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

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Summary and Conclusion

Let's be clear: Lenovo's LaVie Z deserves huge praise for weighing in at just 1.87 pounds. It's an engineering feat, and what's even more impressive is that there's a potent Core i7-5500U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a fast SSD in there. What you're looking at is the year's most powerful Ultrabook under 2 pounds, which is impressive in and of itself. Unfortunately, these models don't achieve this without some compromises.

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For starters, we don't see a compelling reason to spring for the more expensive, convertible LaVie Z 360 unless your dead-set on owning a large, lightweight 2-in-1. With its $200 price premium above the standard LaVie Z, an ultra-glossy, high-glare display and slightly increased weight, the 360 is just not as attractive. To boot, it's still pretty awkward to use a 13.3-inch machine as a tablet under most conditions, so you're better off sticking with the more affordable standard LaVie Z in our opinion, unless you have a particular use case in mind for it.  Plus, the QHD panel on the standard LaVie Z packs an anti-glare coating that's downright beautiful to look at, even in sunlight.

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In terms of performance, both machines deliver in spades. The Core i7-5500U has proven to be a formidable mobile processor, plowing through our benchmarks, notching a few impressive scores along the way. From everyday use, to casual gaming, to HD video viewing, you won't notice any hiccups or stutters here.

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Unfortunately, the LaVie Z has some drawbacks. The ultra light nature of the machine required the use of some materials that don't inspire confidence when holding the LaVie Z in your hand. That's understandable considering just how light the machine is, but at $1500 we suspect most users would want something that feels a bit more premium. In addition, the bland matte black finish doesn't stand out in any meaningful way.

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The lids on these machines are also fairly flexible and the keyboard is less than ideal. The keyboard arrangement is non-standard and will take some getting used to. Keys are truncated and resized to the point of seeming foreign, and key travel and tactility isn't very good either. With so much surface space to work with, and Lenovo's track history of awesome mobile keyboards, we expected more.

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At it's price point, the LaVie Z stands out because the machine is just so light. Travelling with the LaVie Z will be a breeze in comparison to virtually any other machine on the market currently, but it's not without issues.  Performance is outstanding, but the keyboard layout and exterior design left much to be desired. Hopefully, Lenovo's next generation will be able to maintain its petite, super-light frame while increasing build quality and rigidity.

  • Outstanding performance
  • Super light
  • Top-notch QHD display on the LaVie Z
  • Fast SSD
  • Pricey
  • Flimsy chassis
  • Awkwardly designed keyboard
  • Uninspired design language

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