A 15.6-inch, low-cost gaming laptop is the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i. It shares almost all of its design cues with its sibling, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3, but instead of AMD Ryzen processors, it offers Intel 11th Gen CPU options. The laptop may be configured to have a Core i7 and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti, which will enable seamless 1080p gaming in demanding games. There are several display choices, including panels with refresh rates of 120Hz and 165Hz that offer more responsiveness than the standard 60Hz option. Although NVIDIA Optimus support is present to aid in extending battery life under light workloads, this budget gaming laptop lacks a MUX switch, which causes a slight performance hit.
Models with 8GB of memory and even some 16GB models are in a single-channel configuration, therefore it’s advisable to choose a 16GB model in dual-channel mode if you don’t intend to upgrade the memory yourself. With an Intel Core i5-11300H processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 dedicated GPU, 8GB of memory, and 1256GB of storage split between a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and a 1TB 2.5-inch 5400rpm hard drive, our Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i is equipped with all of these components. The laptop can also be configured with a Core i5-11320H, Core i7-11370H, or Core i7-11390H processor.
While the Core i7s are speedier than the i5s and can offer somewhat greater frame rates in games, there isn’t much of a performance difference between the two Core i5s. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 can play most games at low settings and can get about 60 frames per second at 1080p depending on the GPU configuration. With high settings, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 will deliver a more consistent 60 frames per second or more than the GTX 1650. The RTX 3050Ti is just slightly superior to the RTX 3050, offering a maximum of a few frames per second more in graphically demanding games. you can read our article on Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review: Design
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i is immediately apparent due to its small weight. It feels like it weighs nothing at all, even though it only weighs 1.6kg (3.5lbs). And you wouldn’t hesitate to throw it in your bag on the way to work, the gym, or your neighborhood cafe. However, it isn’t too tiny; at slightly more than 32 x 24 cm, under 0.8 inches (2 cm), and with a 14-inch screen, it’s a respectable size for both work and play.
We agree that this is a “stylish design,” as stated on a sticker on the keyboard. Thanks to the brushed metal finish, this looks particularly comparable to some laptops that are much more expensive when the lid is closed. Only when you touch it does the deception end, and it becomes immediately obvious that this is plastic. However, observers won’t be aware of that, and if you value appearances, then that does count for something.
Since the keyboard only occupies a small portion of the space, it feels a little crowded (12 x 28cm out of a total 24 x 32.5cm). The result is that the keys are relatively close together, but since they are at least pleasantly large, we found that typing was generally not a problem. However, keep in mind that there is no number pad or backlight, and the crowded arrow keys would be terrible for gaming.
The built-in 0.3MP webcam has a physical shutter, a simple but useful feature that’s missing from even many high-end laptops, like the Latitude 9410 2-in-1. The touchpad is a good size (7 x 10.5cm). You can use Windows Hello to securely sign in if you’d like by using the webcam. Finally, even though the laptop cannot be opened with one hand, we were surprised to discover that the lid can be rotated a full 180 degrees, laying the keyboard flat.
Keyboard and touchpad
It’s unusual to find a budget laptop with a shaky keyboard and a poor trackpad, but Lenovo did an excellent job in this case. With the exception of the standard up and down arrows, the chiclet keyboard has adequate spacing, a separate function row at the top, and keys that are a fair size. Decent travel and a good balance between soft and sharp keys make for a good typing experience. However, the keyboard is not lighted. We have no issues with the trackpad because it is reliable, a good size, and responsively. For a cheap laptop, it is significantly above average.
The device we received had a 15.6-inch FHD 120 Hz IPS panel for the display. Although FHD 165Hz and a 16-inch WQHD 165Hz display are options, 120Hz is excellent. We obtained an average brightness of 337 nits throughout our display benchmarks, which is not awful. The display received a good sRGB rating with 98.9% sRGB coverage. Even the DCI-P3 coverage was 75.4%, which is respectable for a cheap gaming laptop. also you will learn our article on Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review.
With a maximum brightness of barely 220 nits, the video’s colours appear washed out, and the contrast is minimal. The two 1.5W speakers’ audio quality is also subpar. The bass is almost completely absent, and the sound is quite tinny. Yes, this is a cheap laptop, so you shouldn’t probably expect a high-end experience. But there’s no getting around the fact that Lenovo sacrificed the most in the areas of visual and audio quality in order to keep costs down.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review: Audio
The microphones pick up the voice more effectively since they are placed adjacent to the webcam rather than at the edge or next to the keyboard. The audio is of decent quality. The laptop must be on a horizontal surface in order to get an acceptable volume and sound quality from the speakers, which are located in the front end. The speakers produce average sound; there are no low frequencies, and they are overloaded with loud, multi-instrumental music. However, if you stick to watching movies and participating in video conferences, those activities will be sufficient.
Graphic and gaming
By rendering sequences of extremely detailed, gaming-style 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting, 3DMark assesses relative graphics power. We use two different 3DMark subtests that are appropriate for various system types: Sky Diver and Fire Strike. Both tests use DirectX 11, but Sky Diver is better suited for midrange PCs while Fire Strike is designed to showcase high-end PCs. The outcomes are exclusive scores.
The following test uses artificial visuals and is provided by Unigine Corp. The Superposition test, like 3DMark, renders and pans through a complex 3D scene while evaluating the system’s performance. In this instance, it is rendered using the Unigine engine, providing a different 3D workload scenario to provide a second opinion on the graphical prowess of each laptop.
The aforementioned synthetic tests are useful for assessing overall 3D ability, but genuine retail video games are the gold standard for assessing gaming performance. Modern, high-fidelity games like Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider include built-in benchmarks that show how a system performs in real-world gameplay at various settings. We use the best and medium image quality settings for the games while running them at 1080p resolution.
Unfortunately, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i comes in last, continuing the trend. In a vacuum, its performance in this case is passable (just around 60 frames per second for a gaming laptop under $1,000), but it suffers in comparison. Even if the frame rates don’t reach the ceiling, they will typically be high enough to use the 120Hz panel in multiplayer games that aren’t as graphically taxing.
An Intel Core i3-1005G1 dual-core processor (two cores/four threads, 1.20GHz, up to 3.40GHz with Turbo Boost, 4MB Cache) is included with the Lenovo Ideapad 3i. You get 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, and integrated Intel UHD graphics. All in all, the laptop is capable of handling the majority of computing tasks, but we wouldn’t suggest using it for demanding business software or resource-intensive tasks like photo masking, video filtering, 3D modeling, or HD gaming.
However, it works flawlessly for routine tasks like responding to emails, browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, writing essays and reports, and using programmes like Google Calendar. While browsing, we had no trouble opening multiple tabs, and we never experienced any significant slowdown or crashes. The Lenovo Ideapad 3i was content to run multiple streaming applications at once, including Netflix and Spotify.
Overall, our daily operations were not significantly disrupted, though occasionally websites with a lot of high-resolution images would take a little longer to load and software downloads would be slower than we were accustomed to on more expensive laptops. Also take note that Windows 10 Home is set up on the Lenovo Ideapad 3i in S mode, which is the system’s least processor-intensive setting. This limits you to only downloading apps from the Microsoft Store and using Edge for web browsing. Although you do have the choice to disable it, be prepared for things to move a little more slowly after that.
One area where the IdeaPad Gaming 3i faltered was battery life. Lenovo claims that it can operate for up to 7 hours, but in PCMark’s battery test, it was only able to last for 5 hours and 32 minutes, while the Acer Nitro 5 easily outlasted it with a time of 10 hours and 1 minute. Battery life is less crucial for a gaming laptop that is typically plugged in while in use than it is for a general-purpose laptop, but the IdeaPad Gaming 3i would still be popular with both gamers and non-gamers if it didn’t have such a short battery life. you can check our article on Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review: Heat
The IdeaPad Gaming 3i did not overheat inside due to its plastic casing. The bottom temperature rose to 100 degrees Fahrenheit after streaming a 15-minute 1080p film, well above our comfort level of 95 degrees. The keyboard’s and touchpad’s middles were measured at 89 and 77 degrees, respectively. The machine’s lower back, centre left side, right in front of the air vents, reached 105 degrees at its warmest.
Directly from Lenovo, where you’ll typically find the most configuration possibilities, you may purchase the IdeaPad 3 15. After a typical Lenovo discount, this specific model costs roughly $460. That, however, is not the cheapest it can be. The identical setup is on sale for approximately $400 at Best Buy and Amazon. That’s a rather appealing price, especially if all you need is a cheap laptop for your home.
Additionally, a more recent IdeaPad 3i 15 is available from Lenovo for as low as $585 after discounts. It has 11th generation Intel Core processors, an FHD display, a built-in fingerprint reader, and a USB-C port. Those changes will cost you extra money, but they can be well worth it. For more choices, see our list of the top Lenovo laptops.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i is an incredibly cost-effective gaming laptop that can also serve as a general-purpose home laptop if you don’t plan to be away from a wall outlet for an extended period of time. The Acer Nitro 5 is even more inexpensive, offers about the same performance, and has greater battery life if all you’re interested in is gaming, but it only has a 60Hz display. But the Lenovo IdeaPad looks and feels more upscale than the Nitro and Dash laptops, despite the fact that the former is somewhat less expensive and the Asus offers greater sound and longer battery life.