Today we’re looking at a review of the latest touchscreen All-In-One PC from Vizio.
It's obviously inspired by Apple's Flagship with it's extremely thin screen and sliver finish. It hits and misses in emulating Cupertino's finest, but overall it's a great machine at a decent price for this form factor.
Main advantage: Great design, decent included accessories, lightweight and compact, brilliant screen
Main concern: poor sound, no optical drive, high price for the internal specs
Unique features: external subwoofer, comes with HDMI in ports and remote to use it as a display for other devices
My real job as a reviewer is to differentiate fact versus fiction. Marketing promises versus product reality. Vizio's All-in-one machine makes six distinct promises in its marketing; Immersive Visuals, Windows 8, Intuitive touch, Powerful performance, Speed plus performance, and Crystal-clear audio. Some features exceed expectation and some fall short. Above all else the machine is beautiful and it delivers a great experience in a small package. Let's look at the promises one by one:
Immersive Visuals – The screen is amazing even though it isn't the best available technically. The system is available in 24” and 27” versions. Aside from screen size and a miniscule price difference (the 24” version takes less than $100 off the final price) these are identical machines internally. The two machines are so close in screen size that there is really NO reason to purchase the 24” version, you'll immediately regret it. I wish the screen difference was much more to help lower the price. Perhaps a 19” version and maybe one or two more internal changes to allow the price to drop to a dollar below a thousand dollars just for the symbolism of that. Whichever screen you select, they are both LED displays with a display resolution of 1920×1080. Full HD and it's one of the crispest pictures that I've seen in an all-in-one machine. Either display is powered by on-board Intel graphics (HD 4000) and they use the machine's own memory, no discrete graphics here unfortunately. This isn't a gaming PC though, it's your home hub and it doesn't struggle with light gaming, there are limitations with built in graphics though so if you plan to get into heavy gaming this might not be your next PC.
Windows 8 & Intuitive Touch – Of course, the OS isn't specific to this machine. More than any other machine that I've tested though, I actually like to use Windows 8 on Vizio's All-in-one. It feels as if the reference machine that Microsoft used to design Windows 8 must have been similar to this machine. Laptops, tablets, non-touch PC's can all technically run windows 8 in some form, but it feels like a large touchscreen all-in-one is the only true way to use the OS correctly. Gestures work perfectly on the Vizio All-in-one whereas they are a nuisance on my current laptop. Pinching, Tapping, and Swiping off screen to toggle settings, menus, and glance at recently opened programs is a joy. I have to work to remind myself of Windows 8 gestures with my laptop but they become intuitive on the large touchscreen. Touch is very responsive and for the most part the experience is flawless. I have found myself tapping and tapping to hit an OK button within a message box, but I have large fingers so I won't blame the machine.
Powerful Performance with Speed Plus – The heart of this machine is Intel's latest Core i7 processor, specifically the i7-3630QM which is a quad core chip running at 2.4GHz. Though the i7 itself has faster and stronger versions, any i7 processor should be relatively future-proof. The machine moves during daily tasks, I didn't see any lag while switching through open programs. I'd constantly run video or audio in the background while browsing the web and word processing in split screen and everything was smooth. 8GBs of ram (two memory slots) is relatively middle of the road, but again, it's enough for the basic computing. The ram is supplemented with a 32GB SSD. Solid State drives are the magic pills that make everything better. Through a solid state drive in your aging PC and the difference is astounding. The SSD here doesn't seem to be accessible through windows. It's a hidden partition that most likely stores frequently used program and system files to help boost things like startup speed and installation of new programs. The recent bump to windows 8.1 really tries to push Skydrive, Microsoft's own cloud storage service, you'll get a bit of free storage there but luckily the All-In-One has its own 1TB internal SATA hard drive as well.
Crystal-Clear Audio – I was beyond excited at the audio possibilities of this system. Listen to these specs: Included external 10w subwoofer and 2 speakers integrated into the base of the all-in-one itself. All together that means 2.1 channel SRS surround sound that might not rock your entire casbah, but it should be more than enough when you occasionally find the need to rock off a sock or two. In reality, the machine's audio is one of the more disappointing realizations that I've had in awhile unfortunately. The volumes tops out slightly above a conversational tone, the subwoofer has no physical adjustment knobs or switches and in one depressing word, the audio is UNDERWHELMING. The company calls it crystal clear audio, but keeping audio clear isn't that difficult when you limit volume. It's hard to be loud and clear. Don't buy this system for the audio.
Misc. - The whole thing has a decent matte silver finish that looks nice on a table. The screen will rotate 25 degrees which is good enough but I'd love if it would rotate parallel to the table as well to allow a touch desk feeling. The screen does give a bit when pressing but it isn't unstable. There is an integrated mic and webcam in the screen where you'd expect and they work but the video captured doesn't do much justice to the display. Unfortunately I think we've all grown to expect this. The included accessories are great though some will complain about the plastic build. It didn't bother me much, but the inputs do eat batteries and I didn't appreciate that. Two AAA a piece for the wireless keyboard and separate wireless touchpad. There's also a remote if you decide to use this as more than a PC. It's powered by a watch type battery and it will control the speakers and the display but will NOT control any windows software. Basics like volume control, display on/off, menu, a d-pad, and an input selection button. The base is surrounded by a good amount of hidden ports and goodies. 4 USB ports, gigabit ethernet input, 2 HDMI in ports (no HDMI out), an SD card reader, headphone jack, and the rare eSATA input used for external storage. You'll also find a power button hidden here as well (a little too hidden for my taste)
Thank you again to Vizio for supplying their product for review.
27” All-In-One Touch PC by Vizio
What's in the box: All-In-One PC, Wireless keyboard, Wireless touchpad, display remote, batteries for each, power cable, extension cable for subwoofer, subwoofer, quick start guide
Is it worth buying: In you want an all in one, this is a great package. It will save you money over many alternative models, but something like Samsung’s ATIV One is very close in price and adds discrete graphics and a bit of a processor bump, you won't get the SSD cache though. The issue with PC purchases is that if you're looking for a deal you'll never buy a machine. Decide which specs are important to you, pick a unit you like to look at that hits all those marks, and GO FOR IT! Touch PC's are where we are going and it's always awesome to be ahead of the curve. You'll enjoy using a machine like this latest piece from Vizio, and you'll like the oohs and ahhs of people that come over to visit as they oogle the gorgeous touchscreen.
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!