Vizio, they make HD TVs, right? No, wait--they make Android tablets too; remember the Vizio 8 Tablet? And drum roll: enter Vizio computers. All in One models and notebooks that fall into two categories, the Ultrabook-ish "Thin and Light" line and a full size 15" laptop. Their new notebooks are slim looking with an embarrassingly Samsung Series 9 side profile. They have anodized aluminum casings and are nice looking pieces with Vizio's usual less than you'd expect price tag.
Today we're looking at the Vizio CT14, specifically the A0 version that's available in Walmart for $898. Though it has a 14" display rather than the usual 13.3" screen, it's pure Ultrabook. It runs on third generation Ivy Bridge Intel ULV CPUs with Intel HD4000 graphics and an SSD drive. It weighs 3.4 pounds and is 0.67" thin. Vizio claims up to 7 hours of battery life, and like most Ultrabooks, the battery is sealed inside.
The Vizio CT14-A0 runs on a 1.8GHz Intel Core i3-3217U with 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gig SSD drive. The CT14-A1 has a Core i5 ULV with 128 gig SSD and the CT14-A2 has a 1.9GHz Core i7 and a 256 gig SSD. RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, so 4 gigs is max. The machine has two USB 3.0 ports, a full size HDMI port and a headphone jack. No SD card slot and no wired Ethernet. It has Atheros WiFi and Bluetooth, and that means no Intel WiDi (WiDi requires Intel wireless).
Vizio has done surprisingly well with their first attempt at making personal computers. The 14" Thin + Light is cleanly designed and well put together. Despsite the elegant materials, the design is a bit plain other than the embarrassingly Samsung sides. The basics are here in terms of ports and specs and we absolutely love that Vizio's laptops are Microsoft Signature models, which means absolutely no bloatware and a very clean Windows 7 Home Premium Install with just MS Office 20120 Starter Edition and Microsoft Security Essentials pre-loaded.
The real show stealer is the 1600 x 900 gloss IPS display. Most Ultrabooks have mediocre TN panels with limited viewing angles and contrast that goes to heck if you don't angle the display just right. Vizio certainly knows how to make display panels, and the CT14's display is a big step up in quality and resolution from other Ultrabooks. The only Ultrabooks that compete are the Asus Zenbook Prime series (1080p) and the 13" Samsung Series 9 (1600 x 900 PLS).
Here's our Vizio CT14 Thin and Light Ultrabook video review.