Benchmarks And Conclusion
For our first look, we decided to conduct preliminary synthetic and gaming benchmarks to give readers an idea of how the systems run. For this series, our testing suite currently consists of PCMark 8, 3DMark Fire Strike, GFXBench and Unigine Valley for synthetic benchmarks, and Bioshock Infinite and Metro: Last Light Redux for gaming benchmarks.
Once again, we're squaring off the featured laptop against previously tested systems, the Gigabyte P37X v4 and Acer Predator 15, as well as the 17-inch variant of Lenovo's Y700 (its first look is coming soon). The comparisons might not make sense at first, as the specs between these four systems differ (the P37X v4 doesn't even have a Skylake processor), but we felt that this was better than comparing the Y700-15 Touch to nothing. More thorough comparisons will come as we test more systems.
(As a reminder: The P37X v4 is running a fifth-generation Core i7-5700HQ, while the Predator 15 and the two Lenovos are running Skylake-based Core i7-6700HQs. The P37X v4 and Predator 15 both possess a GeForce GTX 980M, although the Predator 15's 980M only has 4GB of GDDR5. The Broadwell-powered P37X v4 contains 16GB of DDR3 memory. The Predator 15 and the two Lenovos contain DDR4 memory; the two Lenovos contain 16GB of DDR4 memory while the Predator 15 sports 32GB of DDR4. The Lenovo laptops are both FHD [1920x1080] with IPS panels [15-inch multi-touch for the Y700-15 Touch, and 17.3-inch for the Y700-17]. The P37X v4 has a 17.3-inch FHD IPS display.)
Synthetic Benchmark - PCMark 8
PCMark 8 scores systems based on how well they perform under different workloads. "Home" addresses performance under a fairly light usage model that includes Web browsing. "Creative" addresses more intensive tasks, such as photo editing. Finally, "Work" simulates office performance. All of our PCMark 8 benches run in Accelerated mode.
The Y700-15 Touch attained a score of 3608 in the Home, 4499 in Creative and 4840 in Work. It trades blows with the competition, even the higher-end Acer Predator 15. This is likely due to the Core i7-6700HQ processor in the Y700-15 Touch, which means this laptop is more than adequate for productivity-oriented workloads.
Synthetic Benchmark - 3DMark Fire Strike
To get a better idea of the performance Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960M can muster, we used 3DMark Fire Strike. The Y700-15 Touch's discrete 960M manages a score of 4118 in this graphics-intensive benchmark.
The Y700-15 Touch lags far behind the Predator 15 and P37X v4 in every test except Physics, but keep in mind that Fire Strike is a demanding metric. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960M naturally pales in comparison to the much more powerful 980M used in the Acer and Gigabyte laptops. That doesn't mean you can't game on the Y700-15 Touch, though. In fact, the 960M is adequate for most titles at 1920x1080. Just don't expect to max out the detail settings.
Synthetic Benchmark - GFXBench
The Y700-15 Touch performs similarly to its 17-inch counterpart, as well as the Predator 15. Its GeForce GTX 960M lagged behind the higher-end competition through Fire Strike, but the results in GFXBench's High-Level tests show that it is still more than capable of gaming.
Sure enough, the scores our Y700-15 Touch earned during the Low-Level tests illustrate that differences between a GTX 980M and a GTX 960M aren't as pronounced in low-intensity or CPU-bound metrics. This is especially attractive for users who don't need to run AAA titles at their highest settings.
Finally, the Lenovo Y700-15 Touch performs best (on battery) out of our three contenders, generating nearly 30 FPS on average during its slowest test run. The battery provides more than three hours of estimated play time, which I would argue is great for a gaming laptop, although clearly the Acer Predator 15 showed better overall battery life. We'll explore the trade-offs in our full reviews.
Synthetic Benchmark - Unigine Valley
During the Valley Benchmark, we dialed the settings to High Quality at 1920x1080, DirectX 11 and turned anti-aliasing off. Since our Y700-15 Touch only has a GTX 960M, it doesn't need to be stress tested to the same degree as a higher-end machine. The Y700-15 touch manages an average of 42.6 FPS, which, given its internal hardware, is enough for most games.
Gaming Benchmark - Bioshock Infinite
I wanted to illustrate what a lower-end mobile card like the GTX 960M was capable of, so I kept Bioshock Infinite's preset at Ultra Quality. Throughout the benchmark, the Y700-15 Touch pulled average frame rates well above 100 FPS.
Gaming Benchmark - Metro: Last Light Redux
The GTX 960M isn't a terribly powerful mobile processor, but it packs enough performance for demanding games like Metro:LL when the settings are dialed back. We used Medium Quality with SSAA off, Texture Filtering at Anisotropic Filtering 4X, Motion Blur off, Tessellation at Normal and with Vsync and Advanced PhysX off.
The Ideapad Y700-15 Touch achieved an average frame rate of 56.37, just under the Goldilocks region of 60 FPS. Metro and similarly intensive games won't look as impressive on the Y700-15 Touch, but players will enjoy stable performance nonetheless.
Lenovo's Ideapad Y700-15 Touch plays an interesting role in the gaming laptop market. It offers the graphs horsepower of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960M, which is more than adequate to play modern games at respectable settings. Along with its Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, the Y700-15 Touch doubles as a multimedia platform, with enough performance for light content creation. The laptop's appearance, with its red and black color scheme and aggressive angles, will inevitably appeal to gamers looking for a budget-oriented laptop that isn't overstated. On the other hand, its looks are subtle enough to appeal to users looking for a laptop with a bit more power.
There was little to complain about; the typing experience is incredibly satisfying, which we've come to expect from Lenovo's laptops. The multi-touch screen is responsive. I found myself using it more than the trackpad, which felt mediocre and had major flex issues when clicking. The screen is also prone to keyboard marks. However, neither of these issues are deal-breakers. Overall, the user experience is enjoyable.
At the time of writing, the specific Y700-15 Touch model we covered (80NW0010US) retailed for $1300, but the base model is also available on Lenovo's website for $1100. I believe this price range accurately reflects the build quality, aesthetics and performance the Y700-15 Touch offers.
Stay tuned for our full review, which will include more benchmarking and usage tests. If you have any suggestions or comments for future first looks, please let us know in the comments.
Alexander Quejado is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. Follow Alexander Quejado on Twitter.