If there's one trend we're seeing early on at CES 2015, it's that's laptops are becoming as thin and as light as some tablets. Case in point: The Lenovo LaVie z, a 13-inch notebook that weighs just 1.72 pounds, lighter even than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Available in May and starting at $1,299, we went hands on with this impossible light notebook and its convertible twin.
It's hard to convey just how light the LaVie Z feels; it's nearly as light as two 12-ounce soda cans, but feels airier, as the weight is distributed over a wider area. Designed in partnership with NEC, the LaVie Z will be available as both a traditional clamshell and as a Yoga-style convertible; the latter will be a slightly heavier 2.04 pounds.
Still, both of the new LaVie Z devices are lighter than the recently announced Samsung ATIV Book 9, which itself is a featherweight 2.09 pounds. That's all the more impressive, considering that the Samsung notebook has a smaller 12.5-inch display.
The LaVie Z is made from a magnesium-lithium alloy that is as rigid as it is light, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd accidentally break it in half, or that it would get carried away by a stiff breeze. While not as thin as its ThinkPad Carbon line, the 16.8-mm (0.66 inch) LaVie isn't chunky by any means.
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Unlike the Samsung ATIV Book 9, which runs on an Intel Core M processor, the LaVie Z will be configurable with a full-power Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU. The lighter LaVie Z is rated to last only 6 hours on a charge, but the convertible model should last about 9.5 hours on a charge, which is more than enough for a cross-country flight. The convertible LaVie Z is slightly more power-efficient than the clamshell version, as its display uses IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) technology, rather than a traditional LCD.
Other specs include a 128GB SSD, up to 8GB of RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two USB 3.0 ports, and a full-size HDMI port.
Owing to its thinner design, the LaVie's keyboard won't have as much travel as Lenovo's ThinkPad or IdeaPad lines, but the keyboard we tried--though a preproduction version--certainly felt comfortable for typing. Also missing is a trackpoint, although this notebook is aimed more at consumers, and not the business set.
The Lenovo LaVie will be available in May. The clamshell version will start at $1,299, and the convertible will start at $1,499; this is one laptop we're looking forward to carrying with us--mainly because we won't know if we're carrying a notebook at all.
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