In the $500 price category for laptops, there was a time when customers would have to sacrifice much when having a limited budget for notebooks. At $520, though, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i offers rock-solid hardware that will last you for years with proper maintenance. The 15.6-inch 1080p machine offers a decent build that is plastic all around since, at this price point, you should have realistic expectations of what you are getting for your money.
Underneath the hood is all the magic, as you get an Intel 12th-generation Core i5-1235U, 8GB of DDR4 memory soldered to the mainboard, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe storage. There is a vacant RAM slot, which you can populate later, but we will recommend doing it as soon as possible since the IdeaPad 3i runs Windows 11, and according to user reviews, there is a ton of benefit when increasing your memory. The pre-loaded storage has decent read and write speeds and supports the Gen 3 standard.
The CPU itself offers two high-performance and eight power efficiency ones, resulting in significant improvements in multi-threaded workloads. The additional cores are definitely a step-up from Intel’s 11th-generation lineup, and you can also squeeze out a little battery life with the in-built 48WHr cell, though your mileage will vary. Access to the internal hardware is easy too. As for ports, there is a decent assortment of I/O that includes two USB-A ports (one USB 3.2 and one 2.0), an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and an audio jack.
You can also chat with colleagues or friends on the 720p HD camera that also comes with dual microphones and Smart Noise Canceling. When your call is finished, just slide the physical shutter over the webcam to ensure your privacy. For completing basic tasks, a little browsing, streaming, or media consumption, Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3i will be your perfect daily driver, but since this is a limited-time deal, we will advise readers to pick it up as soon as they are able.