Review: LG Z360 Ultrabook

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Review: LG Z360 Ultrabook

LG’s been off gallivanting with the television and mobile phone crowd, but has at last decided now is the time to get back into the laptop business, along with a couple of entries into the tablet and hybrid space. We’ll look at those next month, but for now, we’re focusing on the curiously timed Z360 Ultrabook.

We say curious, because LG launched this entire range of devices while Computex was happening in Taiwan (read more about that on p.26), and while Intel was loudly announcing the world’s worst-kept secret – the fourth generation of its Core series of processors, up to now codenamed Haswell. Now that those chips are out, third-gen machines, like this one, are technically a whole processor generation out of date.

So how does the Z360 stack up in a soon-to-be Haswell-dominated space?

Well, the short answer is very well, and that if you’re looking for a well-priced Ultrabook, this is possibly one of the best on the market. The long answer is that for $1399 LG has come up with a cleverly specced, well-designed machine, all cased in elegant white polycarbonate (basically plastic, but hey), and with a fantastically bright and clear screen. Given that asking price, it’s a very attractive option, and it’s thin and light enough to be a truly mobile device.

Its keyboard is a touch cramped (as our large-handed editor found out), but for most it’s going to be a pleasure to type on, with specialised Windows 8 keys down the left-hand side. The touchpad is a bit more problematic, offering no feedback on clicking, but you can get used to it.

In this form factor you’re not really expecting up to date grunt, though the heat management and battery life that Haswell offers will be welcome when it inevitably finds its way into the range. Despite the lesser spec, the Z360 is on a par with the more expensive KIRA, and in some cases actually better. LG’s hardware choices are far smarter – and cheaper.

As it is, the Z360 is welcome return from LG, and a low-end Ultrabook that we’d be happy to call our own.

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