Lenovo LaVie Z Series Review: Super Light, Heavily Compromised

Lenovo LaVie Z Series Review: Super Light, Heavily Compromised


Lenovo has always been extremely cautious when it’s about laptops. They have always tried to carve out a unique niche for themselves because of which they have experimented heavily on the various forms of laptops. As s result, they were able to introduce the Yoga which is probably one of those earlier devices that could work both as a laptop and as a tablet. Now they are eyeing those consumers who look for lightweight, ultra-portable laptops and for them, they’ve unveiled two brand new laptops under their LaVie series – the LaVie Z and the LaVie Z 360.

These laptops first appeared at CES and are currently the lightest 13 inch laptops. However, in case of the LaVie Z and LaVie Z 360, weight isn’t just the only enticing factor. According to Lenovo, both these laptops will be promising a solid built, sharp display and robust performance, and now that the LaVie Z is up for sale, we check out whether it’s really worth all that hype or not.

Impressively Built

Lenovo’s LaVie series took birth after Lenovo signed a joint venture with NEC, a Japanese PC manufacturing company that already has some experience in building such super light yet powerful laptops. One can hardly make out any difference between these laptops if their lids are closed. A special kind of magnesium-lithium composite has been used in the construction of these laptops. Overall build quality of both the laptops is quite good, though it looks like the company did make some compromise in styling so as to keep it lightweight.
As expected, ports of both these laptops are positioned almost identically. While on the left you’ll find some indicator lights, a Kensington lock slot, a power button and the power connector, on the right side of the laptop you’ll come across 2 USB 3.0 ports sitting next to a full-sized HDMI socket. The laptop’s right side also houses a headphone jack along with a full-sized SD card reader. The convertible one out of the two i.e. the Z 360 also has a volume rocker on its left.

Bright Quad-HD Display
As is the case with most high-end notebooks these days, the LaVie Z has a Quad HD screen having a pixel count of 2,560 x 1,440. In case pixel count matters a lot to you then the LaVie Z might lag behind a little as compared to what other laptops are offering these days, but for an average user the screen can be regarded as plainly sumptuous. While the touch-enabled Z 360 has a glossy screen, the other one has a matte-finish that’s also glare-resistant.

Oddly Designed Keyboard
Thin and light laptops always pose some sort of problems when it’s about keyboards and that’s exactly the case with the LaVie Z. Lenovo has always been appreciated for its comfortable laptop keyboards, but it looks like they got it all wrong with the LaVie Z. The keyboard is quite flat without much spacing between the buttons. Also, all the major keys like; Ctrl, Tab, Backspace etc. seem to be oddly reduced in size making them extremely uncomfortable to use for average American users. The touchpad, however, works pretty smoothly on both machines and users can make use of its advanced features like precise single-finger tracking and multi-touch gestures.

Solid Performance, Average Battery Life
Performance and portability have always been two main factors for which Lenovo’s laptops have been known for. While the LaVie Z’s light weight and super thin design surely makes it extremely easy to carry around, it’s also a killer when it comes to performance. Both, the Z and the Z 360 have a 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U processor; 8GB RAM along with integrated Intel HD 5500. So in terms of performance, one can expect the world from these laptops. Both these laptops, thus, have the ability to beat any other laptop that stands next to them in this price category.
There are, however, a few shortcomings of the LaVie Z as well and one of them is disk speed where other laptops might have an edge over the Z. Apart from that, battery life of the Lenovo LaVie Z is claimed to be just seven hours by the company which is certainly not that impressive especially when there are 13-inch laptops in the market that can offer better battery life at the same competitive price.

Summin’ it Up
Undoubtedly, the LaVie Z can be regarded as a great laptop. It has everything that one can expect from a flagship laptop – great performance capabilities, ultra portability because of its super light weight and overall solid built quality. However, it might not be able to attract that many buyers as of now in the US because of its oddly built keyboard.

Lenovo’s popularity in the laptop realm has surged a lot in the past few years, thanks to their innovative design methodologies and unique specifications and features. The LaVie Z, being crowned as the lightest laptop in the world too is yet another feat for Lenovo. But, the company cannot expect to sell many of these in the US till the time they don’t come up with a solution regarding the serious flaws that this laptop faces.

Giving it a keyboard which is specially optimized for American natives can surely help to increase its popularity as this laptop is pretty powerful on other fronts. Performance wise the laptop performs great and its impressively crafted portable design will surely attract a lot of buyers. Apart from the keyboard, the display too could receive some help as the pixel count is certainly less than that being offered by other manufacturers at a price that’s much less.

We all know that there every device lags a little in some respect or the other. What’s important is how grave the issue is. In case of the LaVie Z, while it scores pretty well in most fronts, the thing where it lacks is pretty basic and one simply can’t do without it. You face the keyboard multiple times in a single day and if it’s the only source of irritation then the blazing fast performance and super light weight will seem to be of no good.