The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) is a basic Windows laptop available with AMD Ryzen 5000-series processors. It feels well-built even though it's mostly plastic, and it's easy to carry around thanks to its thin and light design. It has good battery life, lasting over 9 hours of light productivity and nearly 8 hours of video playback. The display gets bright enough for use in most settings, but its narrow color gamut makes most content appear washed out, so it isn't ideal for work that requires perfect image accuracy. The webcam's video quality is decent, the touchpad tracks reasonably well, and the keyboard has well-spaced keys but can be tiring to type on over time. Its Ryzen 5 5300U CPU provides a smooth experience in light productivity workloads like text formatting, spreadsheets, and web browsing, and it can also handle some 3D rendering work as long as the material isn't overly complex. However, its integrated GPU isn't powerful enough for graphically demanding tasks like AAA gaming or video editing of high-resolution footage.
Our Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U CPU, AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 integrated graphics, 8GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage. If you perform heavy multitasking or need to run lots of multi-threaded applications, you can upgrade the CPU to an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U or an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U. Unfortunately, there aren't any dedicated GPU options. While the memory is configurable, we recommend that most people get at least 8GB because the base 4GB option may cause slowdowns or stutters. We also recommend that most people get a model with an SSD only as the models with a 2.5 inch physical hard drive, or the space to add one, have a smaller 38Wh battery.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is decent for school use. It feels well-built, it's easy to carry around thanks to its thin and light design, and its battery lasts easily through a typical school day. The display provides enough space for multitasking and gets bright enough for use in most settings; however, the touchpad is small, and the keyboard can be fatiguing over time. Its AMD Ryzen CPU and integrated graphics can handle most student workloads, but they aren't ideal for graphically intensive tasks like video editing.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is mediocre for gaming. Its CPU and integrated GPU aren't powerful enough to handle graphically intensive games, resulting in low frame rates and stuttery motion. It also has a display with a 60Hz refresh rate, a slow response time, and no VRR support to reduce screen tearing. On the bright side, there's very little thermal throttling over time, and it doesn't get hot under load.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is decent for media consumption. It's a thin and light device that's easy to carry around, with enough battery life to get you through a couple of movies and TV show episodes. The display gets bright enough for use in most settings; however, it looks washed out, and its low contrast makes blacks appear gray in the dark. Likewise, the speakers sound well-balanced overall but don't get very loud.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is okay as a workstation. Its CPU can handle light or even some moderately heavy workloads, especially the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U, but it's still very limited in graphical performance because it's only available with integrated graphics. Its port selection is decent, but the HDMI port is limited to the HDMI 1.4 standard. It doesn't get hot or throttle much under load, though the fans are a bit loud.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is decent for business use. It's portable due to its thin and light design, and it has good battery life, lasting over 9 hours of light productivity. The webcam captures a decent image for video calls, the touchpad tracks reasonably well, and the keyboard is spacious but slightly tiring to type on over an extended period. Its AMD Ryzen processor can handle most tasks like text formatting, spreadsheets, and presentations. If you perform heavy multitasking, you can upgrade to the Ryzen 5 5500U or the Ryzen 7 5700U for better multi-thread performance. Unfortunately, you can't charge the laptop via USB-C, and the HDMI port is limited to the HDMI 1.4 standard.
We tested the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (model 82KU00YQUS) with a 1080p touch-sensitive IPS display, an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U CPU, AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The display, CPU, GPU, memory, storage, and color are configurable; you can see the options in the table below. There are many Lenovo IdeaPad 3 models, so to avoid confusion, our review applies only to variants with a model number starting with '82KU'.
Our display and performance results are only valid for the configuration we tested. If you come across a different configuration option not listed above, or you have a similar Lenovo IdeaPad 3 laptop that doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update it. Some tests, like black uniformity and color accuracy, may vary between individual units.
You can see our unit's label here.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a decent budget Windows laptop. Compared to other laptops in its price range, the IdeaPad 3's build feels sturdier, and its display gets brighter than most to combat glare.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 (2019) are both thin and light Windows laptops. The Surface Laptop 3 provides a better user experience for the most part because it has a sharper, brighter, and more color-accurate display, its keyboard feels better to type on, and its touchpad is larger and more responsive. The Surface Laptop 3 has a better webcam and microphone for video calls. However, the IdeaPad 3 has a wider port selection, longer battery life, and its AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs perform significantly better than the AMD Ryzen 3000 processors on the Surface Laptop 3.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) and the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) are very similar overall, as the IdeaPad 5 is essentially a higher-tier model of the same lineup. The IdeaPad 5 provides a better user experience as its keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, and its touchpad tracks better. Also, the IdeaPad 5's USB-C port supports charging and video output, whereas the IdeaPad 3's USB-C can only transfer data. The IdeaPad 5's Intel 11th Gen processors perform better than the IdeaPad 3's AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs, but they aren't as power-efficient, meaning battery life is better on the IdeaPad 3, especially for video playback.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (2020) are both 15.6 inch Windows laptops. The IdeaPad 3 is better than the Inspiron 15 for most uses because it has a sturdier build, a brighter and more color-accurate display, and longer battery life. It also has a more comfortable keyboard, a better webcam, and a wider port selection. The IdeaPad 3 is available with AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, while the Inspiron 15 is available with Intel 11th Gen CPUs. The AMD and Intel processors have similar single-thread performance for the most part; however, the AMD Ryzen CPUs perform better in multi-threaded workloads due to their higher core count, especially the Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 7 5700U processors.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) are ultraportable Windows laptops. The Swift 3's display is smaller, but it's sharper and more colorful. The Swift 3 has better-sounding speakers, a wider port selection that includes a USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 support, and longer battery life. However, the IdeaPad 3 has a much better webcam for video calls. The IdeaPad 3 is available with AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs, while the Swift 3 is available with Intel 11th Gen CPUs. Regardless of which laptop you choose, all the CPU options are more than capable of handling light tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. That said, if you need the best multi-thread performance, the IdeaPad 3's higher-end AMD Ryzen 7 5700U is the best option as it has more cores and threads than any of the Intel CPU options on the Swift 3.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) is much better than the ASUS X515 (2020) for most uses. The IdeaPad 3's build feels sturdier, its screen gets brighter to combat glare, and it displays more accurate colors out of the box. Also, its keyboard provides a better typing experience, its touchpad is more responsive, and its webcam captures a better image for video calls. The IdeaPad 3's AMD processors have much better multi-thread performance than the Intel CPUs on the X515 to handle heavier workloads, and they're more power-efficient, resulting in longer battery life.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) are both thin and light laptops; however, the IdeaPad 3 runs Windows, while the MacBook Air runs macOS. The MacBook Air is better in nearly all aspects, but it has a smaller display, isn't as serviceable, and its port selection is much more limited as it only has two USB-C ports.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (2020) are both thin and light Windows laptops. However, the IdeaPad 3 is a clamshell laptop with a limited hinge range, while the VivoBook Flip has a 360-degree hinge that lets you use the laptop as a tablet. The IdeaPad provides a better user experience as its display is sharper and brighter, its keyboard is more comfortable to type on, and its touchpad is more responsive. The IdeaPad also has a better webcam for video calls and a wider port selection, and it's available with more powerful AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) is a basic laptop meant for light productivity tasks, while the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021) is meant for gaming and other graphically intensive tasks. The Lenovo is better if you need something more compact and lightweight to take around, and its battery also lasts much longer, and the laptop runs much cooler. On the other hand, the HP is much larger and heavier, but it's equipped with powerful AMD Ryzen H-series CPUs and dedicated entry-level NVIDIA GPUs that are significantly better suited for heavy workloads like gaming, 3D design, and physics simulations.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 (2019) are both thin and light Windows laptops. The Surface Laptop 3 provides a better user experience for the most part because it has a sharper, brighter, and more color-accurate display, its keyboard feels better to type on, and its touchpad is larger and more responsive. The Surface Laptop 3 also has a better webcam and microphone for video calls. However, the IdeaPad 3 has a wider port selection, longer battery life, and its AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs perform significantly better than the AMD Ryzen 3000 processors on the Surface Laptop 3.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The IdeaPad is a budget ultraportable Windows laptop with a power-efficient processor. The MacBook Pro 16 is a macOS mobile workstation with a much more powerful H-series CPU and dedicated graphics. The MacBook Pro 16 is better in nearly every way, but it isn't as portable as the IdeaPad 3, and it gets hotter and louder under load.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 is a basic-looking laptop that shouldn't stick out in a professional environment. As it's a 15.6 inch device, it has enough room on the deck for a full-size keyboard with a Numpad on the right side. The exhaust vents are on the bottom near the back, while the speakers are near the front. It's available in four color schemes: Sand, Abyss Blue, Arctic Gray, and Galaxy Blue.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has good build quality. The keyboard deck is a mix of plastic and metal, but the display and the bottom are mostly plastic. There aren't any obvious gaps in the construction, and it feels fairly solid overall, although the display flexes a lot.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's hinge is sub-par. It has a wide range and a good amount of resistance; however, you can't open the laptop with one finger, and the screen wobbles a bit when typing or moving around.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is relatively thin and light for a 15.6 inch device, and its included power adapter is compact. Both should fit easily into most bags.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has good serviceability. To access the internals, you have to remove ten Philips screws and pry open the panel with a pick or prying tool. Our model has 8GB of memory; 4GB is soldered onto the motherboard, and the other 4GB is in the SO-DIMM slot and user-replaceable. Lenovo's specifications indicate that you can upgrade the SO-DIMM module up to 8GB for a maximum of 12GB. The laptop comes with an M.2 2242 storage drive, but the slot also supports longer M.2 2280 SSDs. Opening the laptop and changing the hardware may void the manufacturer's warranty.
You can configure the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 with a 1080p TN or a 1080p IPS panel, with or without support for touch input. Text and images look decently sharp, but some people may find the 16:9 aspect ratio a little too short for productivity. We recommend getting a model with the IPS panel because TN panels usually have worse viewing angles and color reproduction.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has a basic 60Hz refresh rate with no VRR support, typical of most productivity laptops. The response time is slow and causes visible ghosting behind moving objects, which isn't ideal for viewing fast-moving content or gaming. We expect the TN panel to perform similarly.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's contrast ratio is decent and within the typical range of most IPS panels. However, blacks still look gray in dim settings. We expect the TN panel to have worse contrast, likely between 700 to 1000:1. The contrast ratio can vary between individual units.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 gets reasonably bright, just slightly above the advertised 300 cd/m². It's bright enough to combat glare in most settings, but not for outdoors in broad daylight. It gets very dim at the lowest brightness setting, providing a more comfortable viewing experience in the dark. The TN panel is advertised to have a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m².
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 has decent reflection handling. Its matte anti-reflective coating does a good job of diffusing bright lights and reducing their intensity; however, it's still possible to see some reflections even with the screen at maximum brightness.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's black uniformity is okay. The whole screen is more dark blue than black. There's some clouding here and there, as well as some backlight along the top and bottom edges of the screen. The TN panel's uniformity will be much worse due to TN panels' narrow viewing angles. Black uniformity varies between individual units.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has okay horizontal viewing angles. The image looks noticeably darker from the sides, so you have to be close or directly in front of the screen to get the best accuracy. The TN panel will have significantly worse viewing angles.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has okay vertical viewing angles. There's some color shift and darkening of the image when viewing from above or below. However, you still have a bit of play to tilt the screen before image accuracy degrades. The TN panel's viewing angles will be much worse as they usually suffer from chrome inversion.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has decent color accuracy out of the box. Most colors look inaccurate due to the panel's narrow color gamut; however, the white balance is outstanding, and the color temperature is very close to our 6500K target. The gamma doesn't quite follow the sRGB curve, causing dark scenes to appear darker than they should and bright scenes to be over-brightened. Color accuracy may vary between units.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 laptop has a poor color gamut. It doesn't even have full coverage of the commonly-used sRGB color space, so most content looks washed out. It also has poor coverage of wider color spaces like Adobe RGB, DCI P3, and Rec. 2020. We don't recommend using this display for any color-critical work or viewing HDR content.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain for some people. The line at maximum brightness isn't completely flat, but it seems to be just noise as we also used an oscilloscope to check, and it couldn't detect any flicker.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has a decent keyboard. The size and key spacing are alright, though the Numpad feels a bit more cramped. The keys have a good amount of travel and provide tactile feedback, but they require a lot of force to actuate, which might cause fatigue over an extended period. They also feel unstable and somewhat cheap. You can adjust the backlight brightness or turn it off completely using FN and the spacebar. Unfortunately, the backlight only lights up around the keys, not through the key legends. Also, backlighting is an optional feature, so some models don't have it. If you want a similar laptop with a better keyboard, check out the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021).
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 has an okay touchpad. It's a bit small and doesn't feel smooth, and you can only click near the bottom of the touchpad, making actions like dragging and dropping over long distances hard. Palm rejection is okay most of the time, but there are some instances where it would register a movement or tap. The touchpad is positioned to the left so that it remains centered with the main part of the keyboard, which some people may not like.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has decent speakers. They sound relatively well-balanced even though they have almost no bass; however, the dip in the low-treble frequencies can make vocals and leads sound distant, as well as lacking in detail and articulation. They don't get very loud, but on the bright side, there's minimal dynamic compression at max volume.
The webcam's video quality is decent. It captures some fine details like the writing on the bottle or the cards, but the whole image is overexposed, making colors appear washed out. The microphone sounds good overall; however, it's a bit quiet, and there's some static in the background. The privacy cover is only a physical switch and doesn't deactivate the camera at the software level, so it can still record audio when shut. Lastly, Lenovo's specifications indicate there's a Windows Hello compatible IR camera to log in via facial recognition, but the feature isn't available when we tried activating it in Windows.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has a decent port selection. There are two USB-A ports; the one on the left supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 standard (up to 5Gbps data transfer), while the one on the right supports only USB 2.0 standard (up to 480Mbps). The USB-C port also supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer rate. Unfortunately, you can't use the USB-C to charge the laptop or connect an external display.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's wireless adapter is a Realtek 8822CE. Lenovo advertises Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support on some models; however, we can't confirm which wireless adapter those models have.
Our Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads. It's a power-efficient processor designed for thin and light laptops, capable of handling general productivity tasks like text formatting and spreadsheets, as well as other simple tasks like web browsing and video playback. It can also handle more demanding tasks like photo editing as long as the material isn't overly complex. If you have a heavier workload or need to run multi-threaded applications, you can upgrade to an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U with 6 cores and 12 threads or an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U with 8 cores and 16 threads, both of which will provide a smoother and snappier experience.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's GPU depends on which CPU you get. The AMD Ryzen 5 5300U CPU has Radeon RX Vega 6 graphics, the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U has Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics, and the AMD Ryzen 7 5700 has Radeon RX Vega 8 graphics. All three are integrated GPUs that can only handle light tasks, not for demanding workloads like gaming or video editing. Although there's some difference in graphical performance between the three GPUs, the difference is extremely minimal and not noticeable in most instances.
You can configure the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 with 4, 8, 12, or 16GB of memory. We recommend that most people get at least 8GB because 4GB is only barely enough for the operating system and may cause some slowdowns or stutters when multitasking.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is available with a 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD. You can also configure it with only a 5400 RPM 1TB hard drive or in combination with an SSD; however, we don't recommend these models as the physical drive is significantly slower, and to make space for the drive, these models have a smaller 38Wh battery.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 scores reasonably well in the Geekbench 5 benchmarks. Its single-thread performance is great, about the same as the Intel Core i3-1005G1 in the ASUS X515 (2020). Its multi-thread performance is decent, in the same ballpark as the 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1125G4 in the HP Pavilion x360 14 (2021). The GPU compute score is very low, which is expected for integrated graphics.
Essentially, the AMD Ryzen 5 5300U can provide a smooth experience in light workloads like text formatting, web browsing, and video playback. However, it'll struggle if you push it too hard with demanding tasks like video editing. The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 7 5700U have better single-thread performance than the Ryzen 5 5300U, but it's in multi-thread performance that you'll see the most gains, so they're better suited for people who perform heavy multitasking or use heavily multi-threaded applications.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 with an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U performs well in Cinebench R23's CPU rendering test. Like in the Geekbench 5 benchmarks, the single-thread performance is close to a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 (Ice Lake), but its multi-thread performance is more comparable to an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 as it's a 4-core, 8-thread CPU. Upgrading to the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U or the Ryzen 7 5700U will give you better performance overall, but again, it's more in multi-thread performance that you'll see the most benefit as they have 6 and 8 cores, respectively.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 performs poorly in Blender. The CPU takes a long time to render the simple bmw27 scene, and it takes even longer with the integrated GPU. The AMD Ryzen 7 5700U can likely complete this task in less than 5 minutes as Blender scales well with core count, but it's still slower than rendering with a dedicated GPU.
Like most systems with integrated graphics, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 performs poorly in the Basemark GPU benchmark. This means it can only handle simple puzzle-like games, not graphically demanding AAA titles. We expect the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and the Ryzen 7 5700U to perform only slightly better, but not enough to make much of a difference in most games.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's storage drive performance is excellent. Its fast read and write speeds mean the system can boot up, launch apps, and transfer large files quickly. Some models have a 2.5 inch physical hard drive as the primary or secondary drive. We don't recommend having a hard drive as the main drive because it's significantly slower than SSDs, and these variants have a smaller battery, which means you're trading battery life for storage. The speed of the SSD may vary depending on the size, as larger SSDs tend to perform better.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 has good battery life. You can get through a typical 8-hour day of light productivity with a bit of charge to spare. Video playback drains the battery faster; however, it still lasts long enough to get through a couple of movies and TV show episodes. Battery life is very short for gaming but much better than most gaming laptops with a dedicated GPU. The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 7 5700U models will likely have shorter battery life due to their higher CPU core count and faster clock speeds. Models with a 2.5 inch hard drive or space to add one have a smaller 38Wh battery. Battery life can vary greatly depending on your usage.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's performance in Borderlands 3 is terrible. It's near unplayable even at the lowest graphical settings due to low frame rates and stutters. The AMD Ryzen 7 5700U can likely reach an average of 30fps with low settings, but you'll still see a lot of stutters.
Civilization VI runs poorly on the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 with an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U. It's a bit choppy at high graphical settings due to low frame rates, but it's much smoother if you turn down some settings. The turn time is reasonably fast, among the better ones that we've seen at the time of writing. The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U will perform only slightly better.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's performance in CS:GO is middling. It doesn't quite reach 60fps at 1080p with high settings, and the frame rate frequently drops into the 20s, causing noticeable stutters. You can get much higher frame rates if you turn the graphical settings down to minimum. The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and the Ryzen 7 5700U will perform better, but not by much.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs awfully on the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 with an AMD Ryzen 5 5300U. The average frame rate doesn't even reach 30 fps at the lowest graphical settings, and there are a lot of stutters. We expect the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U and the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U to perform only slightly better, not enough to make the game playable.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's keyboard deck is cool at idle and only gets slightly warm under load. However, the fans kick in pretty quickly, which explains the low temperature, and they get fairly loud. We also noticed that there's some space between the keyboard and the motherboard keeping the two parts separate, which also helps keep the keyboard cool.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3's performance over time is outstanding. Neither the CPU nor GPU gets hot under load, and although there's a little bit of throttling on the CPU, the average amount of performance loss is extremely minimal and isn't noticeable. We expect models with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U or Ryzen 7 5700U to perform similarly.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has a couple of pre-installed software applications, including:
Our Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, allowing you to log into Windows quickly. The fingerprint sensor is an optional feature, so some models don't have it.