Earlier this year, we got to test out a laptop that’s powered by the new Intel Core i7-12700H, and now, we’re checking out the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15IAH7), a laptop that packs a 12th Gen i5-12500H CPU.
Intel’s 12th gen CPU line for laptops presents a significant step up in performance and efficiency compared to the previous generation. And aside from packing a processor in this family, the new IdeaPad Gaming 3 also has an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6. Plus, the laptop’s screen is a fast 300Hz refresh rate display, meaning it should be great for playing your favorite esports titles.
Now, the laptop is great on paper, but we still had to test it out before we can give our verdict. After all, while the i7-12700H is a great processor, we have yet to test out the 12th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU.
Based on the specs and the price, the new IdeaPad Gaming laptop should be a great pick. But does it deliver in our actual gaming and day to day tests? Here’s our review!
To start, let’s take a look at the laptop’s design. This new Lenovo IdeaPad has a sleek and subtle design that’s not like Lenovo’s Legion laptops which have more aggressive “gamer” looks. Instead, this laptop won’t stand out in an office or in a cafe thanks to its low-profile look. It’s Lenovo branding is also quite tiny compared to other notebooks.
Though upon closer inspection, it does have some aggressive angles that hint at its gaming prowess. There’s also a blue-colored strip on its air vents at the back.
Personally, I like this design as I prefer a gaming laptop that doesn’t scream “gamer” in terms of design. Though if you want something more eye-catching, the new IdeaPad is at least a good canvas for putting lots of stickers on, especially as its cover is quite plain.
As for weight, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i won’t be as portable as slimmer lifestyle laptops, but for the most part, it’s easy to bring wherever if you have the right backpack for it. Plus, even if it has a 15.6-inch screen, the slim bezels mean the laptop itself is not that big.
As for I/O, this laptop packs 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Ethernet (RJ-45), 1x USB-C, 1x Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm), and 1x Power connector. This I/O configuration is not bad, and I like the fact that the other ports are on the back as it makes for easier cable management.
Though I wish that there was at least another USB-A and USB-C port as having only two and one of each, respectively can be a bit limiting. A microSD card reader also would’ve been nice, but this isn’t a major dealbreaker.
Binge Watching Factor
While some laptops suffer when it comes to binge-watching, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i shouldn’t disappoint most users. I was satisfied with the viewing experience when I used the laptop to watch some movies and shows as the colors are good for an LCD screen. Plus the side bezels helped for a more immersive viewing experience.
Though one thing to note is that the display is not that bright. When indoors with fluorescent lighting, I had to put the display’s brightness to over 50%. This means you’ll have to crank it up even more if you’re using the laptop somewhere with a lot of natural light.
For audio, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i has stereo speakers that are not bad for casual listening or short video viewing. In a pinch, the speakers can provide adequate audio. Of course, for the best experience when gaming or when watching movies, having external speakers or headphones is a must.
Pro Gaming Controls
As the laptop packs a 15.6-inch screen, it has enough space to fit in a full-size backlit keyboard with a dedicated number pad, all without sacrificing individual key size and spacing. For typing, I found the keyboard to feel comfortable and to have a nice tactile feel.
The same can also be said for gaming as this laptop is satisfying and comfortable to game on. In fact, for its class, it might have one of my favorite keyboards in a gaming laptop.
For the trackpad, it worked well enough when I tried it out, but even for general use, I’d recommend a mouse for a more comfortable user experience.
As mentioned above, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i is powered by an Intel Core i5-12500H paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6. Even before trying it out, we had high expectations for it, especially for esports titles. Though we were concerned with the laptop’s performance given this specific configuration only comes with 8GB of RAM.
Despite the 8GB of RAM, the laptop was able to run the games we tested smoothly. Even newer triple A games ran surprisingly well. Though these games were tested with no other program open and with the following settings:
- Dota 2 – Max Settings
- Overwatch 2 – Epic Settings
- Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection – Medium with AMD FSR 2 Quality Mode
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Medium with DLSS Quality Mode
- Control – Medium with DLSS Quality Mode
As you can see, both Dota 2 and Overwatch ran smoothly at around the 90FPS mark on average, even at max settings at 1080p.
Meanwhile, the triple-A titles we tried also ran surprisingly well, though these were only able to run smoothly at above 60FPS at Medium with DLSS or AMD FSR on. Thankfully, even if the RTX 3050 is GPU for more budget-friendly laptops, the fact that its an RTX GPU means it supports NVIDIA DLSS which can make select games run more smoothly.
Now, here are the synthetic benchmark scores of the laptop:
Given these scores, it’s fair to say that the laptop should be capable of content creation workloads. While it may not be a true professional workstation replacement, it should get the job done for editing videos and other creative tasks.
Even if it worked well for gaming despite the 8GB RAM, getting a RAM upgrade to 16GB is a a must. Especially if you want to open other programs while playing, and for a smoother experience overall.
Given its great gaming capability, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i also did not disappoint for daily use. Again, even with just 8GB of RAM, the laptop performed smoothly for daily tasks. Of course, you may find the RAM to be too low if you’re fond of having tons of browser tabs open.
While its performance did not disappoint, its battery life isn’t the best. In our test of running a 2 and 1/2 hour movie at 50% brightness and volume, the laptop ended that run with around 45% battery remaining. This isn’t too bad for a gaming laptop, though it’s not as good as the i7-12700H-powered laptop we tried (but that’s likely less about the processor and more about the differences between the laptops).
This means if you want something that you can work on for hours on end, the IdeaPad Gaming might not be the best option. Though if your main focus is gaming, this new Lenovo laptop should still be a good option.
Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i is a good laptop if you need something that can play today’s popular esports titles at max settings and modern triple-A games at medium, all while having a price tag that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
While its battery life is not the best, this new Lenovo gaming laptop is well worth considering if you’re in the market for a more affordable gaming notebook. Though if you do get one, consider getting a RAM upgrade to at least 16GB.
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (15IAH7) specs:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-12500H
- Installed Memory: 8GB
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS 300nits Anti-glare, 165Hz
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1
- 1x HDMI 2.0
- 1x Ethernet (RJ-45)
- 1x Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
- 1x Power connector
- Price: PHP 59,995 (current price in select retailers)