It’s been almost a year now since Vizio, a Southern California electronics firm far better known for its extensive line of HDTVs than computers, introduced its first 27-inch all-in-one PC, the CA27-A1. And while we had a few quibbles about it, considering that this was the company’s first big-screen desktop, it wasn’t a half-bad machine.
Still, with the imminent release of the first truly touchable version of Windows—Windows 8—only about a month away, we were a bit perplexed as to why the Vizio all-in-one (AIO) didn’t include a touch screen. And the plasticky-feeling wireless keyboard and touch pad were less than impressive, too.
Mostly, though, last year’s Vizio had a lot going for it—it performed well and it had a big, bright, and beautiful screen and better-than-average sound system, all in a pleasingly high-tech, elegant design. Overall, we called it a decent value, even after budgeting $50 for a wireless keyboard and mouse to replace the Vizio keyboard and touch pad.
Enter this year’s $1,549-list Vizio CA27T-B1, the company’s latest big-screen all-in-one desktop. This Vizio is, of course, a touch-screen PC, which gets it past our biggest concern about last year’s model. It has the same stylish black-on-silver design that, despite an entire year having gone by, still looks high-tech and modern. And, thanks to its Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of system RAM, it’s a strong performer.
Unfortunately, Vizio chose to include the same underwhelming, cheap-feeling keyboard and touch pad we groused about last year, and while the stand on which the 27-inch monitor is mounted looks good, it’s a lot less conducive to touch-screen gesturing than designs originally engineered with finger manipulation in mind, such as, say, Acer’s Aspire 7600U and several other competitors. As you’ll see in the Design section on the next page, we discovered that the monitor mount has far too much play in it, causing it to wobble when you use the touch screen.
Furthermore, since it relies on Intel’s integrated graphics solution rather than a discrete graphics processing unit (GPU), it comes up short for high-end multimedia creation, and it can’t run the most resource-intensive games. Yet another concern we have is that, with the advent of Intel’s fourth-generation Core (a.k.a. “Haswell”) processors, this system’s Core i7-3630QM chip comes out of the gate a generation behind.
That said, the CA27T-B1 is, after all, a mid-range desktop aimed at families and students, and priced well under $2,000 (even marked down, at this mid-August 2013 writing, from $1,549 to $1,439 on Vizio.com). We can’t really expect to see discrete graphics and a “Haswell” CPU in such a moderately priced machine.
With that in mind, we found a lot to like about this all-in-one. During our battery of benchmark tests, for example, it held up well compared to several more costly competing models. The screen, a true HD (1,920×1,080) panel, looks great and responds well to finger input. The Vizio’s 2.1 surround system delivers better-than-average sound and, combined with its bright and colorful screen, makes this AIO a good choice for media consumption, especially watching movies. We like it as a home-office and family PC.
See entire review at Computer Shopper.