2024-01-04 | 6 minutes reading

Thinkpad X330

I am a very happy user of a X330 for almost a year now, and I would like to share my thoughts with you.

thinkpad x330

What is X330?

For those who don't know, X330 is a manually modified X230. There are plenty of modifications available, and I decided to not have all of them as I don't need them. The important fact is, that the resulting modified device is most often called X330, because one of the most principal updates is of course replacement of the atrocious 12.5" HD panel for a new 13" one. Hence the name X330. You can get more details and specs on the web page of the original mod creator here.

Available modifications

My modifications

I went for the 16:10 panel, because I really wanted to get back that T22 display chassis feeling and as a programmer, I always can use more vertical space. I also upgraded CPU to 4 core 35W i7-3612QE with a new cooler and wifi card to AX210. I was very happy with ThinkLight LED color change to 2700K yellow to get rid of the blue light. Last mod I chose was the external antenna. I was thinking a long time about the keyboard replacement, because that was something I wanted for a long time, but 10 years on ThinkPad chicklet keyboards changed my muscle memory and I also really like the first chicklet keyboards (2.1 millimeter travel) before Lenovo continuously butchered them to the point when they are just as bad as any other, maybe even worse (X1 carbon gen 11). I don't care about speakers and I don't need two wifi cards therefore I skipped those. Charging port replacement was not recommended to me, because the original port is much better at enduring the day-to-day beating. That was a bummer, because most of the devices in my household use USB-C. Local modder, that made the modifications for me also said, that the lid reinforcement is not necessary, so I opted out of that one too.

Usage experience

The new display is of average quality. Nothing special, but compared to the original panel, it is a blast. It provides 300 nits of brightness, which is just ok for any indoor use. CPU is on par with current modern models when it comes to standard daily "office" work. The energy consumption is of course something different. I can get 4 hours of standard work out of the middle-sized 64Wh battery, but my setup is rather minimalistic, mostly terminal based and the rest is programming IDE and browser use, so I would expect less in case one would use it on watching YouTube videos. External antenna with new wifi card is ok-ish. I was expecting much better signal reception, but it is just a little bit better, but now having a big antenna sticking out of the chassis.

The result

Well, for 500 hundred euros (if you have a spare X230 at home), I have a laptop with 13" 2K display, 16 GB RAM and 4 core CPU, that is able enough to be my daily driver even in case of an Android or Flutter development and that requires a considerable amount of CPU and RAM resources. It has a great keyboard with long key travel and good tactility. It has a USB3, smartcard reader, secondary ssd disk in mSATA slot, RJ45 slot and full sized SD card reader. And of course, battery that could be easily switched on the fly during the day, replaceable RAM, SSD, or wifi card. All this in 10 years old laptop. I don't have any lags or performance issues whatsoever. I am just a very happy user. The only sad thing is, that they don't do such great and capable devices anymore.

tags: Minimalism, Laptop