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Lenovo LaVie Z series:super light, super compromised

The Lenovo LaVie Z series is a winner. Or at least it was before I tested one for this review. The HZ550, as it was originally called, captured our attention at CES for being the lightest-ever 13-inch laptop: just 1.7 pounds. Its sibling, the touchscreen HZ750, wasn't much heavier at 2.04 pounds. In either case, Lenovo promised surprisingly robust performance, with the help of full-fledged Intel Core CPUs (i.e., not the sort of watered-down chips we typically see in thin-and-light machines). The combination of portability and processing clout was enough to win the LaVie series a Best of CES Award in the PC category, beating out some stiff competition. While I don't regret my decision -- the LaVie was, after all, one of the more memorable products we saw at CES -- I don't think you should actually spend $1,399-plus on it. Here's why


  • Lightest 13-inch laptop

  • Doesn't compromise on performance

  • Battery life matches heavier, supposedly lower-powered machines

  • Touchpad works well


  • The US edition has a Japanese keyboard layout with lots of shrunken buttons

  • Build quality feels a bit flimsy

  • Display suffers from washout


At 1.87 pounds, the LaVie Z is the world's lightest 13-inch laptop, and it offers surprisingly robust performance for its size. It has the potential to be a great PC, but Lenovo made a serious misstep by releasing it in the US with an unfamiliar Japanese keyboard layout.

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