Gaming laptops are all the rage these days, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a decent rig under $1,000. For well under four figures, the IdeaPad 330s is a relatively portable, 15.6-inch laptop that comes with an optional Nvidia GPU.
If you don't need as much power, the 14-inch IdeaPad 330s gets you a premium design and solid performance for under $500. With an impressive price-to-spec ratio, the IdeaPad 330s is a good option if you're looking for a sleek midrange gaming machine or a low-cost budget laptop.
|Lenovo IdeaPad 330S|
|Price||$399 - $899|
|Display||14-inch (1366 x 768); 14-inch or 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080)|
|CPU||Core i3-8130U, Core i5-8250, Core i7-8550U|
|RAM||6GB, 8GB, 12GB|
|Graphics||UHD Graphics 620, GeForce GTX 1050|
|Storage||1TB HHD, 256GB SSD, 512GB SSD|
|Ports||USB Type-C, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card reader, headphone|
|Colors||Platinum Grey, Onyx Black|
|Size||14.1 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches|
The IdeaPad 330S has a simple, no-nonsense design. The chassis is made of polished aluminum, giving it a more premium "feel" than the price suggests. A small dark-gray Lenovo tag graces the side of the lid, and a matching keyboard provides the only bit of contrast to the light-gray color scheme. The thin bezels surrounding the display — even on the budget model — is a nice addition. The laptop also has a solid range of ports, including a USB-C port, two USB 3.0, an HDMI and an SD card reader.
At 4.85 pounds and 14.1 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, the 15-inch IdeaPad 330S is lighter and smaller than other budget gaming laptops, like the Dell G3 15 (6.3 pounds, 15.3 x 10.8 x 0.9 inches) and Acer Nitro 5 Spin (4.9 pounds, 15 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches).
The 15.6-inch display is available with a 1366 x 768 resolution, but we strongly recommend the 1080p panel if your wallet allows it. The upgraded display should provide a sharp picture, although if the premium IdeaPad 530s is any indication, it won't be the most colorful.
Performance should be a strong point for the IdeaPad 330S because of its 8th generation U or H-series chipset. Other laptops we've reviewed with the same Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs available on the IdeaPad 330S received strong scores on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test.
However, most midrange and premium laptops are equipped with an SSD, whereas all but the highest-end IdeaPad 330S SKUs come with a 1TB, 5400 rpm HDD. If you can swing it, you won't regret buying an SSD version, although, you'll pay a premium to do so. If you're looking to save some money, I recommend you opt for the versions with Intel Optane memory.
If you're a gamer, even a casual gamer, get a model with a GTX 1050 GPU, a good midrange card that is capable of playing most modern games at low settings.
With battery life rated at a lowly 5.5 hours, you'll want to keep the IdeaPad 330s near an outlet. Based on user reviews, owners are reporting shorter than average battery life, at around 3 to 4 hours. Reviews also point out that the webcam is not particularly good. Conversely, the keyboard, while lacking backlighting, was praised by users for providing a comfortable typing experience.
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Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad 330S is a solid laptop with a premium design, strong performance and an optional GPU at a reasonably low price. If you want an affordable gaming machine or a low-priced budget laptop, and you're not concerned with battery life or webcam quality, then the ThinkPad 330S should be on your wishlist.