Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
The Lenovo Chromebook C330 is a budget convertible that offers all the pros and cons that you would expect from a device in its category and price point, plus a few extra features. Like most Chromebooks, it’s not the fastest, strongest, or prettiest, and with speakers that sound more than a bit muzzled, the Chromebook C330 finds itself unable to blow its own trumpet.
Yet, even though more than a few compromises have been made to keep costs down, the Lenovo Chromebook manages to raise the bar and offer a few surprises of its own. Its IPS panel is a particular highlight, and we were pleasantly surprised by its comfy keyboard. The inclusion of an HDMI port is a nice touch, and its battery performance cannot be sniffed at.
If you’re looking for a performance monster that’s able to blaze through tasks and set speed records, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 is not it. What it is, is a decent entry-level machine that performs capably in whatever shape and form it is required to adopt.
Design and Appearance
Like the Lenovo Ideapad 110S, this laptop sports an all-white aesthetic. Unlike the former, the Chromebook C330 manages to look a little less utilitarian. Everything is blizzard white, apart from the bezels that frame the screen, and the keyboard, which are both black. Somehow, this combination manages to work, all the better for this convertible.
Made completely of plastic, the Chromebook C330 feels cheap, and to be honest, we’re not at all convinced of its durability. Notwithstanding, its 360-degree hinge feels sturdy and solid, rotating smoothly between modes (laptop, stand, tablet, and display) and helping the laptop remain stable throughout.
Flipping the lid, you’ll be confronted with gigantic bezels that do nothing to enhance the aesthetic appeal of this laptop. Further down, the keyboard stretches across the laptop’s deck, while the touchpad sits underneath it. The Chromebook C330 weighs 2.8 pounds and is 0.8 inches thick, meaning it’s a breeze to fit it into a backpack.
Ports and Connection
Due to their form factor, there are limits to what ultraportables can offer when it comes to ports, and the Chromebook C330 does away with quite a few. Having said that, we were surprised by the balance and diversity of the ports on offer.
Lined up along this convertible’s left flank are a USB Type-C port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 Type-A port, and a full-size SD card reader. The USB Type-C port is good for charging the system, hooking it up to an external monitor, and transferring files. Given that other laptops in this category and at the same price point do not include an HDMI port, it was a pleasant surprise to find one here.
On the opposite flank, you’ll find a headphone jack, volume control and power buttons, and a Kensington lock slot. Wireless connection is supported by Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11AC Wi-Fi.
Keyboard and Input Devices
Lenovo set the gold standard for keyboards in this industry, and the company makes it a point to outfit all their laptops (even the budget ones) with quality keyboards. The Chromebook C330 is a happy beneficiary of this policy, and this elevates it above the level of several of its competitors.
The keys on this keyboard are well spaced and offer decent tactile feedback even though they feel a bit shallow, with about 1.2mm of travel. Key actuation is very good, ensuring that clicks are registered without the need for much force, keeping your hands fresh while typing out large Word documents.
The laptop’s touchpad is a decent size and works well. It is accurate and responsive and it executes Chrome OS’ navigation gestures accurately.
The muffled sounds that this convertible’s bottom-mounted speakers produce make it hard to enjoy streaming videos or playing music with them. The speakers struggle to fill even a mid-sized room with sound even at their loudest, and we had to strain our ears a bit to hear the highs and mids when we played a few pop songs. Bass is out of the question. To derive maximum satisfaction from your multimedia files, you may need to stick in the headphones.
The Lenovo Chromebook C330’s IPS display is better than what most other Chromebooks serve up, yet, this 1366 x 768 pixels screen is not the best we’ve ever seen. On a whole, colors appear clear, and images and videos look sharp. But details are a bit fuzzy and pixelated. This is not an issue that’s peculiar to this laptop; most 1366 x 768 panels are dogged by these shortcomings. While the Chromebook C330’s panel excels at word processing and other regular computing tasks, it won’t serve well for photo or video editing.
The Lenovo Chromebook C330 produces about 75 percent of the sRGB color gamut which is not far below the category average of 80 percent. The laptop’s screen does get very bright though; it emits about 250 nits of brightness, surpassing the category average of 234 nits. Contrast and viewing angles are also good.
This laptop’s touchscreen is beyond reproach. It registers touches accurately and scrolls smoothly. We didn’t notice any hint of lag throughout the period we spent with it.
Graphics and Gaming
All models of the Lenovo Chromebook C330 are equipped with an integrated PowerVR GX6250 GPU. It’s a mobile GPU, meaning it is only qualified to run mobile games downloadable from the Google Play Store. So, unless you’re willing to settle for basic android games, this Chromebook is not ideal if you’re a hardcore gamer. On a positive note, the GPU is good enough to support a few console game emulators, most notably the Nintendo and PlayStation 1 emulators. Perfect for revisiting old games.
This Chromebook’s integrated GPU cannot support any hard lifting either. It’ll hang in there for the occasional light photo editing task, but anything heavier and the laptop checks out. So, you won’t get much joy out of this laptop’s GPU except for playing basic games and performing simple computing tasks.
Lenovo advertised this laptop’s battery as lasting 10 hours and from what we’ve seen, those claims are not too far from being entirely accurate. It’s an indisputable fact that this laptop qualifies as an all-day laptop, so you can comfortably leave your charging cable back home, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be needing it.
Whether or not the laptop reaches that 10-hour mark depends on how you use it, but on average, you can expect the battery to last between 8 to 10 hours.
Cooling and Noise Emission
The Chromebook C330 manages to remain calm and collected throughout. This laptop operates almost completely silently, with the absence of mechanical parts giving it a helping hand in this area. In our heat test, this Chromebook registered heat levels of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is within our comfort threshold of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Chromebook C330 is offered in two configurations. Both models share identical specs including a MediaTek MT8173C CPU, 4GB of RAM, and an integrated PowerVR GX6250 GPU. In fact, internal memory is the only point of difference between both models, with the base model (our review model) offering 32GB of internal storage while the other model brings it up to 64GB.
These specs are not breathtaking by any means, so it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that the Chromebook C330 isn’t the best-performing laptop around. The MediaTek processor is just enough to execute regular tasks such as word processing, web surfing, music and video streaming, and emailing, as long as you do them one after another.
That’s right. The Chromebook C330 is not very good at multitasking. We tried to open a word document after leaving Chrome running in the background and it took this laptop a long time to come around to the second task. On a positive note, this laptop boots up in a matter of seconds.
The most likely buyers of the Lenovo Chromebook C330 are people that are looking for an entry-level backup laptop for themselves, or a first laptop for their children, or people that need a stop-gap before they’re ready for something more high-end.
This laptop isn’t a performance monster, but it offers the capability to do all the basics well, as well as a few extras. If you’re willing to overlook its middling performance levels, unremarkable screen, and terrible speakers, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 can turn out to be quite the bargain.
|CPU||MediaTek MT8173C CPU|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Hard Drive Size||32GB|
|Hard Drive Type||eMMC|
|Highest Available Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Native Resolution||1136 x 768|
|Operating System||Google Chrome|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB Type-C, USB 3.0|
|Size||11.4 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.4 inches|
|Wi-Fi Model||Lenovo Wireless AC (2 x 2)|