This article was updated on 5/12 at 10:30 am with Lenovo's response.
If you've been eyeing Lenovo's latest ultraportable laptop, the LaVie Z series, since it was, this may make you think twice about purchasing it.
According to Consumer Reports, computers in this series have issues that prevent them from working as intended in certain situations.
Specifically, with the LaVie Z 360, when it's used in Tent mode -- which means it's bent back until it can be placed on a desk like an A-frame -- the screen image doesn't auto-rotate, meaning you'd see things upside down until you manually rotated the image using a Windows command. And in Stand mode -- where the keyboard is placed facedown on a desk, serving as a stand for the bent-back touchscreen -- the keyboard doesn't auto-deactivate, causing, as Lenovo put it in an email to Consumer Reports, an "unsatisfying user experience."
The LaVie Z 360 is an ultralight computer that weights just 2.04 pounds (.9kg) and is only .67-inches thick. It's a convertible, hybrid machine that's meant to work in a number of modes, including Laptop, Tablet, Tent and Stand.
Consumer Reports learned about the problems not from testing the computer but from purchasing it. The publication said that on placing its order, it received an email from Lenovo that warned of the issues and apologized for the flaws in the new product. The letter also said Lenovo had made "missteps" in its "haste to bring the product to market." The email offered Consumer Reports a 5 percent refund off the computer's price. (The publication has an image of the email on its site.)
It's unclear if Lenovo intends to fix these issues by way of a downloadable update in the future, or if, indeed, they can be fixed in such a way. It's also unclear why Lenovo didn't delay shipment of the series until the issues had been resolved.
On May 12 Lenovo reached out to CNET via an email stating that the LaVie Z 360 was never designed to work in Tent and Stand modes, thus it is not defective. Part of the response read:
"We truly apologize for the confusion regarding our LaVie Z 360 product. This product was never designed to be a multimode product with tent and stand modes functionality. LaVie Z 360 is a 2-in-1 PC and tablet device, featuring both laptop and tablet modes only. When the product was first published on our website, the product information was incorrect and as soon as we caught the mistake we fixed it. [...] For those customers who are not satisfied with this device, we offer a standard return policy of 30 days for a full refund. We are re-examining our processes to make sure that this doesn't happen again. In the meantime, please accept our apologies for this inconvenience."