Does the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 justify the budget price tag for a gaming laptop? (2023)

By Aman Rashid: ThinkPad is for business users. Legion is for the pro gamers. And then there’s the IdeaPad series, with which Lenovo targets folks who wish to get performance-driven gaming devices on a budget. However, with a price tag of over a lakh rupees, yes you read that right — the IdeaPad 3 is priced at around Rs 1,15,000 in India, which doesn’t exactly scream budget. With that said, for the kind of specs and features you’re getting here, the Ideapad 3 holds a lot of promise. But, should you buy one? Here is my experience.


Polycarbonate build, yet sturdy

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 comes in a polycarbonate construction but nonetheless features a sturdy build. Now, given this is a gaming laptop, there’s definitely heft to the machine. I mean, at about 2.3 kgs, it is not the heaviest around, but it is definitely not the lightest. Now, in terms of looks, it definitely scores full marks. The blue exhaust vents at the rear and around the sides look pretty cool. Lenovo has also handled the port situation well, as the laptop gets a bunch of necessary ports, including a Thunderbolt 4 type-C port, an ethernet port, an HDMI port, two Type-A ports and an audio socket.

Does the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 justify the budget price tag for a gaming laptop? (1)

With that said, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 also misses out on a few bits. For instance, you get a backlit RGB keyboard here, but there’s no fingerprint reader. In fact, there’s a 720p webcam with a physical shutter for privacy, but there’s no Windows Hello. Basically, with this machine, you’ll be stuck with typing passwords. Additionally, being a performance machine, there’s no SD card slot on this machine, and this is something that should’ve made the cut. I mean, if you’re someone who would get this laptop for video editing, the SD card slot is something you’d miss.

Overall, in terms of design and build, the IdeaPad 3 looks great. The polycarbonate build is solid. The bezels up front are minimal, and because the hinge goes a lot back, finding the right viewing angle shouldn’t be much of an issue.

165Hz display, but

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 features a WQHD+ IPS display, with a 165Hz screen refresh rate, and up to 350 nits brightness. And, letting you know, there’s no support for HDR playback here. With that said, I think this is an okayish display. In terms of clarity and crispness, it’s right up there. Even in terms of smoothness, 165Hz is more than anything that you’d need for a jitter-free motion experience while gaming or video editing. In my opinion, I think the display brightness and the colour reproduction itself could have been better. So basically, when you look at things up front, they look fine. Even the viewing angles are good. But, for the cost of the laptop, I think Lenovo had to sacrifice a bit.

Does the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 justify the budget price tag for a gaming laptop? (2)

While the IdeaPad 3 delivers through and through in terms of display resolution and refresh rate. The way the colours look, the contrast and all the other things — those could’ve been better. Again, it is not bad. I’d say this is a good B+ display here.

Good keyboard, a decent trackpad


The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 features a full-size edge-to-edge keyboard with a Numpad, and in terms of tactile feedback, I found the keyboard slightly mushy for my liking. I mean, I might be nitpicking here, but I really love my keyboard to be clicky-clacky, which this one is, but the sound of it when you hit the keys, could’ve been louder. But, apart from that, key travel is great, there’s a backlight that you can control from the Lenovo Vantage app, and of course, the keys themselves are well spaced out.

Does the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 justify the budget price tag for a gaming laptop? (3)

As for the trackpad, it’s a decent-sized one that you get here. It supports all the Windows 11 gestures, there’s your usual left and right click, and overall, the trackpad works fine and was responsive during my testing period.

Solid performance on a budget

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 features the 12th Gen Intel Core-i7 12700H processor, which has 6 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores. There’s the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. This is coupled with 16GB LPDDR4 RAM along with 1TB NVMe storage. In terms of pure performance, this one will keep you pretty sorted. General laptop tasks such as browsing on Chrome with multiple tabs open, making video calls, creating documents and stuff like that are handled with ease. When it comes to gaming — this is where the machine starts flexing its capabilities. Now, I had the chance to run a few games on the IdeaPad 3, and starting with one of the titles that I really enjoyed playing was Control.


Now, Control is one game that also lets you enable Ray Tracing while gaming, and it is also a game that even the hardcore machines out there struggle to run. So, in terms of performance, with ultra graphics, and ray tracing turned on and set to high, I was generally hitting about 45 fps. However, if the frame rate is something that matters to you most, well, I even tried my hands at medium graphics, with Ray Tracing also set to medium, and that is when I was able to hit around the realm of 60fps. However, I also tried ultra graphics, and ray tracing turned off, and that way, I was able to hit around 70fps. So, the bottom line is, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 was able to handle Control, so that’s good news.

Does the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 justify the budget price tag for a gaming laptop? (4)


I also tried my hands on Forza Horizon 5. And one thing that I have to tell you before all else is that this is the best-looking Forza game ever! As of right now, it is my current favourite, current go-to game for killing time and just having a good time. Pristine graphics, and superb gameplay, and I am glad the Ideapad 3 was able to do justice to this title. So, with ultra graphics and ray tracing on, the game was playable with the system hitting around 45 fps performance. But of course, with ray tracing off, I was hitting around 70-80 fps easily. Again, I faced no major issues with running Forza Horizon 5 on this machine overall.

Finally, the machine also performed like a champ in GTA V, which is one of my favourite titles of all time. I mean, I played the game at the highest available settings, and it was a pure joy running GTA V at around 100 fps, 110 fps, and sometimes even hitting 120 fps.

So, overall, gaming performance gets a huge thumbs up, and sustained gaming performance also gets a huge thumbs up. And also note, when I was playing these titles for an hour or two at a stretch, the system does get hot around the bottom, but the vents do an excellent job with heat dissipation. Yes, the fans do get loud at times, especially under heavy loads… it’s just that, once you start gaming, you get immersed in the experience!

Fast charging, decent endurance

Finally, there’s a 71Whr battery inside the Lenovo Ideapad 3, and you get a massive 230W charger bundled in the box. And in terms of charging speeds, well, the laptop is able to hit 80% charge in about an hour, so charging times are fast. As for the battery life, if you’re using this machine for productivity-based tasks, i.e. general stuff, browsing, watching, typing etc., this one can last for about 8 hours on a single charge, with Balanced performance mode. Now, of course, for gaming, I’d suggest you always play on this machine while it is plugged into the charger, but if you do so without one, then expect the battery to drain in about 2 to 2.5 hours max.

Summing up

At a price of around Rs 1,15,000, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 won’t be called a budget gaming machine, but it definitely offers a solid price-to-performance ratio, making it an ideal purchase for this kind of money. Of course, I do feel that the inclusion of a fingerprint reader or an SD card slot would’ve made more sense here. The 720p webcam is also average, and while the display is not bad in terms of quality, I think better brightness and HDR playback would’ve improved the overall experience.

Does the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 justify the budget price tag for a gaming laptop? (5)

With that said, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 does deliver when it comes to the core fundamentals, i.e. pure performance. Be it for day-to-day tasks, or playing graphics-intensive games, you get top-notch hardware on this beast to handle any sort of load that you can think of.

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Edited By:

Aman rashid

Published On:

Jan 24, 2023

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