I recently purchased the Lenovo IdeaPad L3 for myself. So, when I was sent the IdeaPad Gaming 3i Laptop, I was expecting it to be similar to the L3 since both the devices being from the same series. However, considering the 3i is a gaming laptop, I did expect it to have tech specs tailored to gaming. For instance, I expected RGB lighting, a WASD keyboard layout, a graphics card, a faster processor and a sharper resolution. The Lenovo Ideapad 3i delivered some of these features and lacked others. Overall, however, it impressed.
The 3i is a heavy laptop. Weighing 4.8 lbs, it’s not exactly convenient to carry around. It is also 0.98 inches thick, which isn’t exactly what you would call a slim laptop. Though since it’s a gaming laptop, it’s unlikely you’ll need to carry it around often. The advantage of the heavy body is that the device feels solid and powerful. It has a durable body that looks like it’s made to last.
Heavily Contoured Body
Cut out from all four edges on the side, the IdeaPad 3i is an eight-sided laptop. The cut outs make sure to keep the body unique and innovative while also adding some aesthetic value to an otherwise Onyx black matte body. The lid is plain with a brand tag on its bottom right. What caught my attention were the considerably huge vents on the underside. These vents are thermals are quite bigger than the vents on my personal IdeaPad. Upon taking a good look at the laptop, I found another vent hiding on its right side right next to a USB port. So, right off the bat, it was clear how dedicated the brand is at preventing over-heating.
The lid only opens up to 270 degrees unlike most modern laptops which open all the way. However, with plenty of give, the angle the lid opens up to is more than enough. The lid also opens with appropriate force, unlike some lids, like the one on the HP Chromebook x360 14c, that require a measure of force to open.
Upon lifting the lid, you’ll come across fairly thinned out bezels on all four sides. The narrow-bezel display offers a fairly large screen that’s ideal for gaming purposes. There’s a webcam at the top with a privacy shutter. The area around the trackpad and the keyboard is well-cut with curves and contours. Apart from enhancing the 3i’s ergonomics, the contours play their part in adding a nice aesthetic to the body.
When I discovered the 3i offers a brightness of 250 nits, I was underwhelmed. I was impressed by the Lenovo Chromebook Duet’s 400-nit display, and for a gaming laptop to provide a less bright resolution than a Chromebook is surprising. However, once I began gaming, the brightness wasn’t much of an issue. I moved the 3i right in front of a window that was getting a lot of sun, and it still performed well in terms of brightness.
I specifically rotated the laptop to check out different viewing angles, and thanks to its IPS display, it had a wide angle of view with minimal color shift. Its low viewing-angle dependence and high-quality color reproduction allowed me to choose my posture while gaming, as the game looked brilliant from every angle. The display is anti-glare, with a 16:9 screen ratio and a 60 Hz refresh rate, which is adequate if not outstanding.
However, and this is the only gripe I have with the IdeaPad 3i, when I put my personal Lenovo, the L3 next to the 3i with their brightness maxed out, and put on World of Kings on both of them, the 3i’s display was pale and dull in comparison. Its colors weren’t popping out the same way they were on my laptop. This was surprising considering the 3i comes with installed with the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB.
While the 3i’s display seemed a little dull, it is one of the crispest displays I have ever come across on a laptop. The pixels are sharp, clear and rich. In comparison, my laptop’s resolution seems almost pixelated. A little more radiance in the display would have made me rate it a 10 out of 10.
Well-sized and Well-shaped Keys
The keyboard on the 3i is one of its biggest Unique Selling Propositions. The laptop features generously-sized 1.5mm keys along with a full-sized number pad. The keyboard offers great travel without feeling clustered at any point. It is back-lit with blue RGB lighting that’s quite typical of gaming laptops. My favorite part about the keys is their contoured shape. The keys are cut in such a way that they’re deep in the center and raised on the sides so that they match the shape of our fingers. There is also a dedicated lock key at the top of the keyboard serving as a fast and easy shortcut.
The trackpad is highly responsive and 30% larger than the usual size. Its high sensitivity means that it can register the lightest of clicks. The 3i has a number of ports: two USB 3.2, a USB-C 3.2, an HDMI 2.0, an RJ45, a headphone/mic and a novo hole. There is one USB 3.2 ports on each side of the laptop ensuring convenience from both sides.
Stutter-Free, Cool and Quiet
Connected to my headset with Bluetooth 5.0, the IdeaPad 3i provided a lag-free connection for my gaming session. The 3i comes with a 10th Gen Core i7 Processor with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads and12 MB Cache. Additionally, the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB makes sure games run without pausing. The 8GB RAM allows me to have up to 18 tabs open simultaneously without even stuttering. I played World of Kings, Sins Raid and A3: Still Alive, three intense Android games, and experienced zero lag. The 1TB HDD and 256GB SSD on the 3i means that you will probably never face memory issues.
One of the most attractive features of the 3i, that’s briefly been mentioned before, is its Thermal Velocity Boost system. Offering 5th Gen thermal engineering, the 3i features a dual fan and vent system that keeps the machine cool and quiet. What’s more is that the Q control allows you to control the fan modes. So, you get to choose between Quiet, Balance and Performance Mode depending on what you prioritize the most in that moment: battery, performance, etc.
Battery, Speakers, Camera
With a battery that lasts up to seven hours, I wouldn’t exactly call it impressive. It went down by 10% in half an hour and that’s a lot of drainage. With the 135w AC adapter, the 3i comes with, I was able to fully charge it in around three and a half hours. Though, you’ll probably keep it stationed on your desk if you’re using it for gaming, so the below-average battery isn’t a complete deal breaker.
Featuring two 1.5 Dolby Audio Speakers, the on-board audio of the 3i is great. It is crisp, sharp and has a stereo feel to it. The two speaker grilles, on each side of the bottom of the laptop, produce immersive sound placing every element on a separate layer.
The 720p HD camera on the 3i is obviously not the kind of camera you’d go for as an addition to your elaborate streaming setup. It provides the bare minimum quality sufficient for a gaming laptop.
The IdeaPad 3i starts at $799 but justifies its high price by providing a solid machine with brilliant performance, ergonomics and controls. It does have a few small flaws but they’re pretty easy to be worked around.
Is It Hardcore?
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Gaming Laptop has a short battery life and the screen could be more radiant. However, it offers a robust body, crisp display, ergonomic keyboard and lag-free performance.