Vizio’s Ultrabook Stumbles out of the Gate According to All Things D Hands-on

Posted on 06 September 2012 by

Bonnie Cha from All Things D spent some time with Vizio’s “Thin+Light” Ultrabook CT15-A1, the 15.6″ variant of the company’s first entry into the Ultrabook space. According to Cha, the Thin+Light Ultrabook’s svelte styling is unfortunately coupled with a number of design issues. The CT15 might sport a sharp 1080p display, but it looks like Vizio might need a little more computer manufacturing experience before it can make a dent in the profits of more established companies like HP, Asus, Samsung, and others.

Cha mentions that the CT15 presents a refined initial impression:

The Vizio Thin + Light makes quite a first impression with its sleek, minimalist design. It has an all-aluminum construction and a soft-touch finish on the bottom that makes it less slippery and easy to grip.

Minimalist is certainly right — the CT15 Ultrabook definitely looks quite svelte, but the port set suffers because of it; though this is a 15.6″ device, you’ll only find two USB 3.0 ports, a single full HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack.

Cha says that the sleek tapered edges make the CT15 Ultrabook a bother to open.

We’re happy to see that Vizio’s Ultrabook doesn’t dissappoint in the display department. The company, which is known best for its HDTVs, included a 1080p IPS display on the CT15 which Cha says is “gorgeous”. We’re curious to know how it would stand up next to Asus’ 1080p IPS display on the UX21A which received top marks. Though we’re certain that 1080p on a 15.6″ screen would be more enjoyable than on the UX21A’s 11.6″ screen. Laptop Mag’s Vizio CT15 review has a bit more detail on the display:

The matte display did an excellent job minimizing glare and reflections while we watchinged trailers for “The Avengers” and “The Hobbit.” Better still, colors were bright and crisp, and there was a minimal amount of pixeilation and artifacts in darker areas. Viewing angles were very wide, too.

The display’s brightness of 257 lux beat the average (246), the Sony VAIO S (231) and the Acer (158), but not the Samsung Series 9 (368).

Trackpad and keyboard woes unfortunately reel the CT15 Ultrabook back from greatness. Cha says that the keyboard didn’t offer as much respond as she would have liked and that the lack of backlighting was a disappointment. The trackpad was described as “erratic” and though a software update was released to fix the issues, Cha says that it made the touchpad less responsive and less accepting of purposeful gestures like pinch-to-zoom. She also says that the cursor gets stuck from time to time.

Vizio’s Ultrabook lineup is also available in a 14″ variant (1600×900 display) which starts at $799 while the 15.6″ variant discussed above starts at $949. Both are offered with Core i3, i5, or i7 options, with the 14″ offering topping out at $1099 and the 15.6″ at $1149.

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  • Norwegian Bob

    +sd port = perfect set of ports for consumers.

    • Ben Lang

      3 USB ports is my recommended minimum. Also yes an SD card would be nice as well as VGA. LAN port would be a bonus!

  • JohnCz

    These keyboard/mouse issues should have never had happened…if they did any kind of usability/quality testing. Imo, they would have been better off if they included a touch screen and launching their first PC with the upcoming wave of Windows 8 products.

  • Dan

    I have a vizio ct14-a0, its a little smaller than the ct15 and had a 1600×900 display instead of the 1080p ips display but the keyboards and trackpads are identical.

    The trackpad was jittery until i updated the driver, but since then its worked great for me. No problems. Of course i use a mouse about 1/2 the time anyway since trackpads and typing really never mixed well for me.

    Vizio DID in fact do extensive reviews and got feedback on their keyboard design. It doesn’t have alot of travel, but then again almost none of the ultrabook keyboards have much travel. Its not your run of the mill island keyboard either, and it doesn’t have a backlight. So its safe to say its not the same as most keyboards out there. That said, I really like it. I type 80-90wpm and have no problems at all typing on it. The keys are easy to find, and it never slows me down. I actually like it better than most of the island keyboards I’ve used.

    When Win8 comes out, if vizio has an updated model with a touchscreen ill be looking at it FIRST, before looking at other vendors. I went through 4 asus zenbooks before finally giving up on ever finding one without problems, i had a samsung s9 that couldn’t keep a wireless connection. Then I get the Vizio, and it works out of the box and is exactly what it billed itself as being. Funny that it took the new guy in town to actually deliver on their product.

    I also love that its a microsoft signature series product… only 58 processes running at bootup, while my asus and samsung both had 80-90 running.

    Im quite happy with my vizio, and if anyone would have told me I would prefer it to the zenbook and s9 before I bought it I would have thought they were crazy, but I do.

    • Nexus7

      Very informative comments on the keyboard and touchpad, thanks! I got the same impession when I tried it out at the Microsoft store, but it is great to hear from someone who’s spent serious time with it (as opposed to the reviewers at Verge or AllThingsD, who write an entire article ut of spending 3 minutes with the machine)!

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  • Dan

    fyi: Walmart.com, walmart stores and amazon.com are selling the ct14-a0 model vizio for a low $598. Thats under 600 with a 1600×900 screen and ssd.

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