Best Lenovo Chromebook S330 Review
Leaving aside a few weak spots, the Lenovo Chromebook S330 is an incredible device. Especially when you factor in the price; the nearest competitors that can offer similar specs and performance are twice as expensive.
Very few laptops at this range – or even twice of it – have the premium feel and finish sported by this Chromebook. Everything, from the location of the ports on the sides to the spacing of the keyboard buttons, echoes a consistent design.
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Mediatek 8173C Processor
PowerVR GX6250 Integrated Graphics
14” (1920 x 1080) FHD Anti-Glare Display
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The first thing you notice in the Lenovo Chromebook S330 is the polished appearance. Usually, budget laptops scream ‘cheap’ from their build quality to their looks. Loose panels, awkward keyboard layouts, and poor finish are some of the problems that you learn to live within the budget laptop segment.
But the Lenovo S330 almost feels like a premium laptop. Smooth, stylish, and well designed, the model echoes many of the qualities that make Lenovo’s other products stand out.
Coming to the performance front, there is nothing to complain about. Sure, it wouldn’t be outperforming gaming laptops anytime soon, but that wasn’t why you were going with a Chromebook.
The specs are decent, and the performance smooth enough for casual usage.
The display might not be particularly sharp, but the anti-glare screen makes up for it. Combined with a generous battery life of about 10 hours, the laptop is a great partner for workaholics and students.
In a nutshell, the laptop is great, perhaps even the best when compared to other products within its price range. Read on to see the what else we found out with our Lenovo Chromebook S330 Review.
Ever since the launch of the Chrome OS, Chromebooks have been selling like hotcakes. And with good reason: a Chromebook offers all the functionality that a casual user could want from a laptop, be it surfing the web or working with documents, and at a much lower price point than most Windows 10 laptops.
The Lenovo Chromebook S330 is an excellent example of this. Stylish and functional, you would be hard-pressed to find a laptop with similar specs at a more pocket-friendly price than this. And Lenovo is a great company with a long history of making quality machines.
But considering the huge catalog of Chromebooks from every PC manufacturer available in the market, does this laptop really hold up? Or in other words:
Is the Lenovo Chromebook S330 worth buying?
If you have been hunting for a laptop that you can carry along easily, then this is the laptop for you.
Unlike other Windows 10 based laptops with bulky frames and unwieldy screen sizes, the Lenovo S330 is thin and lightweight. While there are slimmer models out there, they come at the top end of the pricing spectrum.
At just about 3.3 pounds, the Chromebook is one of the lightest in this category, making it easy to carry around in a large purse or a school bag.
LONG BATTERY LIFE
While there are many features that make Chromebooks popular over other laptops, the thing that draws in most users is the long battery life.
Windows 10 is by now infamous for its bloated nature – be it memory, storage, or processing power, the operating system needs a lot of it. As a result, not only systems running on basic hardware perform poorly, but for battery-based devices like the laptop, also result in the power draining out quickly.
A large part of why Chromebooks have become so popular as budget laptops is because of their stellar battery life. Thanks to the highly efficient Chrome OS and the lean ARM processor, the Lenovo S330 has excellent power backup.
You can easily get 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, which is enough to last you all day long.
ARM processors often get a bad rap for not being as powerful as a standard Intel processor. And in a way, it is true.
A laptop with an ARM processor would not be playing the latest games or editing videos anytime soon. Multitasking, especially, is not a strong suit for such processors. Browsing with a dozen open tabs or even working with multiple windows simultaneously slows down the computer significantly.
But 3D applications and heavy multitasking are not what you buy a budget laptop for. The Mediatek processor powering the Lenovo S330 is optimized for everyday tasks and can perform them quickly and efficiently.
It is because of this ARM processor that applications on this Chromebook function so smoothly and consume so little power. In fact, you rarely see such snappy performance in budget laptops.
A common complaint with budget laptops is the lack of sufficient connectivity options. For example, you might fire up a movie on your laptop, intending to enjoy it on your larger TV screen instead, only to discover that the device lacks an HDMI slot.
To keep costs low, budget computers often sacrifice on ‘extra’ features like a USB 3.0 slot or an ethernet port. And unlike RAM or storage, you cannot install extra ports later.
With the Lenovo S330, you have access to most common connectivity options. The Chromebook sports a USB-C port, a USB 3.0 and an HDMI slot, apart from the usual things like an SD card reader and an Ethernet port.
That said, some people might still find the number of ports to be small if they are used to pricier laptops. At this range, however, the connectivity options are sufficient.
MEMORY & STORAGE
The Lenovo S330 boasts of 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which is good enough for light usage. 8GB is usually recommended, but unless you go into memory-intensive tasks like gaming, you are unlikely to run into any trouble.
On the storage front, the 32GB (or 64GB on the more expensive variant) of eMMC storage may not seem like much. But keep in mind that the Chrome OS has a very small footprint compared to the Windows 10.
Furthermore, instead of the MS Office Suite, you will likely rely upon Google’s own cloud based productivity applications, further decreasing the amount of storage needed by the basics.
Still, 32GB or 64GB means that you must be very careful about what files you end up keeping on your laptop, which can be an issue if you like to store movies or your personal music collection.
If required, you can use an SD card (or even an external HDD) to expand the storage capacity.
WHO IS THE LENOVO S330 BEST SUITED FOR?
Generally speaking, budget laptops are not limited to a specific category of customers. Anyone who doesn’t need an extreme performance computer can do well with a decent low-cost laptop.
The Lenovo S330 is no exception.
Like most Chromebooks, this laptop is a great choice for broke students looking for an all-purpose portable computer that can fit in a beanbag. Or teachers on the search for a dependable workhorse with long battery life to carry them through those marathon research sessions.
If you are a student or teacher looking for another laptop, check out our Best Laptops for Teachers list and our Best Laptops for Computer Science Students.
Even professionals working from home will find this laptop surprisingly good at productivity tasks. Chromebooks are known for walking a fine line between performance and budget, and the Lenovo S330 manages to keep to it.
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Lenovo is known for its high-end offerings. On this Chromebook however, it has gone for a fairly aggressive pricing model.
Depending on what discounts are applicable when you buy it, you can get the laptop for sometimes as cheap as $350-$400. If you get lucky, maybe even less than that, making it a steal.
As you can see, there is no other decent laptop from a major brand that comes anywhere close to this range. At around $450, Lenovo’s Ideapad is the nearest, though the difference of a hundred dollars or more is nothing to scoff at.
Computers, like cars, do not really have an upper limit. You can always stuff in more features, only to be outclassed by a new model within a year.
But if all you care about is basic functionality – writing emails, watching videos, keeping up with social media – then you don’t need the best product on the market.
You want a laptop that can smoothly perform all regular computing tasks at the lowest possible price and does not look like something cobbled together with spare parts lying around.
The Lenovo Chromebook S330 scratches exactly this itch. It offers a decent balance between style and performance, and at a very attractive price.
Whether you want this laptop as a student or a teacher, a work-from-home employee, or simply a casual user requiring something larger than a mobile, it will get the job done.
That said, if you can spare the expense, there are a few more options to choose from. If you want to stick with Lenovo, the IdeaPad 330 is an excellent Windows 10 alternative, although it is slightly bulkier and has weaker battery life.
Or if you’re looking for a decent gaming laptop by Lenovo, then check out our in-depth review of the Lenovo IdeaPad L340.
Among other brands, HP’s Chromebook x2 comes at the top. Giving a much better performance at a similar price range, you can choose this laptop if you want a faster computer and are not too concerned about looks.
If you’d like to see the Lenovo Chromebook S330 in action, this video below has the latest review of the laptop: