Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) Review: Best In Budget!

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) Review
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In this review, I’ll go over my experience with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 Intel edition. Lenovo’s IdeaPad series has consistently ranked high on our list of the best budget Ultrabooks. In fact, we liked last year’s Ideapad 3 so much that it was our top choice for the best budget laptop. Available in most markets around the world with both Intel and AMD options, this lineup has been a go-to option for many students or just about anyone looking for a reliable budget laptop. And when Lenovo refreshed it with Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs, it promptly grabbed our attention.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) Specifications:

  • Design & Build: All-plastic build, 359.2 x 236.5 x 19.9 mm, 1.63 kg
  • Display: 15.6-inch TN/IPS anti-glare panel, 45% NTSC, 250/300 nits
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Keyboard: Chiclet-style backlit keyboard
  • Trackpad: Plastic multi-touch trackpad, Windows Precision drivers
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1235U, 10C/12T, Up to 4.4GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200 RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
  • Audio: 2x 1.5W speakers, Dolby Audio
  • Battery: 38Wh / 45Wh
  • Power Supply: 65W power adapter
  • Webcam: 720p HD camera, Privacy shutter
  • I/O:  1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 1.4b, 1x Card reader, 1x 3.5mm jack, 1x Power connector
  • What’s inside the box: Laptop, power adapter, quick start guide
  • Price in Nepal: Rs. 87,000 (TN) | Rs. 93,000 (IPS)

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) Review:

So we ordered the IdeaPad 3 2022 a few weeks back, and since then I have been using it as my daily driver. Our unit is loaded with the Core i5-1235U CPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB storage, and it costs Rs. 87,000 in Nepal, some Rs. 58,000 in India, and $530 in the US. But if this price is slightly higher than your budget, you can also go with the i3 variant with the same memory configuration for a couple of bucks less.

Besides this, Lenovo also sells the IdeaPad 3 with Ryzen 5000 CPUs under the 2022 lineup. However, Intel’s 12th gen processors are much better options considering all the performance upgrades they bring.

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Performance

  • Intel Core i5-1235U CPU (Up to 4.4GHz)
  • 8GB DDR4-3200 RAM, 256GB M.2 SSD

Anyway, Intel’s U-series processors are all about prioritizing energy efficiency over raw performance. And i5-1235U on this laptop is no exception. Based on the new hybrid architecture, this CPU has two performance cores and eight efficiency cores, while it comes with the Iris Xe integrated GPU to handle all the graphics-related tasks.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 - Display -2

With this, the IdeaPad 3 can handle most of your non-demanding, everyday tasks with ease. I spend the majority of my day in the office working on scripts and articles, alongside light editing on Photoshop, while I have at least half-a-dozen tabs running in the browser and I’m yet to experience any stutters so far.

By the way, the laptop has a Lenovo Vantage app, which allows you to choose between three different performance modes. And I found that the “Intelligent Cooling” mode gives the best results under such casual usage with a good balance of performance and battery life. Alongside very quiet fan noise even when multitasking.

And while gaming, I set it to “Extreme” where its single fan can get loud under heavy workloads. But it does a good job of maintaining the thermals. However, since this is an ultrabook, you can’t expect much on the gaming front. Still, if you want to lighten up your mood, you can play games at low settings with a fair amount of stability.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 - Motherboard

As for the memory, the laptop comes with 8GB of soldered RAM and you get an additional SO-DIMM slot to get that performance benefit by adding extra RAM. Additionally, I found the read and write speed of its onboard 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD to be quite satisfactory. It’s user-replaceable, and you can even add an extra HDD or SSD on the vacant SATA interface.

Battery

  • 45Wh, 65W power adapter

Moving on, since the Intel i5-1235U is stuffed with efficiency cores, I was able to get a good battery life out of the IdeaPad 3. On a full charge, its 45Wh cell lasted me like 5 to 6 hours. And charging this thing is quite convenient too since it supports Rapid Charging protocol, which can fuel the laptop from 0 to 80% in about an hour. This feature isn’t enabled by default but you can turn it on under the “Lenovo Vantage” app I talked about earlier.

Design

  • All-plastic body, Smooth finish on the lid
  • 359.2 x 236.5 x 19.9 mm, 1.63 kg

Design-wise, the 2022 edition of this laptop looks the same as the IdeaPad 3 we reviewed last year with a brushed matte finish on the lid and the keyboard. I wouldn’t necessarily complain about this inheritance because first, it looks plenty premium, and second, it is well-built too. There is no concerning flex in the keyboard and the hinge is also quite sturdy. You can even lay the lid on a considerable amount if that’s important for you.

Another thing that I really appreciate about this laptop is its “Flip-to-open” feature like you get on a MacBook. Although it’s a small add-on, it genuinely enhances the usability of the laptop. You can then sign in to your PC via the fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button. That’s quite convenient!

In terms of I/O, you’ll find one micro SD card slot and one Type-A port on the right. Similarly, Lenovo has installed one Type-A, HDMI, Type-C, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack each over on the left.

Furthermore, its keyboard has well-spaced-out keys with good travel distance. There’s also a dedicated Numpad section over on the right, which is slightly compact but gets the job done. But I’m quite surprised to see that this keyboard isn’t backlit for some reason. I guess this is region-specific, as the IdeaPad 3 in the United States and India do enjoy a backlit keyboard.

But what’s more disappointing is this trackpad. Yes, it has a smooth surface and is responsive when using multi-finger gestures but it’s too small and off-centered. So using it hasn’t been a pleasant experience at all. To be honest, I prefer using an external mouse with this laptop instead.

Display

  • 15.6″ TN panel, Anti-glare
  • FHD resolution, 45% NTSC

Now on to the display, it has the same 15.6-inch TN panel as last year’s model. If you want something better, Lenovo also offers IdeaPad 3 with an IPS screen instead. Still, the TN panel on this year’s model is of noticeably better quality this time around. Most importantly, it does not suffer from the poor viewing angle issue we encountered with the IdeaPad 3 2021.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 - Display

All that sounds great and all but this is still just an average screen to look at. Covering just 45% of the NTSC gamut, colors look a bit dull here; something that’s clearly noticeable in regular use or while watching YouTube videos and such. This isn’t something I would nitpick since mediocre displays is pretty common across budget laptops. And I find it to be good enough for my office work and such.

On the other hand, the IdeaPad 3 has 250 nits of brightness, so it’s only ideal for indoor use. I have also noticed mild backlight bleeding on the bottom of the screen. But it’s nothing to worry about since it is only visible when watching really dimly-lit content with the lights off.

Audio and Webcam

  • Dual 1.5W speakers
  • 720p Webcam

Speaking of which, its stereo speakers sound quite clear actually. So I’m sure you will have a decent content consumption experience here.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) - Webcam

Let’s now talk about its microphone and webcam quality. As with most Windows laptops, this thing ships with a 720p camera, which shoots soft and grainy videos. Thus, you may want to invest in a good external webcam if you need to attend business conferences and meetings more frequently. I find the audio pickup from the built-in microphones to be satisfactory, but its background noise cancellation works nowhere near as effectively as promised.

Conclusion

Wrapping it all up, I think the IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) checks most boxes for a good low-cost Ultrabook. It comes with a capable 12th Gen CPU, a modern design, a decent keyboard, and quite nice battery life with fast charging support. While I fully agree that Lenovo should’ve gone with an IPS panel this time, as I mentioned earlier, this display isn’t nearly as bad as last year. So yeah, it’s quite a well-rounded package.

  • Check out our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (2022).

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 2022 (Intel) Review: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Reliable performance
  • Decent battery endurance
  • Lenovo Rapid charge
  • Flip-to-open works like magic
  • Well-spaced keyboard

Cons:

  • Small, off-centered trackpad
  • No backlit keyboard (region-specific)
  • Average webcam
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design and Build
Display
Keyboard
Trackpad
Performance
Audio
Battery
Value for Money
lenovo-ideapad-3-2022-reviewLenovo IdeaPad 3 is an excellent budget laptop, with great performance and a slew of modern conveniences that offers the experience of a premium laptop. It comes in compact chassis that also looks quite premium. And the laptop delivers a long battery life with support for fast charging Therefore, we can easily recommend it to anyone looking for a laptop for home and school.