If your current laptop is struggling with performance issues and has fallen behind the latest games and software, then it may be time to consider an upgrade to one of the newest i3 laptops.
Older laptops can quickly fall behind as technology advances and applications become more complex, but the latest Intel i3 laptops are some of the most powerful and efficient processors available, which will help improve your computer performance and boost your speed.
Intel’s i3 processor has been one of the most popular and best-performing CPUs thanks to its amazing price to performance ratio, as well as its efficiency.
This has led to its continued success, even as it now enters its 11th generation, and despite being contested by the very popular and much improved AMD Ryzen series of processors.
The current 11th gen i3 processors pack a serious punch and can easily handle everyday computing tasks such as browsing and word processing, and are even capable of light gaming, photo and video editing tasks making it the perfect choice for users wanting a serious upgrade without a serious hit to their finances.
If you’re new to computing or have questions about processors, laptops, and their features, feel free to check out the buyer’s guide and FAQ below this article for some helpful tips and information to assist you in making an informed decision about what laptop is right for you.
OUR TOP PICK
Dell is one of the most popular brands in computers and particularly laptops, with its Inspiron series being one of the most consistent and best-selling laptops.
Despite the amount of time this series has been around, it has continued to develop and innovate to stay with developing technologies and the latest trends.
In terms of its appearance, the Inspiron is a very sleek and attractive laptop, with smooth lines and a very minimal bezel surrounding the monitor.
The 15.6” full HD LED monitor is crisp and clear and while it isn't a touch screen it does provide a clear and vivid picture, wide viewing angles, and anti-glare properties for usage in low light.
The 11th Gen i3-1115G4 CPU is a dual-core processor with smart cache, 3.0GHz of processing power, and can turbo boost to 4.10GHz when it detects particularly demanding tasks.
This is a very capable CPU for an i3 and can handle light workstation tasks easily and is a capable browser and word processor.
The powerful CPU is supported by 12GB of DDR4 RAM which allows for smooth operation when using multiple applications and browser tabs, and the 512GB m.2 SSD enables lightning-fast boot-up times and data management.
In terms of ports and connectivity, the Inspiron comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 3.1 Type C port, an HDMI port, a standard audio jack, and a microSD card reader.
There is Bluetooth and wireless connectivity available, making this laptop capable of working with almost any device available, making it great for video and photo editing or managing your content. There is also a webcam built-in for easy video calling.
The Inspiron comes with Windows 10 Home 64-bit, not the Windows 10 S that is sometimes found on laptops today. This gives you greater freedom and more features and the surprising power of this i3 laptop will allow you to run it with ease, enabling you to start using the laptop immediately.
- 11th gen i3 processor - Allows for light workstation and confident multitasking/browsing
- 12GB DDR4 RAM - Ample RAM for using multiple applications at the same time
- Windows 10 Home - Unlike some laptops, the full Windows 10 Home package is a powerful OS that runs smoothly and has many great features.
- 512 GB m.2 SSD - m.2 is the latest SSD technology that is the fastest storage available, far faster than old spin drive or hard drive technology from older laptops.
- Backlit Keyboard - Easy usage in lowlight conditions thanks to a well-lit keyboard.
- Webcam could be better
- Higher spec means a higher price than some other i3 laptops.
ASUS is another very popular brand in the computing space and has a great track record of quality, performance, and value.
The VivoBook 15 is a familiar size with a 15.6” Full HD display and a very thin NanoEdge bezel, giving this laptop an amazing 83% screen-to-body ratio. This laptop is incredibly lightweight and weighs less than 4lbs, which makes it ideal for commuting and travel,
Powered by a slightly older 10th generation i3-1005G1 processor, with a clock speed of 1.2GHz and a boost speed of 3.4GHz when performing heavier tasks.
The VivoBook hits a sweet spot of price to performance and provides a great web browsing experience with good word processing and light workstation capabilities.
The 4GB of DDR4 RAM is enough for most users who want to browse and do fairly simple tasks, however, it isn’t very well suited to gaming or heavier workstation tasks such as video and photo editing.
The 128GB of storage comes from an m.2 SSD which gives extremely fast boot-up times and data management. Applications will launch quickly and run smoothly, however, 128GB is not a massive amount of space meaning you will have to carefully manage how much you store on your laptop.
An ergonomic backlit keyboard along with a fingerprint sensor provides excellent user-friendly controls that are comfortable and reliable.
In terms of connectivity, there are several USB ports including 3.2 Type-A and 3.2 Type-C, as well as USB 2.0, an SD card reader, an audio jack, and an HDMI cable to allow you to stream to larger screens or devices.
The included OS is Windows Home in S mode, which only allows you to use applications from the Windows Store, which is something to keep in mind if you want more freedom in using your laptop.
- Lightweight and compact
- 10th Gen i3 - Powerful and efficient processing for most everyday tasks.
- M.2 SSD - Incredibly fast boot-up times and application launching
- Fingerprint Login - Hate using passwords? The fingerprint login is secure, fast, and convenient.
- The screen could be better
- Windows Home S - Limits freedom when it comes to installing new applications
Lenovo has massively disrupted the laptop market in recent years and has released some of the most competitive machines available.
Their signature laptop series is the IdeaPad, a classic notebook that has excellent ergonomics and a wide range of specifications to cater to various budgets and workloads.
The IdeaPad 3 however is their i3 powered offering, with a 10th generation i3-100G1 processor capable of 3.6GHz with turbo boost and a 6MB cache.
The Full HD 15.6” anti-glare display works well and gives good viewing angles and colors powered by Intel's integrated graphics.
The off-center trackpad may not suit some users but it is quite comfortable and easy to use.
The 8GB of RAM can easily handle typical workloads, from browsing with multiple tabs and windows to word processing and light editing.
The 256GB SSD gives a respectable amount of storage and good boot-up speeds but this laptop doesn’t have enough space to store too much content or information so you will need to stay on top of this.
Bluetooth 5.0 capable and built-in wifi connectivity allow you to easily pair with devices and the internet, and the Dolby Audio speakers give a fairly decent sound quality from such a small machine.
There are also 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 HDMI port, and a headphone jack allowing ample space for additional third-party accessories.
- 10th gen i3 processor - Great performance from an efficient and powerful CPU
- 8GB RAM - Ample for most workloads and applications
- 256GB SSD - Decent storage capability and fast boot-up times
- Good Battery Performance
- Extremely lightweight
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- Simple Webcam
The HP Pavilion is another long-standing laptop series that has seen extensive use and popularity. However, the X360 is unlike many other laptops in this list in that it has a flip and fold touch screen display that is great for easy navigation and ergonomics.
This unique feature does not make it any less functional for typical notebook tasks, however, and the pavilion is still a capable browser and word processor capable of most tasks thanks to its 10th generation i3 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM.
The drawback of the design is that the display isn’t full HD, and is actually slightly smaller than some of the other 15.6” displays commonly found on notebook computers.
The Pavilion also uses Windows Home S which limits the applications you can use, only allowing you to download apps from the Windows store.
The benefit of this is the added layer of security you get from only downloading apps reputable enough to be listed on the Windows store.
- Flip and Fold Design
- Touch Screen
- 10th Gen i3
- 8GB RAM
- Smaller Display
- Not Full HD
- Windows 10 Home S
The Acer Aspire 5 is a deceptively powerful, light, and simple machine that brings amazing technology and performance in a great value package.
The 11th Gen i3 processor is the latest available, giving this laptop a massive amount of performance for its size, while also bringing great efficiency.
With a 4.10GHz boost clock speed and a 6MB Smart Cache, this CPU can easily handle browsing and word processing, as well as some workstation tasks such as photo editing and video editing, and gaming.
The 4GB of DDR4 RAM is a bit of a compromise but this could be fairly easily expanded down the line, and the great CPU offsets the smaller amount of RAM thanks to its efficiency and speed.
The 128GB NVMe SSD is relatively small compared to some other laptops but is one of the fastest, giving amazing boot-up times, lighting fast install speeds, and super quick application launching.
Another bonus is that this laptop has Wifi 6 which enables faster downloading, more stable connections, and generally more reliable and robust access to the internet.
The display is a Full HD 15.6” IPS design that gives super vivid color and crisp lines, powered by intel's integrated graphics.
In terms of connectivity, the Aspire has 1 USB 3.2 type-C, 2 USB 3.2 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port as well as Bluetooth, giving you ample room for accessories and the ability to connect wirelessly.
The main drawback is the Windows 10 S operating system which restricts the downloading of applications to the Windows Store only, giving you less flexibility if you like third-party tools and software.
- 11th gen i3 - The latest processor for excellent performance
- Full HD IPS Display - Great color accuracy and viewing angles
- WiFi 6 - Strong and stable connection to the internet
- Backlit Keyboard
- Windows 10 S Mode - Unable to download applications from anywhere other than the Windows Store
Best Intel i3 Laptops Buying Guide
Buying a new computer can be a nightmare. The ever-changing technology, acronyms, and specifications are difficult to keep track of and things develop so quickly that they can easily leave hobbyists and enthusiasts baffled.
But making the right purchase when it comes to a laptop is important because it is an investment that will last you a long time and give you the tools you need to excel whether it's for work, education, or pleasure.
In this buyers guide we’re going to highlight the important things to consider when looking at what features you need from your laptop, as well as some commonly asked questions that get asked.
While there are more powerful processors available from Intel and its competitors, the i3 is one of the most efficient and powerful, especially the latest generation.
They are so efficient due to their ability to only use a portion of its power until you need it, using its Turbo Boost feature to give extra juice when the workload demands it. This helps to save battery power, extending your laptop's life.
While most recent i3 laptops have this excellent price to performance ratio, we recommend you stay with 10th or 11th generation versions of the i3 to maximize the boost capabilities and clock speed, as well as the cache available to you.
Anything older than the 8th generation is unlikely to be worth it, so keep an eye out for this and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
An adequate amount of RAM will enable your laptop to handle various tasks smoothly without slowing down.
The more RAM the better is the general rule of thumb, however, 8GB is quite sufficient for most tasks you’ll be using your laptop for. 12 to 16GB will really futureproof your capabilities.
Again, the more storage you have the better. In general 128GB is the minimum you’ll find on notebooks and small laptops however you can get quite a wide range. Make sure that it's an SSD at the least, and ideally an M.2 SSD to maximize your boot-up speed.
Older hard drives are available but these will massively slow down your computer, however, they do provide a lot more space and are cheaper.
Display resolutions can be fairly different, but ideally, you want something with Full HD, which will mean you get to benefit from a full 1080p resolution. Anything under this will mean a less crisp and defined image.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is whether the monitor is an IPS or TP display. IPS monitors have better colors and viewing angles but can have slower response times. TP monitors have faster response times but have lower color accuracy.
Most laptops today use lithium-ion batteries, but it’s good to make sure of this. An ideal amount of battery life is around 8 hours, but this can vary depending on a variety of factors such as workload and other settings.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many cores do I need?
It depends on the type of work you’re doing, but most i3 laptops have 2 cores with hyperthreading to maximize their power and give several threads.
This varies widely, but generally the more cores/threads you have the easier your pc will be able to manage tough workloads.
What does clock speed mean?
The clock speed is measured in GHz and is essentially how fast your PC can process.
Intel i3 processors can be as low as 1.2GHz when only doing light tasks but can boost to over 4GHz when they need to and depending on which generation you’re using.
The higher the GHz the faster the pc will be.
What is an SSD?
A solid-state drive is a type of memory that is far faster than older hard drives that use a physical disk and reader. SSDs enable you to boot up fast and install quickly.
While an SSD is faster than a hard drive, they usually offer a little less storage space. This is slowly changing however and there are SSDs now that can rival old hard drives for capacity.