Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Review: A Budget-Friendly Laptop with Great Features

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Review: A Budget-Friendly Laptop with Great Features

In this comprehensive Lenovo Ideapad 3 review, we will be discussing all of the specs of this laptop, its performance, battery life, design, keyboard and trackpad, display and speakers.

We will also give our verdict on the laptop as a whole. So, if you’re looking for a laptop that has all the bells and whistles, make sure to check out our review.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Specs

This year Lenovo has refreshed it with Intel’s 12-gen CPUs which makes it all the more exciting. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is loaded with the Intel i5-1235U CPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage for a cost of some $500 in the US, and around 58,000 rupees in India.

But if this price is slightly higher than your budget you can also go with the i3 variant with the same memory configuration for a couple of bucks less.

Also Read: In-depth Surface Pro 9 comparison (Intel vs ARM): What’s the best choice?

You should also be able to get much better deals during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in the coming months so watch out for that as well!

Performance

As I mentioned before I have the Intel variant of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3. In case you’re curious Lenovo also sells the same laptop with Ryzen 5000 CPUs but I didn’t choose to get the Ryzen-powered ones because Intel’s 12 gen processors are much better options considering all the performance upgrades they bring.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Performance

The Intel variant of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 was able to handle most of my non-demanding everyday tasks with ease.

I spent the majority of my day at the office working on scripts and articles alongside light editing on Photoshop while browsing through at least half a dozen Chrome tabs and with all this, I am yet to experience any status so far.

Based on your usage scenario, Lenovo IdeaPad 3 also lets you choose between various performance modes through Lenovo’s Vantage app.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Usage

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I found that the intelligent cooling mode gives the best results under my usage with a good balance of performance and battery life and a quieter fan even when multitasking.

Although while light gaming or doing some heavy tasks I would set it to the extreme where its fan can get a bit louder but I wouldn’t complain because it does a good job of maintaining the thermos.

Now since this is an Ultrabook with integrated Iris Graphics heavy gaming is not possible here. It can only handle a few less demanding titles in the lowest settings with a fair amount of stability and that’s about it.

As for memory it comes with 8GB of soldered RAM and you also get an additional SO-DIMM slot in case you’d want to add some more the results from the onboard 512GB M.2 NVME SSD are quite satisfactory too and good thing is that it is user replaceable and you can even add an extra HDD or SSD on the vacant SATA interface.

Battery Life

I am quite pleased with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and its battery life Intel’s U-series processors are all about prioritizing energy efficiency over raw performance, and the i5-1235U on this laptop does exactly that on a full charge it lasted me like 5 to 6 hours which can be considered quite good for a budget Ultrabook.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Battery

Charging is also quite convenient here since it supports something called rapid charging protocol which can fuel the laptop from 0 to 80% in about one hour.

Also Read: The New Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: Even Faster and More Efficient

This feature is not enabled by default but you can turn it on under the Lenovo Vantage app that I talked about earlier.

Design

Design-wise nothing much has changed from last year because you get the same brushed matte finish on the lid and the keyboard but I have to admit that I like this silver finish better than that of the dark gray option of last year’s model.

So the overall design feels quite premium and this laptop is well built too I did not find any concerning flex in the keyboard and the hinge is also quite sturdy.

You can even lay the lid to a considerable amount if that is important to you, another thing that I appreciate about Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is its flip-to-open feature.

I use the 14-inch MacBook Pro as my daily driver, and getting a similar feature here made me feel right at home and not just that I feel like even though it’s a small add-on it genuinely enhances usability and convenience.

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Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Fingerprint

You can then sign into your Lenovo IdeaPad 3 via the fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button. In terms of IO, you will find the micro SD card slot and one type A port on the right, on the left Lenovo has installed a type a port HDMI type C, and a 3.5 mm combo audio jack.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keys on it are well spaced out with good travel distance there’s also a dedicated Numpad section over on the right.

I am sure someone who works with numbers will find it useful. It is slightly compact though but it gets the job done. However my Lenovo IdeaPad 3 does not have a backlit keyboard for some reason I guess this is a region-specific thing as the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 in the United States and India do enjoy a backlit keyboard.

I am also a little disappointed that Lenovo did not upgrade the trackpad this year too not that it’s not responsive or anything but it’s too small and off-centered so using it has not been a pleasant experience for me.

Hence while reviewing this laptop I use an external Mouse instead.

Display

Similarly, like last year’s Lenovo IdeaPad 3 I found this year’s TN display on it to be strictly average as well.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Display

The viewing angles on this year’s Lenovo IdeaPad 3 appears to be somewhat better and even the overall quality of this screen is not as bad but even so, colors look a bit dull here something noticeable while watching movies and such.

I didn’t feel the same way while doing my regular office work though so if you want to get this laptop or your regular general tasks this TN panel is not bad to work with but if you watch a lot of videos or movies I would recommend you get the one with an IPS panel instead.

In terms of brightness, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has 250 nits of max brightness so it’s only ideal for indoor use and nothing more. I have also noticed mild backlight bleeding on the bottom of the screen but it’s nothing to worry about since it is only visible when watching dimly lit content with the lights off.

Speakers & Webcam

I have to say that I’m quite happy with the performance of its speakers they sound quite clear they’re not very loud though so consuming content and listening to music in my room has been a decent experience.

But when it comes to the webcam I would say it’s just so so like most other budget Ultrabooks you get a 720p webcam here whose output is soft and grainy so if you’re someone who needs to attend a lot of meetings it would be wise to get a third party webcam.

The audio pickup from the microphones is satisfactory for online meetings and classes but its background noise cancellation feature does not work as effectively as it promised.

Verdict

Like its predecessor this year’s Lenovo IdeaPad 3 checks out most boxes for a good low-cost UltraBook. It comes with a capable 12 gen CPU, a modern-looking design, a decent keyboard, and quite nice battery life with fast charging support.

Throughout my review period, my only gripe with this laptop has been its average TN panel but if you just want a laptop for your regular office or school work this screen should be good enough for that.

However if screen quality matters to you a lot there’s always the option to get the IPS one which should cost you a little more.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is quite a well-rounded package and it’s definitely up for my recommendation.

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