Lenovo Legion Y90 review: The best smartphone for gaming and more

Content

  1. Video review
  2. Equipment and design
  3. Software
  4. Cameras
  5. Performance and Benchmarks
  6. findings

Their gaming lines of smartphones are not onlyfrom ASUS, Xiaomi and Nubia, but also from Lenovo. Moreover, its products are mostly gaming - and least of all look like normal smartphones. In the 2022 model, called the Legion Y90, the company, however, abandoned some of the craziest features (charging with two wires, front camera moving to the right) and simplified the camera, but it solved the problems with durability and was able to make a more or less finished product. Unlike the previous generation, which was also released in a limited edition in the West, the Legion Y90 is sold only in China - from there we ordered it to tell you about this outlandish game phone.

Specifications Lenovo Legion Y90
Network 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G
Firmware ZUI 13 based on Android 12
Screen 6.92″, 20.5:9, 2460 x 1080 pixels, 388 ppi, 1300 nits, 144Hz, 720Hz touch, Gorilla Glass 5
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1, 4 nm
CPU: 8 cores, 1 x X2 x 3GHz + 3 x A710 x 2.5GHz + 4 x A510 x 1.8GHz
GPU: Adreno 740
Ram 12 GB
LPDDR5
16 GB
LPDDR5
18 GB
LPDDR5
ROM 256 GB
UVS 3.1
256 GB
UVS 3.1
512 GB + 128 GB
UFS 3.1 + SSD
(RAID0)
SIM and memory card Two nano SIM cards
Camera Double
Main: 64 MP, OV64B, 1/2″, 0.7µm, f/1.8, video recording [email protected] / [email protected]
wide angle: 13 MP, f/2.2, video recording [email protected]
Selfie Top frame, 16 MP, f/2.2, video recording [email protected]
Battery 5600 mAh (2 x 2800 mAh)
Charging USB-C 68W
Wireless interfaces Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.2
A-GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS
NFC there is
Biometrics Fingerprint scanner (under the screen)
Sound Stereo speakers
Water protection Not
Dimensions and weight 177 x 78.4 x 10.14mm
252 g

    Video review

    Equipment and design

    The Lenovo Legion Y90 comes in a fairly standardIt looks like a box with a good kit inside: a smartphone, 68-W charger, Type-C-Type-C cable, a hard plastic case with minimal protection, a SIM needle and a marked cardboard from which you can assemble a smartphone stand. For a creative like, for an uncut set - another like. Just note: the phone is for China, so the plug is Chinese; take care to purchase an adapter.

    There are two things to understand about the Lenovo Legion Y90 designbasic things. First, it is huge: 177 mm long, 78.4 mm wide and 252 g live weight. Of course, it could not be otherwise with a 6.92″ screen and a classic design with frames from top to bottom, but still this moment needs to be very clearly understood. This is not a phone that is easy to use with one hand; this is not a phone that does not pull pockets. This is one of the largest and heaviest smartphones on the market.

    Secondly, Lenovo Legion Y90 is structurally veryvery different from all other smartphones. Two-cell batteries that allow for very fast charging are no longer surprising, but only Lenovo guessed to place the battery halves at different ends of the case, and squeeze the motherboard and cameras in the middle. This solution has several advantages at once in the main scenario for using the device: when gaming.

    When you hold the Lenovo Legion Y90 in your handshorizontal orientation, you hold it by the batteries. They do not heat up during the game, and your hands are comfortable. In addition, the cameras do not interfere with the grip, they are also in the middle, and the hands simply do not reach them. On top of that, the symmetrical arrangement of the filling provides the device with excellent weight distribution, which also has a positive effect on the gaming experience. This approach also has disadvantages - for example, in vertical mode, I almost always get my fingers on the camera, dirtying it.

    In addition, compact placement of the entire fillingenhances its heating - but Lenovo solved this problem radically. There are two coolers in the Legion Y90 case. Well, fans. They spin inside the smartphone, and you can see them. How effective this is, we'll figure it out later, but for now let's concentrate on what's outside. And outside, there are air duct openings that are not even covered with nets, so the smartphone does not have water protection, on the contrary, increased aquaphobia. It’s not like dropping it into water, but it’s undesirable to substitute it even under the rain.

    Let's go to the ends.By the way, they are metal, and the back is glass, if anyone had doubts. So, on the right: triggers, air outlets and a lock button. Top: optional microphone. Left: volume rocker and USB Type-C 3.1 port with the ability to output an image to a TV. Bottom: dual SIM tray, another microphone and USB Type-C 2.0. As you understand, the main connector here is on the left side; again, it is convenient to use it during the game. Connecting a smartphone to two computers at once will not work: whichever port you connect first, that one will work.

    Now about the screen. 6.92″, 2460x1080 pixels, 20.5:9.The panel is made using AMOLED technology and manufactured by Samsung (E4), there is DC Dimming support and it is really effective: even at low brightness, PWM does not exceed 20%. The maximum refresh rate is 144Hz. In the settings, you can turn them on forcibly, but it's better to leave autohertz. In all applications it will be 120 Hz, in static scenes the frequency will drop to 60 Hz, and in games it will increase to 144 Hz. I note that this is not LTPO, so there will be no jokes with a drop in hertz to 10-15. Touch - 720 Hz always and everywhere. Very fast. And very sensitive, and the anti-touch protection in your pockets does not work, so a screen lock is strictly required, and then you can accidentally call yourself rescuers.

    Above and below the screen are placedstereo speakers. The top and bottom are completely equivalent and both give out very good sound - better than most flagship smartphones. Loud, deep and clean. So the Lenovo Legion Y90 will also fit the role of a portable speaker. The manufacturer did not squint at the vibration motors either - there are two of them (top and bottom) and they are cool here. But the fingerprint scanner built into the display is rather slow. Optics, what to take from it.

      Software

      Lenovo Legion Y90 runs on Android 12 with ZUI 13.5. ZUI - firmware of a very difficult fate, which was created for the ZUK sub-brand, but it closed very quickly, but the firmware remained. For some reason, it never took root in Motorola smartphones, and Lenovo has no other phones under its own brand, except for Legion. As a result, ZUI continues to develop for the sake of one and only unpopular gamerphone; however, Lenovo does not abandon it, and there are more than enough interesting features in it. But first things first.

      First, about whether the firmware and the phone are usable inin general in Russia. The answer is yes. There is Google Services out of the box, however, they must be separately enabled through Settings - Apps Management - three dots. Then install the Google Play app from the Internet and enjoy. Of the difficulties - there is no Russian language, all installed applications have notifications disabled by default, plus Chrome is not installed. Use Yandex.Browser, support import substitution! Play Protect certified; if one day there will be Google Pay again in our area, then it will work on the Legion Y90.

      The main bet in ZUI, obviously, was made onfunctionality. A similar approach can be seen in Moto UX, but they try to minimally interfere with the system, but in ZUI they start to break away. There are plenty of customization options (you can even include the original Zukovsky theme!), lots of display settings and a very advanced battery management section (which, however, does not have the number of screen hours since the last charge). You can configure whether the Wi-Fi access point will work as a repeater or distribute only LTE, and Lenovo One allows you not only to stream the smartphone screen to a laptop / computer, but also use the mouse / keyboard to control the phone. There are also "motor" gestures, however, on such a huge phone they require a certain physical preparation. And absolutely the entire interface is adapted for landscape mode:

      True, we must admit that not everything works.perfect. In the same Lenovo One, there is a drag and drop file transfer, but I still did not understand how to transfer files from a smartphone to a laptop (everything is ok in the opposite direction). And once my ability to take screenshots with a combination of buttons broke down and was not repaired until I rebooted the phone.

      And separately, of course, we need to talk about the gamingphone menu: there are a lot of things. The CPU and GPU frequencies are displayed along the edges, just below you can adjust the volume and brightness, and in the central zone there is a mode switch (balanced - energy-saving - "brutal") and buttons for various settings. From the interesting: the parameters of the triggers and Force Touch, turning on / off the fans (you can leave the process at the mercy of automatics), shadow recording (writes video from the screen in the background, after something interesting you can click and it will be saved), LED settings, voice change and bypass charging. Here all the functions work like clockwork, plus, I remind you, in all games the maximum hertz supported by the game is available.

      Cameras

      Gamer smartphones rarely get goodcameras, but Lenovo tried to be an exception by installing the flagship 1/1.3″ OmniVision sensor in the Legion. True, in the Y90 this practice came to an end; here is a more compact (1/2″) OV64B, familiar to us from many non-flagship smartphones like POCO F4 and Realme 8. But paired with it is still not a plug, but a 13-megapixel wide with autofocus, which in theory allows you to do cool macro. And here's what in practice:

      The main disadvantage of the camera is very old algorithmsHDR, which, firstly, are terribly slow (pictures are often taken longer than a second even in good lighting) and, secondly, often produce strange results. Reminds me of the Nexus days when Google was mad about HDR and also promoted this style of photography. But in general, the shooting result is much better than you might expect from a gaming smartphone. At night, the results are average, but for a smartphone without OIS, very good. Macro wide - really luxurious, no macro camera can do that. And, of course, advice: do not forget to wipe the camera's eyes before shooting; they get dirty just like that, and this greatly affects the quality of the photo.

      The 16-megapixel front camera is located at the top end.Previously, Legion had sliders, and they left the end for convenient game streaming, but now they have abandoned this. We are waiting, of course, for a sub-screen in the center of the display, and what is there is removed without frills, but good.

        According to the video: [email protected] or [email protected] to the main camera [email protected] wide and [email protected] to the front. In mode [email protected] You can switch between the main and wide-angle cameras. AT [email protected] EIS does not work, but focusing is even faster than at 30 fps (by the way, constant autofocus is also implemented wide). The video quality is not flagship, but for most users it is quite sufficient.

        Performance and Benchmarks

        Lenovo Legion Y90 was released at the beginning of the year and thereforebased on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. There are three memory modifications: 12+256, 16+256 and 18+640 GB. In the older version, Lenovo has assembled a standard 512 GB UFS drive and a real 128 GB SSD into a RAID0 array. RAID0 allows you to simultaneously read parts of a file from SSD and UFS, increasing the speed of work where exactly data storage is a bottleneck. There are actually quite a few such scenarios; basically it is downloading games and locations in them. In other cases, you will hardly feel the difference in speed between RAID0 and single UFS. What about performance in absolute terms? Here are screenshots from benchmarks:

        POWER!And not only in the long run, but even the starting performance is higher than that of many Android competitors. In real games, the situation is the same - I played at maximum settings in SuperTuxKart, Sky, Identity V, Nino nu Kuni: Cross Worlds, CarX Drift Racing and Genshin Impact - no problems anywhere. The frame rate is always either kept at the limit set by the game (50 or 60 fps), or goes above 100 fps if there is no limit.

        Neither the responsiveness of the wheelbarrow, norhertsovka, nor the brightness of the screen. In a word, there is no throttling here in any form, and the cooling system fully compensates for the heating, keeping the temperature of the part of the case that you hold on to at 40-45 degrees. Only in the toughest test (an hour in Genshin Impact with maximum screen brightness) did we manage to warm up the smartphone more, up to 50 degrees; However, he did not start throttling. We add stereo and the possibility of infinitely long gaming sessions on bypass charging - and the ideal game phone is ready.

        True, such effective cooling hasthe downside is that a smartphone can be disastrously quickly discharged under load. If any other smartphone eventually drops both the screen brightness and the iron speed, as a result of which the power consumption becomes less, then the Lenovo Legion Y90 can work “at full” as much as necessary. As a result, in an hour in SuperTuxKart it was discharged by 40%, and in an hour in Genshin Impact - by 30%. In other words, active gaming can completely drain your phone's battery in just 2.5-3 hours!

        At the same time, the battery here is good (5600 mAh, twocells of 2800 mAh), and you can’t blame the optimization: on YouTube in two hours the discharge was only 11%, and with normal use you can count on 7-9 hours of screen within 1.5-2 days; this is one of the best indicators of all among modern flagships. If you want to play games longer, and you don’t need super performance, a) don’t buy a gaming smartphone, b) you can turn on the power saving mode.

        The complete charger has a capacity of 68watts, which is exactly the charging speed the Legion Y90 supports. Yes, it's a definite downgrade from last year's 90 watts, but no more fun with two USB cables that need to be plugged into two connectors. And charging is still fast - 35-36 minutes for a full charge and only 10 minutes to half. Wireless charging is not provided.

        And since I mentioned bypass charging several times,anyway, let me explain what it is. The phone is designed in such a way that it can run on electricity supplied through the USB Type-C port, bypassing the battery. Not charging or discharging it. This mode allows you to conduct long gaming sessions without encountering heat from charging. You can even play for days without using the battery. Switching bypass charging is instant and imperceptible, while the phone does not blink or change any settings. The game mode can remember that in such and such games you have bypass charging configured, and when you start them with a connection to the mains, it will automatically turn on.

          findings

          Lenovo Legion Y90 is the best gaming smartphone.It offers an incredibly thoughtful design, excellent autonomy, a cool quiet screen, luxurious sound and high-quality vibration feedback. It's a shame that it's not 8+ Gen 1, but the model came out at the beginning of 2022, so there's nothing to swear at. And for non-gaming tasks, the smartphone fits perfectly - it's a pleasure to watch videos with such a screen and such speakers, the camera is quite decent, the device fits perfectly for social networks and instant messengers. The 20.5:9 panel is also full-fledged multitasking, and paired with Lenovo One, the smartphone can easily become a good working tool. The main disadvantage is the huge dimensions and weight; in addition, only not the most stable software and a brake finger scanner can be noted.

          © Oleg Lazarev.