The NEC LAVIE series of ultralight laptops dated back at least from 2010 and evolved with the technology of the day, including an Ultrabook version, but 2015 was a particular year because NEC started to partner with Lenovo to commercialize the LaVie Z13, and again today with the 1.85 Lbs 13.3-inch NEC LAVIE Pro Mobile.
The series has remained faithful to its original Ultralight Laptop mission, and at 1.85 Lbs (837g), it can boast of bringing one of the lightest, if not the lightest, 13.3” clamshell computer with a Core i7-8565 processor.
If you haven’t held one of these before, be warned: at first, it does feel like the computer is an empty shell, like a dummy computer used for iterating design revisions. When you realize that it is a full-blown PC, it’s just mind-boggling.
For comparison, the LG Gram 13.3 laptop weighs 2.13 Lbs and the newly announced Dell XPS 13 weighs 2.8 Lbs. The LAVIE Pro Mobile is just a little bit heavier than the Surface Pro 7 without the keyboard (1.7Lbs).
Despite the being lightweight and 15.5mm thin, this laptop manages to feature two USB-C 3.1, and one full-size USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports. That’s not all: there’s also an HDMI 1.4b video connector along with a MicroSD slot and of course, a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Yamaha dual 2-Watts speakers look pretty good on paper, and we’re now curious to see how good they actually are, but a tradeshow is definitely not the right place for sound quality testing, so check back with us, or subscribe to one of our channels.
There’s only one display option: 1080p 13.3” IPS LCD, 300 NITs, anti-glare. In our experience, these displays should cover at least 72% of the sRGB color gamut, which is good for productivity tasks, but if you’re lucky, NEC/Lenovo may have used a 99% sRGB coverage display that is better for creative tasks. We’ll speculate that being lightweight was the priority here.
The only processor option listed is the Intel Core i7-8665U (8th Gen) which is very decent, but the latest PCs have 10th-Gen processors that have much faster graphics, so if you do anything that could be significantly accelerated by the GPU, it could be a reason do a bit more research. Otherwise, the CPU performance alone is not that different for the same number of CPU cores.
There’s 8GB of RAM (16GB would have been marvelous) and 512 GB of SSD storage (M.2 2280 PCIe), which should be enough for office workers.
The 49Wh battery capacity is very similar to other “thin and light” 13.3” laptop, but given the weight of this one, we’re not sure how NEC managed to pull this feat, and the Wh / Lbs ratio could be the best on the market.
Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the NEC LAVIE Pro Mobile is its Bordeaux color (pronounced “bordo”) that makes the Magnesium-Lithium (wait, Lithium!?) chassis look classy and different. At $1599.99, it is a high-end ultralight and should hit the shelves in March 2020.