Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 - Full Review with Pros and Cons
The Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 is a budget gaming laptop by Lenovo and the latest iteration of the Ideapad Gaming lineup. It fits just below Lenovo’s Legion lineup which is it’s flagship gaming line. The laptop presents a good value proposition for people looking for a decent gaming laptop without having to splurge too much cash.
It comes in both Intel and AMD processor variants and upto Geforce GTX 1650 Ti graphics with an optional 120Hz display. The model in review has a hexa-core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor with Geforce GTX 1650 graphics and a 60Hz screen.
Build and Quality
Visually, the laptop looks similar to it’s predecessor, the Ideapad Gaming L340. It retains the teal highlights while the grey has been swapped with a much sleeker black. The lack of gamery accents may appeal to some consumers who want a sleeper look. The use of teal blue instead of red also helps make it look less gamery. The laptop still has an all-plastic build but that is to be expected from a budget gaming laptop. Inspite of this, the laptop feels sturdy and rigid. The hinge design and weight distribution is also good which makes the laptop being one-hand openable. The keyboard deck and the lid has a soft-touch feel but is unfortunately a fingerprint magnet.
The laptop weighs 2.2 kgs and is 24.9 mm thick which is average for a gaming laptop.
Ports, I/O and Connectivity
The Ideapad Gaming 3 has a conventional port layout with the power jack, RJ-45 ethernet, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, combo audio jack on the left side and another USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-A port on the right side. The HDMI port is connected directly to the Nvidia discrete graphics.
Communications are handled by an Intel WiFi 6 AX201 chip which supports the latest WiFi 6 standard as well as Bluetooth 5.1. Nothing more to be desired here.
Getting into the laptop is relatively easy. By just removing 11 screws from the bottom panel and popping it off, one gets access to the 2x SODIMM slots, one of which is empty and available for upgrade, one 2.5 inch drive bay and one M.2 Storage slot.
Keyboard – The keyboard on the Ideapad Gaming 3 has the typical U shaped Lenovo keys with teal backlighting matching the rest of the laptop. There are 2 levels of backlight brightness. No RGB though here, so true “gamers” may not find this to be that appealing. The keys feels tactile with a good amount of travel and are thus incredibly satisfying to type on. It comes with a full-sized numpad and full-sized arrow keys mimicking the keyboard layout on the Legion 5 series. All in all, the keyboard is very good.
Touchpad – The touchpad comes with Windows Precision drivers and is of a click-pad style, meaning you can click down anywhere. It is of a decent size and the surface has a nice matte texture to it.
The Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 comes with a 15.6″ 1080p IPS display with 60 or 120Hz refresh rate options. Colour accuracy is not that great with it only covering 45% of the NTSC colour space. But this is to be expected at this price range. Viewing angles are good and colours are punchy, as is to be expected of an IPS panel. Backlight bleeding is present but is not that noticeable.
Peak brightness is around 295 nits for the 120Hz panel, though this can vary depending upon the panel used on the particular model, making sunlight-legibility difficult.
The Ryzen 5 4600H is a 6-core/12-thread processor which is priced similarly to Intel’s i5 lineup. The chip however keeps up with the higher priced i7 H processors in most tasks and is even competitive in gaming scenarios, something Intel used to dominate in. In productivity tasks, it absolutely decimated the quad-core i5 and is thus the recommended SKU.
The Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Ti GPU is powerful enough to run most older titles at 60+ FPS at native resolution with high settings while newer titles need to be turned down to medium-low details. The good thing is that, one can achieve 120+ FPS in most e-sports titles allowing the user to make full use of the 120Hz display.
The heat dissipation is adequate for the laptop. The laptop has three different fan profiles – Quiet, Auto and Performance, accessible through the Lenovo Vantage software or through the Fn+Q keyboard shortcut.
This particular configuration has a 256 GB NVMe SSD along with a 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD. There is an extra M.2 slot but it is of the shorter M.2 2242 standard. Read/write speeds are upto NVMe standards and load times for games are very fast.
The Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 comes with dual bottom firing speakers which provide for a decent experience. They get loud enough for music and movies but are no match for front-facing speakers like the ones found on Apple’s MacBook lineup. There is little bass since those require large subwoofers to be reproduced accurately, something which is not possible in a laptop form factor. It is recommended to use headphones while gaming as the fan noise can drown out the audio from the speakers at times.
The Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 has a 45Wh battery, which is on the smaller side, especially for a gaming laptop. There is no fast-charging support and battery life can last upto 6 hours on light tasks. Gaming while on battery causes the battery to drain fast and it limits the performance as well.