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[Review] Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS): HD? Seriously?

                        Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS): Review

Pros
  • Sleek, ultrabook design
  • Intel Core i5 quad-core processor
  • SSD storage
  • Wi-Fi 5 wireless connectivity
Cons
  • No SD card slot
  • Does not have a backlit keyboard
Finding the perfect laptop is always an issue of striking the perfect balance between what we're willing to pay and what we can't live without. Lenovo, as a premier laptop manufacturer, is very much aware of this and that's why it has managed to conquer a huge market share thanks to its extremely diverse and price-sensitive lineup. 

Having said that, today we're here to tackle a model aimed at powerusers who care more about processing power than they do about other features such as aesthetics or screen resolution. We're talking about the Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS), a model that has managed to accrue stellar reviews thanks to its blazing fast performance, portable design and generous battery life. Without further ado, let's get on with this review and see what Lenovo is hiding under the hood with this one. 




Index


Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS) Overview Specs


Make model Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS)
Dimensions 14.26 x 9.98 x 0.78 inches
Weight 4.07 pounds
Panel LED | Touch | 15.6 inch
Resolution HD (1366 x 768 pixels)
Processor Intel Core i5-1035G1 (4 cores up to 3.60 GHz)
RAM 12GB (DDR4)
Graphic Controller Intel UHD Graphics
Storage 256 GB (SSD)
Battery 2 cells (Lithium)
Operating system Windows 10 Home in S mode
Connectivity Wi-Fi 5 
Bluetooth 5.0 
USB-A 2.0 
USB-A 3.2 (x2) 
HDMI 
Audio combo connector 
SD card reader 
HD webcam 
Digital microphone


Who's it for?


This laptop is the perfect option for powerhouse professionals looking for a notebook to get the job done - assuming said job doesn't require heavy graphics or a Full HD display -. 

It's a good option for students, intensive multitaskers, software developers who work on CPU-intensive tasks, teachers, digital marketers and everyone in between. Basically, as long as you don't require a Full HD display or a dedicated graphics card then this laptop is sure to fit your needs. 

It's also got a respectable battery life which makes it all the more useful for those looking for a laptop to carry around everywhere they go. 



Design

Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS): Core i5 ultrabook with touchscreen, SSD and Wi-Fi 5 connection
Featuring an elegant platinum gray tone on both its external cover and work area, the chassis of this notebook boasts that solid and professional look that is very up to date with the current laptop design standards. It's also a very discreet and minimalist design, perfect for work or class. 

In this sense, it should be noted that its thickness of 0.78 inches and low weight of 4.07 pounds will allow it to easily fit into your backpack, making it so that taking it with you everywhere you go will be a non-issue compared to other 15-inch models in the market.

Keyboard and Trackpad

It's no secret that Lenovo has one of the best keyboards and trackpads in the business within the ThinkPad lineup. The IdeaPad 3 81WE00NKUS doesn't exactly measure up to such a standard but it's still very good when compared to other manufacturers keyboards, with a comfortable key travel distance and a very assertive typing experience that will adapt to both visual and touch-typists. 

Having said that, if there's one thing we'd improve upon here is making it a backlit keyboard, not really sure how Lenovo left that out. As for the trackpad, it's ample and mechanical with a comfortable overall experience when doing numerous gestures. I mean, it's not like the new MacBook Air's trackpad but then again that's setting the bar pretty high and like comparing apples to oranges - pun intended -.

Display

In addition to boasting slim side bezels -as is the unwritten rule these days -, the built-in LED display is energy efficient and features touch technology to make it even easier for you to interact with the OS.

If there's one thing we're not fans of is the fact that it comes with a standard HD definition display. This would've been fine a couple of years ago. However, these days the norm is for a Full HD display so while we appreciate having a touchscreen the lack of a Full HD resolution could definietly be a deal-breaker for some users. 

On that point we would definietly urge you to consider an alternative such as the recently reviewed Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US which also features a touchscreen - it's actually a convertible - yet elevates the resolution to Full HD while also delivering 16 GB of RAM instead of 12 and delivers a lighter form-factor than the 81WE00NKUS.
Taking a look under the hood, the Ideapad 3 81WE00NKUS is backed by Intel and its 10th generation mid-range processor, Core i5-1035G1, featuring 4 real cores (up to 3.50 GHz) and 8 virtual cores provided by HyperThreading technology. .

This chipset is complemented by a 6 MB smart cache, a 15W TDP as well as 12 GB RAM memory, operating under the DDR4 architecture at 2666 MHz to guarantee a wider bandwidth and, consequently, a better multitasking performance.

In terms of storage, we should highlight the implementation of a 256 GB SSD unit. If you come from a hard-drive laptop - probably the case if you haven't updated in 4 years - then you'll see the difference between the two storage formats as a night and day situation. 

Specifically, you'll experience a drastic reduction in waiting times from day one, by performing tasks as varied as: turning on the laptop (under 10 seconds), accessing your applications and files, transferring heavy data and rendering design and editing projects.

In short, this set of components is aimed at those who seek to perform tasks of medium-high demand with total ease (programming, virtualization, CAD design and non-professional photo and video editing), without neglecting the typical computing tasks (office automation, mail, social media management, video calls, streaming videos, etc.)

Ultimately, the fact that it doesn't come with a dedicated graphics card is compensated by featuring a solid processor and enough RAM to offer powerusers the option to work on multiple programs at a time without having to compromise on speed or performance. Ergo, it's a laptop we would recommend if you don't mind the lower screen resolution and you want to work on multiple programs at a time yet your budget is tight. 

Ports and Connectivity

We continue in a section on connections that, in the absence of a USB-C input, offers us the typical USB-A 2.0 and USB-A 3.0  (x2) inputs to connect our peripherals, an SD slot and an HDMI output for external monitors.

In addition, you have a 3.5 mm jack for headphones and microphones, a webcam with HD resolution for video calls, Bluetooth 5.0 technology to pair wireless peripherals and Wi-Fi 5 operating under high-speed 5 GHz networks.

Finally, we should point out that this notebook mounts a pair of 1.5W speakers , to complement your multimedia entertainment moments, with Dolby Audio sound to guarantee a more immersive experience, whenever you connect an external solution.

Autonomy/Battery life

Battery life on this model has mixed reviews with some users claiming 7 hours and other users criticizing this very feature as one of the standout flaws of this laptop. 

Specifically, this model packs a 2-cell battery and depending on your usage your battery life will vary but you should expect anywhere between 3-5 hours under normal conditions. This isn't ideal but if you're aiming for battery life we would again urge you to look at the convertible linked above. 


Wrapping up: Is the Lenovo Ideapad 3 (81WE00NKUS) worth buying?

To wrap up this review of the 81WE00NKUS  we can see that this model isn't without its faults, mainly an HD display and a flaky battery life. If you don't mind these cons then this is a great laptop with enough RAM and processing power to satisfy the most demanding users. Though obviously it's not recommended for graphically intensive tasks either as it doesn't have a dedicated graphics card. 

For students, professionals and anyone who's looking for a touchscreen laptop to work and play this is a great and very competitive option that won't dissapoint as long as you're aware of its aformentioned limitations.