The cheapest Intel Core i3 laptop right now targets business users

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15-inch laptop - $299.99 from BestBuy

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15-inch laptop - $299.99 from BestBuy
An Intel Core i3 processor means you're getting plenty of bang for your buck with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3, and its microphone set-up and fast charge facility make it an excellent choice for remote workers too.

The Core i3 processor remains a seriously under-appreciated component, tucked between the Pentium range and the more expensive Core i5 series. It packs a powerful punch, as it shares plenty of higher end features with its more expensive brethren.

The most affordable laptop that carries an Intel Core i3 processor right now is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 (81WE011UUS) which, at just under $300 from BestBuy, costs less than many inferior AMD A9-powered devices while delivering a far smoother experience.

At the heart of this Lenovo laptop is an Intel Core i3-1005G, a dual-core processor with a top speed of 3.4GHz with 4MB cache. It also features 8GB of DDR4 memory and a fast 256GB PCIe SSD.

There are two microphones to enhance calls and video conferencing, plus a card reader, three USB ports, an HDMI connector and an HD video camera. Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac, meanwhile, are supplied by Realtek and the machine runs on Windows 10 Home in S mode.

As part of the deal, BestBuy also provides a free 6-month subscription to Trend Micro Internet Security, which offers antivirus for up to three devices.

The 15.6-inch screen remains this device's weak point; it's full HD, at least, but uses SVA technology rather than the superior IPS. At 1.85kg, it's also not the lightest laptop around.

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Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.