If you loved Vizio's 2012 lineup of PCs, you're going to just love what it has in store for 2013. The company is refreshing nearly its entire line, and while these new models usher in upgraded components, they have the same industrial design as the original lot. Perhaps the biggest change is that all of Vizio's new PCs going forward will come with touchscreens, so that the Thin + Light is now the Thin + Light Touch, and the All-in-One is now the All-in-One Touch. (Fair enough!) As you can imagine, that makes the laptops in particular slightly thicker and heavier than they had been, but only slightly. Truly, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference. We were, anyway.
Additionally, Vizio has updated the trackpad drivers, though the touchpad we tested still felt a bit finicky. Just as important, the company's also re-tooled the keyboard so that the buttons offer a springier feel. They keys have the same flat, close-together design they always had, so don't be put off if you see these on the shelf at Best Buy. Even in our quick-hands-on, we immediately noticed our typing felt more accurate, more controlled than it had been with the last-gen models. Finally, Vizio says it's doubled the battery capacity, which is great news because the first-gen laptop we tested couldn't even crack four hours. This seems like a lofty ,claim given that touchscreens are known to hamper battery life anyway, but we're vowing to keep our expectations low and hope for the best. All told, these tweaks address most user complaints, though the SD slot is sadly still MIA.
Under the hood, these machines will all have quad-core processors, with most models giving you a choice between an Intel Core i7 CPU and AMD's high-end A10 chip. Most of them (read: the 15-inch Thin + Light and the 24- and 27-inch all-in-ones) will have 1080p screens, though the smaller 14-inch Thin + Light will rock a lower-res 1,600 x 900 panel. No word just yet on pricing, but we're told these will go on sale in mid-February. Until then, the performance, sharp touchscreens, bigger battery and re-engineered keyboard look very promising indeed. Only when we test a final unit, though, can we tell whether Vizio finally figured out how to make a quality computer.
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Vizio's 2013 PC lineup at CES