It takes a lot to make us genuinely excited about a laptop, or even worse, another desktop PC. But cheap TV king Vizio's done just that. We loved them at CES, and now the all-in-one and superskinny laptop line's official.
The 24 and 27 inch all-in-one PCs, which borrow enough of Apple's picture frame design without looking like just another imitator. In fact, it looks pretty stellar, the result of two years of design. The gleaming aluminum neck, the entirety of the guts packed into the tiny base, the Magic Trackpad knockoff—the thing's form is terrific.
And for a highly reasonable $900 and $1100, respectively, you'll get a damn good thin rig: Ivy Bridge CPUs, Nvidia's latest Kepler graphics, USB 3.0, 1920 x 1080 displays, and a maximum terabyte hard drive plus a 32 GB SSD. On the software side, you'll appreciate an installation of Windows 7 with zero bloatware—no awful photo editors and video players you'd drink blood over actually using. You'll get none of that here—nothing installed at all—which is an enormous relief.
The entire thing doubles as a 1080p TV, with two HDMI inputs—hey now, nice for a dorm or bedroom!
The mega-trim laptops—think of them as ultrabooks if that means anything to you—are about as handsome as their desktop counterparts, and share decent pricing as well: $900 and $1,000 for the 14 and 15.6-inch models. Inside, they also hold Ivy Bridge processors, integrated Intel graphics (blergh), and 1600 x 900 displays. All that is stuffed into a 0.66-inch wedge, in the same territory as a MacBook Air. They lean a little heavier on obvious MacBook Air design cues, but are still pretty enough to stand on their own. There's also a non-skinny version with Nvidia Kepler graphics.
Preorders start tomorrow morning, and the computers should ship "before the end of summer."
Update—Hands On: The notebooks and all-in-ones share the exact same traits: fantastically sturdy, carefully built, and very, very good screens—the 14" Vizio was indistinguishable in quality from my MacBook Air, and the all-in-ones boast rainbow-vivid colors and great brightness.
Again, these things will be terrific for a dorm, small apartment, or anything of the like. Keyboards across the line were pretty much perfect.
Sadly, both the portables and the desktop share the same awful trackpads. Jumpy, unresponsive, hard to click—looking at the pretty face and touching the shabby trackpads was a schizophrenic experience.