Review: Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14" Laptop with AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor

This is my first  impression of Lenovo IdeaPad 3 powered by Ryzen 5 3500U processor.

Build Quality

Let's start with the build quality. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a shiny laptop sporting gorgeous Abyss blue color with brushed metallic finish. While holding this laptop you get the impression that the top half has been reinforced with some kind of metallic alloy. It feels very solid in hands with no creaking, flexing or bending. But in reality this laptop is made from reinforced ABS polymer. It weighs about 3.3 pounds which is decently lightweight for a 14 inch laptop. I love the brushed metal blue color, it looks gorgeous but unfortunately it is a fingerprint magnet. You will need to keep a microfiber cloth handy, if you hate oily fingerprint smudges

Display

Open this laptop and you are greeted with a 14” Full HD screen with minimal bezels. This screen is attached to the base of the laptop by a single elongated hinge that runs through the entire length of the laptop making it very durable. My initial experience with this hinge while opening and closing the laptop has been very positive. It securely holds the display and prevents the screen from wobbling while typing. 

Keyboard & Trackpad

Talking about typing, this is a fantastic keyboard. I have always enjoyed Lenovo’s keyboard implementation, they are usually a step above the competition. And Lenovo IdeaPad 3 does not disappoint. It offers a good key travel distance and a decent actuation force which makes it a joy to type on this keyboard. Unfortunately there is no keyboard backlighting which sucks. Moving on to the trackpad, it's fine, offering a smooth surface for your fingers to glide. All windows 10 gestures including 2 and 3 finger swipes are supported. The trackpad measures 4.25 by 2.75 inches. It's pretty tall, but I wish it was a little wider.

Hardware Specs

Let's talk about the hardware. What makes Lenovo IdeaPad 3 standout from its peers is the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor. If we compare this processor with Ryzen 3 3200U which powers Acer Aspire 5 laptop, it's a no contest. In Passmark CPU benchmark Ryzen 5 3500U is almost 75% faster than Ryzen 3 3200U. It gets even better in the graphics department. Ryzen 5 3500U comes with Radeon Vega 8 internal Graphics which absolutely crushes Vega 3 internal Graphics found in Ryzen 3 3200U. It scores over 266% in the FP32 GPU centric benchmark. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 also comes with 8 GB RAM which is twice that of Acer Aspire 5 base model. So that means, you will get significantly better gaming and overall performance on this laptop over Acer Aspire 5. Now, I understand this is not a fair comparison because Acer Aspire 5 is about $100 cheaper. But you will be buying a lot of performance for those extra 100 bucks. BTW, I will do a detailed gaming benchmark as well as CPU benchmark in my full review of Lenovo IdeaPad 3. So please stay tuned for that video if you want more details. 

Regarding hardware upgrades, IdeaPad 3 offers an extra user upgradeable DIMM slot for adding more RAM. I have linked compatible memory modules in the video description below if you are interested in upgrading the RAM on this laptop. You can also replace the existing PCIE NVME SSD with a bigger one, if you want more storage. Sadly, there is no extra slot for adding a 2nd SSD drive. If you want to swap the existing 256GB SSD with a bigger one, please checkout the links in the video description below for a compatible PCIE NVME SSD.

Now let's talk about the display. You are getting a 14 inch Full HD TN-Panel display. It pumps out about 220 nits of brightness which is fine for indoor use. But it's not bright enough for outdoor use, so you can forget about using this laptop outside in your backyard. Also this TN Panel cannot match the quality of an IPS Panel found in laptops like Acer Aspire 5. Honestly I am a little disappointed with this display. It's fine for internet surfing, writing emails working on documents, and watching streaming videos. But the viewing angles are narrow and the color reproduction lacks the punch and vibrancy found in typical IPS panels. Now don't get me wrong, it's not a bad screen, but when companies like Acer can put a superior IPS panel in their budget laptops, Lenovo needs to step up its game

Webcam

Let's talk about the webcam. You are getting a 720p webcam mounted at the center of the top bezel. I appreciate the fact that Lenovo respects your privacy and provides a physical shutter which can be used to close the webcam when not in use. Regarding the quality of this webcam, it's fine for typical zoom video conference calls. But if you want to step up your video quality, I would recommend going with an external 1080p USB webcam. There are some really good quality budget webcams available and I recently reviewed some of them here on this channel. Please checkout the links in the video description below for more details. Let's quickly talk about the ports that you get with this laptop. You get 2 USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports supporting up to 5 Gbps data transfer speed. There is also an old school USB 2.0 port. Unfortunately you are not getting any modern USB Type-C port which is a bummer. There is 1 HDMI port for connecting this laptop to an external monitor. You also get a full size multi-media card slot which I really appreciate. There is a headphone microphone combo jack along with support for wifi and bluetooth.

Final Thoughts

So overall I think Lenovo IdeaPad 3 with Ryzen 5 3500U processor is a great budget laptop for folks who are looking for the best CPU and graphics performance at a budget price. You are getting a laptop with good build quality, solid keyboard and trackpad, awesome CPU and graphics performance and a decent 7 hours of battery life. But the display quality is mediocre and the port selection is lacking a USB-Type C port.

Purchase Links

👉 Buy Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Buy 1080p USB Webcam
👉 Fifine
👉 Victure

Hardware upgrades
👉 Buy recommended RAM upgrades
👉 Buy recommended SATA3 SSD upgrades
👉 Buy recommended PCIe NVMe SSD upgrades



Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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