Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) Review

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) Review

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Laptops, Published On
July 30, 2023
Last modified on September 17th, 2023

Let’s start with two good, or at least pretty good, things about Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 15 ($399.99 for the model 15ADA05 we tried). It has 8GB of memory, which is better than the 4GB that some very cheap computers have. Not too long ago, an inexpensive model like this would have had a screen with only 1,366 by 768 pixels instead of the IdeaPad’s full HD size of 1,920 by 1,080. Aside from that, this 15.6-inch, silver-grey piece of plastic is a little exciting. 

It’s good enough for reading the web, checking email, and doing homework, but it’s not very fast, and it lacks basic features like a backlit keyboard and a USB Type-C port that we’ve seen in other cheap laptops we’ve tried in recent weeks. One, the Asus VivoBook 15 (F512JA), is a better 15-inch machine for the same price, and if you want to go a little smaller, the MSI Modern 14 is an Editors’ Choice winner. You will get a much better tablet if you spend $600 or $700.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 Specs

Laptop Class Budget, Desktop Replacement
Processor AMD Ryzen 3 3250U
Processor Speed 2.6 GHz
Boot Drive Captive 128 GB
Screen Size 15.6 inches
Native Display Resolution 1,920 by 1,080
Touch Screen NO
Weight 4.84 pounds
OS Windows 10 Home
Battery Life 8:39


Lenovo IdeaPad 3 design

Our test unit can’t compete with Lenovo.com’s $719.99 IdeaPad 3 setup because it has a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor, only half the storage you want (128GB solid-state drive), and a non-touch screen with AMD Radeon integrated graphics. The operating system is Windows 10 Home in S mode, which only lets you install apps from the Windows Store. You can switch to regular Windows 10 Home by going to Settings, which is what we did to install our test programs. 

With dimensions of 0.78 by 14.3 by 10 inches, the IdeaPad isn’t much bigger than the VivoBook 15 (0.78 by 14.1 by 9.1 inches) and the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (0.78 by 14.3 by 9.8 inches), which Labs recently tried. But it’s bigger—at 4.84 pounds, it’s a full pound heavier than the Asus at 3.75 pounds and the Dell at 3.91 pounds. Also, the plug for its AC adapter is big and takes up two spots on a power strip. 



The buttons on ThinkPads are the best in the business, but this isn’t a ThinkPad. The top row has buttons for controlling the music and muting the microphone. The makers tried to make room for Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down, but they couldn’t. Instead, it would help to pair the Fn key with the cursor arrow keys in an awkward HP-style row with hard-to-press half-size up and down arrows between left and right. It is not the right inverted T shape. 

The keyboard is dull and difficult to type on because it feels flat and made of plastic. Some letters were left out or were written twice. The tiny touchpad has no buttons but slides and taps smoothly enough and clicks with a stiff, hollow sound. When it comes to the screen, white backgrounds aren’t too yellow, but the 1080p screen just isn’t bright enough. The colors look dull and faded. The contrast is good, and the letters don’t look too grainy, but the screen never looks like anything but an economy-class panel.



I compared the IdeaPad 3 15ADA05 to four other low-cost computers for our score charts. I’ve already talked about the Asus VivoBook 15, which costs $399.99, and the Dell Inspiron 15 3000, which costs $369. The HP 14-dq2020nr costs $428 and has a smaller screen and a quad-core Intel Core i3 processor. The Asus VivoBook 17 M712 has a giant screen (17.3 inches) and the group’s highest price ($500 to $550). It won the Editors’ Choice award and has the same Ryzen 3 chip as Lenovo. 

Tests of Productivity and the Media 

PCMark 10 and 8 are performance suites by UL’s test experts. The PCMark 10 test we run mimics different real-world ways of working and making material. We use it to measure the system’s general performance for office-based jobs like word processing, spreadsheet work, web surfing, and chatting. PCMark 8, on the other hand, has a storage subtest that we use to measure how fast the start drive is. Both give a unique number score, with more significant numbers being better.  The HP came close, but the IdeaPad and VivoBooks were far behind. It will work well enough for everyday tasks that you won’t have to wait, but it won’t feel quick or fast. Most SSDs today do well in PCMark 8’s storage test, and the IdeaPad was no exception. 

Bottom Line

The 15ADA05 version of the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 has no deadly flaws, but it has a few things that aren’t great, like a boring keyboard, a bad screen, and no USB-C port. It will get the job done, but we’ve seen cheaper laptops with more features on both the Windows and Chromebook sides. If you’re set on a price range of $400 to $450 and want a Windows-based computer, look at the options from Asus and MSI.

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