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Review: A House Without a View Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 2021

Portable computing is not wanton spending anymore, it’s basically a requirement and requires careful deliberation. With the laptop market chock full of companies and laptop models, it’s difficult to filter through the noise. Even more difficult is finding a laptop that doesn’t break the bank while working without problems. While searching for the best laptops under Rs 50,000 for our recent YouTube video, I found the Ideapad Slim 3, an affordable offering from Lenovo. The Ideapad series has garnered a ton of praise over the years, and this laptop looked impressive enough for me to order it and try it out. But does the Ideapad Slim 3 perform as per expectations and is it actually worth the Rs 45,000 price tag? Well, I have been test-driving the Slim 3 for a few days and this is what I think.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 (82KU017KIN) Review

I will be dividing this review into different categories based on the different aspects of this laptop. Depending on what you are looking out for, use the table below to skip to the necessary section.

Table of Contents 

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3: Specs Sheet

Before we begin with the review, you should know about the hardware under the hood. Check out the specifications of the Ideapad Slim 3:

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Design and Build Quality

With the clue in the name, it’s obvious that Lenovo has tried to incorporate a design that’s slim, lightweight, and modern at the same time. And for the most part, the laptop succeeds at that. The Ideapad Slim 3 is dominated by design choices that make it clear that you’re getting a work/ casual-use laptop. Even though it has decent gaming performance (more on that later), there are no gamery aspects here that may indicate the same.

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The build quality of the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 itself is plastic that covers the entirety. The A-panel (lid) of the laptop is a grey-themed non-descript one with a brushed metal look (you can’t feel the texture, though). While there is no texture on this smooth lid, there is a small and iridescent Lenovo logo on the top right. And I like this minimal logo, which lets people know what brand laptop I have, without being in the face and too loud. Unlike some laptops that separate the lid from the hinge on the outer part, the entire panel here is a single construction that sports rounded corners.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 (2021) Review: A House Without a View

The bottom of the laptop follows the same standard design, albeit with a darker and matte shade of grey. It is here the Ideapad Slim 3 has its standard rubber feet, along with a criss-cross singular vent for ventilation. The side profiles of the laptop lend it the same slim look you would expect. While it’s naturally thicker near the display, it starts to sharpen out as your eyes approach the front.

Opening up the laptop reveals the interiors, which more or less follow the same Lenovo-esque design I am used to. The U-shaped keyboard caps look nice enough with their matte color while the trackpad feels a bit smaller compared to the overall space. Interestingly, the Lenovo logo is in the exact same place inside as on the outside, which is neat.

The display of the laptop itself has some prominent bezels, which you might notice from time to time. I wish the bezels would have been smaller to make the Ideapad Slim more fitting to its name. The bottom of the hinge connects well enough to the laptop and also sports two outlet vents beneath.

The build quality of the laptop is a bit above average in totality. There is a decent amount of flex in various areas, including the A panel, keyboard, and the hinge, which while not obvious is something I noticed from time to time. Speaking of the hinge, the laptop does feature a 160-degree display, which is a bit odd but still convenient. It also has an indentation to open the laptop with one hand, but you can’t really do that without toppling over the bottom.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 (2021) Review: A House Without a View

Finally, in portability, the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 is actually lightwight at 1.6Kgs. I found myself easily picking up the laptop and going from one place to another to work. The lightweight also helps when the machine is in your lap, and as you feel it’s less of a brick. Fortunately, the 65W round tip charge matches the same aesthetic and is easy to carry around.

The Ideapad Slim 3 is a laptop that does not come with the best build quality but manages to have enough durability and more than enough portability, all in a single machine. Further, working professionals and students can easily lug this laptop around without it standing out or bogging them down.

Display

The display is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of a laptop. You’re going to spend most of your time in front of it, doing your work, watching movies, and more. Unfortunately, the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 falls short of this crucial checkbox. To list the numbers, the laptop carries a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) display with a 60Hz refresh rate. Sadly, you get a TN panel at this price, even though machines like Asus Vivobook OLED come with much better displays in the same price bracket. The peak brightness of 250 nits is also low for me.

Since the Ideapad Slim 3 has a TN panel, it also without a doubt has insufferable viewing angles. While working on this laptop, tilting the display even 5 degrees up or down ruined the entire experience. The display, at certain angles, had all the colors washed out and it was difficult to see the content, while in other cases, it looked just really oversaturated. I had the same experience with side angles with almost nothing being visible. While I can argue for TN panels and their high response time, this laptop is not meant for high-tier gaming, and the display was not designed for such use cases.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 (2021) Review: A House Without a View

Another problem I had with the laptop was the peak brightness of 250 nits. As someone who likes his display bright, I am used to at least 300 nits of power in the panel that can get me through the day. The Ideapad Slim 3’s display, on the other hand, boasts a brightness that feels low for my liking. I found myself unconsciously hitting the brightness-up button often, even though it was at the maximum setting. This sadly put another dent in my experience.

However, not everything is gloomy here, as the laptop does pack a decent amount of color accuracy. Throughout my time watching a variety of shows and videos, the colors seemed punchy enough and did not look washed out, provided the display was at the right angle. The black tonality of the display is also good enough with some greying here and there in dark shots. There is naturally no HDR here as this is an SDR display so I didn’t go into the laptop expecting that.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3 (2021) Review: A House Without a View

However, if you’re a daily joe not concerned about any of that, you will be glad to know the display is sharp enough for your day-to-day work. The text appears sharp and legible without problems, and I could go on working long hours. Thankfully, Lenovo has also a special Eye-Care mode that filters out blue light. However, you can always use Windows Night Light for the same purpose.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 3’s display is something that could have been amazing. Decent color accuracy along with sharp details are plus points that work for this laptop. However, the constant song and dance to get the display in that sweet angle is something that irked me. If you are the type of user who sets their screen at an angle and forgets about it, go ahead with this purchase. However, if you’re anything like me and move it around constantly, chances are, you won’t like it.

Performance

The Ideapad Slim 3 packs an AMD Ryzen 5500U chip along with Radeon Graphics. You also have a 4+4GB DDR4 RAM combination clocked in at 3200Mhz. However, do note that one module is soldered, so minus points for upgradeability here. To add insult to injury, the laptop only shows the total RAM as 5.8 GB instead of at least close to 7 GB, which is a drawback (More on this below). For storage, you get a 512 GB PCIe 3.0 SSD.

Since the laptop does come with a decent set of hardware components, including a Radeon chip that just might be able to do some casual gaming, I figured to divide this performance section into a few sub-sections. My testing consisted of daily usage, benchmarks for metrics, and finally, a spot of gaming for the casual gamers out there. Scroll through below to your needed part.

Daily Usage

When it comes to my daily workflow, my average usage consists of around 8-10 tabs of Google Chrome with a video playing combined with software like an image editor in the background. While not the heaviest demand, this workflow gives a modest amount of load on the PC and forces it to kick it up just a notch.

The results of my usage of this laptop were a mixed bag. Right off the bat, the Ryzen 5500U inside the Ideapad Slim 3 held its own ground. Multitasking through the browser and various other apps hardly put a strain on this machine. The total utilization stood around at around 15-20%, hence, giving it a lot of room to gallop.

CPU and RAM usage

However, the low amount of RAM turned out to be the biggest enemy here. While the CPU had a lot of room to perform even more tasks, the RAM was 90% used and was on the brim. I opened a few more tabs the usage shot up to 95% and that was when I started to encounter lag.

However, a big point to note here is that the low amount of RAM is intentional, as Lenovo has dedicated 2GB of the memory to the AMD Integrated graphics for GPU VRAM. While you can tone this allocation down from the BIOS in Windows 11 and gain back the RAM, folks without intricate technical know-how will be left at a disadvantage.

Hence the default bottlenecking hampered my experience a bit. While I was confident in the 5500U’s abilities to handle the heavy load, the low RAM forced me to put on the brakes and not do intense multitasking. Having said that, however, I do realize most folks aren’t looking to use the Ideapad Slim 3 in ISRO’s mainframe. So if you’re a user who wants to put a moderate amount of stress on the laptop, the Ideapad Slim 3 will do.

Benchmarks

Benchmarks can always come in handy when you want a numerical idea of where your hardware stands compared to others in the market. To give you the data for the Ideapad Slim 3, I decided to run Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, and Crystal Disk Mark. Here’s what I found.