Cheap gaming laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i
While the Legion 5 series is beating the battle of Lenovo in the more demanding gaming laptop market. IdeaPad Gaming is a real “mainstream” laptop with a better price and approximately powerful basic hardware specifications. Today we present the latest version of the IdeaPad Gaming 3i laptop, which is in direct competition with the Acer Nitro 5 and similar models.
The well-known and user-loved line of IdeaPad laptops, which for generations flirted with the aspirations of gaming users, has been given a new representative in the form of the IdeaPad Gaming 3i model. Based on the currently most up-to-date platform, it offers a well-balanced list of features and performance that will satisfy users. Not only those who play, but also do some serious things on a laptop. At the same time, it has a solid battery life, it heats up a bit and it’s not noisy … that’s why many will love it!
This computer follows a long line of successful IdeaPad models of the Y70 and Y700 series. The robust yet affordable laptop concept with the default fast gaming hardware in basic Full HD resolution continues its life and success in the form of the latest Ideapad Gaming 3 model.
At first glance, it is clear that this computer is very similar to its predecessors. Good things have been retained, with great progress in terms of details. Onyx Black, the case made of quality ABS plastic no longer has red. But blue details in the form of backlighting on the keyboard, which set Lenovo apart from the similar competition. If you are one of those who think in style – poor plastic, poor quality – and a lot of money. Know that this solution was used for a good reason. Because there is no uncomfortable feeling of metal charge under the fingers as with aluminum chassis. Which is very good during gaming parties.
The shape is classic, which means that it is not too thin, but on the other hand, it enjoys all the benefits of a slightly thicker case because it cools better and is less noisy than similar “mainstream” models. The good side is that there is plenty of space on the side edges to accommodate all the necessary connectors. Interestingly, the cooling system is set up similarly to some classic models. In the space between the screen and the base of the case where warm air flows practically along the front of the screen. The only additional opening is on the right side.
The computer is almost 36 cm wide, 25 cm deep and 2.5 cm thick. It weighs 2.2 Kg. In the end, we think that Lenovo could give a slightly more modern look to the IdeaPad gamer because for someone who has been testing Lenovo models of this class for years. We feel as if we have the same computer in our hands … We wanted a change and a more attractive look. Something new should!
Screen, keyboard, connectors
The screen is a classic 15 with a 16: 9 format and a diagonal of 35.9 cm, made in a matte finish, which significantly reduces the effect of light reflection. It displays 1920×1080 pixels and what is most important for a gamer – is refreshed with 120 Hz. In addition to more fluid animation in games, it provides a calmer and sharper image from the screen at 60Hz during everyday work. The brightness is just satisfactory with a measured 208 threads with decent sharpness.
However, in reality, the feeling is better than the numbers say. But it is not a screen that will leave you breathless. It is a mediocre product that stands out from the average in terms of the characteristic of a slightly higher frequency of vertical refresh. It provides the best feeling in a semi-darkness. Which is a typical environment in which the majority of the gaming population resides.
The side bezels of the screen are very thin, and the top strip is a bit thicker because it houses a 720p webcam with a fixed focus and a physical lens shutter. At the base, the central place is occupied by a keyboard with the well-known shape of Lenovo keys. Which extends in six rows.
The shape of the cap and its shallow gait is very reminiscent of the one from the Legion model – noting that in this case. It is somewhat softer, with a slightly less pronounced feeling of the moment of activation. That’s why it’s pretty quiet in operation. It has a solid blue backlight whose light intensity can be adjusted in a few steps.
The touchpad is standardly comfortable, slightly moved to the left, and covered with a layer of fine polyester material. It is comfortable to work with because it is aligned with the space bar and easier to use by pulling the thumb. On the other hand, this position is annoying during the game. But in these situations, it is desirable to turn it off with a combination of “Fn” and “F10” keys.
When it comes to connectivity options, Lenovo has provided a solid range of connectors. The computer has two first-generation USB-A 3.2 ports, one USB-C 3.2 in a slower 5-gigabit version, one HDMI 2.0. For connection to large screens, an RJ45 connector for a gigabit wired network. And a standard 3.5 mm combined headphone and microphone connector. The downside is that we didn’t get a fast 10 Gbps USB and at least one more USB-A port. For the price of 900€, we certainly expected that.
Processor and GPU
The IdeaPad Gaming 3i is based on the Intel-Nvidia platform. The 15IMH05 model uses the 10th generation of a six-core mobile Intel Core i7 10750H processor with a “hyperthreading” function with the support of an Intel HM 470 chipset. According to the specifications, this processor reaches a maximum Turbo frequency of 5GHz. Built-in 16 GB of DDR4 memory at 2933 MHz configured to operate in dual-channel performance mode.
Gaming performance is taken care of by the Nvidia GeForce 1650 Ti, with 4 GB fast GDDR6 video memory. The right solution for gaming on a screen with a Full HD display. To get the desired 120 fps and thus take advantage of the screen’s capabilities for smooth. Fine animation in games, you’ll need to have fun adjusting the graphic details. The graphics part of the system is also Intel UHD graphics, which is active in economy mode when you need to extend the battery life.
Memory and connectivity
Data and installation space are provided by a combination of a fast 25.2GB M.2 PCIe SSD product from Hynix and a classic mechanical disk in the form of a 1TB large Seagate model. A solid, but slightly outdated solution for a gaming laptop. Especially in today’s situation when 1 TB SSD devices become a “mainstream” item. And at the same time, loading and starting games are significantly faster.
The sound comes from a pair of 1.5W speakers. It is produced by a classic codec microprocessor with HD audio specifications and Dolby Audio certification. Sounds correct, as is the case with the average audio system in this class of device. For real gaming enjoyment, be sure to use headphones.
The presence of fast network connection and communication options is important for good gaming. In this regard, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a great solution in the form of a built-in Wi-Fi standard for the 6th generation. The two-band 802.11 ax standard with 2×2 Wi-Fi support and BT 5.0 option is fast. Because we used SBB’s home internet package to the maximum during the “download” of games from the net. Downloading 45 MB / s, almost twice as much as the model with 802.11ac Wi-Fi specifications, of course in the same conditions. If you are hesitant about wireless gaming, the classic gigabit “Ethernet” connection is also available. So choose according to your will and need in a specific situation.
When it comes to autonomous battery operation, with an integrated lithium-polymer battery located inside the computer case. The capacity is 45Wh, and in our tests, it achieved a result of 3 hours and 43 minutes. This is one of the better results when in question gaming laptop models. In battery mode, it delivers 74% performance in applications. While the operating speed of the GTX 1650 Ti GPU is limited with 30 frames per second. For maximum fps, be sure to connect the laptop to external power. A fast charging option is supported in combination with a 135W AC adapter and a Lenovo Vantage tool. It then takes about 1 hour to fully charge the battery.
The driver software, the BIOS, has a nice, graphical welcome screen while entering the more detailed options you will find yourself in the usual list of available options. Albeit in a white working environment. It should also be noted that the computer arrived for testing with the Windows 10 Home operating system installed and a monthly license to use MS Office.
The first and predominant impression when working with the IdeaPad Gaming 3i model is a bit of gentle and gentle work for a gaming computer. Usually, these initial gaming models are maximally forced by the manufacturers. Because the performance is on the border of what we mean pleasant at 1080p resolution . Because they usually try to extract every atom of power from the built-in hardware. The consequence of the above is that in gaming mode, they are usually loud and warm. This is not the case with this computer.
Lenovo did not skimp on performance with the IdeaPad Gaming 3i model, and at the same time made it quieter in operation. As evidenced by the consumption that during gaming tests ranged from 50-60W to some maximum measured 71W. Which is much less than expected. That is why we are rewarded with a a such good result of working on the battery. Lenovo also had in mind the classic, slightly more demanding user who runs photo processing applications. Full HD video, CAD / CAM users, and not just purebred gamers.
The heating keeps pace with the conventional design of the cooling solution and the maximum measured 53.5 Celsius on the hottest part of the exhaust openings, up to some 40 degrees under the fingers of the WASD button. It is quieter than similar devices in this class with noise reaching just 35dB. The price is paid through slightly higher heating of the central and graphic processor inside the case. In terms of performance, they are great and this computer holds up pretty well in the face of the AMD Renoir model.
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i is a typical successor to high-performance mainstream computers with which this manufacturer has an above-average long experience. Not to mention experience. But today it is modern and at the first mention. It makes it clear to you which scope of work a computer like this is capable of working. So, he, like his predecessors, is not only a gamer. But with a much longer list of possibilities and uses in everyday applications. It is also for those users who often use laptops for work outside the home. The task requires a little more powerful hardware.
Of course, it’s not without flaws because we lack a brighter screen, SuperSpeed USB-A port, larger SSD … it has its advantages and compromises like any similar “mainstream” laptop from this class. The only question is whether Lenovo managed to fine-tune in the list for the price of € 1,000. We are telling you this from a long experience of the real use of such a computer. We have tried similar models, and we can only say that this is a pretty well-balanced computer for gaming. But also simultaneous work in applications.
We would certainly praise the good options for expanding SSD and HDD devices. The competition in this class is very fierce, so the final choice will primarily depend on your needs. Desires in terms of device performance and scope of work.
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i 15″ Gaming Laptop, 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) Display, Intel Core i5-10300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA GTX 1650Ti Graphics, Windows 10, 81Y400U6US, Onyx Black
Currently, only the version with Intel Core i5-10300H processor is available on Amazon