Hands-on: VIZIO’s Beautiful, Bloatware-Free Ultrabooks Start at $898

Laptop Mag
June 14th, 2012
By Mark Spoonauer

Vizio made a name for itself in the TV business taking on the likes of Sony and Pioneer, and now its hoping to put HP and Dell on notice with three new value-priced laptops that are bloatware-free and beautifully designed. The 14-inch and 15.6-inch Vizio Thin + Light are Ultrabooks that measure just 0.66 inches thick and feature aluminum “undercut” designs that make it seem as if they’re floating. Starting price? A relatively aggressive $898.

The 14-inch Thin + Light (CT-14) features a third-generation Core processor, a 128GB SSD, Intel HD 4000 graphics, and a 1600 x 900-pixel screen. Expect up to 7 hours of battery life. The 15.6-inch Thin + Light (CT-15) steps it up to a 1080p display and lasts up to 6 hours on a charge. You can get up to 256 GB SSDs on both notebooks. Last but not least, the 15.6 inch Notebook features Nvidia Kepler graphics and a one terrabyte drive plus a 32GB SSD. This model wasn’t on display at today’s event.

Vizio’s Undercut design is certainly striking. We like the tapered edges and especially the soft-touch finish on the bottom of the notebooks. This doesn’t feel like an Air clone. The 14-inch and 15-inch Thin + Light not only look cool and clean but feel solid.

Vizio spent nine months developing its keyboard from scratch, concentrating on the feel and even the right noise level. During our hands-on time the layout on the 14-inch Thin + Light offered springy tactile feedback, even though there’s not a lot of spacing between the keys. Too bad the keyboards aren’t backlit. The clickpad is a bit on the small size but offered smooth navigation.

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