Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) Overview

Let’s begin with two good—effectively, fairly good—issues about Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 15 ($399.99 for the mannequin 15ADA05 we examined). It has 8GB of reminiscence, whereas some rock-bottom finances laptops have an insufficient 4GB. And never way back, such an financial system mannequin would have had a lowly 1,366-by-768-pixel show as a substitute of the IdeaPad’s full HD (1,920 by 1,080) decision. In any other case, although, this 15.6-inch slab of silver-gray plastic is difficult to get enthusiastic about. It can suffice for searching, e mail, and homework, however its efficiency is tepid, and it lacks fundamental comforts starting from a backlit keyboard to a USB Sort-C port, seen in another financial system fashions we have examined in latest weeks. One, the Asus VivoBook 15 (F512JA), is a greater 15-inch machine for a similar worth, whereas the MSI Trendy 14 is an Editors’ Alternative winner if you wish to go slightly smaller. In fact, upping your finances to $600 or $700 will get you a way more pleasing pocket book.

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IdeaPad 3 15 Design: The $400 Query

No match for the $719.99 IdeaPad 3 configuration supplied at Lenovo.com, our take a look at unit includes a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor, solely half the storage you really need (a 128GB solid-state drive), and a non-touch display screen backed by AMD Radeon built-in graphics. The working system is Home windows 10 Dwelling in S mode, which limits your software program library to apps from the Home windows Retailer; a Settings choice helps you to swap that over to common Home windows 10 Dwelling, as we did to put in our benchmark applications.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 left angle

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Measuring 0.78 by 14.3 by 10 inches, the IdeaPad is not a lot greater than two different low-cost 15.6-inch laptops PC Labs examined of late: the VivoBook 15 (0.78 by 14.1 by 9.1 inches), and the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (0.78 by 14.3 by 9.8 inches). It is heavier, although—at 4.84 kilos, it has a full pound on the three.75-pound Asus and three.91-pound Dell. Additionally, its AC adapter is a cumbersome plug that hogs two areas on an influence strip. 

Thick bezels encompass the display screen. Urgent your thumbnail in opposition to the sting of the highest bezel slides a privateness shutter over the webcam. The keyboard features a numeric keypad; you will be typing passwords since there’s neither a fingerprint reader nor a face-recognition digital camera for Home windows Howdy. Lenovo Vantage software program centralizes system updates, Wi-Fi safety and file switch out of your outdated PC, and {hardware} settings.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 left ports

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The laptop computer’s left edge gives an HDMI port, a retro USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 Sort-A ports, and the ability connector. Most people are right-handed, however you may’t plug an exterior mouse into the suitable facet—there’s nothing there however an audio jack and an SD card slot. We actually do not anticipate a Thunderbolt 3 port at this worth (or on an AMD laptop computer at any worth), however a USB-C port would have been good.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 right ports

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

An Uncharacteristic Keyboard

Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards are the trade’s best, however that is no ThinkPad. The highest row incorporates media management and microphone mute keys, however even with a numeric keypad included the designers could not discover room for Dwelling, Finish, Web page Up, or Web page Down keys. As an alternative, you should pair the Fn key with the cursor arrow keys, and the latter are in a careless, HP-style row (hard-to-hit, half-size up and down arrows sandwiched between left and proper) as a substitute of the right inverted T. 

The keyboard has a flat, plasticky typing really feel that is uninteresting and uncomfortable. We skilled a lot of skipped and double letters. The small, buttonless touchpad glides and faucets easily sufficient however has a stiff, hole click on.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 keyboard

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

As for the show panel, white backgrounds are fairly white as a substitute of dingy, however the 1080p display screen simply is not vivid sufficient. Colours look bland and washed out. Distinction is honest, and nice particulars are comparatively sharp—letters do not look too pixelated—however the show by no means appears to be like like something aside from an economy-class panel.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 front view

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The sound system follows go well with. Even at max quantity, audio from the front-bottom-edge audio system is weak and hole. Bass is faint and muffled at greatest; you may barely make out overlapping tracks. Driving piano and drum passages are hardly current. Dolby Audio software program helps you to select from music, film, sport, and voice presets and check out an equalizer with minimal impact. The 720p webcam captures comparatively well-lit however bland, soft-focus photos with a good quantity of noise or static.

Efficiency Testing: A Funds Quintet 

For our benchmark charts, I in contrast the IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 to 4 different financial system laptops. I’ve already talked about two 15.6-inch rivals, the $399.99 Asus VivoBook 15 and $369 Dell Inspiron 15 3000. The $428 HP Laptop computer 14-dq2020nr has a smaller show and a quad-core Intel Core i3 CPU. The Asus VivoBook 17 M712 has the largest display screen (17.3 inches) and the best worth ($500 to $550) within the group; it is an Editors’ Alternative award-winner with the identical Ryzen 3 processor because the Lenovo. You’ll be able to see their fundamental specs within the desk beneath. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 comparison chart

Productiveness and Media Exams 

PCMark 10 and eight are holistic efficiency suites developed by the PC benchmark specialists at UL. The PCMark 10 take a look at we run simulates totally different real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate general system efficiency for office-centric duties comparable to phrase processing, spreadsheet work, net searching, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a storage subtest that we use to evaluate the pace of the system’s boot drive. Each yield a proprietary numeric rating; greater numbers are higher. (See extra about how we take a look at laptops.) 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 PCMark

Not one of the 5 laptops right here managed the 4,000 factors that we take into account to point glorious productiveness in PCMark 10; the HP wasn’t far off and the IdeaPad joined the 2 VivoBooks a means again. It’s going to get you thru on a regular basis operations with out really making you wait, nevertheless it will not really feel snappy or responsive, both. At the moment’s SSDs virtually all the time do effectively in PCMark 8’s storage measurement, and that held true for the IdeaPad. 

Subsequent is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 take a look at, which is totally threaded to utilize all obtainable processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU reasonably than the GPU to render a fancy picture. The result’s a proprietary rating indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 Cinebench

Cinebench is commonly a very good predictor of our Handbrake video modifying benchmark, wherein we put a stopwatch on techniques as they transcode a quick film from 4K decision all the way down to 1080p. It, too, is a tricky take a look at for multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs; decrease instances are higher. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 Handbrake

The Dell’s AMD Athlon Silver is the lightest-hitting processor within the group. The Lenovo outran that system however was removed from spectacular—it took 36 minutes to course of the Handbrake video clip, when most midrange laptops take round quarter-hour and the quickest want solely seven or eight. 

We additionally run a customized Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. Utilizing an early 2018 launch of the Artistic Cloud model of Photoshop, we apply a sequence of 10 advanced filters and results to an ordinary JPEG take a look at picture. We time every operation and add up the overall (decrease instances are higher). The Photoshop take a look at stresses the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, however it will possibly additionally benefit from most GPUs to hurry up the method of making use of filters. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 Photoshop

With solely 4GB of RAM, the Inspiron and HP could not run this take a look at. The Core i3-powered VivoBook 15 simply beat the 2 Ryzen 3 notebooks. We would not suggest the IdeaPad for managing a photograph assortment, even when it had been quicker—its display screen is lackluster, and its SD slot leaves playing cards jutting out to snag in your carry bag. 

Graphics Exams 

3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by rendering sequences of extremely detailed, gaming-style 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting. We run two totally different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fireplace Strike. Each are DirectX 11 benchmarks, however Sky Diver is extra suited to laptops and midrange PCs, whereas Fireplace Strike is extra demanding and lets high-end PCs and gaming rigs strut their stuff. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 3DMark

Subsequent up is one other artificial graphics take a look at, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition take a look at renders and pans by way of an in depth 3D scene, this one rendered within the eponymous Unigine engine for a second opinion on the machine’s graphical prowess. We current two Superposition outcomes, run on the 720p Low and 1080p Excessive presets and reported in frames per second (fps), indicating how clean the scene appears to be like in movement. For lower-end techniques, sustaining no less than 30fps is the lifelike goal, whereas extra highly effective computer systems ought to ideally attain no less than 60fps on the take a look at decision. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 Superposition

In no universe is 4 frames per second near 30. These are all poor outcomes; house owners must accept browser-based video games or stream audio or video for leisure as a substitute of taking part in demanding video games. Built-in graphics processors (IGPs) can typically suffice for light-weight gameplay, however examine what these techniques served up in opposition to some mainstream fashions with higher-end CPUs in our latest gaming-graphics checks with IGPs.

Battery Rundown Take a look at 

After totally recharging the laptop computer, we arrange the machine in power-save mode (versus balanced or high-performance mode) the place obtainable and make a number of different battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video rundown take a look at. (We additionally flip Wi-Fi off, placing the laptop computer into airplane mode.) On this take a look at, we loop a video—a domestically saved 720p file of the Blender Basis brief movie Tears of Metal(Opens in a brand new window)—with display screen brightness set at 50% and quantity at 100% till the system quits. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 battery life

Eight and a half hours away from a wall outlet is not unhealthy for an affordable desktop alternative, although it is nowhere close to the stamina of contemporary ultraportables. The IdeaPad might not fairly get you thru a full day on the workplace or faculty, nevertheless it’ll survive an unplugged work session.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 rear view

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Verdict: It is a Powerful Area at This Worth 

The 15ADA05 model of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 has no deadly flaws, nevertheless it has a number of disappointing ones, from a keyboard that is no enjoyable to a mediocre show and lacking USB-C port. It’s going to get the job performed, however we have seen nicer financial system notebooks on each the Home windows and Chromebook sides of the aisle. We propose testing the Asus and MSI options talked about earlier for those who’re resolutely pegged at $400 to $450 and should have a Home windows-based machine.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021)


  • Low worth

  • Adequate reminiscence


  • Although typical for worth, 128GB SSD is cramping

  • Sluggish efficiency

  • Display screen and keyboard want enchancment

  • No USB-C port

  • Wi-Fi 5, not 6

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The Backside Line

If in case you have solely $400 to spend on a Home windows 10 laptop computer, Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 15 will get you a roomy display screen and slightly pep, however you may get higher choices for a detailed worth.

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