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The world's lightest Ultrabook you have never heard of is coming to North America this May

Lavie

Lenovo is one of those companies who has had a lot of success with Windows and their CES 2015 displays reinforce their commitment to the platform. Did you also know that Lenovo has a joint venture with the Japanese computer brand NEC? Normally, Lenovo keeps those NEC devices in their native market in Japan, but even they could not resist the LaVie.

What is the LaVie? Just a 2 pound 13-inch Ultrabook with a Core i7 processor and QHD+ touch display. Even better is the fact that Lenovo will be releasing this absurdly light Ultrabook in North America come this May. Read on for our notes.

LaVie specifications

  • 13.3-inch IPS QHD
  • Intel Core i7 (Broadwell, 5th generation)
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 128 GB Storage
  • 2.04 lbs. (0.92 kg)
  • Up to 8 hours battery life
  • Flip design (tent and tablet mode)

How did they do it?

The NEC LaVie, which will be branded under Lenovo's name in the US and elsewhere, is made from a Magnesium-Lithium alloy. Yes, that means it is metal, but you would not be able to tell when holding it. Indeed it feels as light as plastic, but much more sturdy. For instance, there is no flex or bend in the device's chassis.

I do not want to mince words here: when you first pick up the LaVie, you think it is a dummy device with no 'guts' on the inside. Instead, it is a fully functional laptop with a Core i7 on the inside! I used an exclamation point because at the very least I thought this would be an underpowered Core M with a fanless design. Instead, this thing packs one of the most powerful mobile processors around.

Touch and Non-Touch

Even though the touch version of the LaVie is light, there is also a non-touch option that is 1.9 pounds (0.86 kg) that may also be brought to market. Increasingly, manufacturers are offering both as options to consumers, and I like that a lot. For one, not everyone likes touch displays and if you can lower the price point and add battery life, why not offer that as a choice?

Lavie

How good will it be?

NEC is a very well-known company in Japan, which is why Lenovo bought them. However, here in the West, their laptops are not at all common. As such, we will have to reserve judgment until this thing hits this May to see if it fits the bill. The good news is since Lenovo is taking over this project from NEC, so if you like Lenovo, you will probably like this hardware.

Pricing is still undetermined, but expect this to come in the higher-end of Ultrabooks, not the lower. That could put this laptop up north of $1600 for the Core i7 version, or even more. Still, once you feel this thing in your hands, do the double-take and think about how much easier this will be to carry around in the city, you may reconsider.

Windows Central will, of course, keep you posted on future developments of this fascinating device.

Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Lenovo "owned" NEC. In fact, it is a joint-venture with a 51% of the stake being held by Lenovo.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

53 Comments
  • I am a surface fan boy but if I ever wanted to buy an actual laptop, Lenovo is where id look. They make the best looking laptops
  • I agree I wish American laptops were better dell and hp are garbage I like Lenovo they last long!
  • Lenovo used to be just a low profile PC maker until they acquired IBM'S PC devision so I would say their current success is somehow dependent on an American technology
  • I've actually had great experience with Dell; Lenovo as well. I agree with you on HP, though. No thanks.
  • Dell hardware have been great for me so far. My almost 5yo Dell Studio 15 is still going strong. Dell Venue 8 Pro used every day has been great, and just got an Inspiron 11 2-in-1 for my wife and she is loving the device so far. I think they are doing a lot better since going private, and their upcoming lineup with the UltraSharp displays and 5th Gen Core-i CPUs look awesome. Might replace my Studio 14 with one of those new XPS 13 or a Surface Pro. But Dell might be my choice.
  • Dell's been putting out some pretty good products since it went private in 2012 or 2013.
  • This year is the best CES for laptops by far.
  • I've been having a blast! Everytime I launch the wincentral app there's an awesome laptop for me to feast my eyes on :-). Now to get the funds...
  • Same.
  • Hahaha, NEC was well-known here in the states in the 90s. You young'ins kill me! Next you're gonna tell me you've never heard of Packard Bell!
  • I remember having a 13" crt monitor during the good old win98 days
  • I used to have NEC speakers on one of my early Windows 9x machines, where I used to play Myst, Full Throttle, WWF, and other good DOS games. :-)
  • I think Daniel is right about their "laptops" not being all that familier in the west but it is true, NEC is one we've known about for years.
  • Glad someone got what I was saying ;) I'm very familiar with NEC as I'm not too off from being, ahem, 40.
  • 40's aren't so bad.  Most people earn tons of money in their 40's, so at least there's that.  Good luck!
  • lol, fingers crossed
  • Oh god. I'm 23 and I've been running an NEC phone switch and network for years...
  • Been there, done that Daniel. heh heh. You still got that youngish face which means, you are not killing your diet.  And speaking of food, since you're in town, check out this breakfast place on Las Vegas Blvd called the Peppermill Restaurant. 2985 Las Vegas Blvd.  One of the best, out of the way breakfast joints in town.
  • *This* 41 year old used to sell mobile phones back in '93, and NEC was one of the popular brands. Believe it or not, kids! ;^)
  • I actually had a Trash 80 both at home and school. If you don't know what I'm talking about it's because you're a young whippersnapper! Now you kids get off my lawn.
  • Hahaha, I programmed on a TRS-80 in Jr. High.  I thought it ruled!  (of course, I didn't do much with it)  How about Apple ][+.  Anyone remember Apple?  They were pretty good...
  • Packard bell! I had one of their laptops back then, it was pretty solid! Whatever happened to them anyways?? And Gateway too! Do they still make any type of PCs??
  • I still see Packard Bell laptops here in South Africa but I wonder if that's just someone else manufacturing under Packard Bell name.
  • NEC reminds me of those desktop monitors way back 90s...
  • I am still using NEC desktop monitors.  They make some of the absolute BEST professional imaging monitors around, and are untouched at their price point.  For pure colour accuracy for critical imaging applications (from photography to medical imaging) NEC monitors are absolute top tier.  I use them for my photo business, and doctors make life-changing decisions based on the colours they see on NEC monitors.  Look up NEC PA series if you are curious. 
  • Not only in states, NEC was very well known in Europe as well (90s and early 2000s). Their monitors/screens used to be best by far but pricey as hell.
  • Yup, had a NEC phone once. It had i-mode internet hehe.
  • Wow. Nice job!
  • This baby looks sexy.
  • I know NEC, but I didn't know that it is owned by Lenovo
  • dat hairstyle.....
  • It's a Lenovo so the price will be upper tier
  • Same stuff surfaces are made of?
  • Even lighter than surface pros with type cover... Wow!
  • Isn't NEC is with mainframes?
  • 13" isn't big enough for me, but Lenovo is awesome!
  • I don't even care about the surface pro 3 anymore. Gimme this piece of awesome!
  • What happened to the right side of the keyboard????????  Right when they fix up the keyboard on the X1, Lenovo finds another way to screw it up.
  • Remember it is not a Lenovo. I'll definitely be looking for this on the shelves here in Tokyo.
  • Hmm, some much awesome in the way of laptops coming out this year. I was set on an SP3 for my work refresh device this year but im seriously reconsidering. This thing and the Dell XPS 13 are pretty enticing....
  • NEC...last time I saw one was 1997 when I got my first PC and wondered ever since why NEC left the North American consumer market!
  • Ah yes, NEC. Chip supplier for Sega's Dreamcast.
  • Living here in Japan, NEC and LaVie. While not budget, they are generally a bit less expensive than your Fujitsu or Toshiba and especially Vaio. However, they are solid, and generaly worth a try. I had one. Eventually, due to a fan problem it burned out my hard drive. At that point, it was cheaper to replace the PC than the drive. Don't know if that can be ascribed to the brand, as I had a monitor go out on another laptop, but certainly worth a look. I'll enjoy seeing your take on it.   Personally, I have yet to see anything you have shown that comes close to unseating the Surface Pro 3 in its class.
  • On another matter, I watched a PocketPC video at the start and they said they doubted there would be any tablet this year worth noting. From what you have shown, it seems the opposite is true. Your take?
  • Hmm, maybe it's time for me to upgrade to a new laptop.
  • I still prefer the dell xps
  • But still thinking on getting a laptop of a ultrabook.....
  • On this whole CES show we gonna see it again & again " this is the lightest/thinnest/best looking". Good for us.
  • Off topic, but it is good to see high quality content like this article covering CES (Daniel is a veteran and really knows how to write high quality content). Day 0 coverage from some of the other authors was poor in my humble opinion. But today has been quite good and exciting. Thanks WC for keeping us informed. I'm jealous I can't be there playing with those new devices.
  • NEC is a well known brand in the UK
  • Impressive, but now that I saw that Dell with a thin bezel nothing else looks as sexy :D
  • NEC has been in the us before with products, over the years I have owned a few NEC products including monitors and other PC related hardware...
  • How much does the different material add/take away price-wise?