Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Assessment

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In case you’re available in the market for a finances laptop computer, you are confronted with some powerful selections. Balancing a decent finances with a characteristic set that largely consists of the requirements is not simple while you’re evaluating a sea of machines that each one look roughly the identical. So while you come throughout a standout cheap laptop computer just like the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14, it’s a welcome reprieve. At $519, it leans towards the costly finish of the finances spectrum, however this 14-incher comes full of nearly all the things you’d need for a pocket book in its worth vary, together with a full HD show, a sturdy chassis, and a cushty keyboard, all pulled collectively by on-point efficiency and a few surprising luxuries for the cash. It earns our newest Editors’ Selection award for finances Home windows laptops.


Peppy Ryzen CPU on a Price range

Lenovo’s IdeaPad line of laptops is akin to that of the Dell Inspiron or HP Pavilion collection—midrange to low-end machines that run the gamut on worth, measurement, and options. At round $500, the IdeaPad 3 14 sits comfortably on the cusp of each worlds, boasting an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. Our evaluation unit is on the market from Amazon.com with Home windows 10 put in, however the retailer additionally presents a Home windows 11 variant for $560.

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Exterior of the OS alternative, there are not any customization choices for this iteration of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14. Nevertheless it’s value noting that savvy laptop computer customers can swap one of many two unsoldered 4GB RAM sticks for an 8GB RAM stick and bump the entire RAM to 12GB. Do that at your individual threat, nonetheless, because it may violate your guarantee.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 laptop screen


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The inventory reminiscence and storage quantities are on the low facet—we wish to see 16GB of RAM and 512GB of solid-state storage lately. However the decrease quantities are par the course for laptops of this worth vary, and the processor is the star of the present right here. AMD’s Ryzen cell CPUs have grow to be formidable chips lately, and regardless of the 5500U being constructed on the older AMD Zen 2 structure, the silicon nonetheless performs properly and is a commanding start line within the budget-laptop market. (Larger-end Ryzen 5000U-series CPUs are based mostly on the newer Zen 3; the 5500U is an outlier.) General, the six-core, 12-thread processor has greater than sufficient gas within the tank for fundamental web and phrase processor wants, in addition to reasonably advanced duties, with none noticeable lag.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (2021)

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Microsoft Floor Professional 8

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Origin EVO17-S (2022)

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Panasonic Toughbook 40

Within the IdeaPad 3 14, this interprets to standout efficiency, separating it from a lot of its opponents in the identical worth bracket. (This is how to decide on one of the best laptop computer CPU.)

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 keyboard


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

However sufficient concerning the insides—the outsides are simply as vital. Price range laptops can typically appear and feel low cost, with flimsy, plastic components that make the gadgets really feel extra akin to Leapfrogs than a complicated laptop computer. (See, for instance, the HP Stream 14.) Notably, the IdeaPad 3 14 bucks the development and doesn’t falter on this regard. Measuring in at 0.78 by 12.76 by 8.49 inches (HWD) and simply over 3 kilos, it is a sturdy machine with a novel blue end that offers the laptop computer a slick, eye-catching look. Sure, it nonetheless is plastic pretending to be steel, however you would do loads worse on this division.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 laptop bottom


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The IdeaPad 3 14 additionally makes some sensible airflow enhancements. Utilizing the Lenovo Vantage app, you may select amongst three fan speeds that fit your efficiency wants. The rubber grips discovered beneath the laptop computer truly give the laptop computer an ever-so-slight airflow enhance, since they hold the underside of the chassis from sitting flush in opposition to your desk. 


Price range Pricing, Fashionable Options

The 14-inch full HD display screen is tucked in between 4 narrow-sided bezels that supply some critical display screen actual property. The bezels will not be as skinny as these on, say, the XPG Xenia 14, however they’re nonetheless a lot modern-looking. The IdeaPad 3 14 additionally options an Eye Care mode, which adjusts the colour temperature of your show to filter out blue mild, which might scale back fatigue while you use your pc for a very long time. Nestled on the high of the show, you’ll discover a 720p webcam, full with a privateness shutter.

Lenovo Ideapad 3 14 laptop side view


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

When put to make use of, the IdeaPad 3 14 is without doubt one of the higher finances laptops I’ve dealt with. The keyboard is snug, with simply sufficient give to make key presses satisfying. The touchpad is responsive, and there is even a fingerprint reader built-in into the ability button. Sadly, the audio system, situated underneath the touchpad, aren’t nice. They aren’t very loud and provides off a hole sound. You’re higher off utilizing headphones or an exterior speaker.

Turning to the ports, the IdeaPad 3 14 options a wide variety. On its proper facet, you’ll discover an SD card slot and a USB 2.0 port.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 laptop right side ports


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

And on the left facet, you’ll discover a USB 3.0 Kind-A port, an HDMI output, an audio jack, and the ability adapter port. There’s additionally an oval-shaped USB-C port right here, a cutting-edge jack that also is not a given on finances laptops. Within the IdeaPad 3 14’s case, it is restricted to knowledge transfers solely and might’t deal with video output.

Ideapad 3 left side


(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Price range laptops could be stuffed with undesirable preinstalled software program referred to as bloatware, however the IdeaPad 3 14 is mercifully mild on it. The same old offenders are right here: Spotify, Disney Plus, McAfee Antivirus, and Alexa are simply a number of the apps taking on your valuable space for storing, however you may merely uninstall them should you do not want them.


Benchmarking the IdeaPad 3 14: Proficient Efficiency for the Bucks

A lot for the IdeaPad 3 14’s options; how does it do in a direct comparability with different laptops in its class? To discover out, we introduced within the Asus VivoBook S14, the Dell Inspiron 15 (3511), 2021’s HP Pavilion x360 15, the pricier Samsung Galaxy E-book Professional 13, and our earlier Editors’ Selection choose for greatest finances laptop computer, the MSI Fashionable 14. Whereas these machines all make use of an Intel processor-and-graphics answer, they’re in the identical efficiency ballpark and share comparable CPU and GPU setups.

The primary benchmark take a look at we run is PCMark 10, a take a look at that simulates a wide range of Home windows applications to present an total efficiency rating for workplace workflows. On this take a look at, a outcome between 4,000 and 5,000 factors is a transparent indicator of fantastic efficiency. Whereas a lot of the pack falls proper within the center, the IdeaPad 3 14 pulls away from the pack and reveals sturdy numbers.

We did not have sufficient knowledge so as to add PCMark 10’s Full System Drive storage subtest, which measures this system load time and the throughput of the laptop computer’s boot drive. (That take a look at doesn’t run on some finances laptops because of inadequate RAM or a scarcity of space for storing.) However the IdeaPad 3 14 was capable of run the take a look at and scored 1,321 factors—not the best outcome we have seen for an SSD-equipped laptop computer, however within the finances laptop computer sphere, greater than sufficient to run productiveness circles across the current firm.

The subsequent take a look at we run is video transcoding utilizing the HandBrake 1.4 app, which is an open-source device for changing multimedia information to completely different resolutions and codecs. Changing video information is a CPU-heavy activity, so we do not anticipate a lot from finances laptops on this rating, as they usually use weaker processors with fewer cores.

Now, you in all probability would not do any critical multimedia work on a finances laptop computer, however should you did, the IdeaPad 3 14 would not be a foul alternative. Regardless of the 10-minute completion time, the IdeaPad 3 14 stands tall among the many competitors on this take a look at, with the VivoBook S14 at a distant second place.

With CPU efficiency in thoughts, we swap to the Cinebench R23 benchmark, a multi-core take a look at meant to train all of a processor’s cores and threads. The Ryzen 5 5500U’s six cores turn out to be useful right here, because the IdeaPad 3 14 simply bests its competitors.

And at last, our productiveness exams come to an in depth with the Geekbench take a look at, one more CPU stress take a look at meant to simulate real-world actions. The IdeaPad 3 14 does rating high marks right here, however simply barely. The Samsung Galaxy E-book Professional 13 comes inside hanging distance. General, the IdeaPad 3 thumps the competitors in each productiveness take a look at, however what about our graphics benchmarks?

Each laptop computer on this comparability makes use of built-in graphics—both Intel’s newer Iris Xe silicon, the usual Intel UHD Graphics discovered in lots of finances laptops, or within the IdeaPad 3 14’s case, AMD’s Radeon built-in GPU. Graphics benchmarks are typically exhausting to run on finances laptops, as some haven’t got sufficient reminiscence or a robust sufficient GPU.

To check the laptop computer’s gaming efficiency, we run 3DMark, a graphics take a look at suite for Home windows that comprises a number of subtests for various GPU features and software program APIs. We run two DirectX 12 exams specifically: 3DMark Night time Raid and 3DMark Time Spy. This is the place the IdeaPad 3 falters a bit, arising brief behind the Asus Vivobook S14 and the Samsung Galaxy E-book Professional 13. The upper the quantity, the higher, nonetheless, and never a single laptop computer really impresses on this space other than the (a lot pricier) Galaxy E-book Professional 13. That is true of each the extra demanding Time Spy, and the modest Night time Raid.

Our subsequent benchmark is GFXBench 5.0, a graphics simulator that stress-tests each low-level and high-level routines. We run two of its subtests, Aztec Ruins and Automobile Chase, rendered off-screen to accommodate completely different show resolutions and make comparisons legitimate. The IdeaPad 3 14 struggled within the 1440p Aztec Ruins take a look at, clocking a median of 23 frames per second (fps). It fared higher within the 1080p Automobile Chase take a look at, however nonetheless by no means held a constant 60fps. Nonetheless, with some configuration tweaks, I think about it could be potential to get a barely larger body price should you’re taking part in less-demanding video games.


Strong Battery, So-So Show

To check laptop computer battery life, we first cost up the battery to 100% after which play a regionally saved copy of the open-source Blender film Tears of Metal on a loop at 50% brightness and at 100% quantity, together with a couple of different battery-testing tweaks to make sure correct readings throughout all gadgets. If the laptop computer would not have sufficient house to retailer a replica, we’ll play the film off of a drive. We additionally put the laptop computer into Airplane mode.

The IdeaPad 3 14 did properly, tapping out after 10 hours and 32 minutes. A valiant effort—however nonetheless arising brief when put next with the Asus VivoBook S14, the HP Pavilion x360 15, and the Samsung Galaxy E-book Professional 13.

The ultimate trial in our benchmark gauntlet consists of show brightness and shade exams. Utilizing Datacolor’s SpyderX Elite calibrator and its software program instruments, we measure show efficiency, screen-brightness output ranges, and measure gamut settings for the three most related shade areas for laptop computer customers: the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 requirements.

The IdeaPad 3 14’s colours had been typically common, par the course for many finances laptops, although it was slightly worse than the competitors (and loads worse than the Samsung Galaxy E-book Professional 13’s nice AMOLED panel). Display screen brightness, however, fared loads higher. If it may well’t be colourful, it ought to at the very least be shiny.


A Price range Baron

An inexpensive laptop computer would not exist with out compromise, however regardless of being offered at a finances worth, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 feels premium. Its snappy efficiency, sturdy construct, and additions like a USB-C port, Wi-Fi 6, and a fingerprint scanner assist the IdeaPad 3 outclass its competitors.

Whereas it would nonetheless have a number of the standard budget-laptop shortcomings like uninspiring audio system and a uninteresting show, the IdeaPad 3 14 remains to be definitely worth the worth of admission and is without doubt one of the greatest cheap notebooks you should purchase. It is our new Editors’ Selection choose for finances laptops.

Execs

  • Nice efficiency

  • USB-C port included

  • Sturdy chassis

  • Comfy keyboard and touchpad

  • Built-in fingerprint scanner

  • Customers can improve RAM (at their very own threat)

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Cons

  • Lackluster audio system

  • Boring show

The Backside Line

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 is a knockout finances laptop computer, with glorious efficiency and a bevy of contemporary trappings that nearly make you neglect it rings up at lower than $600.

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