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A great gaming laptop: the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i: i5-11300H, GTX 1650 (2024)

My thoughts on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s performance, gaming experience, developer productivity and battery life
Marquee Thatcher

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


January 2, 2024


Last year I bought the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i for both work (coding) and gaming. I need a machine that can keep up without costing a fortune, and this laptop seems like a pretty good fit so far. Below is my experience with its features, performance, and overall value.


Property Value Property Value
Brand Lenovo Model Name Lenovo Ideapad
Screen Size 15.6 Inches Color Black
Hard Disk Size 512 GB CPU Model Intel Core i5
Ram Memory Installed Size 16 GB Operating System Windows 10 Home
Special Feature Backlit Keyboard Graphics Card Description Dedicated


Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Initial Impressions and Performance

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When I first got the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, the specs had me excited—packed with an Intel Core i5-11300H processor and boosted up to 16GB of memory, it was poised to handle my gaming and development needs. The trade-off between power and price seemed balanced, as I wasn’t looking to break the bank for a solid performance laptop. Here’s a rundown of the key features that caught my attention:

  • Processor: Agile and capable with 3.10 GHz base speed and can turbo up to 4.40 GHz.

  • Memory: 16GB RAM seems ample for multitasking and demanding apps.

  • Storage: The 512GB NVMe SSD versus an HDD was a welcomed modern touch.

  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 ensures more demanding games are playable.

  • Display: A 15.6” Full HD screen, perfect size for gaming and productivity.

  • Ports: Ample connectivity with USB 3.1 and USB-C, HDMI, and RJ-45.

  • Operating System: Came with Windows 10, but upgraded to Windows 11 smoothly.

  • Special Features: Backlit keyboard adds a premium feel and utility in low light.

However, I noticed the battery life tends to drain quickly when unplugged. This is a drawback for me as it means less mobility, but for a gaming laptop at this price point, some sacrifices are expected.

Out of the box, I faced some issues—the HDMI output wasn’t working properly and showed video artifacts during high-motion scenes. It was frustrating, but after finding and installing those ‘hidden’ Windows updates, the issue resolved itself. It’s a reminder to always keep your system updated, even if it requires a bit of digging through the settings.

From a developer’s perspective, this machine boots up incredibly fast and deals with code compilation without breaking a sweat, which is crucial for my .NET development work. Plus, the SSD means applications load in a snap.

I’ve been using it for a few months now, and the IdeaPad Gaming 3i still impresses with its consistent performance. The gaming capability, considering the affordability, is substantial. The fact that it can smoothly run games like “Doom Eternal” without any hiccups is proof of its reliable performance.

There were some apprehensions when I encountered customer service for a display issue. It’s uncomfortable realizing you might have to wait weeks for a resolution, and the possibility of quickly running out of warranty is concerning. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end.

All in all, despite some initial setbacks and battery life concerns, I would still endorse the IdeaPad Gaming 3i. Its combination of gaming and developing proficiency at this price range makes it a worthy contender. Just be prepared for possible troubleshooting out-of-the-box and keep in mind the battery limitations when you’re away from an outlet.

Gaming Experience on the IdeaPad Gaming 3i

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Diving straight into the gaming capabilities of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, the specs certainly look promising for a mid-range gaming laptop. Here’s a quick rundown of the features that stand out:

  • The Intel Core i5-11300H processor, while not the top of the line, delivers solid performance for gaming and multitasking. It clocks up to 4.40 GHz which translates to smooth gameplay on most games.

  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM is ample for keeping those pesky game lag spikes at bay and allows for efficient multitasking.

  • With a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, gaming visuals are sharp, and the 4GB of dedicated memory certainly gives it a leg up when running graphic-intensive titles.

  • A 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD ensures quick game load times and swift system responsiveness, a noticeable upgrade from traditional HDDs.

As for the actual gaming experience, I’ve thrown a variety of titles at this machine, ranging from Doom Eternal to R-Type Final 2, and it’s handled them with considerable ease. The 15.6” Full HD IPS Anti-glare display provides clear and vibrant visuals, which is essential for immersive gaming. The 1920 x 1080 screen resolution is the standard for most games and it does the job.

On the downside, like with many gaming laptops, battery life is a bit of a sore spot. The IdeaPad Gaming 3i isn’t immune to this common issue; the battery drains rather quickly when gaming unplugged. This is somewhat expected due to the high-spec components, but it’s something to bear in mind for those marathon gaming sessions away from a power outlet.

Connectivity is pretty versatile, with a good number of ports including USB-C and HDMI 2.0, which is great for connecting to external displays or gaming peripherals. The Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support also ensure fast and reliable wireless connections.

One remarkable aspect I’ve noticed is how efficient this laptop handles development work and gaming simultaneously. Whether it’s coding in Visual Studio Code or having multiple tabs open, this machine doesn’t break a sweat.

The laptop, dressed in an understated black, harbors a professional look that doesn’t scream “gaming”, making it suitable for different environments. The backlit keyboard is a nice touch, providing visibility during late-night gaming sessions.

Here’s a quick summary:


  • Solid gaming performance

  • Fast SSD

  • Good selection of ports

  • Professional look with a backlit keyboard


  • Battery life could be better

In essence, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i provides a good balance between gaming performance and value. It’s not perfect—the battery life being a notable drawback—but for the price, it’s a worthy contender for those who want a gaming laptop that doesn’t break the bank.

Portable Productivity for Developers

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In the world of software development and casual gaming, finding a machine that balances performance with portability isn’t always easy. The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i stakes its claim in this niche, and from my experience, it largely delivers what it promises. Here’s a rundown of what makes this laptop a solid pick for someone like me, who dabbles in .NET development and enjoys some gaming on the side:

  • Processor: With an Intel Core i5-11300H CPU that ramps up to 4.40 GHz, it’s snappy and capable of handling compiling tasks and IDEs smoothly.

  • RAM: The 16GB of RAM is ample for running multiple applications without significant slowdown.

  • Storage: The 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD ensures that boot times are quick and file transfers are speedy.

  • Display: The 15.6” Full HD IPS Anti-glare screen is crisp, making long coding sessions less of a strain on the eyes and also providing decent color and clarity for gaming.

  • Keyboard: A backlit keyboard is a boon for those late-night coding or gaming sessions, and the feedback on the keys is suitable for both typing and gaming.

On top of these, the dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card allows for a decent gaming experience on titles that aren’t the latest AAA games, but still demand more than integrated graphics can provide. Moreover, the assortment of ports, including USB-C and HDMI, make connectivity with external monitors and peripherals a breeze.

From a developer perspective, it’s a pleasure to work with. The system boots up fast, the code compiles quickly, and there’s hardly any lag when I multitask with heavy applications.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. I noticed the battery life tends to drain quickly when unplugged, which isn’t ideal for on-the-go usage unless you’re near a power source. While this may be a downside for some, in my setup where power outlets are readily available, it’s a compromise I can live with.

I did encounter some trouble with HDMI output initially—thankfully a couple of updates resolved the issue. It’s a reminder that keeping drivers up-to-date is key to maintaining performance, especially with gaming laptops.

All things considered, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i strikes a competent balance as a developer-friendly and gaming-capable laptop. It meets the needs of my dual worlds - coding and gaming - without the high-end price tag. Granted, it’s not perfect, but for someone who values flexibility, power, and value, it’s been a solid companion thus far.

Long-Term Reliability and Battery Life Concerns

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Having spent a good deal of time with the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, I’ve come to appreciate its strengths and also recognize its few shortcomings. As someone who uses their laptop for both work and play, these factors weigh heavily in determining the long-term value of the device.

Key Factors to Consider for Long-Term Use:

  • Battery Life: The battery life on this laptop isn’t its strongest suit. Under heavy use, especially when gaming or running development software, the battery drains rather quickly. When unplugged, I find myself keeping a vigilant eye on the battery percentage, which isn’t ideal for long gaming sessions or when working on-the-go.

  • Durability: Over time, how will this laptop hold up? The Lenovo brand carries with it a reputation for reliability, but only time will tell if this particular model maintains its performance after extended use.

  • Warranty Concerns: The initial warranty period felt a bit short, and while there’s an option for an extended warranty, it’s an added cost. It’s important to note that any technical problems should be addressed as soon as possible within the warranty period to avoid additional charges.

The IdeaPad Gaming 3i has been a steadfast companion, and the Intel Core i5-11300H processor along with the 16GB of RAM is a match made in heaven for the multitasking demands of both my gaming and development needs. Smooth performance is the name of the game, and this laptop delivers.

However, the battery life could be a dealbreaker for those who frequently travel or work in places where power outlets are scarce. My advice? Always carry your charger and scout out for those power sockets when you’re on the move.

In terms of long-term reliability, I am cautiously optimistic. The build quality feels solid, and Lenovo’s customer service, despite the hiccups in the beginning, has proven responsive. I’m hopeful that their service continues to match the quality of their hardware.

In conclusion, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i offers an impressive balance between performance and affordability. It’s a well-rounded machine that suits my dual life as a gamer and developer. While I do have some concerns about battery life and how the device will fare in terms of durability over the years, the positives such as speed and graphics capability make it a contender in its price range. Here’s hoping for many more months—or even years—of a smooth-sailing tech experience with my new mobile command center.