Lenovo turned heads at CES in January with its new LaVie Z laptop family, super-lightweight notebooks that emerged from a collaboration with NEC. The portables are now available to order, and they are making waves as legitimate competitors to Apple's MacBooks in the svelte sweepstakes.
At 0.7 inches thick, the new LaVie Z models can't match the new MacBook's 0.52 inch maximum thickness (and is slightly thicker than the 13.3-inch MacBook Air), but Lenovo wins when you place the laptops on the scale. While the 13.3-inch MacBook Air weighs nearly 3 pounds, and the new MacBook a little over 2 pounds, the LaVie Z can tips the scales at as little as 1.87 pounds. Lenovo claims the LaVie Z's magnesium-lithium frame helps keep the laptop as light as possible without sacrificing durability.
The LaVie Z brings a couple of additional advantages to the table, such as fifth-generation Intel Core i7 processors and, in the case of the LaVie Z 360 edition, a hinged display that can be folded a full 360 degrees. With a 2,550x1,440 13.3-inch screen, the LaVie also offers higher resolution than the new MacBook (2,304x1,440) and the MacBook Air (1,440x900). The LaVie Z 360 adds touchscreen capabilities to its display.
The downside for potential buyers is that the LaVie Z can be more expensive than the MacBooks. With a base price of $1,499, the LaVie Z is only cheaper than the higher-priced configuration of the new MacBook, which at $1,599 is less expensive than the base LaVie Z 360 at $1,699. But you do get a faster CPU (the Core i7-5500U) and the same amount of RAM (8GB) and storage (256GB solid-state drive) for the money.
Though the LaVie Z weighs a little more than Lenovo touted at CES, and the LaVie Z 360 is a couple of ounces heavier than the non-360 version, the new laptops prove that Apple doesn't have a monopoly on being able to slim down notebooks to next to nothing. The ability to squeeze a Core i7 processor into the LaVie Z is better still, but are you willing to pay more than the already expensive MacBooks for this package?