Lenovo LaVie Z 360

13-inch Convertible Laptop Weighs Less Than Many Standard Laptops

Lenovo LaVie Z 360 Convertible 13-inch Laptop
Lenovo LaVie Z 360. ©Lenovo

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The Bottom Line

Jul 3 2015 - Lenovo's convertible version of the LaVie Z may be the lightest 13-inch convertible on the market even surpassing the Yoga 3 Pro, but the price makes for a less than stellar offering. The system does offer a lot of performance and a very good display but there are just enough issues combined with the price that just hold it back too much.

Pros

  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Strong Performance
  • Excellent Build Quality

Cons

  • Expensive Compared to Other Convertible Laptops
  • Poor Keyboard Layout
  • Below Average Battery Life

Description

  • Intel Core i5-5500U Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 256GB SATA Solid State Drive
  • 13.3" WQHD (2560x1440) Multi-touch Display with 720p Webcam
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Two USB 3.0, HDMI, SD Card Slot
  • 12.56" x 8.5" x .67" @ 2.04 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Lenovo LaVie Z 360

Jul 3 2015 - On the surface, the Lenovo LaVie Z 360 looks almost identical to the Lenovo LaVie Z system. There are a number of subtle differences. First, it is heavier pushing the system past two pounds but still the lightest of any convertible laptop in this range including the Yoga Pro 3 also from Lenovo. In fact, this system is lighter than the Yoga by over half a pound but the Yoga is still thinner at jut half an inch compared to .67-inches.

The LaVie Z 360 is also a tad bit longer than the LaVie Z in the back to fit the hinge to let the screen fold back into the tablet mode. The system is deceptively light but well made with its magnesium alloy body.

Just like the LaVie Z, the 360 version uses an Intel Core i7-5500U dual core mobile processor rather than the more energy efficient Core M.

This gives it higher performance which is great for those looking to use such a small laptop for more than just basic business applications and web browsing. It still not as fast as a traditional laptop processor but enough to do just about any task if you really need it to. This is helped by the 8GB of DDR3 memory that provides a smooth overall experience with Windows.

Storage for the LaVie Z 360 offers a standard 256GB solid state drive which gives it a fair amount of storage space for applications, data and media files. Performance is good but trails some newer systems that use a PCI-Express interface design instead of relying on the older SATA interface that holds back performance. It still boots up in under ten seconds and loads applications quite fast. If you need additional space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with external hard drives or storage.

With the focus of the LaVie Z360 being a hybrid laptop that can convert into a tablet, a touchscreen is a requirement. The 13.3-inch display panel still uses the same 2560x1440 native resolution which is lower than the Yoga 3 Pro with its near 4K display but it is much more functional because of that as legacy Windows applications do not end up being unreadable.

The problem is that the display panel is not as nice as the non-Touch LaVie Z. The glossy coating required for the touch panel causes more glare and reflections. The color is also a bit more washed out than the matte-display LaVie Z which is generally opposite of what you would expect.

The keyboard layout of the LaVie systems is different than most of the other Lenovo laptops. This is particularly true in the lower right where keys were shifted and made smaller in order to fit in the arrow and several other keys. The result is often frustrating as the shift and control keys are out of place and too small to be functional.

If you can get past this, the feel of the keyboard is quite good. The trackpad is a nice size and offers integrated buttons. Multitouch tracking is a bit too sensitive but with the touchscreen display, it is a bit less of an issue as they can be done there with improved accuracy.

Lenovo lists the LaVie Z 360 as having the exact same battery life as the LaVie Z which is nine hours of video playback. This is deceptive as most touchscreen systems tend to run less from the added power requirements of the display. In my digital video playback tests, this model lasts just over six hours. This is almost an hour less than the LaVie Z and quite disappointing. It is roughly the same as the Yoga 3 Pro but far less than the HP Spectre X360 convertible that lasts eleven hours in the same conditions.

Pricing is going to be a major issue for the LaVie Z 360. List pricing for the system is $1850 but it can be purchased for around $1700. This is far more expensive than the Yoga 3 Pro which comes in around $1100 for a similar configuration of memory and storage. The Yoga 3 Pro may offer slightly less performance and be heavier but it is thinner and has a much better keyboard layout. It is also offered in some more vibrant colors. The HP Spectre X360 mentioned earlier is also more affordable at roughly $999. The HP is certainly not as good as a tablet because of its over three pound weight and size but it offers a better range of peripheral ports and incredible battery life.

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