When it comes to budget mobile gaming things have shaped up in the recent years pretty well. Budget devices have come a long way nowadays you can buy a solid all-rounder fo less than $1000. This year we are enjoying the power of the mobile editions of NVIDIA’s Pascal GPUs which is almost the same as on a desktop machine.
Recently we have reviewed a few of these solid all-rounders and we would like to make a comparison between two of the best budget gaming notebooks in our opinion – the Lenovo Legion Y520 and the Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G). We’ll take a look at both devices and see where one is better than the other.
Design and construction
Design wise both notebooks share that aggressive gaming look with a black matte or brushed finish and bright red ornaments. Lenovo Y520’s design can be considered more simple than the Aspire VX 15’s which heavily resembles the costlier Predator notebooks. The Lenovo can be boasted that it is a bit lighter (2.5 kg compared to the 2.6 kg of the VX 15) and quite a bit slimmer – the profile of the Y520 is just 25.8 mm compared to the 32 mm of the Acer Aspire which is already considered thin for the asking price.
Let’s say a few words about the sides of the notebooks. They are the home of all the ports in both cases. You will find all the necessary ports like LAN, USB 3.0 and HDMI and we are happy to see that both manufacturers have also added a single USB Type-C port to the configuration which is a must in our times. What we can note is that in both notebooks the majority of ports is located on the right side which might obstruct normal usage when you connect two or three external devices.
Lenovo Legion Y520: Detailed information about design and construction
Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G): Detailed information about design and construction
Acer Aspire VX 15 has a version with a TN panel and with an IPS panel. In this comparison, we are taking a look at the IPS version. With that being said we can continue by informing you that both notebooks feature an IPS screen. Specs are all the same – 15.6-inch diagonal, Full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution which translates into a pixel density of 142 ppi. Lenovo Y520 is equipped with an LG Philips LP156WF6-SPK3 panel while VX 15 is featuring the BOE NV156FHM-N42.
As expected for an IPS panel, the viewing angles are comfortable and we measured a decent maximum brightness of 268 cd/m2 in the center of the screen for the Lenovo and 264 cd/m2 for the Acer. Contrast is one of the advantages of the VX 15 over the Y520. VX 15’s contrast ratio doubles that of the Legion – 1370:1 vs 670:1. Both panels offer almost ideal (6500K is considered optimal) color temperatures.
Unfortunately, neither of the displays are suitable for color-sensitive work. Colors aren’t very accurate with a color reproduction of just 52% of the sRGB gamut for the Legion Y520 and two percent more (54%) for the Aspire VX 15. Another disadvantage of both screens is that they use Pulse Width Modulation (read more here) to regulate the brightness. Luckily, the frequency used is very high (20.7 kHz for the Y520 and 21.2 kHz for the VX 15) which greatly reduces the harmful impact. By using our custom-tailored profiles (you can check them out over here) you can further decrease the unwanted effect.
Lenovo Legion Y520: Detailed display tests
Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G): Detailed display tests
Specs wise both models are nearly identical. They are running on the Intel Core i7-7700HQ from the latest 7th generation Kaby Lake. The CPU features four physical and four logical cores (Hyper-Threading) with a base clock speed of 2.80 GHz. The chip’s consumption is 45 Watts, and its maximum operating temperature is 100 degrees Celsius.
More information about Intel Core i7-7700HQ and its position in our Top CPU Ranking you can find HERE.
Both models that we are comparing are also equipped with the same GPU – it wouldn’t be fair if they weren’t. We are talking about the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti which is powerful enough to run every modern game with a solid frame rate and decent graphics settings.
More information about the GPU and its place in our Top GPU Ranking you can find HERE.
|–||Lenovo Legion Y520||Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G)|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-core, 2.60 -3.80 GHz, 6MB cache)||Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-core, 2.60 -3.80 GHz, 6MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8096MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz||8GB (1x 8096MB) – DDR4, 2133MHz|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)|
|HDD/SSD||512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD (5400 rpm)||1TB HDD (5400 rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS, matte||15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS, matte|
|Profile thickness||25.8 mm (1.01″)||32 mm|
|Weight||2.5 kg (5.51 lbs)||2.6 kg|
|Price||Check price||Check price|
The Acer Aspire VX 15 appears to have a better battery life than the Lenovo Y520. Its battery is slightly bigger – 52 Wh vs 45 Wh which isn’t big of a difference. That’s why we can say that the Acer is better optimized than the Lenovo.
In our Web browsing test, the Aspire VX 15 lasted for 358 minutes (5 hours and 58 minutes) while the Y520 – 256 minutes (4 hours and 16 minutes). However, Lenovo did a bit better in the video playback test where it scored 240 minutes (4 hours) while the VX 15 – 229 minutes (3 hours and 49 minutes).
We already mentioned that both laptops are equipped with the same hardware so we can expect similar performance and our gaming test prove this statement. However, the Lenovo Y520 seems to be hitting higher frame rates on lower settings which are the setting you will probably be using.
|CS:GO – Lenovo||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||186 fps||148 fps||110 fps|
|CS:GO -Acer||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||139 fps||132 fps||121 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) – Lenovo||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||152 fps||77 fps||25 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) – Acer||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||106 fps||74 fps||30 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) – Lenovo||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||91 fps||56 fps||22 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) – Acer||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||76 fps||59 fps||21 fps|
Lenovo’s previous generations of gaming notebooks were known for some thermal throttling problems but we are happy to say that the new Legion Y520 offers a big improvement in this regard but there’s still much work to be done. However, the VX 15 does well better in the CPU stress test. After the 30 minutes in which the CPU stress test runs, in both cases, the clock speed dropped to 3.4 GHz which is still in the Turbo Boost range but the temperatures on the Lenovo were rather high – around 90 degrees Celcius. On the other hand, the Aspire VX 15 run much cooler at around 70 °C.
After the GPU test was turned on we started to experience some thermal throttling in both notebooks but it was definitely more noticeable on the Lenovo where the temperature raised to 100 °C and the CPU clock speed started to wobble 800 MHz to 3.0 GHz. The Aspire VX 15 handled things better – keeping temperatures around 86-90 °C and clock wobbling between the base frequency and 3.4 GHz.
Both models are excellent all-rounders. For around $1000 you get lots of features and a pretty decent gaming experience. Both have IPS displays that aren’t very color accurate and use unfortunately PWM. Design and construction are also similar – using only plastic materials. Overall the Acer Aspire VX 15 (VX5-591G) has a slightly better battery life and thermal control while the Lenovo Legion Y520 can get you a few extra frames.
- slimmer and lighter
- more sturdy in terms of build quality
- better battery life
- more reliable cooling system