Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i Review: Play & Productivity in One

It's an ideal device for those who want to buy a Legion laptop, but are intimidated by the price.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i was introduced earlier this year alongside Lenovo’s new generation of Legion laptops, PCs, and other gaming gear. It is the brand’s more budget-friendly offering for those who find the Legion laptops’ prices too steep for their pockets.

Being an IdeaPad laptop with an added ‘Gaming’ moniker, this device promises to cater to content creators and gamers alike without going all out on the price. It is a redesign of the IdeaPad L340 Gaming laptop from last year, with revamped hardware and features that we’ll dive into in this review.

At first glance

We’ve got our hands on the Onyx Black variant of the IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15IMHO5). At first glance, it looks like your typical laptop with its matte all-black finish and thick base while a silver Lenovo label glints on one corner of its lid.

Upon closer look, you will see that the lid is shaped with smooth angles, giving it a subtle gaming laptop vibe. But what really gives it away is when the laptop lights up from the inside. It has a full-size gaming keyboard with a blue backlight which can be toggled on and off to your liking.

The IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s casing may not have the premium feel to it due to its recognizable plastic chassis, but it does have a sturdy and solid build. Also, this plastic casing does not spread as much heat as its metal counterparts. With temperature in mind, you can also find large grills underneath the device.


This laptop has a 15.6” FHD IPS display boxed by narrow bezels on the top and the sides, for a more immersive experience. More details about the display later. Sitting above the screen are the microphone and a decent camera that has a Privacy Shutter for added security.

Keyboard & Ports

The keyboard is comfortable to use. The keys are large, quiet, and key travel is great with its spacious layout. Lenovo also gave the keys a curved dish, and the larger arrow keys are shifted down so users can easily locate the buttons with added accuracy. Above the keyboard, right in the middle, is the round blue-lit power button which is a common placement to Legion laptops.

Its trackpad is good enough for your simple tasks. Clicking on its buttons takes effort and needs some getting used to though. Lucky for us consumers, the laptop comes with a Lenovo Gaming M100 RGB Mouse inside the box that you can use for more mouse-intensive activities.

While it doesn’t have rear ports like the Legion laptops do, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i has most of its ports on the left side so you’ll have more room for the movement of your mouse.

On the right side is a lone USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port and a vent, while its left side has the power input, RJ-45, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C and Type A ports, a headphone and mic combo, and an LED indicator.

Display & Audio

This laptop has a 15.6” full HD IPS display with up to 120Hz refresh rate, which is a nice display for both gaming and media consumption. It can only produce 250 nits of brightness, so you really have to crank it up if you want to fully appreciate what you’re watching or playing.

With the right brightness, the display is just stunning. Playing Genshin Impact was mesmerizing especially when the rendering is on its highest resolution. When watching a film in a room with decent lighting, I find that the laptop’s 70% brightness works for me. Anything lower than that is just too dark for my taste.

The audio does not disappoint as well. It has Dolby Audio with a software where you can choose between audio profiles for your different tasks. With its full volume, you and your friends or family can sit together in a room about three feet from the device and you’ll hear what you’re watching just fine. It also supports Dolby Atmos for headphones which is ideal when you’re playing or binging alone.

Performance & Thermals

Under its hood, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i is powered by an Intel 10th Gen i7-10750H processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti 4GB GDDR6, 8GB DDR4 Memory, and 512GB SSD.

I tried playing Valorant and Genshin Impact, and both yielded a pretty good experience with the device’s performance. Valorant’s gameplay went smoothly even when switching between 1600×900 and 1920×1080 resolutions.

Meanwhile, Genshin Impact looked beautiful with the IdeaPad Gaming 3i, especially with its max settings. Yes, it is a tiny bit smoother when playing with ‘High’ or ‘Medium’ settings but I really don’t find any major issues playing in the highest settings except for occasional frame drops that last in just about half-a-second.

However, expect real lags when the battery drops below 25% unplugged. At this point, the games become too slow thus unplayable so you better charge it up before going back to your game.

If you seek better performance, say for much heavier games or tasks like video editing above 1080p, you can also upgrade to 16GB of RAM and 1TB storage.

As for the thermals, the device doesn’t heat up too fast. Thanks to the preinstalled Lenovo Vantage, you can also monitor and control the IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s performance and toggle the thermals between Quiet, Balance, and Performance.

Benchmarks:
CPU-Z – 2529.6 (Multi-thread)/ 438.1 (Single thread)
Cinebench – 2140
Fraps (60-second tests)

Genshin Impact

In-game settingsFramesAverage FPSMinMax
Medium355759.2833261
High351258.5335061
Max243140.5174452

Valorant

In-game settingsFramesAverage FPSMinMax
Default (1600×900 res)519886.63353107
1920×1080 res419669.99329104

Battery Life

IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s 45Wh battery went from 5% to 92% in an hour after rapid charging in sleep mode. Meanwhile, it took 2 hours to charge it from 2% to 98% when the laptop was awake, downloading a large file from the internet.

Gaming drains the battery pretty quickly– which is unsurprising. While playing Genshin Impact in Conservative Mode with 50% volume and brightness, the battery went from 91% to 28% in just 30 minutes of unplugged usage. Meaning it is highly recommended that you play close to the electrical outlet.

Still, this laptop can well keep up with your viewing habits. Streaming a 2-hour film on Netflix with 50% brightness and 70% volume decreased only about 40% of its battery when the credits rolled. So you can expect the battery to last longer on-the-go with simpler tasks like office or school work.

Conclusion

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s price of P59,995 is not exactly cheap, but it does deliver what you can expect from a Lenovo device that isn’t a Legion laptop, but is still designed with the user’s gaming in mind.

Having an option to get this laptop for your casual gaming rather than going all out with a Legion device is nice, especially that many of us right now are trying to get the best deals at lower prices due to the pandemic.

So if you need a device that can take on your online schooling, work-from-home, and content creation needs, while also giving you the opportunity to play heavy games to decompress, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i offers just that.


The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i is available at Lenovo stores and other authorized retailers.


Quick Specs

ProcessorIntel 10th Gen i7-10750H processor
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti 4GB GDDR6
Memory8GB DDR4
Storage512GB SSD
OSWindows 10 Home
Display15.6” FHD IPS, 120Hz refresh rate
Battery45Wh
Weight2.2kg+
Dimensions359mm x 249.6mm x 24.9mm
ConnectivityWiFi 6 (802.11 AX)
Ports2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-A)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C)
3.5mm headphone and microphone combo
HDMI 2.0
Power input
RJ-45
Color variantsOnyx Black
Chameleon Blue
PriceP59,995

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