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Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs 5 (2021): Is There Even A Difference?

While a lot of the laptops these days will burn a huge hole in your pocket, Lenovo proves that doesn’t always have to be the case. Two budget Lenovo models that are worth looking into are the IdeaPad 3 and IdeaPad 5, both of which give the more expensive laptops out there a run for their money. To help you decide between these two affordable models, here’s an in-depth comparison that takes their design, specs, performance, battery, and connectivity into consideration.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs 5 Comparison Chart

ModelLenovo Ideapad 3Lenovo IdeaPad 5
 Lenovo Ideapad 3 81WA00B1US Intel Pentium Gold 6405U Dual Core Processor 4GB RAM 128GB Solid State...Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Laptop: 10th Gen Core i5-1035G1, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6' Full HD IPS Touchscreen
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
ChassisPlasticAluminum
Display Resolution1920 x 1080 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3500UAMD Ryzen 5 4500U
Storage8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage8GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage
Graphics CardRadeon Vega GraphicsRadeon Vega Graphics
Connectivity2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD card reader, HDMI, headphone jack2x USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack
Battery Life7 hours12 hours
Dimensions327.1mm x 241mm x 19.99mm321.57mm x 211.59mm x 16.9mm
Weight3.5lbs3.04lbs

Design and Display

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and 5 are both average in terms of design and screen display.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs 5 design
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (left) and 5 (right) feature very comfortable keyboards.

In this day and age of ultra sleek and stylish laptops, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and 5 look quite plain in comparison. There’s nothing that really makes them stand out although if you’re into simplicity, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. While there’s nothing too exciting going on with them, the IdeaPad 5 does feel slightly more premium. Held together by an aluminum chassis, it’s sturdy and should be able to hold up well even if you lug it around with you everywhere. The IdeaPad 3 sports a plastic chassis which makes it feel cheaper to the touch.

As for display, the IdeaPad 3 and 5 are a little lackluster again although it’s very hard to complain given their accessible price points. There’s not a lot of contrast going on with these two and they’re also not very bright. However, they do have 1920 x 1080 resolutions so at least their displays are sharp. If all you plan to use your laptop for is web browsing and working on spreadsheets and documents, then the Ideapad 3 and 5 should be enough for you. But if you work in the creative field and do a lot of photo editing or graphic design, then you should probably look for a laptop with a better screen display.

One commendable thing about both the IdeaPad 3 and 5 though are their keyboards. Lenovo is known for making their keyboards very comfortable and these models are proof of that. Their chiclet-style keys have a nice tactile feel to them and they make a satisfying clicking sound that’s audible but not too loud. As for their touchpads, they could be bigger although they’re quite responsive and are pleasant to use. Also, the IdeaPad 5 sports a fingerprint reader which is pretty accurate and responds fast.

Specs and Performance

Both the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and 5 can handle multitasking but can only manage casual gaming at most.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs 5 performance
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (left) runs on the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U while the IdeaPad 5 (right) has the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U chip.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and 5 may not be the most stylish of the bunch but they are able to impress with their performance. The IdeaPad 3 runs on the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor while the 5 has the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U chip under its hood. Both laptops have 8GB of RAM, although the IdeaPad 5 has 512GB of SSD storage while the 3 only has 256GB. Differences in specs aside, both of these laptops should be able to handle multitasking and typical workloads just fine. You should be able to have several tabs open at a time or use Photoshop without running into problems.

But given that they are budget laptops, don’t expect the IdeaPad 3 and 5 to excel at gaming. Running on Radeon Vega Graphics, they’re only able to manage casual gaming at most. Games like Fortnite and Minecraft shouldn’t be too much of a problem but anything more complicated than that will be pretty much unplayable. So if you’re an avid gamer, you might want to look into more capable models such as the Lenovo IdeaPad L340.

Battery and Connectivity

The Lenovo Ideapad 5 beats the IdeaPad 3 when it comes to battery life and ports.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 vs 5 connectivity
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 (right) has a USB-C port, a feature that’s missing on the IdeaPad 3 (left).

In terms of connectivity, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and 5 have the basic ports covered. The IdeaPad 3 is equipped with a couple of USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. The IdeaPad 5 has all of these plus a USB-C port which comes in handy given that it’s the most popular way to connect these days. However, the IdeaPad 5 uses the USB-C port to charge so if you’re plugged into a wall, it’s pretty much useless. It definitely would’ve been better if they stuck another USB-C port on it but maybe that’s too much to ask of a budget laptop.

As for battery life, this is where the gap between the IdeaPad 3 and 5 widen a bit more. The IdeaPad 3 definitely struggles in this area, only able to last around 7 and a half hours or so. If you’re planning to work outside the house, don’t forget to bring your charger with you because you’ll need it for sure. As for the IdeaPad 5, it goes beyond what you’d expect from a budget laptop, delivering around 10 to 12 hours of battery life. That should be more than enough to get you through a full day of working or studying. The IdeaPad 5 has its efficient 4500U processor to thank for its longevity.

Verdict

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 wins over the 3 for having a more efficient processor and a much longer battery life.

If you want a high quality laptop but need to stay within a tight budget, both the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 and 5 are able to strike a good balance between affordability and performance. Their plain designs and dull screen displays may leave a lot to be desired but they make up for that by being more powerful than most other laptops in the same price range. That said, if you have some extra money to spare, you might as well go for the IdeaPad 5. It has a more efficient processor which in turn gives way to a much longer battery life.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 a good laptop?

Despite being a budget laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is able to deliver a solid performance. It has a comfortable keyboard and is able to handle multitasking well.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 a good laptop?

Yes. Even though it’s being sold at an affordable price, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 has an efficient processor and an impressive battery life.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one has better battery life, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 or 5?

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 can definitely outlast the IdeaPad 3 in terms of battery. The IdeaPad 5 can last up to 12 hours while the 3 can only manage a little over 7 hours.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one should you buy, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 or 5?

If you have extra money to spare, you might as well go for the Lenovo IdeaPad 5. It has a more premium feel, it features a fingerprint reader, and its battery life is so much dependable.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.