Lenovo V330 (15″) review – take your business with you

Since Lenovo acquired IBM they have really stepped up their game in the business device segment. The V330 (15″) is marketed as a reasonably priced product which doesn’t set you back on performance and has the flexibility, reliability, and security to you focus on running your businesses. At first sight, all of this makes sense, given the fast low voltage CPU – Core i7-8550U, fast storage device, and the 8 GB of DDR4 memory. All of this comes in a plastic but a rather sleek form factor, and includes a fingerprint reader.

Despite the Full HD resolution of its screen, the TN panel behind it may very well prove to be a major drawback (read the Display quality part of our review for more information). Nonetheless, there are a lot of “business devices” with similar specifications, and we are going to compare the performance of some of them to that of the Lenovo V330.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-v330-15/

Contents


Specs Sheet

The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region.

Lenovo V330 (15") technical specifications table

Acer
Not available
Display
15.6”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), TN
HDD/SSD
256GB SSD PCIe NVMe
M.2 Slot
1x 2280 M.2 slot See photo
RAM
8GB DDR4, 2400 MHz
Dimensions
375 x 253 x 22.3 mm (14.76" x 9.96" x 0.88")
Weight
2.05 kg (4.5 lbs)
Body material
Plastic / Polycarbonate
Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • Card reader SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC
  • Ethernet lan Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Audio jack combo audio / microphone jack
Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Physical camera shutter

What’s in the box?

Opening the box discovers the typical manuals and set up guides, as well as the 45 W power supply, which consists of a power cord plugged into the power brick. The center of our attention though is the Lenovo V330 itself, which is hidden (not very successfully) in a plastic wrap.


Design and construction

If there is a company that is good at building high-quality devices with plastic and not very expensive materials, this is definitely Lenovo. The case with the V330 (15″) is not different at all – the computer has a stylish looking body (nothing excessive, nothing too much – we like that). It measures at 375 x 253 x 22.3 mm (14.76″ x 9.96″ x 0.88″), and weights a tad over 2 kilos (4.5 lbs). Everything in this device screams “business”. Well, there are some setbacks typical of the material like the bendiness of the screen piece, for example, other than that the build quality is good.

Opening the lid, for which you’re going to need two hands, we see the light grey painted keyboard, which kind of attracts the eye. It’s a bit mushy and needs some getting used to, especially if you’re a fast typer. The layout is good except for the ever so annoying arrow keys which here have kind of weird sizing. The left and right ones are too big which makes the up and down arrows seem even smaller. Let’s move away from the arrow drama on to the touchpad, which is also kind of weird – at first, it may seem unresponsive, but when you move your finger faster, it becomes hyperresponsive – again needs some getting used to.

As Lenovo markets this device with being optimized for security – there is one of the most common biometrical security feature – a fingerprint reader. It is placed in front of the bottom right side of the keyboard, and with us worked 10 out of 10. While not being the fastest one, it is definitely very accurate.

As usual, we continue with a look at the connectivity options. A lot is going on here. Both sides are fully taken by I/O. Starting from the left one, we have a charging socket, VGA and RJ-45 connectors, as well as an HDMI port. Following that we have a total of three USB 3.0 ports – one of them is a Type-A Sleep and Charge enabled, while the other two are of a Type-C, one of which can be used as a charging port. On the other side, we observe another USB Type-A port, which has no special enhancements. It is accompanied by a headphone jack and an SD card slot to the south, and a DVD optical drive to the north.

On the bottom we see some ventilation drills which enhance the suction capabilities of the device, while the exhausted heat is pushed out from holes at the back of the device, which sadly intervenes with the hinge cover, most likely lowering the efficiency. On the other side (pun intended) the speakers are facing towards the user, and are slightly bent, so the sound waves will reflect off the surface on which the device is sitting, thus sounding deeper and louder.


Disassembly and maintenance

Next, we are going to take a peek inside Lenovo V330 (15″). The device is fairly easy to disassemble. First, you have to push a switch on the bottom of the device which releases the optical drive from its support mechanism and you can take it off right away. After that, you have to unscrew 11 Phillips-head screws, and the two flathead ones, located where the optical drive used to be. Now you only need a prying tool to lift the bottom, and voila! The guts of the Lenovo V330 (15″) are exposed.

As you can see from the images, the optical drive uses a hell lot of space. At the expense of this, the cooling solution consists of a short copper heatpipe, connecting the CPU to a heatsink where the heat is dissipated with the help of a fan – nothing unusual.

In the next photo, right beneath the CPU, you can see the sole DIMM slot, which is currently occupied by the 8 GB DDR4 2400 MHz memory module.

We like how Lenovo keep a tendency of putting the crucial pieces of hardware right next to each other, as the M.2 PCIe slot follows shortly after the DIMM connector. As you can see from the label, this configuration is equipped with one of the fastest SSDs out there – Samsung PM961.

The battery of the device is not very promising with its mere 30 Wh (spoiler alert) – it indeed is not a long-lasting champion. Right next to the battery is the SATA expansion slot, held in place by another four screws, and is currently occupied by a foam HDD – not the fastest on the market.


Display quality

Lenovo V330 (15″) is equipped with a Full HD TN panel branded as Innolux N156HGA-EAB – the same panel is found in Lenovo ThinkPad L570. It is 15.6 inches in diagonal and has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This gives a pixel density of 142 ppi, and a pixel pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm. Given that information, the screen can be considered as “Retina” when being looked at from further than 60 cm.

The viewing angles of Lenovo V330 (15″) are uncomfortable, as you can see from the illustration below.

We measured a maximum brightness of 244 nits in the middle of the screen (230 nits is the average for the whole surface of the panel), and 16% maximum deviation. The Correlated Color Temperature on White screen and the highest brightness level is 6580 K, which is on par with the optimal value in the sRGB standard of 6500 K – not bad. Additionally, the average temperature for the different grey levels with the default settings comes close to 11000K – cold, bluish light (corrected by our profiles).
On the image below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. In other words the leakage of light from the light source.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work.
The contrast ratio of the panel is mediocre – 270:1 (220:1 after profiling).

The next image shows the sRGB coverage of Lenovo V330 (15″)’s display. The color reproduction of the human eye is shown via the “CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram”. In the middle of the dark-grey triangle are located the standard colors used by Internet and digital TV – rec.709/sRGB.

Being used by million people around the world the colors from the sRGB gamut are the most common and their accurate reproduction is of key importance for the quality of the screen.

In addition to the Adobe RGB color space, used in the professional photography, we’ve included the color gamut, used by world-known movie studios – DCI-P3, and UHD-digital television (Rec.2020), which is very hard to achieve by modern display units.

We have drawn the Pointer’s Gamut with a black line. This color space covers all the colors we can see around us.

Lenovo V330 (15″) has a mediocre coverage, shown by the yellow pointed line. Its display covers 50% of the sRGB gamut of sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Gaming and Web design” profile is designed to show optimal color temperature (6500K) when the luminance is at 140 nits and sRGB gamma.

In order to test the display, we used 24 color samples, consisting of common and easily distinguishable ones such as light and dark human skin, blue sky, grassy green and orange.
Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo V330 (15″) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The following chart shows us the prerequisites for comfortable gaming experience in terms of the darkest parts of the image.

The left side tells us the default settings results of the screen, and the right one shows us the results with “Gaming and Web design” profile installed. The horizontal gives us the levels of grey, and the vertical one – the screen brightness.

You can check how your device displays the first five levels of grey – 1% – 5% White – via the graphics below the charts. The image you see depends on several factors such as the panel of the display you’re currently reading this article on, its calibration, your eyesight, ambient light, viewing angle and more.


Response time (gaming capabilities)

The chart below illustrates the response time of the pixels going from Black to White and around for levels of 10% to 90% and vice versa. We measured Fall Time + Rise Time = 16 ms – relatively fast, although typical for a TN panel.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. It can be particularly harmful to the eyes and the brain at levels lower than 300 Hz. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

The light, emitted by Lenovo V330’s display flickers (is PWM-adjusted), only at levels lower than 65 cd/m2, and moreover it does it with high enough frequency, which makes it comfortable for extended periods of use.


Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

The display of this configuration of Lenovo V330 (15″) has a budget TN panel. The light emitted by the backlight does not flicker and respectively doesn’t harm one’s eyesight for a good range of Brightness levels. The panel is fast and has a Full HD resolution. Sadly, the color coverage is limited and the viewing angles – uncomfortable.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Lenovo V330 (15″) configurations with 15.6″ Innolux N156HGA-EAB (Full HD, 1920 x 1080) TN screen:

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Lenovo V330 (15″) has crisp tones in the whole spectrum of frequencies. The sound coming from the speakers is clear and has a very good quality.


Software

Lenovo V330 is equipped with a 64-bit Windows 10 operating system and has all the drivers preloaded. Anyhow if you need to reinstall your system, you can find the appropriate drivers here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/bg/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/lenovo-v-series-laptops/v330-15isk/downloads.

Battery

As always, the battery tests were run with Windows power saving setting and Wi-Fi turned on, and the screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits. The 30Wh battery unit inside this V330 (15″) falls short of being impressive, providing you with no more than 4 hours and 15 minutes of browsing the web or playing videos. If you decide to game away from the charger, you’ll have to reconsider this after about two hours and 20 minutes.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.


CPU – Intel Core i7-8550U

The Intel Core i7-8550U is part of the new 8th Generation Kaby Lake Refresh and it’s a direct successor to the Intel Core i7-7500U from the Kaby Lake generation and the Intel Core i7-6500U from the 6th Skylake generation. With the latest alteration to the ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors, Intel doubles the core count from 2 to 4 and retaining the so-called Hyper-Threading technology, keeping the same 14nm manufacturing process and feature the same 15W TDP.

However, due to the core count change, the base frequency of the Core i7-8550U is lowered to only 1.8 GHz while Turbo Boost frequencies remain pretty high – somewhere between 3.7 – 4.0 GHz. This ensures considerably higher multi-core and single-core performance during short workloads before going back to more bearable frequencies considering the 15W TDP but most of the other specs and features remain the same.

The chip also incorporates a newer Intel Gen 9.5 integrated graphics called Intel UHD Graphics 620. The support for Google’s VP9 codec and H.265/HEVC Main 10 is still the most notable feature of the iGPU. Intel claims that the new UHD 620 chips improve the overall power consumption compared to the previous one.

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Lenovo V330 (15") CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo V330 (15") models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo V330 (15") model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)


GPU – Intel UHD Graphics 620

Intel UHD Graphics 620 is a refresh of the HD Graphics 620 found as an integrated solution in many ULV Kaby Lake processors. UHD Graphics 620 is codenamed “Kaby Lake R U GT2” and it’s a part of the Gen 9.5 generation.

Intel UHD Graphics 620 has roughly the same performance as HD Graphics 620, depending on the other components in the system. UHD Graphics 620’s performance is similar to AMD Radeon R5 M420X and NVIDIA GeForce 910M/920M.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Lenovo V330 (15") GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo V330 (15") models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo V330 (15") model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Storage performance

Lenovo V330 is equipped with a Samsung PM951 PCIe SSD. This device is a beast when it comes to storage performance. It provides 3432.7 MB/s Read and 1317 MB/s Write speeds. It is one of the fastest devices in this aspect that we have ever tested.


Gaming tests

While this is clearly not a gaming device, Lenovo V330 is going to provide you with a totally playable experience in casual titles such as CS:GO and Dota 2, although the framerate dropped to single-digit minimum values in the first one. It can get you good 33 fps with minimum eye candy and 768p resolution in GTA V. Anyway, it scores a bit lower than the XPS 13 (9370) which is powered by the same hardware.

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 57 fps 34 fps 16 fps
Min FPS 6 fps 4 fps 1 fps

DOTA 2 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 77 fps 35 fps 18 fps

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) HD 768p, Low (Check settings) HD 768p, Medium (Check settings) HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 33 fps – fps – fps
Min FPS 19 fps – fps – fps

Temperatures

The temperature tests go this way. We use Prime95 and FurMark to torture the CPU and the GPU respectively. This won’t give real-life representation but with our methodology, we try to give you the most optimal results.

The first values from the test are from the 30th second of running the Prime95 stress test, which simulates a heavy task performed by your computer (usually lighter tasks take from a part of the second up to a couple of seconds). Next, we take the ones from the 2nd-minute mark, which imitates a very heavy task run by the CPU. The last values we give you are the ones at the end of the test, which is 15 minutes, simulating CPU load when rendering a video, for example.

0-15 min. CPU torture test

As we’ve found from recent tests of more and more devices with the Core i7-8550U, it idles at around 40°C. Additionally, it has a base frequency of 1.8 GHz and a maximum one of 4 GHz. The V330’s CPU is far from the 4 GHz with a 2.6 GHz in the first seconds of the test. This is kind of weird because the temperatures were a lot lower than this CPU can handle – reaching a maximum of 73°C after which (weirdly enough) it throttled to 2.0 GHz, resulting in an average of 2.4 GHz which is low for this time period.

Cores frequency (0 – 00:30 sec.)
CPU Temperature (0 – 00:30 sec.)

Going to the second checkpoint – the frequencies were bouncing from 2.0 to 2.1 GHz, while the temperatures never exceeded 66°C – we can already draw a conclusion that this device is aimed at keeping stuff cool, which enhances the longevity of the hardware.

Cores frequency (0 – 2:00 min.)
CPU Temperature (0 – 2:00 min.)

For the rest of the torture test, the frequencies were fluctuating between 1.9 and 2.0 GHz, which is close to the base clock speeds of the CPU. The total average frequency for the whole session is 2.0 GHz, while the average temperature was 66°C and never reached the 73°C from the first 30 seconds of the test.

Cores frequency (0 – 15:00 min.)
CPU Temperature (0 – 15:00 min.)

The surface temperatures of the Lenovo V330 solidify the statement that this is a cool device. The hottest part being in the top-right corner, and while warming your left hand a little bit it cannot be considered as hot. Those temperatures show exactly how a business grade device should perform. What we’ve seen promises an enhanced lifespan of the device.

37.6°C
32.7°C
25.1°C
36.5°C
33.6°C
24.3°C
24.4°C
23.3°C
22.0°C

Verdict

With the population of the business laptop market increasing faster than that of India, the Lenovo V330 had to perform really well to catch the eye. Although this didn’t really happen, there are some areas, in which it performed better than the competition. Speaking of which, we put the AMD – equipped version of Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41) as one of its main rivals. It’s interesting to confront the best low-voltage solution by Intel with its AMD counterpart.

In synthetic CPU benchmarks they performed quite equally but as expected, the V330 (15″) falls short in the GPU compartment. Also, don’t expect the device to get you through the whole working day so bring a charger with you. Another drawback is the plastic design. Although it is very well made and looks sturdy enough, it just can’t compete with the aluminum used in similar laptops.

Sadly, the screen here is the next thing that disappoints which was kind of expected, given the nature of the TN panel, and it is not one of the brightest either. However, there are a couple of things that bring the V330 (15″) back on the road to glory. One of them is the temperature management which results in the device being super cool on the outside. What impressed us most actually is the speed of the Samsung PM961 SSD which is blazing fast with 3432.7 MB/s Read and 1317 MB/s Write speeds. We must mention though that it’s not 100 % sure that the device will come with this particular SSD model, meaning that speeds may vary. It even beats (shockingly) the more “exquisite” XPS 13 (9670), despite being equipped with the same storage device.

Pros

  • A cool device in terms of thermal management, suitable for extended work periods
  • Blazingly fast SSD support
  • Fingerprint reader
  • PWM-adjustment is not aggressive


Cons

  • Budget quality Full HD display
  • Mediocre battery life for a low-voltage device
  • Lack of a keyboard backlight

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Ian Lee
Ian Lee
3 years ago

Hi, Thought it was worth mentioning: The Ram stick in he photo above isn’t an 8Gb stick… it’s a 4Gb stick – that’s because the V330 has 4Gb on board. Luckily the V330 supports up to 20Gb RAM, so you can swap out the 4Gb stick and drop in a 16Gb stick. Also, the “security lock slot” isn’t the very common Kensington Microsaver (and clicksafe compatible) slot that’s used on nearly every other Lenovo model, it is in fact a miniSaver lock slot. So if you’re looking to replace existing kit with the V330, and already have locks, you may… Read more »

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