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Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) Laptop Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Apr 11, 2022 at 10:29 am
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) Picture
6.6
School
7.7
Gaming
6.0
Multimedia
8.4
Workstation
7.3
Business
Size
15.6"
Operating System
Windows 11

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) is a 15.6 inch budget gaming laptop. Like many gaming laptops in its price range, such as the HP Victus 16 (2021), it's available with powerful CPU and very capable GPU options; however, it compromises in other aspects to make it more affordable. This model has AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU and NVIDIA dedicated GPU options, but there are also models with Intel 11th Gen CPUs, under the model name Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021). The AMD Ryzen 7 5800H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 configuration we tested can deliver a good gaming experience, but its 8GB of memory in a single-channel configuration severely limits its performance, leading to lower than expected frame rates in games, so you need to make sure to get 16GB of memory in dual-channel mode to get the most performance out of the CPU and GPU.

Our Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 dedicated GPU, 8GB of memory, and 1256GB of storage in the form of a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and a 1TB 5400rpm hard drive. You can also configure the laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, which isn't as fast as the Ryzen 7 5800H but still powerful enough to provide smooth gameplay. As for the GPU, the entry-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 is the lowest-end option and can achieve around 60 fps at 1080p, though you'll have to play at low settings in most games. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 and RTX 3050Ti are a decent step up from the GTX 1650 and perform fairly similarly, with the RTX 3050Ti being only marginally better than the 3050. Both GPUs can get around or slightly over 60 fps at high settings. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is the highest-end configuration and will provide the best performance, with average frame rates around 80 to 100 fps at 1080p.

Our Verdict

6.6 School

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is okay for school use. It's a little bulky and heavy, so it isn't the most portable, and its battery only lasts around five hours of light productivity, which means you'll have to bring the charger with you. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on for extended periods, and the touchpad tracks all movements and gestures well. Its AMD Ryzen CPU and NVIDIA dedicated GPU can handle all types of workloads, including demanding tasks like graphic design and 3D animation. The display is decently sharp and provides enough space for multitasking, but it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare and looks slightly washed out. Unfortunately, you can't use its USB-C port to charge the laptop or output a video signal to an external display.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
  • CPU and dedicated GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • Keyboard feels great to type on and doesn't cause fatigue.
  • Decent webcam video quality for video calls.
Cons
  • Battery lasts only a little over 5 hours of light productivity.
  • Display doesn't get bright enough to combat glare.
  • Not the most portable due to bulky size and weight.
  • USB-C doesn't support charging or video output.
7.7 Gaming

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is good for gaming. Its AMD Ryzen CPU and NVIDIA dedicated GPU can deliver a smooth gaming experience at 1080p, though you have to make sure to get 16GB of memory as the 8GB configuration will result in lower frame rates and frequent stutters. Thankfully, it's easy to access the internals for upgrades, so you can do it yourself later on. Its 120Hz display delivers a relatively clear image in fast-moving scenes; however, its slow response time causes noticeable ghosting. There's a 165Hz panel option available if you want even smoother gameplay, though you'll need to go up to an RTX 3060 to make the most of it. The performance over time is outstanding as there's only a small amount of thermal throttling on the CPU and none on the GPU, but the fans get pretty loud under load.

Pros
  • 120Hz refresh rate with FreeSync support.
  • User-upgradeable memory and storage drive.
  • Minimal CPU throttling.
  • GPU doesn't throttle under load.
Cons
  • Slow response time causes noticeable ghosting.
  • Single rank x16 memory module hampers performance.
  • Loud fans under load.
6.0 Multimedia

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is mediocre for media consumption. It isn't very portable as it's a little bulky and heavy, and its battery only lasts about three hours of video playback. The speakers sound fairly natural and well-balanced, but they don't have much bass to produce a thumping sound and don't get very loud. The 60Hz and 120Hz display options look washed out due to their narrow color gamuts, but you can get a 165Hz panel with full sRGB coverage, which will look much better. Unfortunately, all the display options are IPS panels with low contrast, which aren't ideal for dark room viewing.

Pros
  • Screen handles reflections well.
  • 100% sRGB panel option.
  • Flicker-free backlight helps reduce eye strain.
Cons
  • Blacks look gray in dim settings and colors look washed out.
  • Quiet speakers.
  • Display doesn't get bright enough to combat glare.
  • Not the most portable due to bulky size and weight.
  • Battery lasts only 3 hours of video playback.
8.4 Workstation

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is great as a workstation. Its AMD Ryzen CPU and NVIDIA dedicated GPU can handle demanding workloads, like video editing, 3D animation, and graphic design. Its performance over time is outstanding as there's only a little bit of thermal throttling on the CPU and none on the GPU, although the fans are fairly loud under load. Sadly, the port selection is mediocre as its single USB-C port doesn't support charging or video output and can only transfer data at USB 3.2 Gen 1 speed of up to 5Gbps.

Pros
  • CPU and dedicated GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • User-upgradeable memory and storage drive.
  • Minimal CPU throttling.
  • GPU doesn't throttle under load.
Cons
  • Single rank x16 memory module hampers performance.
  • USB-C doesn't support charging or video output.
  • Loud fans under load.
7.3 Business

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is decent for business use. It feels well-built even though it's entirely plastic, but it's a bit bulky and heavy, so it isn't the easiest thing to carry around. Also, its battery lasts only about five hours, which means you'll have to bring the proprietary charger with you because you can't charge the laptop via USB-C. The keyboard feels comfortable to type on and doesn't cause fatigue, the touchpad tracks all movements and gestures well, and the webcam captures a decent image for video calls. Its AMD Ryzen CPU can easily handle most productivity tasks like text formatting, web browsing, spreadsheets, and presentations. The display is decently sharp and provides plenty of space for multitasking, but it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare.

Pros
  • Feels well-built.
  • Keyboard feels great to type on and doesn't cause fatigue.
  • Decent webcam video quality for video calls.
Cons
  • Battery lasts only a little over 5 hours of light productivity.
  • Display doesn't get bright enough to combat glare.
  • Not the most portable due to bulky size and weight.
  • 6.6 School
  • 7.7 Gaming
  • 6.0 Multimedia
  • 8.4 Workstation
  • 7.3 Business
  1. Updated Apr 11, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Apr 04, 2022: Early access published.

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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (model 82K200UYUS) with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 dedicated GPU, 8GB of memory, and 1256GB of storage. The screen, CPU, GPU, memory, and storage are configurable; you can see the available options in the table below. Our review applies only to variants with a model number starting with '82K2'. We'll review the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021) with Intel 11th Gen. processors separately.

Screen
  • 15.6" IPS 1920 x 1080 60Hz (250 cd/m², 45% NTSC)
  • 15.6" IPS 1920 x 1080 120Hz (250 cd/m², 45% NTSC)
  • 15.6" IPS 1920 x 1080 165Hz (300 cd/m², 100% sRGB)
CPU
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600H (6 cores/12 threads, up to 4.2GHz, 16MB)
  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (8 cores/ 16 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 16MB)
GPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6 (dedicated)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6 (dedicated, 85W TGP)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti 4GB GDDR6 (dedicated, 85W TGP)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 (dedicated, 90W TGP)
Memory
  • 8GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB 2.5" 5400rpm HDD
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB 2.5" 5400rpm HDD
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Color
  • Shadow Black

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 Gaming 3 2021 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.

Compared To Other Laptops

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is among the better budget gaming laptops on the market in terms of build quality as well as the quality of its keyboard and touchpad. However, its port selection is lacking, and its use of single rank x16 memory makes its overall performance worse than expected, so you have to pay more to upgrade the memory if you want to get the most out of the CPU and GPU.

HP Victus 16 (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) and the HP Victus 16 (2021) are both budget gaming laptops available with the same GPU options. However, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU options, whereas the Victus 16 has Intel 11th Gen. Both laptops offer a similar overall user experience, although the Victus 16 has a better port selection and doesn't get as hot under load. The performance will depend on which configuration you get. If you plan on using the laptop for work, the IdeaPad Gaming 3's AMD Ryzen CPUs have better multi-thread performance than Intel 11th Gen CPUs, making them better suited for production workloads like video editing and 3D rendering.

Acer Nitro 5 15 (2020)

For gaming, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) is better than the Acer Nitro 5 15 (2020). The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is available with newer and more powerful CPUs and GPUs that can push out higher frame rates, as well as a brighter and more colorful display with a higher 165Hz refresh rate. The IdeaPad Gaming 3 also has a much better keyboard that works more reliably, as the Nitro 5's doesn't register some keystrokes at times. On the other hand, the Nitro 5 has a much longer battery life, lasting twice as long for light productivity and video playback, and it's cooler and quieter under load.

Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021)

The Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) is better than the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). They have similar configuration options; however, you can get the Legion 5 with a QHD 165Hz panel and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, which aren't available on the IdeaPad Gaming 3. With the same configuration, the Legion will perform better and push out higher frame rates as it has a MUX switch, and its GPUs run at a higher wattage. The Legion 5 also has a sturdier build, a wider port selection, and better thermals.

Dell G15 (2022)

The Dell G15 (2022) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) are both budget gaming laptops. In terms of user experience, the Lenovo comes out ahead because it has a sturdier build as well as a better keyboard and touchpad. However, the Dell's Intel 12th Gen CPUs perform better than the Lenovo's AMD Ryzen 5000-series processors, giving you better frame rates in games. The Dell also has higher-end configuration options, like a QHD 240Hz display and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti GPU.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) and the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021) are very similar budget gaming laptops available with the same CPU and GPU options. However, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a more powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU option, which isn't available on the Pavilion Gaming Laptop. In terms of user experience, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 comes out slightly ahead as it has a better keyboard, touchpad, and webcam. On the other hand, the Pavilion Gaming Laptop has a better port selection as its USB-C can output a video signal to an external display.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) are very similar overall. The main difference is that the IdeaPad Gaming 3i has Intel 11th Gen CPU options, while the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPU options. The IdeaPad Gaming 3's AMD Ryzen CPUs perform significantly better than the IdeaPad Gaming 3i's Intel CPUs in multi-threaded workloads, making the AMD system a much better choice for CPU-intensive games and applications. The AMD-based IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a more powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU option, which isn't available on the Intel-based system.

Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) are very different. The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is a budget Windows gaming laptop, while the MacBook Air is a premium macOS ultraportable. The MacBook Air offers a better user experience overall because it has a brighter and sharper display, better-sounding speakers, a more responsive touchpad, and a much better webcam. It also has longer battery life and remains silent under load because it's a fanless device. On the other hand, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a dedicated GPU, making it more suitable for graphically demanding tasks like video editing and 3D animation.

Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is a budget Windows gaming laptop, while the MacBook Pro is a premium macOS mobile workstation. The MacBook Pro is better in most aspects; however, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has newer and more powerful CPU and GPU options, and its keyboard feels more comfortable to type on for extended periods.

Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020)

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020) is better than the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). The Alienware m15 R3 is a more premium device with a sturdier build, a more comfortable keyboard, and a wider port selection that includes a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. It also has better display options, including a 1080p 300Hz IPS and a 4k OLED panel. The performance will depend on which configuration you get, but keep in mind that although the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has newer CPUs and GPUs, it doesn't necessarily mean that it'll perform better, as an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 is still vastly more powerful than an RTX 3050 or 3060.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Form Factor
Traditional (Clamshell)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a simple and plain design. Its angular shape adds some gamer aesthetic, but it's otherwise bland and doesn't stick out in a professional work environment. It's entirely plastic and is only available in the Shadow Black color scheme. The speakers are on the bottom, and there are vents on both sides of the laptop as well as on the bottom.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming's build quality is good. It's entirely plastic, but it feels solid, with only some flex in the display and almost none in the keyboard deck. The plastic doesn't feel particularly premium, though, and while the finish doesn't scratch easily, it does pick up oil from handling, especially on smoother surfaces.

6.6
Design
Hinge
Range
135°
Stability
Good
One Finger Lift
No

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's hinge is okay. It feels smooth when opening and closing the laptop, and it's stable, though there's a little bit of screen wobbling when using the device on an uneven surface or typing aggressively. You can't open the lid with one hand because there's too much resistance, which is somewhat disappointing as it's a nice quality-of-life feature that adds a premium feel to the laptop.

6.7
Design
Portability
Size
15.6"
Thickness
1.1" (2.8 cm)
Width
14.1" (35.9 cm)
Depth
9.9" (25.1 cm)
Volume
154.0 in³ (2,523.1 cm³)
Weight
4.7 lbs (2.1 kg)
Charger Size
11.4 in³ (187.5 cm³)
Charger Weight
1.0 lbs (0.5 kg)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is reasonably portable. It isn't overly bulky, but it's pretty heavy. In contrast, the power adapter is relatively compact and fits easily into most bags.

8.9
Design
Serviceability
Ease Of Access
8.5
RAM Slots
2
Storage Slots
2
Replaceable Battery
Yes
Replaceable Wireless Adapter
Yes

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's serviceability is excellent. Accessing the internals is very easy; you only have to remove ten Philips screws and undo the clips with a pick or prying tool. The Philips screws are of two different lengths, but they're easily identifiable. Models with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 have a second M.2 storage slot instead of a 2.5 inch hard drive slot. You can see the service manual here. Opening the laptop and changing the hardware may void the manufacturer's warranty.

Design
In The Box

  • Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 laptop
  • 135W power adapter and cord
  • Documentation

Note: Some models come with a 170W power adapter.

Display
Display
Screen Specs
Resolution
1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Pixel Density
141 PPI
Panel Type
IPS
Touch Screen
No
Screen-To-Body Ratio
80%

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming has three display options: a 1080p 60Hz IPS panel, a 1080p 120Hz IPS panel, and a 1080p 165Hz panel. The pixel density is decent at this resolution and screen size, so images and text still look fairly sharp. Its 16:9 aspect ratio is good for gaming and media consumption, but it feels a little too short for productivity, meaning you have to scroll more when reading a document or website. If you want a gaming laptop with a sharper QHD display option, check out the Dell G15 (2022).

8.7
Display
Refresh Rate
Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's 120Hz panel displays a fairly clear image in fast-moving content, but it has a slow response time, causing noticeable blur trails behind moving objects. The 60Hz panel will produce a blurrier image and likely more ghosting, so it's best to avoid it unless you're on a strict budget or used to playing at 60Hz, like on a gaming console. The 165Hz will provide the smoothest experience, but you'll need to pair it with at least an RTX 3050 GPU, preferably an RTX 3060, to make the most of the high refresh rate.

6.6
Display
Contrast
Native Contrast
913 : 1

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's contrast ratio is okay and within the typical range for IPS panels. This relatively low contrast makes blacks appear gray in dim settings, so it isn't the best for viewing content in the dark. The 60Hz and 165Hz panels will perform similarly. The contrast ratio can vary between individual units, but the difference is usually minor and isn't noticeable.

6.0
Display
Brightness
Maximum Brightness
227 cd/m²
Minimum Brightness
2 cd/m²

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming's 120Hz panel doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, so it's best to avoid using it in a well-lit environment or outdoors in broad daylight. The brightness is also inconsistent, as the top corners are dimmer, between 210 and 213 cd/m², and the bottom corners range from 233 to 237 cd/m². The center of the screen is the brightest at 240 cd/m². If you like viewing content in the dark, the screen gets very dim to help reduce eye strain.

The 60Hz panel has the same advertised brightness of 250 cd/m², but the 165Hz has an advertised 300 cd/m² brightness.

7.9
Display
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
4.04%
Indirect Reflections
2.7%
Calculated Direct Reflections
1.34%

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has good reflection handling. Its matte anti-reflective coating does a great job of diffusing bright, direct reflections like a lamp or open window during the day. It doesn't reduce the intensity of the light source, so direct reflections are still very distracting when viewing dark content, albeit not as much when viewing bright content with the screen at max brightness. Bright ambient lighting creates a haziness that makes dark scenes hard to see, but it isn't an issue when viewing bright scenes.

7.5
Display
Black Uniformity
Uniformity (Std. Dev.)
0.992%

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's black uniformity is good. It's slightly patchy, and there's a tiny amount of backlight bleed at the bottom edge. However, these uniformity issues are only visible when viewing dark scenes in a dark room. Black uniformity varies between individual units; you may get a little more or less backlight bleed, but you can expect the rest of the screen to be similar.

5.9
Display
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
26°
Color Washout From Right
19°
Color Shift From Left
44°
Color Shift From Right
38°
Brightness Loss From Left
29°
Brightness Loss From Right
22°
Black Level Raise From Left
15°
Black Level Raise From Right
60°
Gamma Shift From Left
24°
Gamma Shift From Right
18°

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has sub-par horizontal viewing angles. The image is a lot dimmer from the side, almost too dim to even share casual content with someone else. It's best to be close to or directly in front of the screen to get the best accuracy. The 60Hz and 165Hz panels will likely perform similarly.

6.0
Display
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
25°
Color Washout From Above
25°
Color Shift From Below
33°
Color Shift From Above
34°
Brightness Loss From Below
26°
Brightness Loss From Above
25°
Black Level Raise From Below
45°
Black Level Raise From Above
23°
Gamma Shift From Below
25°
Gamma Shift From Above
22°

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has mediocre vertical viewing angles. The image looks dim and washed out from above and below. It's fine if you're only looking at a text document, but you have to look at the screen straight on if accuracy is important, which can be hard in tight places, like on an airplane with small tray tables.

6.1
Display
Out-Of-The-Box Color Accuracy
Avg. White Balance dE
3.18
Avg. Gamma
2.27
Avg. Color dE
5.03
Avg. Color Temperature
6,589.6 K

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming has mediocre color accuracy out of the box. Most colors are inaccurate due to the panel's narrow color gamut. The white balance is decent, though, and the color temperature is extremely close to the standard 6500K target. The gamma doesn't quite follow the sRGB curve; most scenes appear darker than they should, while bright scenes appear too bright. Color accuracy varies between individual units, but the difference is usually hard to notice. The 165Hz panel with full sRGB coverage likely has better accuracy out of the box.

3.8
Display
Color Gamut
sRGB xy
62.36%
sRGB uv
52.26%
Adobe RGB xy
46.49%
Adobe RGB uv
44.9%
DCI P3 xy
46.23%
DCI P3 uv
41.71%
Rec. 2020 xy
33.16%
Rec. 2020 uv
30.39%

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a poor color gamut. It doesn't even have full coverage of the commonly-used sRGB color space, resulting in dull and washed-out colors in most content. It also has very limited coverage of the wider color spaces like Adobe RGB, DCI P3, and Rec. 2020, making it unsuitable for color-critical work. The 60Hz panel has a similar color gamut, but the 165Hz panel has an advertised 100% sRGB coverage.

10
Display
Flicker
Flicker-Free
Yes
Flicker Frequency
No Flicker
Flicker Active Below
0%

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain for people sensitive to flickering.

Interface
8.2
Interface
Keyboard
Typing Quality
8.0
Numpad
Yes
Backlighting
Adjustable
Operating Force
62 gf
Actuation Force
31 gf
Pre-Travel
1.04 mm
Total Travel
1.7 mm

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a great keyboard. It feels spacious and has a fairly standard layout, so it doesn't take long to get used to typing on it. The plastic used for the keycaps is unremarkable; it doesn't feel premium, but it isn't bad. The keys are stable, have a lot of travel, and don't require much force to actuate. They don't have the most satisfying tactile feedback, but they aren't mushy either. Overall, it feels great to type on and doesn't cause fatigue over time. You can toggle between two backlight brightness levels or turn it off completely.

7.8
Interface
Touchpad
Tracking Quality
8.0
Size
14.0 in² (90.0 cm²)
Material
Plastic
Dedicated Buttons
No

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has a good touchpad. It's fairly large, and it feels smooth and solid even though it's plastic. It tracks all movements and gestures well, and there aren't any issues with palm rejection or actions like dragging and dropping. The click mechanism feels mushy, though, and you can only click towards the bottom of the touchpad.

7.0
Interface
Speakers
Max Volume
71 dB SPL
Standard Error @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
5.6 dB
Slope @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
-0.8
Bass Extension (Low-Frequency Ext.)
293 Hz
Treble Extension (High-Frequency Ext.)
13 kHz
Dynamic Range Compression @ Max Vol.
2.1 dB

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming has decent speakers. They sound relatively natural and well-balanced, with a lot of emphasis in the high-mid frequencies to bring out vocals and lead instruments. However, they don't have much bass or treble extension, so they're better suited for spoken content than music or movies. They don't get very loud, but on the upside, the sound quality doesn't degrade much at max volume.

7.5
Interface
Webcam & Microphone
Video Quality
7.0
Resolution
720p
Position
Top Center
Privacy Cover
Yes
Face Unlock
No

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's webcam captures a decent image with good exposure and color reproduction. However, it's a bit noisy, and it loses most of the fine details due to its low resolution. The microphone doesn't pick up much background noise, and voices sound loud and clear, albeit slightly nasal. The privacy cover also disables the webcam and microphone at the software level so that it can't record audio when shut.

Connectivity
6.0
Connectivity
Ports
USB-A Ports
2
USB-C Ports
1
Thunderbolt
No
USB-C Charging
No
USB-C Display Out
No
HDMI
2.0
DisplayPort
No
3.5mm Jack
Combo mic/headphone
Card Reader
No
Ethernet
Yes
Proprietary Port
Lenovo Power Connector
Security Lock
No

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 AMD has a mediocre port selection. Its USB-A ports support only USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speed (up to 5Gbps). Its single USB-C port also supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speed, and you can only use it for data, meaning you can't use it to charge the laptop or output a video signal to an external display.

Connectivity
Wireless Communication
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Bluetooth
5.2

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's wireless adapter is a MediaTek Wi-Fi 6 MT7921.

Configuration
Configuration
CPU
Brand
AMD
Model
Ryzen 7 5800H
Core Count
8
Thread Count
16

You can configure the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU. They're high-power processors typically found in gaming laptops and mobile workstations and can handle demanding workloads like gaming, video editing, and 3D animation. The Ryzen 5 5600H has six cores and 12 threads, while the Ryzen 7 5800H has eight cores and 16 threads. The Ryzen 7 5800H is faster than the Ryzen 5 5600H, especially in multi-threaded applications. The performance difference isn't huge in GPU-limited games, but it's very noticeable in CPU-intensive games like Civilization VI or open-world games. For production workloads like video editing or programming, it's best to go with the Ryzen 7 5800H as it'll be able to complete tasks much faster.

Configuration
GPU
Brand
NVIDIA
Model
GeForce RTX 3050
Dedicated/Integrated
Dedicated
VRAM Size
4 GB

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is available with the following dedicated GPUs:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM (85W TGP)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM (85W TGP)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM (90W TGP)

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 is an entry-level dedicated GPU that can get you roughly 60 fps at 1080p with low settings. The RTX 3050 is a decent step up from the GTX 1650, allowing you to run graphically demanding games at high settings while still maintaining around 60 fps or slightly above. The RTX 3050Ti is only marginally better than the RTX 3050, less than a 10% performance increase on average. The RTX 3060 is faster than the RTX 3050 and will get you higher frame rates, around 80 to 100 fps in demanding games.

Aside from performance, the RTX GPUs have features that the GTX 1650 lacks, like ray-tracing and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling). DLSS is a feature that aims to increase frame rates by rendering the game at a lower resolution and subsequently upscaling it to minimize any loss in visual quality. However, it usually works better at higher resolutions and depends heavily on each game's implementation, meaning you may see only a small increase in frame rate at 1080p or none at all when enabled. As for ray-tracing, it isn't worth enabling on an RTX 3050 and 3050Ti due to its high-performance cost. It may be worth it on the RTX 3060, but only if you use DLSS to make up for the performance loss.

There's NVIDIA Optimus support, meaning the system can automatically switch the graphics processing to the AMD Radeon integrated GPU in light workloads to extend battery life. However, there isn't a MUX switch, so all information processed by the dedicated GPU needs to pass through the integrated GPU before it gets to the display, which results in a performance loss of up to 15%. If you want a gaming laptop with a MUX switch, check out the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021).

Configuration
RAM
Capacity
8 GB
Modules
1
Type
DDR4
Speed
3,200 MHz

You can configure the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming with 8GB or 16GB of memory. It's best to opt for 16GB for the best gaming experience. 8GB isn't enough for some games and will cause stutters, and the 8GB is in a single-channel configuration, which impacts performance significantly on AMD Ryzen systems. This laptop also uses single rank x16 memory, which doesn't perform as well as rank x8 memory due to a smaller bandwidth. The use of this slower memory doesn't affect every game or application; it's more of an issue in CPU-bound scenarios. There are reports of users getting rank x8 memory in their units, but Lenovo doesn't specify which type is in each model, so it's impossible to know what you'll get until you receive the device.

Configuration
Storage
Advertised Capacity
1,256 GB
Usable Capacity
1,194 GB
Drive 1
Samsung MZALQ256HBJD-00BL2
Drive 1 Type SSD
Drive 2
Toshiba MQ04ABF100
Drive 2 Type HDD

You can configure the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming with a 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. You can also get models with a 256GB or 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD coupled with a 1TB 2.5 inch 5400rpm hard drive, except for models with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060.

Performance
8.7
Performance
Geekbench 5 (Synthetics)
CPU Single-Thread
1,362 points
CPU Multi-Thread
5,129 points
GPU Compute
61,496 points

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has an excellent overall score in Geekbench 5. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800H has outstanding single-thread and good multi-thread performance; however, it's worse than expected. It scores nearly the same in the single-thread test as the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H in the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021) and much lower in the multi-thread test even though the Ryzen 7 5800H has more cores and threads. The lower than expected scores are likely due to the laptop having single-rank x16 memory in a single-channel configuration, which can affect performance in some memory-sensitive tasks like file compression. In short, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, and even the Ryzen 5 5600H, are very capable CPUs that can handle demanding production workloads, but you'll have to replace the memory modules to get the most out of them.

As for the GPU compute, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 has an excellent score, making it suitable for intensive tasks like video editing and 3D animation. That said, it's best to go with the RTX 3060 if you want the smoothest experience and fastest render times. The GTX 1650 can get the job done, but you'll likely experience some stutters and frame drops here and there, and it'll take longer to complete tasks.

The results above are scores obtained in the Balanced power profile. The Performance mode only boosts graphical performance slightly.

9.6
Performance
Cinebench R23 (CPU Rendering)
Single-Thread
1,430 points
Multi-Thread
12,544 points

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H performs exceptionally well in Cinebench R23, making it suitable for professional-level rendering or other related workloads. It even beats the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021) with an M1 Max SoC in multi-thread performance. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600H's multi-thread performance isn't as good because it has fewer cores and threads, but it can still get the job done, just slower.

9.0
Performance
Blender (3D Rendering)
CPU Render Time
3.3 min
GPU Render Time
0.8 min
GPU Render Time (Optix)
22 s

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's performance in Blender is outstanding. Although the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H can render the simple bmw27 scene relatively quickly, it's much faster to use the dedicated GPU, especially an RTX GPU that supports NVIDIA Optix API hardware acceleration.

8.0
Performance
Basemark GPU (Game Scene)
Overall Score
56,493

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's Basemark GPU score is great and within the expected range for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 is more of an entry-level GPU and roughly 35% slower than the RTX 3050, in the same ballpark as the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021). The RTX 3050Ti is only marginally better than the RTX 3050, not enough of a performance increase to make much difference. However, the RTX 3060 performs significantly better than the RTX 3050, giving you upwards of 35% to 40% better performance. Essentially, the RTX 3050 can get you around or slightly above 60 fps in graphically demanding games at high settings. You can get 60 fps with a GTX 1650, but you'll have to play with low settings. The RTX 3060 will give you the smoothest gameplay with much higher frame rates, likely around 80 to 100 fps in most games at medium or high settings.

9.1
Performance
Storage Drive Performance
Sequential Write Speed
876.1 MB/s
Sequential Read Speed
2,473.2 MB/s
Random Write Speed
85.8 MB/s
Random Read Speed
45.4 MB/s

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's storage drive performance is outstanding. Its fast read and write speeds make the system feel more responsive, shortening the time that it takes to boot up, launch apps, and transfer files. Its sequential read speed is particularly impressive, which helps with game loading times. The 2.5 inch 5400rpm hard drive is much slower, so it's best to install regularly-played or multi-player online games on the SSD along with the operating system and use the hard drive for the rest. The speed of the SSD may vary depending on the size, as larger SSDs tend to perform better.

4.2
Performance
Battery
Capacity
45 Wh
Battery Life (Web Browsing)
5.3 hrs
Battery Life (Video Playback)
3.0 hrs
Battery Life (Gaming)
0.9 hrs
Charge Time
2.4 hrs

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has poor battery life. Although the system switches to the integrated graphics for lighter workloads, it still doesn't last long enough to get you through a typical school or workday. Battery life for video playback is even shorter, giving you only enough time to get through one or two movies at the most. Gaming or demanding tasks like video editing drains the battery very quickly, so you'll have to use the laptop plugged in most of the time. The RTX 3060 models have a 60Wh battery, but it likely won't result in longer battery life as the RTX 3060 runs at a higher wattage than the RTX 3050. Battery life varies greatly depending on your usage. It also varies depending on the laptop's configuration, as higher-end GPUs and displays with a faster refresh rate consume more power.

4.8
Performance
Borderlands 3
Avg. FPS
43 fps
1% Low
12 fps
0.1% Low
5 fps
1% Low Delta
62 ms
0.1% Low Delta
195 ms
Avg. FPS On Very Low
84 fps

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 performs poorly in Borderlands 3. The game is extremely choppy at high settings, and while the average frame rate is much higher at low settings, it still stutters a lot. That said, this isn't indicative of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050's performance, as it's an issue caused by other factors, such as the unit's limited amount of memory, the memory density, and the fact that it's running in a single-channel configuration. If you upgrade the memory modules, you can expect the performance to be closer to that of the HP Victus 16 (2021). The GTX 1650 can reach 60 fps, but only if you turn down the graphical settings to near minimum. The RTX 3060 will perform much better, with frame rates closer to 70 or 80 fps at high settings.

7.3
Performance
Civilization VI
Avg. FPS
66 fps
1% Low
45 fps
0.1% Low
37 fps
1% Low Delta
7 ms
0.1% Low Delta
12 ms
Avg. FPS On Minimum
141 fps
Avg. Turn Time
7.23 s

Civilization VI runs decently well on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050. The gameplay is smooth at high settings, and while there are some stutters, they don't happen often and are barely noticeable. That said, the performance is worse than expected, as a laptop with this CPU and GPU configuration is capable of pushing out much higher frame rates. Every CPU and GPU configuration can run this game smoothly, though you'll have to turn down some settings on a GTX 1650 model to get 60 fps. The average turn time is decent and within the expected range. It'll be longer on models with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, but not by much.

8.1
Performance
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Avg. FPS
117 fps
1% Low
59 fps
0.1% Low
47 fps
1% Low Delta
8 ms
0.1% Low Delta
13 ms
Avg. FPS On Low
180 fps

CS:GO runs well on the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming, but again, it's worse than expected for a configuration with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050. It's still very playable, though, even at high settings. Every CPU and GPU configuration of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 can run this game smoothly.

5.0
Performance
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
Avg. FPS
52 fps
1% Low
20 fps
0.1% Low
7 fps
1% Low Delta
31 ms
0.1% Low Delta
125 ms
Avg. FPS On Lowest
65 fps

Shadow of the Tomb raider runs poorly on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 15. The average frame rate only reaches 60 fps at low settings, and even then, it still stutters a lot. However, you can improve performance slightly by enabling DLSS on models with an RTX GPU. The GTX 1650 can reach 60 fps, but you'll have to turn down some settings. The RTX 3060 will run this game smoothly without any issues.

5.9
Performance
Thermals And Noise
Keyboard Temp While Idle
37 °C (98 °F)
Keyboard Temp Under Load
52 °C (126 °F)
Fan Noise While Idle
25.0 dBA
Fan Noise Under Load
51.0 dBA
Power & Fan Control App
Yes

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's thermal and noise handling is sub-par. The keyboard deck is a little warm even when idle, and it gets very hot under load, though the hottest spot is above the keyboard, away from where most people rest their hands. The fans are near silent when idle and are only audible if you put your ears next to the laptop. They do get fairly loud under load; however, it isn't annoying as it just the sound of heavy airflow, not a high-pitch whine. The posted results are readings taken in the Balanced power profile. The Performance mode makes the fans slightly louder. If you want a similar laptop that doesn't get as hot or loud under load, check out the Intel-based Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021).

9.0
Performance
Performance Over Time
CPU Temp (Cinebench)
82 °C
CPU Perf. Loss (Cinebench)
6% loss
GPU Temp (Heaven)
70 °C
GPU Perf. Loss (Heaven)
0% loss

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3's performance over time is outstanding. The CPU's temperature is a little high, and there's some throttling, but it's fairly minimal and only noticeable in demanding workloads that push the CPU to near 100% utilization. The GPU doesn't throttle at all as its temperature is relatively low, which is great for gaming as most games rely more on GPU than CPU performance. The other CPU and GPU configurations will likely perform similarly.

Additional Features And Software
Additional Features And Software
Software
Operating System
Windows 11
Additional Software
Yes

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 has many pre-installed applications, including:

  • Lenovo Hotkeys: Lets you create keyboard macros.
  • Lenovo Vantage: Helps keep the BIOS and drivers up to date. It also lets you view the system's status and warranty information, as well as access various power profiles.
  • Lenovo Welcome: Introductory app containing general information about the laptop for new users.
  • Nahimic: SteelSeries-branded audio customization and configuration utility.
  • Nahimic Companion: Helps keep the Nahimic application up to date.

Additional Features And Software
Extra Features
RGB Illumination
No
Touch Pen
No
Secondary Display
No
Biometrics
No

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 15 doesn't have any extra features.

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