The Lenovo V330 looks like a premium laptop, feels good to type on and is armed with a powerful 8th Gen Core i5 processor, but that doesn't make up for everything wrong with it. Despite being a business laptop, the V330 will not get you through a workday with its short battery life or annoyingly slow hard drive. And if you travel, know that the chassis flexes almost everywhere and that the display is so dim and dull that you will strain your eyes. While the V330 is a powerful and relatively affordable business laptop, it has too many shortcomings to warrant a recommendation.
The Lenovo V330 looks like it was forged with the iron from the deepest pits of the Earth -- that is, until I slightly pressed on the center of the lid and saw it flex, rather alarmingly. I was fooled by the plastic laptop's sleek, faux-aluminum paint job.
The interior sports a similar gray design, accompanied by Lenovo's signature shielded keyboard painted in an even lighter gray. The keyboard also flexed when I typed on it normally.
On a brighter note, the laptop's display bezels are on the slim side. And in terms of security, there's a fingerprint reader on the right-hand side and a privacy shutter on the webcam.
At 4.1 pounds and 14.6 x 10 x 0.9 inches, the Lenovo V330 is the lightest laptop among its 15-inch competitors. The Acer Aspire 5 (2018, 15-inch) is thinner, at 4.6 pounds and 0.8 inches, while the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (8th Gen) weighs in as the heaviest and thickest, at 4.9 pounds and 0.9 inches.
The right side features a Kensington lock slot, an optional DVD drive (or in our case, a hunk of removal plastic), one USB 3.1 port, an audio jack and a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC).
The Lenovo V330's 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display will irk your soul with its diminished color and dimness, to the point that you'll just want to resort to using your phone.
I watched the trailer for Mary Poppins Returns and was thrown off by how dreary everything looked. Mary Poppins walked in with a red-and-blue outfit that was meant to pop and look significant, but this display made her look like a backdrop nanny on a Lifetime series. The colors were drained from her clothes, and the entire house surrounding her looked like an aging peach. Even when the animated flowers came on screen, it looked like a washed-out oil painting, as if the panel had a gray film layered over it.
The display is sharp and it is seemingly bright, but that's only because the color brightness is high as opposed to the actual backlight, which explains the washed-out effect.
This panel covered a dirt-poor 62 percent of the sRGB color gamut, falling far from the 88 percent mainstream laptop average. The competition has better but still below-average color, as the Aspire 5 averaged 65 percent and the Inspiron 15 hit 67 percent.
At 210 nits, the Lenovo V330 embraces the spirit of a flashlight in a horror film that flickers in and out of existence. While it crashed below the 241-nit category average, it did edge out the Aspire 5 (209 nits) and beat the Inspiron 15 (175 nits).
Keyboard and Touchpad
Despite some low travel, the Lenovo V330's keyboard is quite clicky and comfortable to type on. The keys also have a subtle matte texture. Lenovo's keyboards typically put the Fn key before Ctrl, but this keyboard is in the proper format of Ctrl before Fn, which made my soul happy.
The keys travel at 1.1 millimeters and require 68 grams of actuation force. Although the Lenovo V330 fell short of our recommend key travel of 1.5 to 2.0mm, the actuation force landed in the minimum 60-gram threshold.
I danced my fingers across these keys at 70 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, beating by 66-words-per-minute average.
The 4.1 x 2.7-inch touchpad itself is smooth, but the cursor is quite jumpy even on the lowest sensitivity settings. However, the touchpad reacted well when put up against Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tab switching.
These speakers managed to blast Panic! at the Disco's "Death of a Bachelor" across a medium-size conference room. The laptop captured the soft vocals in the song's intro well, but when it got to the chorus, it felt like something was missing. The audio wasn't as full and rich when Brendon Urie was screaming, as the speakers kind of nulled the highs. However, the overall audio was pretty decent, as the speakers balanced the synthetic beats with the vocals quite well.
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It also helped that Lenovo includes Dolby integrated settings, which give you access to audio settings like Movie, Music, Gaming and Voice.
When I tried to turn the laptop on, I got stuck on a black screen for 5 minutes before it actually brought me to the desktop. Then, I immediately noticed that the Wi-Fi was abnormally slow when I tried to download Google Chrome, and when I ran it through Speedtest.net, I got a whopping 0.15 megabits per second, so handling any tabs was a killer.
However, we reached out to Lenovo for a replacement, and our new V330 booted up rather quickly and registered 30 Mbps on Speedtest.net. This baby tore through 30 Chrome tabs and a 1080p YouTube video without any slowdown.
On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Lenovo V330 soared, with a score of 12,850, crushing the 9,075 mainstream laptop average as well as the 11,391 from the Aspire 5 and the 11,791 from the Inspiron 15; both of those machines have the same processor as the Lenovo V330.
The Lenovo V330's hard drive didn't do so well copying 4.97GB of data, taking a whopping 2 minutes and 40 seconds. That's a rate of 31 megabytes per second, which is over four times slower than the 132-MBps category average. The Aspire 5 didn't do much better, at 43 MBps, but the Inspiron 15 kept in line with the average, at 131 MBps.
On the HandBrake benchmark, which measures how long it takes to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, the Lenovo V330 landed in a solid second place, at 19 minutes and 13 seconds. It flew by the 28:12 category average and narrowly beat the Aspire 5 (20:10). Meanwhile, it lost to the Inspiron 15's speedier 17:11.
The Lenovo V330's Intel UHD 620 GPU powered through the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark with a score of 80,568, toppling the 69,100 mainstream laptop average as well as the scores from the identical GPUs in the Aspire 5 (67,490) and Inspiron 15 (69,943).
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On the Dirt 3 benchmark, the Lenovo V330 hit a solid 55 frames per second, making this the best laptop among the competition for playing less graphically taxing games. It trumped the 44-fps average, the Aspire 5's 41 fps and the Inspiron's 53 fps.
The Lenovo V330's battery life will not get you through the day, but the laptop still outperformed its competitors in longevity. After continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the laptop lasted 5 hours and 26 minutes, surpassing the Aspire 5's 4:43 and the Inspiron 15's 5:08. However, the Lenovo V330 didn't come close to the 7:24 mainstream laptop average.
The test shots I took with this 720p webcam are incredibly grainy, and I could barely make out the fuzzy strands of hair on my head. My red-and-black flannel shirt blended into one dark red mass, and the bold white on my undershirt looked pale.
The contrast was wonky as well, as this camera blew out the ceiling lights and covered the ceiling in a white mesh, and when I attempted to readjust the contrast, the camera completely darkened everything else.
The Lenovo V330 is incredibly cool under pressure. After I streamed a 15-minute HD video, the laptop's underside hit 87 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well within our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard also measured 87 degrees, while the touchpad registered a cool 77 degrees. Even the lower left underside maintained 87 degrees, which is typically the hottest point due to the battery being located there.
Software and Warranty
Lenovo limited its own branded apps to a select few, including Lenovo Vantage and Lenovo App Explorer. Vantage gives access to hardware settings (power, audio and peripheral input), system updates, hardware scans and security assistance. Attached to that is Lenovo's Vantage Toolbar, which provides you with quick access to an ugly battery indicator as well as on/off switches for the microphone, Dolby, the touchpad, Wi-Fi Security, a blue-light filter and the webcam.
The App Explorer is a discount Windows 10 app store, with apps such as Spotify, Skype and Amazon. Speaking of Windows 10, the system's typical Microsoft-issued bloatware includes Dolby Access, Candy Crush Saga and Disney Magic Kingdoms.
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The Lenovo V330 that I tested costs $599 and comes with a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD, and Intel UHD 620 graphics. A slightly beefier, $749 configuration comes outfitted with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i7-8550U processor and 12GB of RAM.
While the Lenovo V330 offers good performance and a comfortable keyboard packed into a stylish chassis, the drawbacks are numerous. The battery won't last a full workday, the hard drive is pitifully slow, the display is dim and dull, and the build quality is questionable.
Lenovo's $549 Ideapad 530s is a cheaper and even better alternative. It has solid performance, it'll upgrade you to a speedy 256GB SSD, and its battery will last you nearly 8 hours.
The Lenovo V330's shortcomings ultimately outweigh its positives, so we can't fully recommend this product.
Credit: Laptop Mag