Lenovo makes a lot of business laptops under its ThinkPad lineup, ranging from cost-effective to high-end, expensive models. Still, some people prefer something cheaper, which is where the V-series comes in. The V330, which I have here for review from Lenovo, starts at about $540 and promises a lot of the features that a business-oriented laptop needs to excel. I used it for about a week to determine whether or not it's worth the budget price tag, and whether or not it's the right laptop for you.
Budget 15-inch laptop
Bottom line: The V330 is a cost-effect laptop that has all-day battery life, lots of ports, and some extra security features, but its washed display, bad touchpad, and spotty performance should be taken into consideration.
- Lots of ports
- Webcam shutter
- User upgradeable
- All-day battery life
- Fingerprint reader
- Terrible touchpad
- Spotty performance
- Washed out display
What you'll love about the Lenovo V330
Lenovo's budget business laptop has a lot of smart features that help distract from some of its downsides. The chassis is not too heavy at about 3.74 pounds, no doubt due to the PC/ABS plastic construction. The bottom of the laptop and inside of the lid around the bezel has a plain plastic look, while the top of the lid and palm rests around the keyboard have more of a metallic finish despite still being plastic. A lot of budget laptops have a really chunky body, but the V330 comes in at 0.88 inches thick.
|Form factor||Clamshell notebook|
1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)
Intel Core i5-8250U
Up to 3.4 GHz
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|RAM||8 GB DDR4-2400MHz
|Storage||1 TB 5,400 RPM
Kensington lock slot
|Battery||Two-cell 39 Wh|
|Wireless||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Two USB-A 3.0
SD card reader
3.5 mm audio
|Size||14.6 inches x 10 inches x 0.88 inches
(375 mm x 253 mm x 22.3 mm)
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Weight||From 3.74 pounds (1.7 kg)|
There's a lot of space on the sides, and Lenovo has used it wisely to include a variety of ports. A proprietary rectangular charging port, VGA, RJ45 Ethernet, HDMI, a single USB-A and a USB-C are all located on the left side, while an SD card reader, 3.5 mm audio jack, and another USB-A port are on the right. What looks like an optical drive is also on the right, but it's a fake plug that looks like a leftover from a different model that might have had a drive included. Altogether, these ports offer connectivity for legacy and modern devices, and I love that USB-C is included to keep up with future peripherals.
Because this is a business laptop there are some extra security features included, like a TPM 1.2 chip, a fingerprint reader set into the right palm rest, and a webcam shutter that you can easily slide over when not filming. No need for sticky notes, and no worries about spying. In testing, the fingerprint reader wasn't the quickest I've seen, but it got the job done every time and was still faster than typing a password. The laptop also has Lenovo's Active Protection System (APS) to help save your HDD data in case of accidental damage.
The 39 Wh battery seems small for a laptop this size, but it actually gets about five hours of life while streaming video with brightness at 50 percent. Going about usual tasks, that number is bumped up to well over what you need for a full eight-hour workday. This lifetime is boosted by the dim display, though, so keep that in mind.
I used the laptop as a daily driver for a few days to see what performance feels like, and unfortunately, I noticed quite a few hangups, especially for a laptop with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor (CPU) and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. There's an issue in there somewhere that causes the entire machine to lock up when you attempt to do too many things at once, but if you don't overload it, it chugs through. The V330 did quite well in benchmark tests, hitting a 3,138 PCMark 8 score, a CPU single-core Geekbench 4 score of 4,185 and multi-core score of 13,096, and a Geekbench 4 graphics (GPU) score of 21,172.
What you'll dislike about the Lenovo V330
To cut costs it's clear from the moment you open the laptop that the 15.6-inch display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution took a hit. Colors are washed out and brightness maxes out at a point that working in a cafe with sun streaming in might not work, but at least the anti-glare coating helps out a bit. Testing color accuracy, I got back 62 percent sRGB and 47 percent AdobeRGB, both poor results. Viewing angles are also narrow. If you need a laptop with a great display, you'll want to look elsewhere. If you just need something for word processing and web browsing, this will still certainly get the job done.
The standard six-row keyboard here comes complete with a number pad for increased productivity, and keys are generally comfortable to type on. There's lots of travel and hitting the deck has a soft click. Unfortunately, there's no backlight, so working after hours becomes a bit of a nuisance. The touchpad might be the worst thing on this laptop, eschewing Precision drivers and generally not tracking well. It has a satisfying click and a hinge located near the top of the pad, allowing you to press down across the entire surface, but it's also relatively small for such a large laptop. Its position — off-center left — has it rubbing against your left palm while typing, essentially making you wish it wasn't there at all.
The 1 TB WDC hard-disk drive (HDD) likely contributes to some of the performance hangups I experienced. Testing sequential speeds with CrystalDiskMark, I got back just 88.48 Mb/s read and 88.02 MB/s write, both pretty abysmal results. The back of the laptop is removable — there are quite a few screws and the VGA port gets in the way, but it's possible — and you have access to the RAM slot (one is embedded, one is accessible) and storage drive for later upgrades.
Should you buy the Lenovo V330?
The Lenovo V330 is a cost-effective way to get some business features into a 15.6-inch laptop. Security perks, like fingerprint reader, webcam shutter, and TPM chip, are all invaluable to a certain crowd, and the all-day battery life makes it easy to tote to the office or on a long flight without worrying about a charger. The addition of legacy and modern ports is also a huge boon.
However, the budget price means a washed display, awful touchpad, and plodding HDD that doesn't seem to play well with the 8th Gen Intel Core CPU. You get a lot of laptop here for the asking price, but you will have to put up with these downsides on a daily basis.