There have been a lot of adverts about Chrome books and we have been wanting to try one for a while. So Lenovo was happy to send us a Lenovo C330 Chromebook so that we could do this review.
They say that a Chromebooks’ strength is all about speed, no waiting and easy to use. We decided to clear the decks and get some timings, to see how fast these things really are. We decided that we wanted to be able to open it and then start this review on the Lenovo C330, as quickly as possible.
We also wanted to show that there was no cheating going on, so we decided to do a video of the unpacking and the first time that it was switched on.
Opening the box and pulling out what looked like a white, almost surgical looking device, was a little bit of a shock. The charger was also unpacked and it appeared to have the same charging connection as a new Android phone, which may come in handy for those that need to carry a cable with them.
There is only one USB socket, a HDMI port and an SD card slot on the left side of the Lenovo C330. On the right a power button, volume keys and a headphone jack, all very simple.
Opening the lid of the Chromebook, is where we started to see the difference. The screen lit up almost instantly and without any messing around, it asked for a Wi-Fi connection and password. Then it asked for my Google log in (make sure you know your Gmail password, it can get embarrassing if you are videoing yourself….)
Within 1 minute of switching the Lenovo C330, Chromebook on, I was able to start surfing the internet and all of my favourite bookmarks were there ready to be used.
Being that I am an Android phone user, everything was instantly linked to my phone. Security settings and links were pinging through on my phone and all I had to do was to authorise them.
It is a light laptop and the battery seems to last an entire day of typing and messing around. It definitely has more appeal than the old bulky laptop that is now permanently left on the desk.
The Lenovo C330 is a touch screen Chromebook, this was one of the reasons why we wanted to get our hands on one of these. Our research, we found that this was one of the cheapest touchscreen Chromebooks we could find (current costs £209.99 from Lenovo direct, which we think is a bargain..)
The Lenovo C330 has a 180 hinge, which means the keyboard folds all the way back and the device turns into a handy tablet. I checked and in this mode the keyboard disables, so hands can grab the keyboard without the fear of ruining screen display.
Also I wanted to try the playback feature. As this is a Google device, all of my stored movies in Google Play store were accessible. Just needed to authorise the ‘sync’ feature for all of my google apps, oh and Wi-Fi must be connected for it to playback smoothly.
The movies play really well and pushing the keyboard back to use as a stand, it is a free standing screen. The sound is good, as the speakers are under the chrome book and the sound plays out into the room.
The speed of this thing really is something else. Switching in on and off a few times, I was on line within 10 seconds each time of testing it. The Lenono C330 Chromebook is a great bit of kit, but I also intended to use it in anger and get some real work out of it.
Getting down to business and writing this review really put things into perspective. Our site is a WordPress based site and although I prefer the web login, there is a WordPress app. This is where things started to get interesting.
The video above was done on this machine. The SD card taken from the camera, inserted in the side and then having to move the videos to the files folder was a little more trickier than I had hoped. Uploading the footage to Youtube and using the online editing software however was easy.
It is not all plain sailing
Now that the chromebook is being put to work and all the nice newness of the device is wearing off, I discovered that there are many features that are not transferable from a Window’s user skill set.
Earlier on, I noticed that the keyboard is different, more like the Apple Macbook (the @ sign is to the right of the keyboard and not shift ‘2’). There are other quirks as well.
The mouse pad is a single click, without the right click ability. A quick google search and I realised that there is a whole load of learning needed. Not put off, this was a chance to find out something new and add to my skill set. Things like holding down the ‘alt’ key, which is next to the space bar and clicking the pad gave me the right click option.
I was hoping that all my photos and videos were instantly accessible to upload to my wordpress site. Linking the google photos app and dragging them across could not be done. Not so easy. I resorted to using a USB cable instead and dragging the photos direct from my phone. Again a small bit of learning on how to do this was needed but it was not too different from using a Windows laptop.
Another neat little trick I had to learn is the screen shot command. A few seconds on Google and I now know to hold the Ctrl button and push the Switch window key button… (As demonstrated..)
However, pairing the Chromebook with your Android phone can save a lot of messing around. If the phone is close by, when switching on the device, I can now click the icon on the log in screen and bypass typing in my password each time.
All these little tricks are great but they do take time to learn. It can be frustrating at times, but the pay off to finding out these things really does make all the difference in using the device.
I would suggest going on line https://support.google.com/chromebook/ and taking a good look at Googles help pages. It is full of information and a great place to find all the short cuts and help with finding out what to do.
Can it replace my Laptop?
This is an interesting question, I have been considering it for days. I would suggest that the Lenovo C330 is a great machine. For those that want a quick easy to use (after a small bit of learning) laptop, absolutely it is. However the programmes that I run alongside, for this blogging site, like the video editing software, Filmora, it cannot be done on this machine.
To counter that there are loads of apps available through the google play store and this can be circumnavigated, but a great editing tool makes a huge difference to videos and as you can see the result above, it is not that inspiring and will take longer to test and learn.
We will continue to use the Lenovo C330 Chromebook and will continue to learn all we can about how to use it. I am sure things will get easier the longer we play with it.
Anyone who wants something different, we would highly recommend the Lenovo C330, it is a great entry into the Google Chromebook world and well worth the investment in money and time.