A $379 Windows Laptop – Lenovo’s Ideapad Slim 3i Review

As the year winds down, we’ll be seeing more and more laptops getting reduced in price ahead of holidays. I came across this Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i the other day that is currently selling for $379 at B&H (compensated affiliate link). For those on a budget, this 15.6-inch display laptop seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck. Lenovo let us borrow the laptop for this review.

The first thing that struck me about the IdeaPad Slim 3i was its display. While it’s not tailored for creators seeking impeccable color accuracy, the matte finish IPS 1080p panel with 300 nits of brightness is impressive for its price. The review loaner they sent us was equipped with a touch display as well, but I’m not sure if all configurations at this price point will have one.

Under the hood, the laptop is powered by an Intel i3-1315U processor with 8 GB of RAM. A potential downside is that the RAM isn’t upgradeable, which might limit some high-end tasks. Storage-wise, it boasts a 256 GB NVMe SSD, which can be upgraded if needed.

In terms of build, the laptop is predominantly plastic, which means it lacks the polish of pricier Lenovo models. It’s not a 2-in-1, and the display can be a tad wobbly. Weighing in at 3.57 lbs, it’s also on the heavier side vs. more expensive devices. Battery life is decent, clocking in at around 6 to 8 hours, depending on usage.

It does have a backlit keyboard, which is a pleasant surprise for a laptop in this price range. The inclusion of a number pad is a bonus, although the number keys are slightly smaller than the letter keys. The trackpad, however, feels a bit springy and doesn’t match the quality of Lenovo trackpads found on their mid-range and premium devices.

In terms of connectivity, the laptop offers a decent array of ports, including USB-A HDMI port, and a full-service USB-C port. The USB-C port can also deliver power to the laptop if using a docking station. Additionally, there’s a headphone jack, a full-size SD card slot, and another USB-A port on the other side. For added security, a fingerprint reader is integrated for biometrics.

The 720p webcam is serviceable but not spectacular. It struggled slightly with LED lighting, but it’s adequate for basic video calls. A manual shutter allows users to block the lens when not in use, ensuring privacy.

Performance-wise, the laptop handles basic tasks with ease. Websites load quickly, and videos stream smoothly. However, when it comes to more demanding tasks like video editing, the limited RAM becomes a bottleneck. Gaming performance is decent for less demanding titles, but newer, resource-intensive games might pose a challenge.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i offers a mix of pros and cons. Its display and keyboard are standout features, but the non-upgradeable RAM is a limitation. For those on a tight budget, it’s a viable option, but it’s essential to weigh the trade-offs.