Asus VivoBook 15 vs Lenovo IdeaPad 3. Battle of sub $500 Budget Laptops (AMD Ryzen 5 3500U)

If you are in the market for a sub 500 dollar windows laptop, then I have picked the top 2 best selling laptops on amazon in this price range. On one hand I have got an Asus VivoBook 15 and on the other hand is Lenovo IdeaPad 3. To find out which one of these two give the best bang for bucks, I am going to put both these laptops through a grueling 5 round match. So who will come out on top and who goes home the loser, let's find out.

Round 1: Hardware Specs

Let's start with the hardware specs. Both these laptops are powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor. While this is no longer the latest processor from AMD, it's still packing quite a lot of punch. This is a 4-core 8-thread processor capable of delivering great multitasking performance. Typical laptops in this price range usually come with either an AMD Ryzen 3 3200u processor or an Intel 10th gen core-i3 processor. 

Compared to those, Ryzen 5 3500U is clearly the better choice. Here is the Cinebench single-core benchmark. As you can see Ryzen 5 3500U completely demolishes the competition. And things get even better in multi-core benchmark where both Ryzen 3 3200u and Intel Core-i5 are reduced to dust. 

Now let's talk about the GPU. So both these laptops are rocking a Radeon Vega 8 internal Graphics. Compared to Vega 3 graphics found in Ryzen 3 3200U chip, this GPU is over 266% faster in FP32 GPU benchmark. 


Both Asus VivoBook 15 and Lenovo IdeaPad 3 can play Fortnite at 60fps at HD resolution and 30fps at Full-HD 1080p resolution. Not bad for a sub 500 dollar laptop. Now when it comes to system RAM and on-board disk storage, both these laptops offer 8 Gig of 2400 Mhz DDR4 RAM and 256 Gig of fast PCIe NVMe SSD. They both offer 1 user upgradeable DIMM slot for adding another 16 GIG RAM. So overall, both these laptops will deliver excellent performance whether you are indulging in casual gaming or web-surfing, running productivity tasks like word-processing, data crunching on excel sheets, light-weight photo and video editing, and basic software development like python and java-scripting. So the first round ends in a tie, because as far a performance is concerned these two laptops are identically matched

Round 2 Build Quality Keyboard/Trackpad

Both VivoBook 15 and Ideapad 3 are made from reinforced ABS polymer which is basically a hardened plastic/polycarbonate material. VivoBook 15’s top lid has an anodized non glossy metallic finish which extends to its palm rest, keyboard deck and trackpad area. Ideapad 3 on the other hand is rocking a bluish brushed metal finish on its top lid, keyboard deck and palm rest. Both laptops have a decent build quality. I felt little creaking, flexing or bending when pressing the top lid or the keyboard deck on either of these laptops. 

When it comes to styling, I personally prefer the blue color with brushed metal finish on Ideapad 3. It looks gorgeous especially when the top lid shimmers in bright light. VivoBook 15 on the other hand sports a  more subdued look with its all grey color. Also both these laptops come with a good quality hinge, although I prefer Vivobook’s ErgoLift hinge. It raises the bottom half of the laptop by few millimeters to create a more ergonomic typing position.

Now let's talk about the keyboard. Vivobook 15 comes with a full size backlit enabled keyboard thanks to its 15.6” size, while Ideapad 3 comes with a smaller 14” keyboard that is missing the numerical keypads and led backlighting. When it comes to the typing experience both these laptops offer good actuation force and plenty of key travel distance resulting in a nice typing experience. 

Both these laptops have a plastic trackpad but I prefer the trackpad on ideapad 3 because its surface is very smooth and almost feels like glass. They both come with windows precision drivers and support all windows 10 gestures. Vivobook 15 includes a built-in fingerprint sensor on the trackpad which allows passwordless login. It's a fast and secure way to unlock your laptop

So this is a close round and it comes down to your personal preference. But because I prefer Asus Vivobook 15’s ErgoLift hinge, built-in fingerprint sensor, larger keyboard with user adjustable led backlighting and numerical keypads, I will award it the winner of round 2. So with this win, Asus Vivobook 15 leads the contest 1-0 after round 2

Round 3: Display

Vivobook 15 comes with a 15.6” Full-HD IPS display while Ideapad 3 uses a smaller 14 inch Full HD TN-Panel display. Both laptops have an anti-glare matte coating on their screen which greatly reduces reflections from ambient lighting. Vivobook 15’s screen is slightly brighter at 250 nits of peak brightness as opposed to Ideapad’s screen which maxes out at 220 nits. I love the IPS panel on Vivobook 15 because it produces punchy colors, great contrast and a wide viewing angle. Added bonus is that it has slim bezels which keep the overall size of the laptop down to a minimum. 

Lenovo Ideapad 3’s screen on the other hand is slightly less impressive. It produces less vibrant colors and viewing angles are also narrow. So if you are looking for a large bright display for internet surfing, creating documents, looking at pictures and watching videos, Vivobook 15 is the clear winner. So Asus takes this round as well, and extends its lead to 2-0 after round 3

Round 4: Battery Life & Thermals

Let's talk about the battery life. Since both these laptops are rocking the same CPU and GPU, battery life would essentially boil down to the battery capacity and the size of the screen. Vivobook 15 has a larger 15.6 inch screen and it is powered by a relatively small 37 WHr battery. Ideapad 3 on the other hand has a smaller 14 inch display yet it is powered by a larger 45 Whr battery. So it's no surprise that the Ideapad 3 comes out ahead in battery life test. In my daily usage, Ideapad 3 delivered around 7.5 hours of battery life while doing typical web surfing with WiFi turned on while Vivobook 15 managed to get around 6 hours of battery life. 

Both Asus and Lenovo have done a good job with thermal heat management. The keyboard and the trackpad area never gets uncomfortably warm, even while running demanding tasks like video editing and gaming.  But because Ideapad 3 ships with a much larger capacity battery, it easily wins round 4. So with this win, Ideapad 3 has narrowed the gap but it still trails behind Asus. The score now reads 2-1 in favour of Asus after round 4

Round 5: Audio & Webcam and ports

OK, so we are now in the final round and it's all about port choices, quality of on-board speakers and webcam. Vivobook 15 offers a USB 3.2 Type-C port which is missing in Ideapad 3. But ideapad 3 comes with a full size multi-media card slot which I prefer over Vivobook 15’s microSD card slot. Both laptops lack support for the latest WiFi 6 standard, so you will have to do with older Wi-Fi 802.11 AC standard. Now when it comes to webcam, both these laptops are using a 720p webcam which is OK for making zoom video conference calls. But OK is not good enough, especially in this day and age of working from home. So if you want to step up the quality of your zoom conference calls, I highly recommend getting an external 1080p USB webcam

Finally lets talk about the on-board speakers. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 comes with stereo speakers that are located on the front tapered bottom edge of this laptop. These speakers are positioned at a 45 degree angle firing audio towards the user. Asus VivoBook 15 on the other hand comes with bottom firing stereo speakers which sound surprisingly good because the ErgoLift hinge raises them by few millimeters. As a result, the sound waves hit the bottom surface and bounce back creating a richer sounding audio with deeper bass. So I will have to give this round to Asus Vivobook 15. It has better port selection and superior on-board speakers. So with this win, Asus Vivobook 15 extends its lead to 3-1 and easily beats Lenovo Ideapad 3 to take the crown of the best $500 laptop

Final Thoughts

So here are my final thoughts. If you prefer a large 15.6 inch IPS display, a full size keyboard and a great sounding speaker system, go with Asus Vivobook 15. On the other hand go with Lenovo IdeaPad 3, if you want a gorgeous looking laptop with blue brushed metal finish, a long battery life and a more portable 14” size. So that's it for today guys. Let me know which one of these two laptops do you prefer?

Purchase Links

👉 Buy Asus VivoBook 15
👉 Buy Lenovo Ideapad 3
Buy 1080p USB Webcam
👉 Fifine
Hardware upgrades
👉 Buy recommended RAM upgrades
👉 Buy recommended SATA3 SSD upgrades
👉 Buy recommended PCIe NVMe SSD upgrades

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