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Laptops

LG Z330 ultrabook

The LG Z330 looks like a stylish little ultrabook, though we're wondering what it offers over its thin-and-light rivals.

We've seen so many ultrabooks emerging over the last few months that if we wanted, we could stack them into individual rooms, build a big house and live as kings. But with Apple's stylish MacBook Air giving PC manufacturers reason to be nervous, it's no wonder there are so many of these thin-and-light laptops appearing.

Ultrabooks are laptops designed to a specification set by chip manufacturer Intel. Generally speaking, they're small, light, powerful and offer impressive battery life. LG's so-called 'Super Ultrabook' Z330 is no different.

The Z330 packs a 13.3-inch display. If that's not enough screen real estate for you there's also the Z430, which sports a 14-inch screen. Our photos here are of the Z330.

Design

The Z330 is a good-looking machine. We'd hazard that it looks better than most ultrabooks we've seen so far. LG might not be known for its laptop efforts, but the clean lines and wedge-shaped taper on show here certainly make for a classy laptop design.

There's a really big trackpad, which is always a positive sign, though we would have liked separate click buttons. We suspect it's down to personal preference, but we find that trackpads with built-in buttons can sometimes be fiddly.

The keyboard looks to be well spaced, so we'd wager it would serve you well if you're typing out emails in a hurry. Another touch we like is the orange light-up power button in the top right.

LG Z330 ultrabook keyboard
The keyboard looks well spaced, but you'll be more interested in the fact that the power button lights up in orange.

The only obvious design foible we could identify was a slightly unsightly vent on the Z330's left flank. That's hardly a major problem though.

The dimensions themselves make for an extremely portable PC. The Z330 is just 14.7mm thick, so it'll squeeze into a bag with no complaints. Tipping the scales at 1.21kg, we reckon it's light enough to lug around all day.

LG Z330 ultrabook weight
You can easily lift the Z330 one-handed, leaving your right hand free to do other things.

We don't have any major complaints in the design department, though we'd say that the Z330 doesn't take many risks -- other ultrabooks look very similar, as does the MacBook Air. Acer's recently announced Aspire S5 ultrabook probably offers a more striking design if you want to stand out from the rest of the thin-and-light mob.

LG Z330 ultrabook closed
Not the riskiest of designs but classy nonetheless.

Connectivity

The Z330 isn't too impressive in terms of its port selection. On the left is a USB port (we think this one is USB 3.0 while the second is USB 2.0), and a network port, which you'll need to plug an adaptor into if you want to use the Z330 with an Ethernet cable.

Over on the right you'll find a headphone socket, HDMI port and that aforementioned second USB. If the lack of an Ethernet slot is getting you down, it looks like the larger Z430 has one on its left side.

LG Z330 ultrabook right ports
A couple of quirks when it comes to ports -- you'll need an adaptor for an Ethernet connection on the Z330 and there's no SD slot, only microSD.

Most disappointing on the Z330 is the apparent lack of an SD card slot. There's one for microSD cards, but the fact that you don't get the larger option means you'll be in trouble if you frequently transfer photos from a compact camera that takes SD cards. Even the super-minimalist MacBook Air has an SD card slot, so we're not sure why it's been omitted.

Display and hardware

The screen strapped on the top of the Z330 measures 13.3 inches on the diagonal. It looked reasonably bright and colourful to us. We'll take a much closer look in the full review, so keep your peepers trained to this spot.

On the inside is the standard array of ultrabook tech -- expect to encounter Intel's range of Core iSeries processors, any of which should leave the Z330 more than capable of handling things like web browsing and HD video playback.

Storage is handled by SSD drives, which are faster than traditional hard drives, as well as being less likely to break if dropped. As for staying power, we'll get a minimum battery life estimate from our review testing.

LG Z330 ultrabook left ports
You'll find SSD drives handling the storage, which are more resilient than hard drives if you have a tendency to drop-kick your laptop against the wall when Windows crashes.

Outlook

The LG Z330 is shaping up to be a stylish little ultrabook. Our biggest question will be what exactly it offers over the raft of near-identical machines that are cropping up all over the place. Stay tuned for the full review. 

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