Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 Laptops Are Upscale Options for First-Time Players
Available in 15.6- and 16-inch sizes with AMD or Intel processors, there's a lot of budget gaming laptop variety starting at $920.
Joshua GoldmanManaging Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
ExpertiseLaptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and dronesCredentials
More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Lenovo's latest entry-level gaming laptops now look more like the company's higher-end Legion gaming line, but at lower prices. The new IdeaPad Gaming 3 and 3i are part of the company's many announcements for Mobile World Congress. While the Legion laptops can top $3,000, the new IdeaPad Gaming 3 starts below $1,000 but still has some premium features and components.
Past versions of this line looked like basic, generic gaming laptops, but they at least had good components inside for a reasonable price -- making them appealing for work, school and casual gaming. These new models look more like the higher-end Legion laptops now, just without the Legion branding, or much branding at all.
Instead of a more typical clamshell design with a hinge at the rear, the new design moves the display hinges to the top and forward a bit. This accommodates better cooling vents (with a splash of color) and a rear panel for external displays and power. The design makes it really convenient and clean for a desk setup, and you still get a USB-A port on the left and right sides for a mouse or other accessories.
You'll be able to get the laptops with either AMD Ryzen 6000 H-series or Intel Core i7 H-series processors -- that's why you have the 3 and 3i naming, the i is for Intel. And they'll also come in 15.6- and 16-inch sizes. The 15-inch is a 16:9 display with a 2,560x1,440 resolution while the 16-inch is 2,560x1,600 with a 16:10 aspect ratio; they both have refresh rates up to 165Hz. The 16-inch model's display will also have a brightness of 500 nits and cover 100% sRGB color gamut coverage. If you want a better display, the 16-inch is the one to get.
Regardless of screen size, the graphics chip options start with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 and they'll go up to an RTX 3060. However, if you go with an AMD CPU, Lenovo says an RTX 3050 Ti will be the top GPU available. Intel configurations will also include an option for Intel's new Arc A370M discrete graphics. Early performance leaks show that Arc graphics chip has performance close to a GeForce GTX 1650 Super GPU, so pretty entry level.
The 15.6-inch IdeaPad Gaming 3 will be available in black or white. The black model's keyboard has a white backlight while the white version's keyboard will have a blue backlight. That's unlike more expensive gaming laptops that sometimes offer highly customizable multicolor backlights. The AMD configurations arrive in May starting at $930. Intel configurations will start at $990 in April. Those prices convert to approximately £695 and £740, or AU$1,300 and AU$1,380.
The 16-inch version will only come in black with the white keyboard backlight, but Lenovo says an optional four-zone RGB backlit keyboard will be available, giving you back a little of that customization The 16-inch IdeaPad Gaming 3i will start at $1,490, while the AMD version will be around $1,140. Both are expected in June.