Lenovo's new LaVie Z laptop line stakes two 'world's lightest' claims

Shacked up with NEC to go thin or go home

Since Lenovo started a joint venture with Japanese PC firm NEC back in 2011, not much has come out of the partnership - at least in the US. The Chinese company put an end to that during CES 2015 with the announcement of a new line of 13.3-inch laptops: the LaVie Z series.

With these two NEC-built, Lenovo-branded machines, the LaVie Z HZ550 and LaVie Z HZ750, the duo has also laid claim to the "world's lightest" notebook and Ultrabook, respectively. Accoring to Lenovo, the LaVie Z HZ550 comes in at 1.72 pounds, while the HZ750 hits the scale at 2.04 pounds. So, you likely won't feel these lean machines in your backpack.

Thin and light as a leaf, strong as a rock

OK, not literally, but you get the point. Both LaVie Z models were built using a magnesium-lithium alloy chassis and back cover. Lenovo claims that, while these materials are 50% lighter than aluminum, they're just as strong as any typical magnesium casing.

Plus, since touchscreens usually add unwanted weight to otherwise feathery devices, Lenovo opted for a directly bonded touch panel using a special film rather than cover glass. As a result, both rigs measure just 0.66 inches thin.

Lenovo LaVie Z

The HZ750 in its tablet mode

Powerful and flexible

Both laptops come packing Intel's latest Core i5 processors (Broadwell), 4GB of RAM and 128GB solid-state drives to start. (The HZ750 has room for 8GB of RAM and a new Core i7 chip, if you so choose.)

As for connectivity, both models feature the same package: two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, SD card readers, headphone jacks and 720p webcams. Not to mention 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Finally, both of these laptops' LED displays can go as sharp as WQHD, or 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. And that brings us to the asking prices: not exactly cheap, but what you can expect? Prepare to pay at least $1,299 (about £847, AU$1,605) for the HZ550 laptop and $1,499 (around £977, AU$1,852) at minimum for the HZ750 convertible when they land in the US this May. Lenovo has yet to announce availability outside the US and Japan.