Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i Review
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i is the company’s offering for users who are looking for a work-and-play machine that can perform better than a typical laptop, but at the same time not as expensive as most gaming laptops. Can this device deliver exactly that? Find out in our full review below.
Design and Construction
One of the first things you’ll notice about this gaming laptop is that it’s under the IdeaPad family which is Lenovo’s lineup of capable laptops for general use. In this case, it’s a gaming laptop for light to mid gaming and some productivity tasks that would require a GPU.
It’s chunky but doesn’t feature a fancy design that you would normally see on Legion laptops. It’s all black with a matte paint job but has cuts and angles to give it some of the appeal of a gaming laptop.
Open the lid, you will be greeted by the 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with an anti-glare panel. It can only produce 250 nits of brightness but has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate.
It’s got slim bezels on the sides. The top is thicker and houses the microphones and 720p webcam with a Privacy Shutter for extra security.
At the base, we have the backlit power button, the Blue LED-backlit keyboard with a dedicated NumPad and huge arrow keys, and the trackpad. Typing on this device feels great as the keys are quiet, large, has great travel, and doesn’t feel cramped. The backlighting only has two levels though, but not a deal-breaker. As for the trackpad, it’s smooth but feels cramped, and left and right clicks are not that clicky. You will feel the trackpad flex first before you can click.
Turn it on its right side, and you will see the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and vent.
While on the left, we have the charging port, RJ-45, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack, and LED indicators.
Down at the bottom, we have the rubber feet, two speakers, and a huge grill for ventilation.
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s build is solid and feels sturdy. Not as premium as an ultrabook but it sure looks nice. It’s kind of a toned-down gaming laptop but should fit right in an office environment.
Display and Multimedia
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i has a 15.6-inch IPS Anti-Glare display with a Full HD resolution which is enough for most tasks. It has decent viewing angles although some slight dimming can be observed when viewed indirectly. In terms of brightness, it can produce up to 250 nits. It’s too dim than we’d like at 50% brightness so we mostly place it at 70%. The colors are also decent although not as punchy compared to more expensive laptops. Lastly, it has a 120Hz refresh rate, which results in smooth animations and transitions, which can also benefit games that support it.
When it comes to audio, the quality is good for its class. It’s loud and crisp, no bass, just like most laptops, so there’s nothing special here. It’s good enough for Zoom calls and casual video streaming. There’s Dolby Audio with support for Dolby Atmos for headphones, which we recommend using if you want a good audio experience, especially when playing games.
OS and Features
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i runs on Windows 10 Home. Not much bloat is present aside from Office 365 and Lenovo Vantage. You’ll find the latter in gaming laptops as well and is a great dashboard for monitoring the laptop’s resources and for activating its software features.
From here you can adjust the Thermal Mode and choose between Quiet, Balance, and Performance; Network Boost to prioritize network traffic for the game your playing; Quick Settings like activating Rapid Charge, WiFi Security, and Dolby Audio; and System Tools so you can update the system, adjust power settings, tweak your display and webcam settings, and perform a hardware scan to make sure things are running well. This is an easy-to-use and very convenient tool as everything is available under one application. There’s no need to go through separate apps just adjust your laptop’s settings.
Storage-wise, it has a 512GB SSD, which is good enough for casual users. However, if you’re planning to install plenty of games on this machine, you might want to consider upgrading to a 1TB SSD configuration.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the IdeaPad Gaming 3i is an Intel 10th-gen Core i7-10750H processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650 Ti 4GB GDDR6 GPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Lenovo included a Lenovo Gaming M100 RGB Mouse which is nice. As a productivity device, this machine works really well and can handle heavy Chrome use. Although it would be more responsive if you have 16GB.
As for gaming, it can handle big titles but don’t expect high frame rates in high to ultra settings. In Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, we got 29.34 FPS in Ultra, 47.37 in Very High, and 52.92 FPS in High.
In Middle Earth: Shadow of War, we got 47 FPS in Ultra, 51 FPS in Very High, and 61 FPS in High.
As for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we got 47 FPS in Highest, 54 FPS in High, and 60 FPS in Medium.
As you can see, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i can game but you’ll have to tone down the graphics settings or resolution to get decent frame rates. Check out the rest of the benchmark scores below:
• PCMark 10 Extended – 5,314
• 3DMark – 3,745 (Time Spy), 1748 (Time Spy Extreme)
• Geekbench 5 – 1,200 (Single-Core), 4,858 (Multi-Core), 44,233 (OpenCL)
• Cinebench R20 – 2,810 (CPU), 466 (CPU – Single-Core)
• 3DMark – 7,6598 (TimeSpy)
• CrystalDiskMark 7 – up to 2,341.80 MB/s (Seq. Read), up to 1,492.91 MB/s (Seq. Write)
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i features WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for its wireless connectivity. For wired, it has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, one HDMI 2.0, one RJ-45, and one 3.5mm headphone/mic combo. The setup is good enough for most uses including Work From Home or online learning needs.
Battery-wise, it’s got a 45Wh cell which got us around 5 hours of browsing in Better Battery setting and 60% brightness. In our video loop test, which involves playing a 1080p video at Better performance mode at 50% brightness and volume got us a little over 6 hours of playback. As for its Rapid Charge, we can get the battery up to 80% in one hour.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i with the configuration mentioned above is priced at PHP 59,995. It’s more affordable than most gaming laptops and some Ultrabooks that don’t have a GPU for running graphics-intensive tasks. The inclusion of a gaming mouse is also a nice touch. However, despite its gaming prowess, I don’t see it as a “gaming laptop”, which I reserve for the Legion line.
It’s more like a beefed-up work laptop with enough power to handle heavier tasks like photo or video editing. If you have a tight budget for a Lenovo gaming laptop, this is worth considering. But if you want a proper gaming laptop and can stretch the budget a bit, feel free to take a peek at Lenovo’s Legion lineup.
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i specs:
15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, 250 nits, Anti-Glare, 120Hz display
Intel 10th-gen Core i7-10750H processor
NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650Ti GPU
8GB DDR4 RAM
512GB SSD M.2 2242 PCIe NVMe
WiFi 802.11 ax
2x array microphone
Blue LED backlit keyboard
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
3.5mm headphone/mic combo
Windows 10 Home