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Review: The Lenovo LaVie Z is crazy-light and surprisingly fast

Gordon Mah Ung | June 23, 2015
At 1.94 pounds, the LaVie Z is the lightest 13-inch laptop in the world. But here's what's wrong.

lavie

Ounces count in caviar, precious metals and the laptop that's carving a divot into your shoulder while you're standing in line for the plane.

It's these folks Lenovo is hoping to snag with its new LaVie Z, which claims the title of being the lightest 13-inch laptop in the world.

I can confirm after receiving our unit for testing that yes, the LaVie Z is so incredibly light, at 1.94 pounds, you'll initially wonder if it has any components in it at all. Hell, I wondered if Lenovo had shipped us one of those fake display laptops they use at the furniture stores.

But Nerd's Honor, this is a fully functional machine. Even more surprisingly, it's fast--though you'd expect nothing less with a Core i7-5500U, 8GB of LPDDR3 and a 256GB Samsung M.2 SATA SSD inside.

Lighter than air (Apple's, too)

The LaVie's claim to fame is its weight. To achieve it, Lenovo (and NEC, which manufactured the unit through its joint partnership with Lenovo) made a lot of choices to shed ounces. The first is the shell, which Lenovo says is magnesium lithium. To keep it even lighter, the top deck is a single extruded piece rather than a two-piece assembly.

Batteries also contribute a lot to laptop weight, so Lenovo opted for a high-resolution IGZO panel. IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) increases efficiency in how light is passed through the LCD display at high resolutions, and also in power leakage. Because the display doesn't have to be driven as hard to attain the same brightness as other high-resolution panels, Lenovo was able to use a smaller battery for the LaVie Z than it would have needed with a typical IPS display.

Rather than rely on manufacturer specs, I weighed each of the computers above on our obsessive-compulsive Pitney Bowes postage machine, in grams. All machines were weighed sans charger brick. Because I know the Surface Pro 3 mafia would chime in if I ignored it, I threw in the Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover and Pen. I also weighed the Surface 3 Pro without the Type Cover and Surface Pen too--which, frankly, makes it kinda useless.

As you can see the LaVie Z is beaten only by the naked Surface Pro 3. Even Apple's smaller Mac Book 12 is heavier than the LaVie Z. When you consider that the LaVie Z packs a bigger, higher-resolution screen than the MacBook 12, that makes Lenovo's feat even more impressive.

It's also worth noting that some of the units are at a disadvantage here. The Dell XPS 13 without touchscreen sheds some weight, but still can't touch the LaVie Z.

 

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