The Complete Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Review: Performance, Design, and Value

The Complete Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 Review: Performance, Design, and Value

It’s not a terrible thing that the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 ($519 starting price; $529 as configured) is one of Lenovo’s most affordable laptops. You can get a 12-hour battery life, a wide range of ports, and respectable everyday performance for a reasonable price. However, the key factor in determining value is pricing, and depending on the store, this laptop can be purchased for as little as $299 or slightly more than the list price. Given the significant price variation, it is understandable why we strongly advise against purchasing this laptop. For a more consistently priced choice, we suggest the Acer Aspire 3, our top-ranked budget laptop.

Configurations

There are several configuration options available for the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3, including choices for the processor, memory, and storage. The IdeaPad Slim 3 15IRU8 is the product name that unites all of these. With a 13th Gen Intel Core i3-1315U processor, 8GB of soldered memory that cannot be upgraded, and a 256GB solid-state drive for storage, our review model is among the least expensive options. Prices for this configuration range from genuinely inexpensive budget laptops ($299 at B&H Photo) to not so cheap laptops ($643 at Walmart from a third-party seller as of this writing). The configuration is advertised at some stores.

Lenovo also specifies 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an Intel Core i7-1355U as the maximum processor for the IdeaPad Slim 3 15IRU8. This increases the integrated graphics from Intel UHD to Intel’s Iris Xe. That sounds far more capable, of course, but it’s also more difficult to locate and costs more than $1,000 when you do. Several better solutions than an IdeaPad become available at that price anyhow.

Design

The IdeaPad Slim, dressed up in a shade Lenovo refers to as “Abyss Blue,” looks respectable considering its price range. With a small Lenovo emblem on the lid and a prominent lip at the front that acts as an extension to accommodate the webcam and shutter into the otherwise thin screen bezel, the 15-inch laptop has a fairly typical appearance for a Lenovo model. It weighs only 3.6 pounds and is 0.7 inches thick, making it quite light for a desktop replacement.

When you look at the all-plastic build, the issues begin to show. For a laptop in this price range, using less expensive materials is hardly surprising, but the build barely masks the concessions taken to cut costs.

If you take up the laptop by one corner, you won’t feel any flexing, but when you open and close the lid, you will feel it. You’ll also feel some flexing if you’re the kind who types with a lot of force, but most people don’t use that dramatic typing technique.

Using the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3: Performance Rather Than Stylish

Lenovo doesn’t often produce genuinely bad keyboards, but this one does seem mushy despite having reasonable and comfortable key travel and spacing. It’s nice that the keyboard has a 10-key number pad in addition to a fingerprint scanner built into the power button, which is my preferred biometric security measure because it makes logging on easy. Additionally, the touchpad has a size better suited for a laptop manufactured before 2020, giving it a rather retro feel. In contrast to the roomy touchpads found on most laptops these days, the 4-by-2.7-inch surface feels compact. Additionally, it has a rather cheap feel to it. When you tap it, it rattles a little bit and isn’t as substantial as a more expensive model.

It’s positioned too much to the left as well. While the touchpad is centered beneath the space bar, it is an inch or two away from the center because of the number pad. It’s without a doubt the most annoying aspect of the practical experience. Yet it’s not the sole component. Although viewable and brilliant in a variety of lighting conditions, the display is somewhat ugly. While the 1,920 by 1,080 resolution is enough for reading papers and browsing the web, bright colors tend to wash out due to the rather muted hues and poor contrast.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3

  • Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 15.6″ FHD IPS Touchscreen Laptop AMD Ryzen 5 7530U 16GB DDR4 RAM 512GB SSD

Battery and Display 

We play a locally saved 720p video file (the Blender movie Tears of Steel, which is open-source) with the display brightness set to 50% and the audio level set to 100% to test the battery life of each laptop and tablet. Before the test, we make sure the battery is completely charged and that the keyboard backlighting and Wi-Fi are off.

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

Conclusion

Certain systems in the affordable laptop segment offer surprisingly good value, while others cut corners too much, disappointing customers. Which Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3 you choose will only depend on the price you pay for it. Our evaluation unit, which retails for approximately $300 at select stores, is a respectable little device for daily work and online browsing. Although its display is dull and its speed isn’t particularly impressive, for the price of a cheap Chromebook, it’s a surprisingly functional Windows laptop with a good assortment of ports.

However, we strongly advise against purchasing this system if it is being considered at a list price or more for the same setup. For less than $400, that drab display and slow performance would be tolerable, but for medium pricing, you should get something more robust and with more vigor. If you can locate a discount, it’s a good deal; otherwise, this laptop is a pass.

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