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NEC has expanded its Lavie notebook family with a new premium system that is said to be the thinnest offering of its kind. At its slimmest point, the 15.6-inch Lavie X ultrabook measures only half an inch thick (12.8mm) -- a feat that required extra-thin internal components measuring less than 3.5mm thick (two fans measure 5mm thick, however) as well as a specially engineered keyboard fitting that shaved 1mm off the design.
Unlike NEC's 13.3-inch, 1.92lb (0.87kg) Lavie Z, the Lavie X doesn't claim to break any records for weight, but it's still reasonably light for a 15.6-inch ultrabook at 3.5lbs (1.59kg). That figure includes the system's 1920x1080 IPS display, a 1.9GHz dual-core (quad-thread) Intel Core i7-3517U processor, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, two USB 3.0 ports, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + HS, HDMI-out, an SD card reader and a 2MP webcam.
Although the device ships with Windows 8 64-bit, NEC notes that it decided against using a touchscreen because it would have compromised the company's priority on thinness. The Lavie X offers up to seven hours of run time and its battery can be rapidly recharged to about 80% of its total capacity in one hour. The system is expected to ship in Japan on December 27 for 175,000 yen, which works out to a direct conversion of around $2,078. A second model has half the flash storage (128GB) and will go for 129,780 yen (roughly $1,541). There's no word on whether NEC plans to launch either variant in the US or other markets.
The Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A features a 3rd generation Intel Core i7 3517U Processor, 6Gbps SATA 128GB SSD, Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM. Ports and connectivity include two USB 3.0, a headphone jack, mini-VGA, micro-HDMI, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
The MacBook Air sports a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor that Turbo Boosts up to 2.8GHz, 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, 128GB of flash storage and integrated Intel graphics. It is still extremely thin and lightweight at only 0.68-inches at the thickest part and 2.96 pounds. The MacBook Air carries a 13.3-inch diagonal LED backlit display, operating at 1440 x 900 with a 16:10 aspect ratio.
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