What do you get when you have a Lenovo gaming laptop that’s too underpowered to join its Legion (lineup of machines)? “Ideapad Gaming,” apparently. The IdeaPad line is usually seen as a somewhat budget-oriented approach to the ThinkPad, but it’s actually played host to a secondary gaming sub-brand since at least Intel’s 9th generation of processors was around. But now that Intel’s 12th generation mobile chips are here, Ideapad Gaming is getting a refresh, including a new look. These are still budget machines, apparently so much so that they can’t quite reach official Legion status, but now they’re much more in tune with the rest of Lenovo’s gaming devices.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Ideapad Gaming 3/3i 15-inch||Ideapad Gaming 3/3i 16-inch|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 6800H or up to 12th Gen Intel Core i7||AMD Ryzen 7 6800H or up to 12th Gen Intel Core i7|
|GPU||Up to RTX 3050 Ti (AMD) or Up to RTX 3060 (Intel)||Up to RTX 3050 Ti (AMD) or Up to RTX 3060 (Intel)|
|Memory||Up to 32GB-3200||Up to 32GB DDR4-3200|
|Storage||Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD||Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 (AMD), Up to WQHD (Intel), IPS, 165 Hz, 16:9||16 inch, Up to WQHD+, IPS, 165 Hz, 16:10|
|Starting Price||Starting at $929 (AMD)||Starting at $1,139 (AMD) Starting at $1,489 (Intel)|
|Starting at $989 (Intel)|
|NA Release Date||May 2022 (AMD)||June 2022|
|April 2022 (Intel)||Row 8 - Cell 2|
Lenovo’s sticking with the “Ideapad Gaming 3” name for this refresh, although there are separate Intel and AMD models with slight differences. Intel versions, for instance, have a “3i” moniker and have slightly higher specs at the cost of higher price tags. There are also two different sizes available, so you can choose between a 15 inch and 16 inch machine.
The size of your laptop won’t affect any specs aside from the display, although it will determine your machine’s color. While the 15 inch laptops have both gray and white options, the 16 inch ones only come in gray.
The two key additions here are an upgrade to the latest generation of processors (12th Gen Core for Intel and Ryzen 6000 series for AMD) and RTX graphics cards. This will be the Ideapad’s first time with RTX GPUs, although the options here max out at the RTX 3050 Ti for AMD and RTX 3060 for Intel.
Aside from those upgrades, the 16-inch version of this laptop also boasts a 16:10 screen, while the 15 inch one sticks to the tried-and-true 16:9 aspect ratio. For productivity, we tend to prefer 16:10, although it’s arguable how useful it is on a gaming laptop. Regardless of size, most Ideapad Gaming 3 models come with up to a WQHD resolution. The one exception is the AMD model of the 15- inch Gaming 3, which maxes out at an FHD resolution.
Of course, there’s also a new look here that mimics what you’ll find on a Legion gaming laptop. Most notably, the screen sits slightly forward from the laptop’s backside.
With that in mind, it’s probably best to think of these laptops as “Legion Lite” machines, regardless of what Lenovo tells you. They won’t be able to compete with the proper Legion brand, but they sit well above anything Ideapad Gaming has released before.
If you’re in the market for low-end RTX GPUs and are still being shut out by the low stock in the desktop scene, these laptops will be a good place to look when they release from April to June of this year, with prices ranging from $929 to $1,439.
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Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.