Vizio has carved out quite a name for itself as a maker of value-oriented flat-panel televisions. Battling it out against well-established makers such as Sony, Samsung and the like, the company has fought its way to first place in the U.S. in LCD TV sales. But will Vizio be able to repeat that feat in another category that's just as competitive and well-entrenched? We'll soon find out as Vizio has taken the wraps off of its new line of notebook and desktop computers.
Notebooks, Ultrabooks and all-in-one desktops from Vizio
After announcing its intention to jump into the personal computer market at CES 2012, Vizio has released information on its initial computers -- two years in the making -- including 24- and 27-inch AIOs (all-in-ones), 14- and 15.6-inch notebooks, and an Ultrabook line sporting 14- and 15.6-inch screens.
The desktop and portable lines all start at $898, and at that price you might not expect to get anything incredibly special. But all models will be packing Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs, full HD 1080p displays, SRS surround audio, large touchpads with multi-touch features, and stylish, minimalist designs. A large V function key on the keyboard will launch services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and more.
The AIO models offer a trick subwoofer integrated into the external power supply while the other two speakers live inside the slim base. And given Vizio's heritage as a television manufacturer, it's no surprise that features like HDMI inputs, a remote control, and Blu-ray drives are also incorporated to turn the AIOs from PCs into complete entertainment devices.
For the portable lines, the notebooks and Ultrabooks will both feature unibody chassis with passive ventilation for minimizing noise, hidden hinges, and very sleek form factors, while still keeping specs similar to those of their AIO brothers.
Bloatware-haters might appreciate that Vizio's computer offerings are part of the Microsoft Signature program. That strips out all of the typically less-than-desirable product trial and promotion software that comes pre-installed on many systems and that can drag down PC performance if not removed by the user. You can read more about the program on the Microsoft Signature web site.
Expect to find the new Vizio PCs soon in Microsoft stores as well as Target, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club and Amazon.com.