Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Review: A budget laptop that gets all the basics right

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The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i is an affordable laptop that is tailor-made for employees working remotely and students. The laptop aims to offer value for money while still delivering on the productivity front. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i features a starting price of Rs 26,990 in India, while our model will set you back little under Rs 34,990, depending on where you buy it from. But does the new IdeaPad Slim 3i have what it takes to meet your productivity requirements? Well, stick around to find out.

Build quality has often been the bane of affordable laptops, but that is not the case with the IdeaPad Slim 3i. The notebook features a nice brushed metal finish and a Platinum Grey colour. Despite being on the relatively slim side, the IdeaPad Slim 3i is quite heavy, weighing in at 1.85 kg. Lenovo offers the laptop in four other colour options, including Abyss Blue, Cherry Red, Almond, and Business Black.

Additionally, the hinge design seemed quite sturdy and went all the way down to 180 degrees. While there are still a few hints of plastic, we’d have to give the IdeaPad Slim full marks for design and build quality, especially considering the price. It didn’t feel for one minute like a cheap laptop and looked a lot better than most laptops in this price range.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The IdeaPad Slim 3i features a standard keyboard layout with well-spaced out keys. The keys are well-spaced out, while key travel is quite pleasing for typing. I felt the keyboard to be quite comfortable for daily use, while the trackpad itself is relatively large and smooth to the touch. The touchpad also features enough real estate for your swipe gestures. The one downside of the keyboard is the lack of backlighting.

Ports

The laptop features three USB ports, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You also get an SD card reader on the notebook, although there’s no USB Type-C port here. There’s no ethernet port as well, but Wi-Fi 6 offers fast and stable wireless connection. I/O is definitely one of the strongest areas of the IdeaPad Slim 3i, although we’d have loved to see USB Type-C port here.

Display

The IdeaPad Slim 3i sports a 14-inch Full HD (1080p) TN panel with 250 nits of brightness. The viewing angles on the display are not the best, and the lack of an IPS panel is quite noticeable. Additionally, colours are not very accurately represented on this screen, but it’s good enough for the price. In our view, the screen seems to be perfectly designed for work, but not so much for consuming entertainment.

Performance

The IdeaPad Slim 3i Lenovo sent us rocked a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor (Core i3-1005G1) with Intel’s UHD Graphics. The CPU was paired with 8GB of RAM of DDR4 RAM that can be extended to 12GB. Our model arrived with 256GB of PCIe M.2 SSD storage, although it can also be configured with HDD or hybrid (HDD + SDD) storage.

We usually have reservations recommending laptops with Core i3 CPUs, although performance on the Slim 3i was quite adequate. Multitasking between MS Office apps and Chrome was pretty smooth, whether the laptop was plugged in or running on battery. If you are going to use this laptop for basic productivity tasks, you aren’t going to have a problem with lag.

Considering its specs, you shouldn’t be gaming on this machine. That being said, some casual games or even mobile games that work on PC will run just fine. And when we say casual, we really mean ‘casual’. I tried a fairly old MOBA (Heroes of the Storm) and found it quite hard to get any meaningful frame rates.

In Cinebench R20’s single-core test, the IdeaPad Slim 3i managed to score points, while hitting points on the multi-core test. Again, this is a work laptop, and it does a pretty good job as a work laptop. Overall, performance on this laptop was superb, but we’d strongly recommend opting for the model with at least 8GB of RAM.

Battery Life

Lenovo claims that the IdeaPad Slim 3i can deliver up to 7.5 hours of battery life, although that number seems a tad bit exaggerated as with most companies. In real-world usage, that number would be closer to the five-hour mark rather than the 7.5 hours. We got a little under four hours while multitasking and just about five hours when watching content. Battery life was slightly underwhelming but still good enough for the price.

Audio and Webcam

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i features two 1.5W bottom-firing speakers with Dolby Audio. While we’d prefer using headphones or external speakers, the audio quality here is pretty decent with audio from songs and movies or podcasts quite audible. The addition of a manual webcam shutter is another excellent feature, although the video quality is poor.

Verdict

To sum it up, if you need a laptop for office work, it is really hard to find a reason not to buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i. There are definitely areas where this notebook could do better, but in all the areas critical to productivity while working, the IdeaPad Slim 3i gets it spot-on. In terms of affordability, this is definitely one of the best laptops out there; Lenovo’s price-to-performance equation is bang on. Sometimes all you need to do is get the basics right, and that’s what Lenovo has done with the IdeaPad Slim 3i.

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