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 funds 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 an alternative 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 should suffice for shopping, electronic mail, and homework, however its efficiency is tepid, and it lacks fundamental comforts starting from a backlit keyboard to a USB Kind-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 value, whereas the MSI Trendy 14 is an Editors’ Alternative winner if you wish to go just a little smaller. In fact, upping your funds to $600 or $700 will get you a way more satisfying pocket book.

IdeaPad 3 15 Design: The $400 Query

No match for the $719.99 IdeaPad 3 configuration provided at Lenovo.com, our check unit contains 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 possibility allows you to change that over to common Home windows 10 Dwelling, as we did to put in our benchmark applications.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 left angle

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Measuring 0.78 by 14.3 by 10 inches, the IdeaPad is not a lot larger 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 may be typing passwords since there’s neither a fingerprint reader nor a face-recognition digital camera for Home windows Hi there. 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

(Picture: Molly Flores)

The laptop computer’s left edge affords an HDMI port, a retro USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 Kind-A ports, and the facility connector. Most folk are right-handed, however you may’t plug an exterior mouse into the correct aspect—there’s nothing there however an audio jack and an SD card slot. We definitely do not count on a Thunderbolt 3 port at this value (or on an AMD laptop computer at any value), however a USB-C port would have been good.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 right ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

An Uncharacteristic Keyboard

Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards are the trade’s best, however that is no ThinkPad. The highest row comprises 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 a substitute, you could pair the Fn key with the cursor arrow keys, and the latter are in a slipshod, HP-style row (hard-to-hit, half-size up and down arrows sandwiched between left and proper) as an alternative of the correct inverted T. 

The keyboard has a flat, plasticky typing really feel that is boring and uncomfortable. We skilled numerous 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

(Picture: Molly Flores)

As for the show panel, white backgrounds are moderately white as an alternative of dingy, however the 1080p display screen simply is not brilliant sufficient. Colours look bland and washed out. Distinction is honest, and high-quality particulars are comparatively sharp—letters do not look too pixelated—however the show by no means seems like something aside from an economy-class panel.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 front view

(Picture: 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 finest; you may barely make out overlapping tracks. Driving piano and drum passages are hardly current. Dolby Audio software program allows 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 photographs with a good quantity of noise or static.

Efficiency Testing: A Finances 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 value ($500 to $550) within the group; it is an Editors’ Alternative award-winner with the identical Ryzen 3 processor because the Lenovo. You possibly can see their fundamental specs within the desk under. 

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 check we run simulates completely different real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate total system efficiency for office-centric duties equivalent to phrase processing, spreadsheet work, net shopping, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a storage subtest that we use to evaluate the velocity of the system’s boot drive. Each yield a proprietary numeric rating; larger numbers are higher. (See extra about how we check laptops.) 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 PCMark

Not one of the 5 laptops right here managed the 4,000 factors that we contemplate to point wonderful productiveness in PCMark 10; the HP wasn’t far off and the IdeaPad joined the 2 VivoBooks a method again. It will get you thru on a regular basis operations with out truly making you wait, nevertheless it will not really feel snappy or responsive, both. Immediately’s SSDs nearly 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 check, which is totally threaded to utilize all obtainable processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU relatively than the GPU to render a posh picture. The result’s a proprietary rating indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 Cinebench

Cinebench is usually an excellent predictor of our Handbrake video modifying benchmark, wherein we put a stopwatch on programs as they transcode a short film from 4K decision right down to 1080p. It, too, is a tricky check for multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs; decrease occasions 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 collection of 10 advanced filters and results to a regular JPEG check picture. We time every operation and add up the full (decrease occasions are higher). The Photoshop check 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 check. 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 have 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 completely 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 check, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition check renders and pans by means 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 easy the scene seems in movement. For lower-end programs, sustaining not less than 30fps is the life like goal, whereas extra highly effective computer systems ought to ideally attain not less than 60fps on the check decision. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 Superposition

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

Battery Rundown Check 

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 just a few different battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video rundown check. (We additionally flip Wi-Fi off, placing the laptop computer into airplane mode.) On this check, we loop a video—a domestically saved 720p file of the Blender Basis quick 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 a cheap 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

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Verdict: It is a Robust Subject at This Value 

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 will get the job performed, however we have seen nicer financial system notebooks on each the Home windows and Chromebook sides of the aisle. We advise trying out the Asus and MSI alternate options talked about earlier should you’re resolutely pegged at $400 to $450 and will need to have a Home windows-based machine.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021)


  • Low value

  • Adequate reminiscence


  • Although typical for value, 128GB SSD is cramping

  • Sluggish efficiency

  • Display 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 just a little pep, however you may get higher choices for an in depth value.

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