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.