Vizio's AMD Tablet Hands On: Full Windows, Full PC, Too Big

Illustration for article titled Vizios AMD Tablet Hands On: Full Windows, Full PC, Too Big

Vizio's "Tablet PC" (cooler name pending, presumably) gets everything right on paper, and a lot off paper: a 1080p screen, a full, no-bullshit version of Windows 8 (none of that RT nonsense), and an AMD (!) x86 processor inside. But it's bulky.


The thing looks lovely: a hand-friendly rubberized back, a deliciously thin bezel, the few ports you actually need (USB, micro HDMI, and stereo-out), and a svelte body—only 0.4 inches thick. It's solid hardware, without an ounce of chintz of budget feel that some might still associate with Vizio—as reliable gear, it feels top notch. As a machine, it's nothing special—a Windows 8 tablet is pretty much a Windows 8 tablet, and if you know Windows 8, you know what to expect here.

But this isn't just a Windows 8 tablet—it's an 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet. That's a large tablet. And although it fits a big, beautiful 1080p screen in there, 11.6 inches is a lot to fit in your mitts. And really, it just isn't comfortable. It weighs in at nearly two pounds, and given the competition, is handles awkwardly. You're used to smaller tablets for a reason: 11.6 is just too large for one or two-handed tapping, and as much as I appreciate Vizio trying to make this thing a real PC, the mobility you want from a slate is compromised by its wide load.


The Tablet also doesn't quite pack the power you'd expect from something so large—we should at least get blistering performance from something with broad shoulders, right? Sticking an AMD chip inside a slate is a bold move, given that the 1.2 GHz Z60 processor is relatively untested. It's not terrific. There was noticeable stutter watching a 1080p video, although Vizio says that drivers aren't final (about six weeks of work left), which could make quite a lot of difference. Still, with a questionable processor and a frame that carries too much girth, it's simply hard to imagine anyone buying this. I applaud any PC maker getting the hell away from Windows RT, but the balancing act between mobility and power still proves to be tricky—and it doesn't look like Vizio hit it here.

No word on pricing or release date, of course.

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I checked out a Dell 12" XPS convertible laptop/tablet yesterday. The thing was heavy as shit. I've been spoiled by the iPad and frankly I'd like the next 10" iPad to be lighter. While I'm intrigued by full Windows in a laptop/tablet, weight is a big deal for the user experience.