It’s now been exactly two years since Vizio announced it was making the bold move of entering the PC marketplace with its Thin + Light laptops and all-in-one desktop computers. While its first round of laptops didn’t quite live up to our expectations, that hasn’t stopped the company from continuing to tweak and refine the basic concept introduced back at CES 2012. Today, Vizio’s pulling back the cover on a new 15.6-inch Thin + Light laptop and a new 24-inch all-in-one that don’t change Vizio’s basic formula but still should offer improved performance for those who appreciate the company’s simple approach to the PC market.
When going back to the drawing board this year, Vizio decided to simplify its lineup — gone is the smaller 14-inch Thin + Light model as well as the larger, non-touchscreen 15.6-inch notebook that the company offered. Instead, there’s just a single 15.6-inch Thin + Light model that’s essentially identical from a physical standpoint to last year’s model. Vizio’s also decided to get rid of the 27-inch all-in-one and only offer the 24-inch model; the company told us in both cases that the remaining two computers it is offering make up the vast majority of sales.
As for what’s new on the inside, Vizio is touting the inclusion of Intel Core i7 Haswell processors as well as Intel’s Iris Pro graphics solution — the company says it's the first PC manufacturer to offer Iris Pro, though it’s already available in Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro. Vizio also built 802.11ac wireless into its new machines, and is continuing to feature 1080p touchscreens on both models. While Vizio’s keyboard and trackpad still aren't as good as we'd hope, the touchscreen was one of the more responsive we’ve used, and made gesturing through Windows 8.1 an easy and pleasant experience.
While Vizio’s computers may not be the disrupting factor the company had hoped for when they initially launched, the company told us that it still feels the PC market is an important one to play in. The refinements made this year really only help it keep up with the competition, but the computers still have their strong points — particularly the excellent touchscreen. Unfortunately, as with so many CES product introductions, there’s no word on when these computers will launch and how much they’ll retail for.