Lenovo crashes gaming party with new Legion line of laptops

Dell has Alienware, Acer has Predator and now Lenovo has Legion PCs for gamers

Gaming enthusiasts are particular. They like colorful chassis, bright keyboard lights, cool-sounding brand names and scintillating performance in PCs.

Those are ideals Lenovo has embraced with its new Legion line of gaming laptops and PCs. Introduced on Tuesday, Legion will feature some of the most loaded PCs offered by Lenovo.

In a way, Legion is to Lenovo what Alienware is to Dell -- a product family that will help Lenovo cash in on PC gaming and virtual reality. Beyond PCs, the Legion brand could also include gaming monitors and accessories.

Lenovo isn't known as a game PC maker, but it isn't stretching outside its comfort zone with Legion. It already offers Y-series and IdeaPad gaming PCs, and has partnered with Razer to build not only desktops, but keyboards with lighting effects and other gaming accessories. Lenovo hopes Legion -- a name coined after the large units in the armies of the Roman empire -- will resonate with gamers.

The PCs also have to be good of course, and Lenovo is off to a decent start. The company is offering two 15.6-inch gaming laptops, the Legion Y720 and Y520, both of which are targeted at mainstream and enthusiast gamers.

The colorful Y720 has black and red accents, and can be configured with a 4K screen. The laptop supports VR headsets, and will ship in April starting at $1,399.99.

The Legion Y720 is one of the first gaming laptops to support Dolby Atmos, which improves the audio experience while gaming. It has dual two-watt JBL speakers, and a three-watt Dolby Atmos subwoofer.

An optional Xbox One Wireless can be integrated so gamers can use the same wireless accessories and controllers that work with the popular gaming console.

Support for Dolby Atmos, HDR gaming and Xbox One Wireless receiver were mentioned by Microsoft as major improvements it is bringing to PC gaming platform with the Windows 10 Creators Update. The Y720 will immediately exploit those features to improve gaming quality.

The Legion Y720 weighs 3.2 kilograms and offers either Core i7-7700HQ or Core i5-7300HQ processors based on the Kaby Lake architecture. For such a high-end laptop, the lack of a Core i7-HK chip -- which can be overclocked -- is surprising. The Core i7-HK is being included in some new Alienware laptops; gamers like the ability to crank up performance by turning the dial on the clock speed in CPUs.

The Y720 also will have an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 memory.  The laptop has three USB 3.0 ports: one Thunderbolt 3 port; an HDMI port; and a DisplayPort port. An optional RGB keyboard can give a multitude of backlit color keys to gamers.

Some of the more advanced features in the Y720 aren't in the the 2.4-kilogram Y520, which has Intel Kaby Lake processors. GPU options include an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU.The laptop has USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and two Harman speakers. It will ship next month starting at $899.99.

The Y520 is targeted more at mainstream users with its HD screen and lower price. It does not have a Thunderbolt 3.0 port and a 4K option isn't available.

The Legion laptops have up to 16GB of DDR4 DRAM and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The storage options stretch to 2TB hard drives or 512GB NVMe SSDs. Both laptops have Gigabit Ethernet.

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