Lenovo LaVie Z And LaVie Z 360 Reviews: Taking Thin And Light To A Whole New Level

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User Experience and Software

In large part, a machine's overall software experience is defined by the hardware surrounding it. A great OS hampered by slow innards makes for a lackluster overall experience. Conversely, a so-so operating system can be made better by cutting-edge hardware that enables smoother, lag-free interactions.

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With regard to the OS, both LaVie Z units ship with Windows 8.1 onboard. I've said my fill about this particular OS through the course of reviewing a number of tablets and laptops, and Lenovo hasn't included anything out of the ordinary here to remark on. Well, aside from bundled antivirus software that's particularly good at nagging users to purchase an upgrade. To boot, there's no included Office here, which feels a bit wrong given the $1500+ price point.

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In just a few short weeks, Windows 10 will ship. That'll certainly make for a better experience overall, and thankfully, this particular rig has plenty of power to handle whatever is next. The Core i7-5500U is paired with 8GB of RAM and an SSD, making for a blissful experience. In fact, the internals closely resembles the excellent Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Special Edition 2-in-1 that I reviewed a few weeks back.

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Performance was generally excellent. It breezed through app launches, multi-tasking, and even some gaming. As with the aforementioned Inspiron 13 7000, the fans kicked in with regularity. Though, it's to be expected when you combine powerful components with a thin shell. The good news is that even under duress, both LaVie Z units sailed through our benchmarks with aplomb. Put simply, I didn't have any qualms with the speed at which these units operated, which is exactly what you'd hope to hear when pondering a $1500+ laptop.

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In case you're curious, performance on both the LaVie Z and LaVie Z 360 was identical. Outside of being able to touch the panel of one machine and not of the other, there weren't any speed or usability differences. The trackpad felt a little hit-and-miss in terms of recognizing our gestures and clicks, but it's no worse than any other Windows-based laptop out these days.

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