LaVie Z Ultraportables: Lenovo and NEC’s Lightweight Tag Team

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Lenovo LaVie Z Series (with pre-production Japanese keyboards)

Lenovo LaVie Z Series (with pre-production Japanese keyboards)

How many companies does it take to make a radically light 13-inch laptop with high-end specs? Apparently the answer is two because Lenovo and NEC have teamed up to introduce the Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550 and Lenovo LaVie Z HZ750 premium lightweight notebooks, both of which will be available in the U.S. in May.

While a traditional “thin and light” 13-inch notebook might weigh less than 3.0 pounds, the new Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550 will take the title of “world’s lightest 13-inch laptop PC” as it weighs only 1.72 pounds. For comparison, that means the new notebook weighs less than a typical 32-oz bottle of water. On a personal note, when Lenovo handed me a pre-production unit of the HZ550 my immediate thought was that it was a “mock up prototype” or “dummy notebook” without any hardware inside. I was quite amazed when I pressed the power button and the notebook was fully functional.

Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550

Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550

While the Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550 wears the crown as the lightest 13-inch laptop, the HZ750 claims bragging rights as the lightest 13-inch convertible PC with a 360-degree hinge. The HZ750 weighs a mere 2.04 pounds and features a Lenovo-designed “YOGA” hinge, allowing users to flip back the screen on the HZ750 and use it as a tablet.

Both the HZ550 and HZ750 are extremely thin, measuring just 16.9 mm or 0.665 inches, but they feel solid thanks to their specialized magnesium-lithium chassis construction. The new body materials make the LaVie Z laptops as durable and strong as a traditional magnesium alloy laptop while also making the structure more flexible so that the chassis can bend rather than crack or break. Essentially, Lenovo and NEC are using new materials that have the benefits of both the ordinary magnesium alloy and the quality plastics used in other laptops but at a fraction of the weight.

Lenovo LaVie Z HZ750

Lenovo LaVie Z HZ750

Despite the thin and light design, these notebooks are loaded with premium hardware. You’ll get a 13.3-inch touch screen display with either FHD or WQHD resolution depending on configuration. You can get up to a 5th generation Intel Core i7 processor on the HZ750 and both notebooks come with 128 GB SSD storage. Lenovo hasn’t provided final battery life estimates, but they claim both LaVie Z notebooks will deliver “battery life for all day computing.”

Both of the new LaVie Z series notebooks are Lenovo’s first NEC products that will be available outside of Japan. Lenovo and NEC have been working together in Japan since 2011 where the LaVie line has been available for some time now and earned a reputation as lightweight laptops. The Lenvovo LaVie Z HZ550 will have a starting price of $1,299 and the LaVie Z HZ750 will start at $1,499 and will be available in the US beginning in May.

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