Lenovo Chromebook IdeaPad C330 (2018, 81HY000DUS) Review

Kenny Trinh Updated on October 2, 2020
Lenovo Chromebook C330 Review

Editor’s Rating: 4 / 10

Badly jinxed by its marketing team and buggy Chrome OS, people thought it was a failure of a product; now, it suddenly got popular.

Lenovo Chromebook C330
You can use it as your everyday tablet to watch movies and perform some clerical work. You can also play games in it, but don't expect that it can help you with demanding tasks, like 4k video editing.

The Good

It has the processing power to be useful in a light usage setting, and it can run most Android games without any problems.

The Bad

With its unexpected rise in popularity, it became expensive. It will be only worth your money when it becomes heavily discounted.

Detailed Review Of Lenovo Chromebook C330 (2018, 81HY000DUS)

Since you’re here, you’re either wandering around aimlessly to find a good 2-in-1 or Chromebook to buy and give to someone. Or you’re here because you want to know about the buzz surrounding Chromebook and if it’s worth getting a laptop that runs on Chrome OS.

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(Image credit: Lenovo)

We’re going to be upfront with this review: you can find far better models than this one. However, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 still has something to offer. It’s a decent laptop for kids.

Lastly, know that C330 is not that bad. However, people now have high expectations for Chromebooks. Nonetheless, know that it can keep up with casual user demands. And in case you’re not feeling confident that this is the model for you, you can consult our list of other Lenovo laptops here.

Lenovo Chromebook C330 Configuration In Review

Processor: MT8173C | RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 | Storage: 64 GB eMMC Flash | Graphics: PowerVR SGX543 | Display: 11.6 inch 16:9 Capacitive | Operating System: Chrome OS | Battery Life: 10 Hours | Weight: 2.64 pounds | Other Features: None |

The Processing Power

The immense saving grace of this Chromebook is its processor. I know. I know. Starting with the geek talk isn’t fun, but stay with me here.

You should know that most Chromebooks come with ARM-based processors. Manufacturers made these processors for smartphones and other mobile devices. They’re energy-efficient, powerful, and don’t cost a lot to manufacture.

Since Chrome OS is Android OS built for laptops, it runs well on ARM-based processors. And the C330 comes with a MediaTek MT8176, an ARM-based processor. That means that Chrome OS runs well on this 2-in-1.

You should also know that performance-wise, the MT8176 is as powerful as the A13 Bionic, which the iPhone 11 Pro Max uses.

Chromebooks being able to use ARM-based and the usual mobile CPUs makes comparing Chromebook processors and basing your buying decision on it can be tricky. But you can trust that this is one of the best processors for a Chromebook.

The Bad Rap And Chrome OS

You might already have felt that there’s a particular animosity between us and the C330 because there was. You see, as reviewers, we often get our hands on products before the public does. And what we experienced when this laptop was fresh out of the oven was a bit of a disaster.

The biggest reason that the Lenovo Chromebook didn’t sell after its initial public release is Chrome OS. It’s not the laptop’s fault; it’s Chrome OS and its incompatibility issues. If Chrome OS wasn’t unreliable back then, the C330 could’ve taken a spot with little effort in our gaming laptops under $500 rankings.

It didn’t help that Lenovo advertised the C330 as something that works out of the box. You enter your email address and bam! It’s ready to use!

No setup needed—just log in with your Google account to experience a new type of 2-in-1 laptop for everything you love to do

However, it didn’t work as advertised, and it didn’t help that it’s one of the cheapest 2-in-1 at that time. There will be times that it will just stop working. Sometimes, we can’t access the Google Play Store. Then we tried some recommended troubleshooting. And we’ve got stuck on a loop. We encounter a problem, fix it, and it’ll be back again. Rinse and repeat.

Then something generated a buzz about this Chromebook, so we decided to charge and test this again. After waiting hours of updating the operating system, we’re back on business. We installed a few games and tried it for a few days. Funnily enough, it just works.

And amusingly, we tried its successor, the C340. It works fine, but performance-wise, the C330 ran smoother. The only problem now was that the C330’s price suddenly inflated, and Lenovo themselves ran out of stock.

Gaming Tablet

We’ve gone through lengths to get testing and benchmarking data for this beast. And to our surprise, its processor was great for games. For one, it can allow you to play the heavyweight games in the mobile scene like PUBG mobile, Pokemon Go, Minecraft, Fifa Football, Need For Speed, and Roblox.

Unlike most desktop and laptop CPUs, ARM-based CPUs have a powerful integrated GPU with them. And usually, the performance of the GPU often relies on the CPU. If the CPU works excellent, then the graphics would work great, too. If it isn’t, then expect some massive annoyance.

And since the MT8176 is an excellent processor, you won’t need to worry about the PowerVR SGX543.

Also, we did say that the C330 runs better now because of the updates. However, it still has kinks that we believe that we can’t fix or find workarounds. Those concerns aren’t that bad, and it’s mostly some frame drops when we run Chrome apps.

When it comes to games from the Play Store, it’s okay, and we didn’t experience debilitating problems. And if there will be, I’m sure it will be because of hardware limitations and unsatisfiable system requirements of modern applications.

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(Image credit: Lenovo)

Overall Impression

And now that we have covered the show’s stars let’s now check out the supporting cast.

You know, it must be challenging to market a 2-in-1 laptop that doesn’t have the specs of a proper laptop. Note that this device only has 64GB of storage space. And we’ll tell you now that it’s substandard if we talk about laptops.

Modern desktops and laptop storage devices often start at 120GB. The era of 64GB capacity as standard was decades ago. Sure, it’s okay if it’s just about smartphones or tablets. However, this device isn’t. Also, the preinstalled apps and the OS already will cost you 15GB. That will leave you with only 45 GB the moment you start your Chromebook.

Sellers might say that there’s nothing to worry about storage space. You can use Google Drive. It’s just a band-aid solution, and it brings up two problems. One, you’ll need to be reliant on the Internet. Two, you’ll eventually fill your free storage up, and you might need to force yourself to pay for data storage.

Also, even if you don’t have Chrome OS, you can still use Google Drive as long as you have a Google account.

Another critical component that you need to look for and prickly about when shopping for Chromebooks and phones is memory or RAM. Be warned that Chrome apps are notorious for being memory hogs. An Android application requires twice the amount of RAM of a similar application made for a desktop computer.

Unfortunately, the C330 only has 4GB, and it isn’t enough. A modern browser like Chrome can quickly gobble that up and leave none for other applications if you plan to multitask. Most of the best laptops under 500 dollars have 8GB of RAM by default.

Then there’s the keyboard. Most people ignore this part when they’re shopping for 2-in-1s. Remember that, nowadays, a tablet is a keyboard-less laptop. You’re only getting a 2-in-1 mostly for a keyboard, to be honest.

If this is your first time getting a Chromebook, you should always remind yourself that it might feel different.

Setting that aside, the C330’s keyboard layout is acceptable. When it comes to travel and feel, the C330’s keyboard isn’t bad. The problem is the lack of the standard keys people are accustomed to using. One of them is the delete key.

We understand that space is a considerable concern if you’re using a small mobile device with an on-screen keyboard. You need to be economical and take out some redundant and uncommonly used keys. However, there are keys that, even if they are duplicative, people are still used to using them.

If you think you can get used to it fast, then you’re good to go. And you can have a Chromebook convertible without fussing yourself out.

At only .77” / 19.6 mm and 2.64lbs / 1.2 kg and with a full keyboard and spacious trackpad, this Chromebook is perfect for day-to-day computing, on or offline.

Critic Reviews

LaptopMag.com: 3 / 5

The Lenovo Chromebook C330 is an 11.6-inch convertible that lasts all day on a charge, but its performance isn’t great.

NotebookCheck.com: 82% / 100%

Dream Chromebook? Lenovo’s Chromebook C330 is one of the best-tuned Chromebooks we’ve ever had on our fingers. It does have its weaknesses, especially the keyboard and the range of available ports, but overall these are negligible given the excellent overall package.

PCMag.com: 3 / 5

It’s not ThinkPad-caliber, but the keyboard is one of the C330’s best features. Don’t look for high resolution or aluminum construction, but expect substantial value from the Lenovo Chromebook C330, an 11.6-inch convertible priced comfortably under $300.

Buy It If

The Lenovo Chromebook IdeaPad C330 suddenly got a second wind. It may be because of Chromebook’s recent popularity in schools or the recent discount sale that Lenovo started a while. Nonetheless, it affected this product’s price, and it suddenly experienced a 50% price increase.

Note that Lenovo initially priced this laptop under $300. Only buy it if you see it discounted. Also, know that this is only good as a study partner for kids and a gaming tablet. You can use it for anything else, but you can get a better laptop instead of this one.

Don’t Buy It If

Unless you want to give it to your kids as their studying or gaming device, we don’t recommend buying it unless you find it in a bargain bin. After all, let’s be honest here. At this point, the C330 can’t even be considered one of the best 2-in-1 laptops in the market.

Lenovo Chromebook C330 Alternatives

Verdict

Lenovo Chromebook C330
You can use it as your everyday tablet to watch movies and perform some clerical work. You can also play games in it, but don't expect that it can help you with demanding tasks, like 4k video editing.

If this didn’t suit your kid’s taste, you could check out our list of other laptops we considered great for kids. Just click the link, and you’ll be there.

Kenny Trinh
Article by:
Kenny Trinh
Editor @ Netbooknews. While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur tips and tricks which featured Forbes and other places.

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