Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) review

Lenovo is the number one laptop brand when it comes to market share. The main contributor to the stats is definitely not the Carbon series, nor is it the Legion 7 notebooks. Instead, it is the budget-friendly offerings. One such device is the Ideapad Gaming 3, which aims to bring everything essential for entry-level gaming.

However, the latest graphics cards from NVIDIA have completely turned the gaming world on its head, as even the most affordable RTX 3000 options will let you play pretty much any AAA title even at High settings. Virtually, this means that the IdeaPad Gaming 3 should be thriving. Unfortunately, last year, the company shot itself in the foot by introducing an underpowered charger, which lead to the battery draining when playing in “Performance” mode.

Hopefully, this year will be different, as the IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) (or IdeaPad Gaming 3 15-IAH7) now sports Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs which can be crippled by small power adapters. In addition, the laptop now comes completely redesigned, which makes it appear closer to the Legion series (even though it still gives that affordable vibe).

There have been changes in the display option forefront, where the base choice is now a 120Hz 1080p panel, while the top-of-the-line offering now comes with a 1440p resolution and 165Hz refresh rate.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-ideapad-gaming-3i-15-2022/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) - Specs

  • LEN156FHD (LEN9059)
  • Color accuracy  6.1  4.2
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2242 M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 + 1x 2280 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 45Wh, 3-cell, 45Wh , 45Wh
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 359.6 x 266.4 x 21.8 mm (14.16" x 10.49" x 0.86")
  • Weight
  • 2.31 kg (5.1 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD with Privacy Shutter, Fixed Focus
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W Stereo Speakers, Nahimic Audio
  • Optical drive

All Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found some paperwork and a 170W charger. Finally, your battery won’t discharge during gaming in Performance mode.


Design and construction

As we said, the laptop has been completely redesigned. It now has its back elongated so that the cooling elements are not bunched up in the middle of the keyboard. Interestingly, it is thinner – 21.8mm, but slightly heavier – 2.32 kg.

Of course, all of the panels are made out of plastic with the lid being matte, while the base is glossy. Generally, the lid is very flexy, while the base is the complete opposite.

Probably because of the different hinge placement, the lid can be opened with a single hand. However, once you open it, you will notice that the screen is really bouncy, which is courtesy of the weak hinges. On the other hand, the side bezels are pretty slim, while the top one houses an HD Web camera with a privacy shutter on top.

Then, there is the keyboard. Actually, it is probably the only component that has not been changed. And we are happy about that! The key caps are huge, there is a NumPad section, and the Arrow keys can be comfortably used even by the sausagest of fingers.

Furthermore, the key travel is decent, while the feedback is clicky. Not to mention the optional 4-zone RGB backlight. By the way, as you may see, the power button is separated from the rest of the keyboard. It has an LED light in its center, which indicates in which performance mode are you working – there are Blue (Stay quiet), White (Auto), and Red (Performance). You can toggle them by pressing “Function” and “Q” simultaneously.

Now, the touchpad may lack dedicated buttons, which is actually a common sight in 2022, due to its more pleasing aesthetic. Nevertheless, we find it pretty good, also because of the Mylar surface.

Turn the laptop upside down, and you will find the speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grill. Hot air is now exhausted through two vents on the back, and one on each side.

Ports

On the left side, you get a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack. Then, on the right, you will find another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. Most of the I/O, however, is situated at the back. There, you can see an HDMI 2.0 connector, a LAN port, followed by a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and the power plug.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

Getting inside of this laptop is a bit unorthodox. First, you need to undo two Phillips-head screws located on the back and pull the plastic shroud. After that, undo all 12 Phillips-head screws from the bottom panel, and pry it with a plastic tool. Start from the back and work your way to the front of the laptop.

Now that we’re inside, we see a 45Wh battery pack. It lasts for about 3 hours and 30 minutes of either Web browsing or video playback, which is not a great result. If you want to take it out, unplug the battery connector from the motherboard, and undo all 4 Phillips-head screws that keep it in place.

Remove the metal shroud to access the two SODIMM slots. They work with DDR4 modules and we are pretty confident that you can fit up to 64GB in total. Storage-wise, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots. The 42mm one supports Gen 4 drives, while the 80mm one is limited to Gen 3 SSDs.

The cooling setup comprises two heat pipes that are shared between the CPU and GPU, a third one meant for the processor, a total of four heat sinks, and two fans. Furthermore, there are heat spreaders placed on top of the VRMs and the graphics memory.


Display quality

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) in the configuration we tested has a Full HD 120Hz IPS panel with a model number LEN156FHD (LEN9059). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution is 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 306 nits in the middle of the screen and 293 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6860K – slightly colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1040:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers only 50% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 16 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)’s display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. This provides comfort in extended periods of use.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 50.2 GU).


Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS LEN156FHD (LEN9059).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected].

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/3-series/ideapad-gaming-3-15iah7/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Our configuration is equipped with the smaller 45Wh battery. It lasts for 3 hours and 25 minutes of Web browsing, or 3 hours and 27 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

This laptop comes with a choice of four processors – Core i5-12450H, Core i5-12500H, Core i7-12650H, or Core i7-12700H.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

In terms of graphics, you can pick between the RTX 3050 (85W), RTX 3050 Ti (85W), and RTX 3060 (105W).

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15", 2022) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

Metro ExodusFull HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS103 fps46 fps22 fps

Borderlands 3Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps92 fps63 fps48 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)
Average139 fps85 fps75 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average fps82 fps75 fps65 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i5-12500H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)3.88 GHz @ 3.03 GHz @ 75°C @ 104W3.76 GHz @ 2.93 GHz @ 80°C @ 94W3.16 GHz @ 2.37 GHz @ 70°C @ 66W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)3.77 GHz @ 2.83 GHz @ 75°C @ 98W3.92 GHz @ 3.00 GHz @ 80°C @ 101W2.85 GHz @ 3.07 GHz @ 80°C @ 85W

Here, we saw a more orthodox thermal management from Lenovo, compared to Acer. When the Acer felt it gets too warm, it dropped only the P-core frequency and kept the E-cores pegged at about 3.00 GHz. Respectively, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) lowered the clock speeds of both clusters.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)1910 MHz @ 73°C @ 82W1912 MHz @ 71°C @ 82W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58)2021 MHz @ 70°C @ 94W2009 MHz @ 73°C @ 94W
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (15″, 2021)1885 MHz @ 76°C @ 85W1866 MHz @ 82°C @ 85W
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2021)2004 MHz @ 82°C @ 88W1991 MHz @ 86°C @ 88W
ASUS Vivobook Pro 15 OLED (K3500)1605 MHz @ 69°C @ 49W1610 MHz @ 68°C @ 50W
Dell Vostro 15 75101729 MHz @ 74°C @ 64W1710 MHz @ 78°C @ 65W
ASUS VivoBook Pro 16X OLED (N7600)1576 MHz @ 68°C @ 50W1571 MHz @ 69°C @ 50W
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro (16″)1651 MHz @ 72°C @ 55W1636 MHz @ 75°C @ 55W
HP Victus 16 (16-e0000)1824 MHz @ 73°C @ 75W1814 MHz @ 73°C @ 75W1822 MHz @ 73°C @ 75W
MSI Katana GF661675 MHz @ 73°C @ 60W1660 MHz @ 78°C @ 60W1699 MHz @ 67°C @ 60W

The IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) performs slightly better than its predecessor in this test, while also being a bit worse than the Nitro 5 (AN515-58), which has 10W more to rely on.

Gaming comfort

Long gaming sessions result in high noise levels. The laptop is not too warm on the outside, but you can easily notice it’s getting warmer.


Verdict

Without a doubt, Lenovo has made a huge effort to make its Ideapad Gaming series more appealing to the broad user. The pressure is stepping up, because Acer hasn’t been a slouch either, with the Nitro 5 (AN515-58) also reaching its peak. Quite frankly, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) does not make it easy for us to recommend it.

Reason number one – battery life. We are not sure if there was an issue with our particular device, but since we bought it from a retail store, Lenovo has no headroom for an excuse. Anyways, we are talking about nearly 3 hours and 30 minutes of light use, which is around two hours less than last year. And that comes from the same 45Wh battery pack and a 120Hz 1080p IPS panel.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022)’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, a good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Unfortunately, it covers only 50% of the sRGB color gamut. Although the pixel response times are a bit slow, the 120Hz refresh rate is definitely better than the 60Hz base options from last year. Speaking of options, you can also choose from 1080p or 1440p panels with a 165Hz refresh rate.

Of course, the elephant in the house is the new design. It does look fresh and reminds us of the Legion 5 and 7 series. Interestingly, the disassembly process is similar to that of the Dell G15 5515, as you need to undo a couple of screws located on the back of the laptop.

Essentially, this leads to decent upgrade options with two SODIMM slots for memory expansion and two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage. Here, the smaller of the two supports Gen 4 drives.

Cooling-wise, the situation looks pretty good. Although the RTX 3050 wasn’t able to hit its 85W power budget, it ran pretty close to it, and at a very high frequency. Actually not only was the clock speed higher than last year, but the temperature was also lower by about 10°C in the long run.

It comes without a question that the keyboard is one of the best out there. But not only does it allow you to feel confident and comfortable when you play games, but it also gives you the option to toggle between different performance presets, thanks to the “Fn” + “Q” shortcut. Furthermore, the Lenovo Vantage app lets you overclock the graphics card, which is awesome.

Unfortunately, this is another year of no SD card slot. However, the USB Type-C port from last year is now upgraded to Thunderbolt 4 connector. It is clear that Lenovo has tried to make a difference. It even started shipping its base models with a 170W charger, instead of the problematic 135W unit on the previous generation product.

While we are really happy with the change, we just can’t help but miss the Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-58). It is a superior product in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to build quality. There, the hinges of the IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15″, 2022) completely ruin the experience, as they are quite floppy.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-ideapad-gaming-3i-15-2022/

Pros

  • Great price/performance ratio
  • Great keyboard with an optional RGB backlight
  • 2x SODIMM + 2x M.2 slots (one supports Gen 4 drives)
  • Decent cooling
  • No PWM (LEN156FHD (LEN9059))


Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader
  • Only 50% sRGB coverage (LEN156FHD (LEN9059))
  • Flimsy hinges, resulting in a bouncy lid
  • Terrible battery life

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Pancake
Pancake
1 year ago

i am not agree with Great keyboard pros.

We have done tested in both units (2021 vs 2022) and we found that 2022 version has worse keyboard than 2021 version, since it is much less tactile so less comfortable to type in.

Last edited 1 year ago by Pancake
DAZZA
DAZZA
11 months ago

3 Hours of Battey life. What a joke it won’t last a morning so no taking it to college/School or work.