Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) Review

Table of Contents

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) Review: An Also-Ran in the Budget Gaming Laptop Race

Bottom Line

A lackluster screen, a poor keyboard, and a much-too-small SSD put Lenovo’s IdeaPad Gaming 3 out of contention among value-priced gaming laptops.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) laptop showcasing its sleek design and display.
Image Credit: Lenovo


– Low price
– Reasonable productivity and 1080p gaming performance
– Good battery life


– Dark display
– Inadequate 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM
– Poor keyboard
– No biometrics
– No SD or microSD card slot

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– Laptop Class: Gaming, Budget

– Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 6600H
– Processor Speed: 3.3 GHz
– RAM (as Tested): 8 GB
– Boot Drive Type: SSD
– Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested): 256 GB
– Screen Size: 15.6 inches
– Native Display Resolution: 1920 by 1080
– Touch Screen: No
– Panel Technology: IPS
– Variable Refresh Support: FreeSync
– Screen Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
– Graphics Processor: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
– Graphics Memory: 4 GB
– Wireless Networking: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth
– Dimensions (HWD): 0.86 by 14.2 by 12.5 inches
– Weight: 5.1 lbs
– Operating System: Windows 11 Home
– Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes):** 9:40


Just as its affordable IdeaPad consumer notebooks fill a niche below its business ThinkPads, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Gaming budget gaming laptops are for buyers who can’t afford one of the company’s premium gaming rigs, like the Editors’ Choice award-winning Legion 7 Gen 7. The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is certainly affordable at $884 at Walmart, and an AMD Ryzen 6000 series processor (CPU) and Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics processor (GPU) give it passable 1080p performance. Unfortunately, its scant storage, dim display, and flimsy keyboard scream “economy model,” landing the Gaming 3 below PCMag budget favorites, like the under-$1,000 Acer Nitro 5 and just-over-$1,000 MSI Katana GF66.

Short on Memory and Storage

The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is the AMD-powered sibling of the Intel-based IdeaPad Gaming 3i, which we reviewed here in July 2020. Both are 15.6-inch systems with Full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) screens with a 120Hz refresh rate. Our test unit, formally known as IdeaPad Gaming 3 15ARH7 (model 82SB0001US), combines a six-core, 3.3GHz (4.5GHz boosted) Ryzen 5 6600H processor with a skimpy 8GB of memory, a skimpier 256GB NVMe solid-state drive (SSD), and an entry-level GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, putting it at a disadvantage to RTX 3050 Ti and RTX 3060 machines.

Clad in Onyx Gray plastic and polycarbonate, the Lenovo measures 0.86 by 14.2 by 12.5 inches. That’s notably deeper than the Nitro 5 (1.06 by 14.1 by 10.7 inches) because of a Legion-like protruding rear block with several ports and blue-accented cooling vents. That said, the IdeaPad is lighter (5.1 versus 5.5 pounds). There’s considerable flex if you grasp the screen corners, though not much if you press the keyboard deck.

Like many low-cost gamers, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has neither a fingerprint reader nor a face recognition webcam, so you’ll be stuck typing passwords instead of using Windows Hello. The camera is the usual low-rent 720p number, though it has a sliding privacy shutter. The side screen bezels are slim, but the top and bottom bezels are thick. Luckily, the display tilts far back, so finding the optimum viewing angle should be no problem.

As for ports, you’ll find one USB 3.2 Type-A port on either side, as well as an audio jack on the left. Around the back are an HDMI video out, an Ethernet jack, and a USB 3.2 Type-C port, plus the AC adapter socket. This being an AMD rather than Intel system, there’s no Thunderbolt 4 port, though we don’t penalize under-$1,000 laptops for lacking one. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth take care of wireless connections. An SD or microSD card slot would have been nice, however.

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Not Up to Lenovo’s Usual Standard

The keyboard is brightly backlit (just in white—don’t look for an RGB rainbow) and has an attractive layout including a numeric keypad and dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys on the top row. Unfortunately, the latter don’t work if you toggle Fn Lock to access top-row brightness and volume controls without holding the Fn key.

We’re generally big fans of Lenovo keyboards but the IdeaPad’s typing feel is more like a tablet’s keyboard cover than an actual laptop. A good-sized, buttonless touchpad glides and taps smoothly but has a chintzy click. The bottom-mounted speakers produce sound that isn’t very loud but isn’t too bad: it’s somewhat tinny and short on bass, but you can make out overlapping tracks. Nahimic software offers music, movie, gaming, and communication presets and an equalizer, as well as faux surround sound. The 720p webcam captures slightly dim, blurry images.

Besides Windows 11 Home and a McAfee antivirus trial, there isn’t much preloaded software. Lenovo Vantage lets you choose cooling or fan noise modes, optimize networking traffic for games, and enhance Wi-Fi security. The app also offers lost system recovery and performance tuning services, for $49 and $29 annually, respectively.

The 1080p non-touch screen boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync support to fight screen tearing during gameplay. Its rated brightness is a rather dim 250 nits, below the 300 we consider a minimum and 400 we prefer from IPS panels. Our Datacolor sensor measured it a little higher than that, but it’s still dimly lit and murky—more common in a low-cost Chromebook than a gaming laptop. Contrast and viewing angles are fair but white backgrounds are dingy, and colors are bland and washed out, making fine details unclear.

Testing the IdeaPad Gaming 3: Back of the Budget Pack

For our benchmark charts, we compared the IdeaPad Gaming 3 to four other affordable 15.6-inch gaming laptops. The Acer Nitro 5 (12th Gen Intel Core) and HP Victus 15 come in under $1,000, while the MSI Katana GF66 and Acer Predator Helios 300 are two or three hundred bucks above it. You can see their basic specs below. Note that only the IdeaPad foists you off with a 256GB SSD with room for just two or three games.

Productivity Tests

The main benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-centric tasks, such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and video conferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a laptop’s storage.

Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).

Our final productivity test is Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s famous image editor to rate a PC’s performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It’s an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.

All five laptops soared past the 4,000 points in PCMark 10, which means ample productivity for the likes of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The Lenovo didn’t shine but held its own in the CPU tests, though it was at the rear of the field in Photoshop—its subpar screen and missing flash-card slot make it an even poorer choice for image editing.

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Graphics and Gaming Tests

We test Windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests, rendered offscreen to accommodate different display resolutions, exercise graphics and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.

Our next two tests involve real games—specifically, the built-in 1080p benchmarks from a AAA title (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla) and a sports racing sim (F1 2021). We run Valhalla’s benchmark with its Medium and Ultra high-quality presets, while F1 2021 is run twice at its Medium and Ultra settings, with and without Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing turned on. We also use the Rainbow Six Siege benchmark to measure frames per second a PC can render, running it in DirectX 12 mode at the game’s lowest (Medium) and highest (Ultra) image-quality settings.

All of the laptops did well in our lighter graphics tests, but the GeForce RTX 3050 (with only 4GB of display memory) couldn’t keep up with its RTX 3050 Ti and 3060 competitors in 3DMark Time Spy or GFXBench Car Chase. The IdeaPad was no one’s idea of a premium 1080p gaming machine in our real-world game benchmarks, where it trailed the field. It’s playable with high settings, but you should dial back detail levels if you want to see smoother frame rates.

Battery and Display Tests

We test laptops’ battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie *Tears of Steel*) with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100%. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.

We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Windows software to measure a laptop screen’s color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).

The Lenovo’s nearly 10-hour runtime on our battery rundown test was great. But its screen fell short of the mark, measuring only 262 nits of brightness and covering only 62% of the sRGB color gamut. It’s a passable display for mainstream use, but it’s neither vivid nor vibrant.

Verdict: A Deal with Downsides

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) has a lot of shortcomings, but the biggest ones are its low storage and memory, and its subpar screen and keyboard. In a segment filled with strong competitors, it just doesn’t do enough to stand out. If you’re looking for a budget gaming laptop, there are better options available.

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Alternatives to Consider

The Acer Nitro 5 and the MSI Katana GF66 offer better performance and more features for around the same price, and the HP Victus 15 is also a strong contender in the budget gaming laptop space. These alternatives provide more storage, better screens, and more comfortable keyboards, making them better choices for budget-conscious gamers.

Conclusion: A Laptop for the Undemanding

While the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) does offer decent performance for its price, its many shortcomings make it a tough sell in the competitive budget gaming laptop market. If you can stretch your budget a bit, you’ll find better options that offer more value for your money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)

1. What is the price of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) is priced at around $884, making it a budget-friendly option for gaming laptops.

2. What are the main specifications of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

– Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 6600H
– RAM: 8GB
– Storage: 256GB SSD
– Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
– Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) with a 120Hz refresh rate
– Operating System: Windows 11 Home

3. How is the build quality of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

The laptop is made from plastic and polycarbonate, which makes it lightweight but somewhat flimsy. There is noticeable flex in the screen corners and a bit on the keyboard deck.

4. What ports are available on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

– 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A ports
– 1 x USB 3.2 Type-C port
– Ethernet jack
– Audio jack
– AC adapter socket

5. Does the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) have a fingerprint reader or face recognition?

No, it does not have a fingerprint reader or face recognition capabilities.

6. How is the keyboard and touchpad quality?

The keyboard has a bright white backlight and a good layout, but the typing feel is subpar, more like a tablet’s keyboard cover. The touchpad is good-sized and smooth, but its click feels cheap.

7. How is the display quality of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

The display is a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. However, it has a dim brightness of around 262 nits and only covers 62% of the sRGB color gamut, resulting in washed-out colors and poor contrast.

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8. How does the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) perform in gaming?

The laptop can handle 1080p gaming reasonably well but is outperformed by competitors with better GPUs. It’s playable with high settings, but lowering detail levels is recommended for smoother frame rates.

9. What is the battery life of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

The battery life is quite good, lasting nearly 10 hours in our video playback test, making it suitable for extended use away from a power outlet.

10. Is there any pre-installed software on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

The laptop comes with Windows 11 Home, a McAfee antivirus trial, and Lenovo Vantage, which offers system tuning and optimization features.

11. Does the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) support fast charging?

While the specifics of fast charging are not highlighted, the laptop does come with a standard AC adapter for charging.

12. How does the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) compare to other budget gaming laptops?

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) is outclassed by competitors like the Acer Nitro 5 and MSI Katana GF66, which offer better performance, more storage, and higher-quality displays for a similar price.

13. What are the main drawbacks of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

The main drawbacks include its dim display, limited 256GB SSD storage, only 8GB of RAM, and a less-than-ideal keyboard.

14. Can the storage and RAM be upgraded on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022)?

Yes, both the storage and RAM can be upgraded, which is recommended to improve overall performance and usability.

15. Who is the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) best suited for?

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) is best suited for budget-conscious gamers who are looking for a basic gaming laptop with decent performance and are willing to compromise on display quality and keyboard comfort.

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