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Lenovo Gaming- Its present and Near-Future

Story with Notebook Makers so far…

We’ve seen notebooks evolve due to onboard solutions with the CPUs, GPUs and even storage as M.2 NVMe is taking shape in M.2 format. But what we get to see at times is very different when it comes to buying these notebooks.

As ironic it sounds, gaming notebooks are more useful for content creators as its closest thing they’ll get to desktop-level performance with portability. As fabrication process shrinks with many features are becoming a native feature on the chip itself, the gaming notebook form factor is very easy to carry. HP Omen is currently available for pre-order in India. The only reason I didn’t cover that event because with a history of seven years running Hardware BBQ, its PR (conveniently the same as AMD India) is rather private until it sends press releases and invites. We wouldn’t know how good or bad their notebooks are and as some people in India are not very happy that a long outdated 1366 x 768 resolution is sold in mid-tier segments while 1080p displays in notebooks are sold in six-figure INR premium models, such is the case with the 13-inch 13-V122TU notebook. Besides, the idea of a company like HP doing paid promotion with a beauty blogger with a business notebook, but shuts off communication with others paints a bad picture. I am sure HP makes good notebooks, but come on! It was just one Instagram away from becoming a meme.

Lenovo- its present and near future in gaming!

On the other hand, I reviewed the Lenovo Y700 a few months ago. When they asked if I would like to interview with Will Fu, the director of the gaming business, PC & Smart device group for Lenovo, it gives a basic foundation to ask questions. Its rare to see notebooks reviews in Hardware BBQ, thought its testing methodology is merely a collection of component reviews with few more additions such as battery life, power draw/ consumption and overall experience. The purpose of this interview is more user-centric as opposed to the ‘gaming is growing’ cliche. As of now, there are two types of gaming notebook makers- one with a history of pre-built systems such as Lenovo and HP and in another corner brands like MSI and even Gigabyte’s AORUS lineups whose reputation is built upon years of DIY components and enthusiast platforms across various chipsets.

Co-incidentally at the time of preparing this write-up, The Financial Express asked questions to Mr Fu’s counterpart at HP, but it doesn’t really talk about anything new. We all know Ryzen is released. We all know VR content is something everybody would like to use in the near future. There’s also the problem of considering low-end graphics solution as ‘entry-level’ gaming because while Nvidia has been releasing series of architecture, SKUs and optimized drivers, AMD is rather quiet and keeps the gates closed. Based on that and to know about the present and future releases, these are questions and its responses we got from Mr Fu. With questions, are the responses different from other gaming notebook manufacturers? That’s for you to decide!

Based on that and to know about the present and future releases, these are questions and its responses we got from Mr Fu. With questions, are the responses different from other gaming notebook manufacturers? That’s for you to decide!

  1. For those who are unaware, could you explain to our readers the progress Lenovo made with gaming notebooks over the years and what are the plans for this year?

Two years ago, we set out to create a line-up of gaming PCs and peripherals for working gamers who wanted unrivaled performance and a sleek aesthetic that’s ready to play right out of the box, but with the option of future upgrades. And that’s how the Lenovo Y series was born, where we launched the IdeaCentre Y900 and IdeaCentre Y700 desktops, the IdeaPad Y700 laptop and five Lenovo Y gaming accessories including the Lenovo Y Gaming Mechanical Keyboard and Precision Mouse. Designed in edgy black and red, Lenovo Y series moved with working gamers from day to play, with the option for upgradability. Since then, we have added several more gaming PCs, monitors and peripherals to the Y series, including the IdeaCentre Y900 RE (Razer Edition) and Lenovo Y27g RE Curved Gaming Monitor (Razer Edition) that’s co-created with Razer.

In the past two years, we’ve spent time building and listening to a community of gamers to better understand what they value most – in our quest to offer players the most immersive PC gaming experiences. We believe our growing community deserves gaming devices with a sub-brand of its own. That’s when we decided to launch Lenovo Legion, a new gaming sub-brand dedicated to all of Lenovo’s PC gaming devices. The name was inspired by our community of gamers and their passion for immersive gaming. We’ve received great feedback from the community so far, with some even calling themselves “Legioneers.”

Our first Lenovo Legion offerings embody the modern gaming experience, starting with the new Lenovo Legion Y720 and Y520 Laptops – two powerful gaming PCs designed for mainstream and enthusiast players launched at CES earlier this month. The higher-end Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop is VR-ready, with up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics for truly immersive gameplay. It’s also got up to a UHD IPS anti-glare display and is the world’s first Dolby Atmos Windows based PC to give gamers the immersive visual and audio experiences they crave. Better yet, the Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop comes with the option of an integrated Xbox One Wireless receiver that supports up to four controllers simultaneously for players to game with friends.

But CES is just the beginning for Lenovo Legion. We’re excited to bring more immersive gaming experiences to customers later this year, so stay tuned!

  1. We have started to see Kaby Lake processors and Nvidia GTX 1050/GTX 1050 Ti-based gaming notebooks. Yet some believe that the low-end GPUs shouldn’t be termed and branded under gaming lineups. What is Lenovo’s approach with such SKUs?

Gamers all have different needs, preferences, skill levels and budgets, which is why Lenovo gaming devices like the new Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop and Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop offer different SKUs and graphics options for gamers to choose from. Lenovo Legion products offer NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti graphics for mainstream gamers. And considering the continual improvement in graphics technology, I think we’ll start to see better performance in entry and mid-level graphics cards.

  1. We have seen companies that make gaming notebook branch out and have different types of gaming hardware-display panels, keyboards, mouse, headsets, etc. Would we see Lenovo doing anything similar?

From speaking with customers, we know that peripherals are a big part of the gaming experience. That’s why we offer a whole arsenal of accessories designed to complement the experience:

Lenovo Y27g Curved Gaming Monitor is a beautiful 27-inch VA curved gaming panel that allows for some of the most immersive visual experiences to date. Like I mentioned earlier, it also comes in a special Razer Edition with Razer Chroma multi-color lighting effects.

Lenovo Y Gaming Stereo Headset has high-quality stereo sound and a detachable noise canceling microphone.

Lenovo Y Gaming Mechanical Keyboard has anti-ghosting, mechanical keystrokes, up to 18 macro commands and six programmable keys.

Lenovo Y Gaming Precision Mouse has customizable dpi settings, programmable buttons, polling capability and four removable weight cartridges.

Lenovo Y Gaming Armored Backpack has three separate compartments for up to a 17-inch laptop, gaming peripherals and personal belongings.

  1. Few companies make desktop replacement units while brands like Lenovo are known to maintain a typical notebook portability. Would we see Lenovo making desktop replacement units with SLI configurations?

We’ll continue to work on creating powerful and portable gaming laptops, based on our gaming community’s feedback for portability. We’re looking at a lot of different concepts, but at present, I’d say that generally, desktops are still more powerful and better suited for hardcore gaming.

  1. As desktop variants of GPU cores are ending up in gaming notebooks, would socketed desktop in gaming notebooks be a game changer to bridge the performance gap between notebook and desktop of the same class and similar SKU?

Many gaming laptops have already reached a good balance of portability with high performance – rivaling their desktop counterparts. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y910 laptop, for example, supports the most advanced experiences 4K gaming and VR have to offer – with crisp frame rates and reduced screen tearing powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB graphics. I think the performance gap between gaming laptops and desktops will lessen much sooner than later.

  1. Apart from Lenovo’s own gaming solutions, is there any other gaming brand you like and can relate with?

We believe in building strong partnerships with gaming insiders to cross-pollinate ideas and expertise. Two years ago we teamed up with gaming lifestyle brand Razer to bring to market two co-branded Razer Editions of Lenovo gaming devices:

Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 RE (Razer Edition) is a high-end gaming desktop with simple upgrade capabilities with Razer Chroma multi-color lighting effects.

Lenovo Y27g RE Curved Gaming Monitor (Razer Edition) is one of only a few curved gaming monitors available today, with Razer’s signature Chroma lighting on the back for an extended display effect.

  1. With the encouragement of M.2 and Intel Optane support for newer chipsets, would we finally see brands phase out 5400 rpm 2.5-inch mechanical drives and push towards SATA-based SSDs and even M.2 throughout their lineup?

I think we’ll continue to see the rise of SSD + HDD dual storage that balances the performance and capacity.

  1. Does Lenovo have any expectations with AMD Ryzen architecture and if it would enable Lenovo to make more AMD-based CPU+GPU gaming laptops in the same pace as Intel+ Nvidia units?

We have strong partnerships with tech and gaming industry players and don’t rule out the potential of AMD’s Ryzen CPU as long as it suits our customers’ needs.

  1. Virtual reality headsets- Would it encourage the mass to buy them or would it face the same fate as 3D for personal media consumption?

We’re believers that VR and AR are the future of computing and will ultimately change the way we game, create, communicate and learn. Many of our gaming PCs, including the new Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop, are already VR-ready to power these amazing VR experiences consumers want.

But many customers have told us that the two biggest barriers to mainstream VR adoption are its high cost to entry and lack of VR content. With these two pain points in mind, we developed the Lenovo Entertainment Hub in partnership with Beyond Media – announced at CES this year. It’s an app on Lenovo Legion gaming PCs that give users access to a vast catalog of popular movies, TV shows and game codes, with an industry-unique benefit of VR upscaling technology, or translating non-VR games into a VR experience on VR-ready systems.

In addition to launching more content, we showed Lenovo’s own mainstream VR headset under glass at CES this year that will retail at a much lower price point (officially launching later this year). With new innovations in 2017, we’re bullish that the time is ripe for VR.

  1. Lenovo showed off its VR headset at CES. Has the company selected a name, launch date and estimated an MSRP for consumers to be ready?

Stay tuned for more coming later this year.

  1. Would we see Lenovo making a “backpack” solution for VR experience similar to what MSI and ZOTAC are doing?

We don’t rule out exploring new form factors or emerging technology, as long as they fit our customers’ needs.

  1. If you have to convince PC gamers that primarily use desktop systems to look at gaming notebooks as a good mainstream gaming system, what would you say?

When it comes to performance and portability, the new Lenovo Legion gaming laptops are really hard to beat. They’re outfitted with the latest NVIDIA graphics cards and Intel’s latest 7th Gen Core i7 processors for the high speed and power that gamers want, but in a portable laptop form factor that give gamers the portability to play in their living room just as easily as at a friend’s house without compromising what gamers care about most – performance!

Lenovo Gaming- Its present and Near-Future from technology

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