Back at CES, Vizio taught us a valuable lesson: you don't need to be a seasoned PC maker to build a beautiful laptop. The outfit, best known for its value-priced TVs, didn't dip its toes into the personal computer market so much as plunge in, head first: it teased three notebooks (along with two all-in-ones), each bearing a clean, surprisingly tasteful design. Now, right on schedule, they're finally going on sale. The company just announced that its first laptops, the 14-inch Thin + Light, the 15-inch Thin + Light and the 15-inch Notebook, are available for pre-order, each starting at $898.
Funnily enough, as much as we've written about these laptops, we didn't know their names (much less specs) until now. So listen up: it's time for a quick (and long-overdue) run-down. First up, there are two "Thin + Lights" (Vizio isn't using the word Ultrabook). These come in two sizes: a 14-inch version with a 1600 x 900 display and a 15-incher with a 1080p panel. Aside from the resolution, the two models offer similar specs: Ivy Bridge processors, Intel HD 4000 graphics, SRS Premium Sound HD audio and battery life rated at seven hours. There's also a mainstream laptop, appropriately dubbed the 15.6-inch Notebook, which offers similar innards, except it has an unspecified Kepler GPU from NVIDIA. It, too, is rated for seven hours of runtime.
Across its PC lineup, Vizio will be including a so-called V key on its keyboard, which will serve as a shortcut to services like Hulu Plus, Amazon, Vudu and Netflix. (If you were wondering how Vizio would incorporate its TV know-how, this is it.) The peculiar thing is, none of these services will come installed by default as bloatware. The point is, the key is there to use as a shortcut if you chose to enable these services, and Vizio says these multimedia partners plan on offering deals specific to Vizio PC owners.
That's all she wrote for now, but we've got the full PR after the break, along with some hands-on photos of the finished goods.
Vizio Thin + Light laptops and 15-inch Notebook (hands-on)
Vizio 14-inch Thin + Light
Vizio 15-inch Thin + Light
Vizio 15-inch Notebook
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.
Design, Power and Entertainment Reign Supreme in VIZIO's Incredibly Sleek and Sophisticated, Premium PC Line Unveiled Today
Irvine, CA - June 15, 2012 - VIZIO, America's #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today the availability of its highly anticipated line of innovative personal computers designed to work hard and play hard. By combining its entertainment know-how with the unmatched power of the latest Intel® Core™ processors, VIZIO intends to set a new standard for the Windows® experience. The premium line, which consists of the VIZIO Thin + Light, Notebook and All-in-One PC, was created to break through the clutter present in the mainstream market and prove that power, design and entertainment can flawlessly co-exist in a PC.
Similar to its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO took careful inventory of the needs and wants evident in the PC space. The result is a sophisticatedly handsome PC line that meets the productivity and power standards consumers expect, while delivering the entertainment and design differentiators they desire. Calling on its HDTV background, VIZIO developed the PCs with contrast, image quality and viewing angles top of mind, giving PC users an experience only HDTVs could previously deliver. Combined with an NVIDIA® Kepler™-Class GeForce GPU, the brilliant HD display of the VIZIO PCs makes watching movies, gaming and streaming TV shows more enjoyable than ever. Deep and resonate SRS Premium Sound HD™ serves as an ideal complement to stunning image quality but can also stand alone, allowing music junkies to immerse themselves in rich, custom-tuned audio.
Understanding the impact aesthetics have on experience, VIZIO also focused heavily on design. Manifested beyond a few sleek bevels, VIZIO's purposeful design decisions and premium materials culminate in a line of PCs that rival the status-quo. From the die-cast aluminum neck with its hidden hinge, premium wireless keyboard and wireless touchpad of the All-in-One, to the anodized aluminum unibody construction with precision CNC detailing of the Thin + Light and Notebook, VIZIO took every detail into account, creating top-quality work and entertainment fixtures like no other.
"PCs haven't always been made with design at the forefront. While customers want an elegant, multi-purpose device capable of executing tasks and flawlessly delivering entertainment, some PCs still look like mundane work machines," said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. "VIZIO is passionate about innovation, design and the user experience. We listened to consumers and created a line of PCs that deliver on productivity but are also uncompromisingly clean, stylish and sophisticated."
Optimized to deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, VIZIO PCs ensure a fast and immersive best-in-class consumer experience. To that end, VIZIO and Microsoft® worked together to build an optimized system image that includes the Microsoft Signature experience for Windows 7 PCs to deliver a great experience for customers, from out of box to support. Every VIZIO PC also includes Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses and spyware with no renewal fees and 90 days of Microsoft technical support.
"We're pleased to be working closely with VIZIO as it debuts in the PC category," said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. "VIZIO has a strong reputation of providing consumer innovation and entertainment experiences, and it's great to see the company using Windows to help deliver premium experiences on PCs."
Designed to tackle any task a user needs to accomplish, VIZIO PCs are powered by 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. Providing an extra performance boost, the efficient Intel® Core™ processors are capable of handling a multitude of jobs, allowing users to multi-task with ease.
"We know how important it is for VIZIO to have its PCs deliver best in class performance," said CJ Bruno, Intel VP, GM Americas. "VIZIO has repeatedly shown its ability to deliver leading technology to its customers and we are thrilled that 3rd generation Intel core processors will power VIZIO's latest computing innovations. We think people will be amazed by the stunning visual experiences in these new systems, from the beautiful all-in-one to the slim, stylish and responsive Ultrabook™ device."
VIZIO All-in-One: Starting at $898
Elegantly combining a powerful PC with features similar to a television, the VIZIO All-in-One PC offers an unparalleled entertainment experience**. With a stunning 24" or 27" Full HD 1080p display, included subwoofer for 2.1 surround sound audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and dual HDMI® inputs for connecting cable boxes and game consoles, the VIZIO All-in-One PC delivers serious entertainment.
The premium wireless keyboard, wireless touchpad with multi-touch gesture support, remote control and subwoofer with integrated power supply makes the VIZIO All-in-One PC easy on the eyes. Crafted from genuine, top-quality materials with design advancements, these machines challenge the very notion of what a PC can be, making it the ideal fixture in a bedroom, design studio, kitchen, dorm or swanky boutique.
For the ultimate in entertainment, consumers can use the display of their VIZIO All-in-One PC even when the computer is off, plugging in up to two HDMI® sources to enjoy cable or satellite programming, gaming and other HD offerings.
VIZIO Notebook: Starting at $898
The VIZIO Notebook delivers remarkable power in a beautifully portable profile. Stylish and light, the aluminum construction provides solid durability not possible when using cheaper plastics. With an impressive 15.6" Full HD 1080p display, performance-tuned audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and a long-lasting battery, the VIZIO Notebook is an all-day, on-the-go, multimedia powerhouse.
The sleek, seamless surface of the VIZIO Notebook boasts beveled edges and a slip-free, soft-touch underside. The machine's slim profile is made possible by an anodized aluminum unibody construction that lends itself to strength and durability. Smart innovations include a concealed passive heat venting that pulls in cool air to reduce the need for bulky, noisy and unnecessary grills and fans.
VIZIO Thin + Light: Starting at $898
Part of a new class of Ultrabook™ devices inspired by Intel, the VIZIO Thin + Light is an ultra-responsive, ultra-sleek and long-lasting portable PC. This powerful machine boots up in seconds and packs enough battery to stay up and running all day.
With a 14" HD+ or 15.6" Full HD display and a razor-thin design made possible by a durable, anodized aluminum unibody construction, the VIZIO Thin + Light is sleek enough to take anywhere and easily outperforms notebooks twice its size.
Entertainment enthusiasts will appreciate the HD resolution, stellar picture quality with wider viewing angles and SRS Premium Sound HD™ of the Thin + Light, allowing users to enjoy their content on-the-go or tap into the full-size HDMI® outputs to put entertainment on the big screen.
For more information on VIZIO PCs visit VIZIO.com. Consumers can also find the new PC line at key retailers such as Walmart, Amazon.com, Sam's Club, Costco, Target and Microsoft Store.