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Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Review (2021): A Standout Budget Laptop


Lid

Earlier this year, Lenovo refreshed its IdeaPad lineup of laptops with the latest internals including the latest chipsets from Intel and AMD. The laptop that we have in this review is IdeaPad 3 (2021) powered by AMD Ryzen 5 5500U.

Depending upon the market you are in, you can get this particular laptop for INR 60,000 and NPR 85,000 in Nepal. This puts it right into the budget category of laptops, which is quite popular these days. I have been using this laptop for some time now and in this review, I will be sharing my experience with the Lenovo 3 15 2021 (AMD).

Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at the specifications of the laptop.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15″ 2021 (AMD) Specifications:

  • Design & Build: All-plastic build, 14.4W x 9.31D x 0.78H-inches, 1.56 kg
  • Display: 15.6-inch TN/IPS anti-glare panel, 45% NTSC, 250/300 nits
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Keyboard: Chiclet-style backlit keyboard
  • Trackpad: Plastic multi-touch trackpad, Windows Precision drivers
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU, Zen 2 (Lucienne), 6C/12T, 4.0GHz Max Boost Frequency, 8MB L3 Cache, 7nm FinFET
  • RAM: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: Radeon (Integrated)
  • Audio: 2x 1.5W speakers, Dolby Audio
  • Battery: 38Wh / 45Wh
  • Power Supply: 65W USB-C AC power adapter
  • Webcam: 720p HD camera, Privacy Shutter
  • I / O: 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (Data-only), 1x USB 3.4 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A port, 1x HDMI 2.1b, 1x headphone jack, 1x card reader
  • What’s inside the box: Laptop, power adapter, quick start guide,

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15″ 2021 Review

Design

  • All-plastic body
  • 14.4W x 9.31D x 0.78H-inches, 1.56 kg

Let’s start with the design first. For a 15.6-inch notebook, Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 2021 is quite compact. It comes in a polycarbonate body that has a smooth finish on the lid and the keyboard deck. Needless to say, these portions catch smudges pretty easily. On the other hand, Lenovo has provided a brushed matte finish on the rim and the base. Thus, these areas should be less prone to scratches.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Lid

Lid

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Display

Display

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Ports Right

Ports (Right)

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Ports Left

Ports (Left)

Moving on, I’m in love with this Abyss Blue finish that Lenovo has used in this laptop. It makes the laptop stand out among the other generic designs that we get on most of the laptops of this price range. The reflective decal also gives a character to the laptop.

Getting Started

Thanks to the Flip-to-Open feature, you only need to flip the lid to get the laptop running. You can then sign in using the fingerprint scanner (supports Windows Hello) integrated into the power button.

?Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Fingerprint scanner

On the right side, you get a USB 2.0 Type-A port and a card reader. On the opposite side, you get a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, a headphone jack, and an HDMI 1.4b port.

Display

  • 15.6-inch TN panel
  • FHD resolution, 45% NTSC

Inside, you are greeted with a 15.6-inch panel with slim bezels. In order to maintain keep the top bezels slim, Lenovo has placed the webcam on a small protrusion. It also has a physical shutter for privacy-focused users.

Coming to the display quality, it covers 45% of NTSC. You should not be too worried about the color accuracy of the display. The thing you should pay attention to is the panel. Lenovo offers the laptop in both IPS and TN panels.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD TN Display Panel

Unfortunately, my laptop comes with the latter and thus, and thus, suffers from bad viewing angles. Unless you are right in line with the display, the content on the screen looks too dark or bright.

The 250 nits also brightness is just good enough for indoor use. In addition, there are not that many brightness levels. Thus, even the slightest change in the brightness level brings drastic changes in the illumination of the screen.

So, if you are thinking of buying this laptop, make sure to get the model with an IPS panel. Not only does it offer better viewing angles but is also brighter (300 nits).

Keyboard and Touchpad

  • Full-size Keyboard with dedicated numberpad
  • Precision Trackpad

Moving on, Lenovo IdeaPad 3 comes with a full-size keyboard with a dedicated number pad. The keys are big and have sufficient spaces between them. There is not much key travel that that is the case with all budget laptops.

For someone, who spends most of his time writing posts I have no complaints with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3’s keyboard. In addition, the keyboard is backlight with two levels of brightness, which is quite rare at this price.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Keyboard and Mouse

Lenovo has included a Precision Touchpad as well. It has a smooth surface and is responsive even when using multi-finger gestures. However, I would have liked it more had it been placed towards the middle. In its current placement, it is easy to accidentally touch while typing.

Performance

  • Ryzen 5 5500U
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD

Powering the laptop is the Ryzen 5 5500U chipset with six cores and 12 threads. The clock frequency ranges from 2.1 GHz to 4.0 GHz. You can also find configurations with Ryzen 3 5300U and Ryzen Ryzen 7 5700U

There are three performance levels – Extreme, Intelligent Cooling, and Battery saving.

I mostly found myself using the Intelligent Cooing as it balanced performance as well as battery life. I mostly used the laptop for creating documents with multiple Chrome tabs open in the background and I found no issue with the performance. There is no noticeable heating on the surface or the fan noise, even while using applications like Adobe Photoshop CC.

The IdeaPad 3 15 AMD doesn’t come with a discrete GPU and thus is not for gamers. You should still be able to play lightweight games with the integrated Radeon graphics.

Camera and Speakers

  • 720p camera with dual-array microphone
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos

As for audio, you get two down-firing speakers capable of 1.2 output each. Lenovo has included Dolby Atmos audio for stereo effect. They have decent loudness. As with other budget laptops, you don’t get much bass out of these speakers.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD Privacy Shutter

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2021 AMD webcam

Since workplaces and schools worldwide have moved online it’s important to have a good quality webcam on your laptop. Given you are in a well-lit room, you won’t have much problem with the 720P camera – unless there is a light source just behind. As such, the camera struggles with exposure maintenance. It also has a physical shutter to block the camera when it’s not used.

The audio pickup is also quite good on this laptop. Overall, the combination of the camera and the mic should be more than enough for online classes and casual video calls.

Battery and Rest

  • 45W battery
  • 65W adapter with Rapid Charge

Fueling the laptop is a 45Wh battery, which provided 6 to 8 hours of backup on a full charge. That being said, I did not play any games on this laptop. I used the laptop mostly for web browsing, working on documents, and video streaming.

The laptop even supports Rapid Charge with which the battery goes from 0 to 80% in around an hour. However, this feature is not enabled by default and you will have to manually turn it on from the Power Setting under the Lenovo Vantage application.

Talking of charging, Lenovo you get a 65W charger with a barrel-shaped pin.

Lenovo 3 15 2021 (AMD) Review: Conclusion

All in all, Lenovo 3 15” 2021 (AMD) is a one of the best budget laptops that you can buy in the market right now. It comes with a capable hardware and sturdy and portable form factor. My experience with the laptop has been really good except for the TN panel, which you should be looking out for if you are planning to buy it.

Good:

  • Compact, lightweight form factor
  • Abyss Blue color stand out
  • Backlit keyboard with two levels of brightness
  • Reliable performance
  • Decent battery life with Rapid Charge support
  • Flip-to-open works like magic

Bad:

  • Not everyone likes polycarbonate body
  • Stereo speakers are just average
  • Beware of the TN panel

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Rabins Sharma Lamichhane

Rabins Sharma Lamichhane is the owner of RabinsXP who is constantly working for increasing the Internet of Things (IoT) in Nepal. He also builds android apps and crafts beautiful websites. He is also working with various social services. The main aim of Lamichhane is to digitally empower the citizens of Nepal and make the world spiritually sound better both in terms of technology and personal development. Rabins is also the first initiator of Digital Nepal.

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