The Lenovo IdeaPad 330 denotes a range of affordable notebooks that offer a wide range of configuration options, which is something you rarely see in mainstream budget notebooks.
- Strong performance
- Nice design
- Reasonable pricing
- Good connectivity
- Battery life would be better
The Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is a big-screen budget laptop that delivers a bright 15.6-inch display, a comfortable keyboard, and enough horsepower for daily productivity work — and even a bit more. The IdeaPad 330 range is available in three screen-size variants (14, 15.6, and 17.3-inches), giving you the flexibility to configure one based on your needs. Whichever version you choose, you’re getting a budget system with a stylish, premium design and great connectivity options.
In this Lenovo IdeaPad 330 review, we’re looking at the 15.6-inch model, featuring an 8th generation Intel Core i3-8130U processor, 8GB RAM, a 1TB hard drive and Intel UHD Graphics 620. That specs sheet looks like what you’d find on a typical budget notebook, but the durable design coupled with class-leading productivity performance count for a lot. It easily earns our Editors’ Choice award for budget laptops.
For a little more money, the IdeaPad is also available with a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 1TB solid-state drive. While competition is stiff in this segment, getting the flexibility of configuring the notebook of choice off the shelves is worth a look.
More: Best Laptops Under $500
Measuring 0.9 by 10.2 by 14.9 inches (HWD) and weighing 4.85 pounds, 2019 IdeaPad 330 looks small and lightweight, and can be easily carried around. It’s light and portable than some of its competition, though. The Acer Aspire E15 (E5-576-392H) –our Top Pick for budget laptops, weighs 5.27 pounds and is 1.19 inches thick.
Its sleek platinum gray frame feels reasonably sturdy, and it easily passes for an aluminum build, which isn’t the case. We are seeing metallic constructions in the ultrabooks category and high-end notebooks. This platinum gray profile is used in more premium Lenovo systems, and it does pick up dirty marks, just like other notebooks bearing the same material.
The 15.6-inch 720p screen on the 2019 IdeaPad 330 is perhaps the only feature we might not like on this laptop, but it’s still bright and legible for a budget laptop. While competitors like the Acer Aspire E5-576-392H (see review here) readily offer a full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, Lenovo opted for a lower-res (1366 x 768) TN panel, which explains the low price you’re paying for this laptop.
You may not readily realize the low resolution, which is better than other budget notebooks with washed out displays in the same category. At first, you’ll do some angling before you get a spot that doesn’t wash out. It’s not great, but not the worst, we accept it for the price.
Some credit, though, Lenovo does add an anti-glare coating on the screen which eliminates reflections, making it the perfect choice of a sub-HD media machine, provided you can view the screen from the right angle.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is equipped with a non-backlit, 6-row chiclet keyboard, that has nicely spaced keys with a good grip. The arrow keys are well positioned, and the number pad on the right is a good inclusion. Individually, the keys have short travel and they get a noticeable pressure point. You can easily type your way around, and even fast typers will find the keys quite reliable.
For the touchpad, it has the same color as the rest of the device. It’s positioned slightly towards the left, but its suitable for inputs via gesture control. The touchpad gestures can be individually configured via the setup menu of the pad. It responds well to Windows 10 gestures and registers physical inputs precisely.
Ports and Storage
The Lenovo Ideapad 330 specs are rounded up by excellent I/O port options. It even includes a Type-C port, that’s quite rare in the budget laptop category. Overall, there are two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 Type-C port, a HDMI port and an SD slot. The SD card is a nice way to extend the system storage, can as well be used for transferring media to SD cards.
Others include a headphone jack, an Ethernet port and a DVD drive. Wireless connectivity comes via the 802.11AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.
The system comes with a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive, which means you won’t need to extend the storage unless you have lots of files to store, but it’s convenient to have the option. This capacity is far much than you’d find in most budget Chromebooks, though. Plus, you have the option of configuring the system to include an SSD for storage as you place your order.
This iteration of the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is equipped with a 2.2GHz (Turbo up to 3.4GHz) Intel Core i3-8130U, 8GB of RAM, 1TB storage and Integrated Intel HD 620 graphics card. The Core i3-8130u is a duo-core chip released in 2018, and designed for mainstream notebooks and Chromebooks, delivering slightly better performance than the AMD A12-9700P chips. As mentioned, the system is fully customizable, meaning you can opt for a better CPU, graphics card, RAM size and even screen size as you place your order.
Both of these chips aren’t meant for significant workloads but deliver sufficient performance for typical office and web applications, can as well suffice for light multitasking. The integrated Intel HD 620 graphics card is a better version of its predecessor, and it allows you play most 2015/2016 smoothly at low settings.
Battery life is always a strong point for basic laptops, but the Lenovo IdeaPad 15.6 inch laptop fails to excel. This particular IdeaPad 330 isn’t terribly efficient, exhibiting a rather disappointing short battery life. On typical use, it offers around 3 hours 20 minutes on a single charge, which is quite low for a modern machine. The Aspire E 15 (E5-576-392H) delivers an impressive 10 hours 51 minutes of battery life on a single charge.
The Bottom Line
The Lenovo IdeaPad 330 shows how the company succeeds in its primary goal of making a 15-inch laptop that’s remarkably light, and they did so for a very affordable price that deep into budget territory. And for the most part, the IdeaPad 330 is a perfectly useful notebook – it offers solid productivity performance and its display is good even if it’s falling behind the curve. But its battery life which is a result of that quest for the affordable crown isn’t just up to snuff.
Is there a better alternative?
The Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ is a solid alternative to the IdeaPad 330. It offers a Full HD (1920 X 1080) resolution, an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. Plus, it offers a smaller chassis that’s no heavyweight itself, and it adds a backlit keyboard.
If you fancy a 2-in-1 convertible, the Lenovo Flex 14 81SS0005US is a great buy, offering a FHD touchscreen including a Stylus Pen, AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics card and an AMD Ryzen 5 processor. It’s light and the touchscreen adds more functionality and longer battery life for college and business users.
Should I buy it?
Yes. You’re getting the most affordable, stylish and functional full-size laptop possible. For college and office use, it’s one of the best choice around.
Otherwise, with a little more money you can carry either of the two choices above, and you’ll get better performance, full HD display and significantly longer battery life in the bargain.