with a higher clock speed than they started.

Real gameplay

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Lenovo Legion Y540 1761 MHz @ 76°C 1752 MHz @ 82°C
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-54) 1660 MHz @ 78°C 1635 MHz @ 84°C

As you can see from the table above, the Lenovo Legion Y540’s cooling is a lot more efficient than the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-54), also equipped with the GTX 1660 Ti. Clock speeds are 100 MHz higher with the temperature being 2C lower on the Legion Y540. Not bad, Lenovo.

Gaming comfort

The hottest spot we were able to measure with our IR tool was located just between the “9” and “0” key – 50C.


Verdict

Lenovo has once again done a great job with their Legion laptop. If we have to be honest, they didn’t change a lot on the Legion Y540, compared to the model from last year, although this is not always a bad thing. It retained the keyboard we saw on the Legion Y530, which in terms of performance and comfortability is certainly good. On the downside, there were some issues with this keyboard that people are reporting on forums all around the world, so we hope that Lenovo has fixed them with this iteration.

If you care about the battery life you should stay away from the 144Hz version of this laptop. We weren’t able to find a way to improve the battery performance any better than what we got – two hours and 20 minutes of web browsing and three hours of video playback. Dell’s G5 15 5590 is clearly a better performer in this aspect.

On the other side, the Legion Y540 showed a respectable performance and when we measured the frequency and the temperature of the GPU under heavy load, we noticed a 100 MHz improvement over the Nitro 5 (AN515-54). This shows the cooling of the Legion Y540 is pretty good indeed.

Well, it is not as good as the one of the Legion Y740 for example. Additionally, the build quality is also not quite on the level of the more premium Legion Y740, but there is nothing you can do about it – lower price – lower quality, especially when we compare laptops from the same manufacturer.

Another good side of this device is the nemesis of the battery – the 144Hz display (BOE NV156FHM-N4G). It shows a punchy image with its high contrast ratio and 94% sRGB coverage. Additionally, it has a maximum brightness of above 300 nits and it lacks PWM for brightness adjustment, making it comfortable for long gaming sessions.

At the end of the day, we would absolutely recommend this laptop to you. As long as you don’t need great battery life and an SD card reader, this is the laptop for you.

Pros

  • Adequate price
  • Good keyboard with decent travel, big arrows, and a backlight
  • Wide and accurate color coverage (BOE NV156FHM-N4G)
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust brightness (BOE NV156FHM-N4G)
  • Blazingly fast 144Hz screen option (BOE NV156FHM-N4G)
  • Capable cooling solution
  • Low-key design


Cons

  • Poor battery life for the 144Hz screen version (BOE NV156FHM-N4G)
  • Lacks SD card slot

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-legion-y540/

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Codetechninja
Codetechninja
3 years ago

in your review, it says that the usb-C port has thunderbolt compatibility. Are you able to validate that

Ilia
Ilia
3 years ago
Reply to  Codetechninja

On Legion y740 its thunderbolt 3..
on y540 its just – type c =/

Iyolo
Iyolo
3 years ago

Could you define adequate price please (in lev ) 🙂

Thomas
Thomas
3 years ago

Bought it from Lenovo Shop in the Netherlands for 800 euros – i5-9300H, 8 GB RAM, GeForce 1650 and 144Hz panel.

chinea
chinea
3 years ago

Nice, just got one with 144hz and 2060 and i7 9750 for 1200 dollar

LAPTOP GAMING TPHCM
3 years ago

I like it, will buy when enough money

Fil
Fil
3 years ago

The 144Hz version has bad battery life due to a constantly-on nvidia gpu (much like gsync). There is a bios option to enable the integrated gpu (basically optimus mode) to prolong battery life by several hours.

Ilia
Ilia
3 years ago
Reply to  Fil

Does this option disables the egpu, so it will work on igpu until i launch games, and then it starts the egpu ?

sittingducks
sittingducks
2 years ago

Is it possible to disable to GPU to increase battery life?

Rhyalus
Rhyalus
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Iliev

In the Lenovo Vantage software, just change to “Hybrid” mode. Of course keeping the RTX 2060 off when not gaming extends the battery life… when gaming, gotta keep this beast plugged in. BTW, if you always keep it plugged in, set battery conservation mode so charging stops at 60%.

Brown
Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Iliev

If you activate OPTIMUS you got aprox 2 hours more of battery life

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-Legion-Y540-17IRH-in-Review-Mid-Range-Gamer-Makes-Full-Use-of-its-Core-i5.428305.0.html#toc-verdict
In our Wi-Fi test, which aims to mirror real-world conditions, the Legion reached a runtime of 3:40 h.
By activating the integrated GPU, runtimes can be increased. After doing so, the Legion ran for 5:22 h in our Wi-Fi test and for 5:34 h in our video test.

FabricioPinho
FabricioPinho
2 years ago

Someone know the model name of the display panel 15.6”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), IPS 60hz?

John Lee
John Lee
2 years ago

everything is fine, but the touchpad is very very very bad. it is not sensitive ( i have change the setting) but still. And i have to tap so hard on the touchpad for it to “click” on things.

Andrew Yong
Andrew Yong
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lee

Mine is working pretty good. So much better than previous 6 years old laptop. The surface area is a tad small though. And the hard buttons…

You may want to contact Lenovo for warranty.

Oh… And the speakers. It sounds quite nice but rattles at certain frequencies. Not sure if I had a defective one.

Otávio A. Reis
Otávio A. Reis
2 years ago

I want to replace the wifi module from Lenovo Legion Y540, but I am not sure what kind of slot it has… Do you know if its slot is compatible with the interface M.2 NGFF from Intel AX200?

https://www.amazon.com/MQUPIN-Wireless-AX200NGW-802-11ax-Bluetooth/dp/B07S81QLN4/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=ax200&qid=1572356365&sr=8-4#customerReviews

Thank you.

cactusf3ar
cactusf3ar
2 years ago

Pretty frustrating that they didn’t include an SD card slot on this one, but whatever. Pretty phenomenal laptop otherwise.

Davidezz
Davidezz
2 years ago

I am going to buy it with i5 9300H, 8 GB RAM, 512 SSD, 15,6″ FHD 144Hz, GTX 1660Ti.
Do u think is good enough for graphic works? I’m practicing photoshop (not 3D), illustrator ecc.. Not super professionally works obviously. I want a good PC to do a bit of everything.

Yong Tze-Howe
Yong Tze-Howe
2 years ago
Reply to  Davidezz

I got the i7-9750H, 16GB RAM (Dual Channel), 512GB SSD, 1TB 7200 RPM HDD, 15.6″ FHD 144Hz, RTX 2060. I mainly use PS (CS6, CC) and AI (CS6), e-mails, web, etc at work. It’s more than good enough. If you are working with browsers (with multiple tabs), PS, AI, and probably a few more apps open at the same time then I suggest you get 16GB RAM. Get single channel 8GB config, then add in another 8GB yourself. Or get 16GB dual channel config like I do if Lenovo has good offer. IIRC after first boot and logging in, Task… Read more »

Mia
Mia
2 years ago

Thanks for sharing, I know it is the good gaming laptop, but want to know more information about designing because i am website redesign services provider and my all work depends on graphic and designing work.

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