“The Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 brings smooth, ultrafast gaming in a suave design.”
- Simple, lightweight design
- 165Hz refresh rate
- Excellent ergonomics
- Decent value for 1440p
- 1ms response time
- No speakers
- Poor contrast
- Frustrating controls
It’s an ideal time to upgrade to higher-resolution gaming, but you’ll probably need a new gaming monitor. That goes double if you upgraded your PC’s graphics card, whether that’s to a lower-end RTX 20-series or one of the new 30-series cards.
Offering both 1440p resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate, the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 is an upgrade in every way from your old 1080p monitor. It’s quickly becoming a crowded space, though, and $430 isn’t the cheapest price out there. Does the Legion Y27q-20 have the image quality and gaming performance to back it up?
The Legion Y27q-20 may be nothing fancy, but it’s not without some embellishments, including Lenovo’s signature circular cheese grater design across the back of the cabinet. Strangely enough, it is not dissimilar to Apple’s Mac Pro or the Pro Display XDR. For a gaming peripheral, it’s rather elegant, and not as bulky as some Acer Predator or Asus ROG monitors.
But don’t get too excited. Like most gaming monitors, the Legion Y27q is mostly made out of plastic and includes a sizable bottom bezel. Thehas more class in my book, but the Legion undercuts that monitor’s price significantly. The stand, fortunately, is made out of metal, which provides plenty of stability.
The Legion Y27q’s screen, base, and stand are packed individually, but I had them put together within seconds thanks to the monitor’s simple VESA mount. The whole package weighs just 14.7 pounds, which further eases the strain of setup. The Acer Nitro XZ272U is lighter at just 11 pounds, but the Y27q isn’t far off.
After setting it up, I was pleased to discover how adjustable the Legion Y27q is. With tilt, rotate, height, and swivel adjustment, you’re bound to find something comfortable for your needs. Rotating from landscape to portrait is a noteworthy addition that gaming monitors like the Predator XB273U and Dell S-series monitors lack.
Ports are located in the back, facing down. You won’t find any surprises here — just a DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4. These are older port standards, but for a 1440p gaming monitor, they’re all you need.
The Legion Y27q-20 even includes some extra USB connectivity to sweeten the deal. Around back, you’ll find a USB-B 3.1 upstream port and a USB-A port, while two USB-A ports flank the side. You’ll also find a headphone/mic jack here. These are nice additions to what is otherwise a fairly basic gaming monitor and transforming into a bit more of a USB hub.
The monitor’s power is supplied through Lenovo’s “Trim Yellow” rectangular power connector, alongside a relatively small external power brick.
Unfortunately, Lenovo didn’t think the Legion Y27q-20 needed speakers. Lenovo sells a separate model with a cone-shaped speaker built into the base, but here it’s missing. That’s a shame. I’m still of the opinion that most monitors should include speakers, even if they aren’t the greatest in the world. Yes, most people will use headphones or external speakers, but for the rare time that you’ll want them, they’re absent.
Buttons and menus
Access to the on-screen menu is through the six buttons just below the panel. There are no fancy joysticks or buttons to reach for behind the screen.
Once in the menu, you’ll be able to adjust settings like brightness and contrast, as well as toggle between different game settings and color profiles. Lenovo includes genre-specific profiles for first-person shooters, strategy games, and more. You’ll also find the ability to switch to “Extreme” mode, which moves you from three milliseconds down to one.
Navigating the menu with the buttons is a frustrating experience.
The problem? Navigating the menu with the buttons is a frustrating experience.
First off, the button furthest to the right is the power button, but it feels identical to the other buttons. Accidentally powering off your monitor in the middle of a game is no fun. It can happen when reaching for brightness controls while playing in a dimmer environment, especially since the monitor lacks adaptive brightness.
The symbiology used on the buttons and in the menu is also confusing. What looks like a back button is actually a select button, which is disorienting when navigating through the menu. It would have been a good idea to do some extra user testing with these.
The Legion Y27q-20 uses a 27-inch panel with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. Playing games natively at 1440p is gorgeous. It’s not quite 4K, but it’s also not nearly as demanding if you’ve got more of a mid-range system. The RTX 2070 Super I tested it with pushed games like Battlefield V and Fortnite well over 100 frames per second, even at max settings.
Thanks to the 165Hz refresh rate, gameplay feels incredibly smooth. Sure, there are 240Hz, 300Hz, or even 360Hz monitors out there — but unless you’re aiming to be a professional gamer (and perhaps even then), 165Hz should do just fine. That’s especially true if you’re playing in 1440p.
True G-Sync, this is not.
Nvidia G-Sync stickers are plastered all over the Legion Y27q-20, but it’s not a true implementation. Rather than a physical G-Sync module, it’s certified through a solution Nvidia calls “G-Sync Compatible.” Essentially, that means it’s a VRR (variable refresh rate) monitor that Nvidia has validated for flickering, ghosting, and tearing. True G-Sync, this is not.
And yet, the gaming experience on the Legion Y27q-20 is super smooth. Once you hop into the Nvidia control panel and change the refresh rate to 165Hz, you’ll immediate notice the smooth animations, even of your cursor as you move it across the screen. Next, you’ll want to switch on the “Extreme” setting to get to the advertised one millisecond response time.
Response time is about how fast the pixels on your monitor can change colors. There’s no agreed-upon measure for response time, so the difference between 1ms and 3ms can be fickle depending on the monitor. On the Legion Y27q-20, though, you can see the subtle difference in responsiveness when toggling between the two settings.
Thanks to its IPS (in-plane switching) display, the Legion Y27q-20 can be used for non-gaming activities too. It’s quite bright, with a maximum of 415 nits, and the color saturation isn’t bad either. At 99% of sRGB and 77% of AdobeRGB, the Legion Y27q is as colorful a screen as you can expect from a gaming monitor.
Many budget or midtier gaming monitors opt for VA (vertical alignment) or TN (twisted nematic) panels. These screens tend to have poorer viewing angles, so I’m happy to see Lenovo opt for IPS.
It wasn’t perfect, though. The contrast was low at just 650:1, hurt by the shallow black levels. The images look a bit washed out next to other displays. By comparison, the Acer Nitro XZ27 measured at 1,060:1, resulting in much richer images and colors.
The Legion Y27q is a bit hit-or-miss in terms of image quality.
The second problem was color accuracy. At an average Delta-E of 3.07, the color accuracy is surprisingly poor for 202o. The Nitro XZ272U, for example, averages 1.23. Again, that won’t be the biggest concern for gamers, but there’s no reason a $430 monitor should be this poorly calibrated.
I tried calibrating the screen myself to see if I could improve some of these numbers with my Spyder5Elite. Gamma was corrected from 2.1 to 2.2, and color accuracy dropped to 1.85. Both are positive lifts in image quality, showing that this panel could have used some additional factory calibration. Contrast and black levels weren’t helped, though.
The Legion Y27q is a bit hit-or-miss in terms of image quality. It’s not a screen you’ll want to do precise color correcting on, nor watch movies on all the time.
With RTX 30-series graphics just around the corner, gaming monitors like the Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 are about to become important. There are a couple of cheaper options that get to higher resolutions and refresh rates, but the Legion Y27q-20’s suave good looks and low response time make it a solid option for a monitor upgrade.
Are there any alternatives?
The Acer Nitro XZ272U costs just $330, despite also being a 165Hz 27-inch gaming monitor. It uses a VA panel, and also has a 4ms response time instead of 1ms. It even has a curved screen.
Another option to consider is the Asus TUF VG27 gaming monitor, coming in at $479. Lastly, the $400 Dell S2719DGF is another good option. It has a 1ms response time and a 155Hz refresh rate, but uses a cheaper TP panel.
How long will it last?
The Lenovo Legion Y27q-20 should last around five years. The standard warranty lasts three years, but the 165Hz refresh rate and 1440p resolution will set you up for PC gaming for longer than that.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Legion Y27q-20 ably balances features, design, and performance — all in an affordable package.
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