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  • ChronoReverse - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    So what's the typing experience on the keyboard? That's more interesting than knowing the unit flexes (when relating to how the typing goes).

    What's the key spacing? Any weird key positions? How's the key response (rubber dome mushy or springy?)?

    Frankly, the non-use of chiclets is the plus but I need to know how it actually types.
  • GiGoLo - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    i'm pretty nitpicky when it comes to keyboards (went through 4 different mechanicals with different types of switches before settling on one), and I can say the typing on this vizio unit was pretty poor. The keyboard itself started to get slightly bowed after just a few weeks, some keys were super sensitive while others were not, and the left CTRL and ALT keys would often take several tries before it would respond (might've just been a defective unit, but can't really tell)

    Kudos to vizio for being one of the few PC manufacturers to use high res screens (infuriates me to find these awesome spec'd ultrabooks with 1366x768!)

    For me though, the true deal breaker was lack of Wireless Display. This to me is one of Intel's most overlooked (and least advertised) gems. Horrible for gaming, but works great for streaming media, presentations, slideshows, or even just an extended monitor
  • ChronoReverse - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Okay that sounds terrible. Uneven key response is unacceptable for sure. Anyone else with experience? I wonder if it's just a single defective unit like you surmise. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I wish WiDi had taken off. It's awesome, right? I do love that every system with an Intel CPU and WiFi module is WiDi capable, I don't love that Vizio went Atheros with the CT15.

    The typing experience is fine, except that the keyboard flexes like hell. The sizing of the auxiliary keys is weird (the shift key especially seems oddly large) but it takes like 5 minutes to get used to. Spacing is fine, it's not hard to move back and forth between it and my other array of systems. The response is kinda springy, but the feedback isn't that positive, and the flex doesn't help with that at all. It's not that pleasant of a typing experience, not an untenable one or a deal breakingly-bad one, but still not a good one. And that's about all you can say for it.
  • Penti - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    They can activate Miracast which is based on WiDi, should take of this year and Intel has supported it for a while. Reply
  • blueboy11 - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Except that my Toshiba laptop that I currently use that's 3 years old and counting doesn't have the dual Wi-Fi that I'm currently looking for in a laptop (although I do have to admit that it does occasionally disconnect from the Internet at times but it's rare), along with 1080p matte display and even the anemic ports (which imo is a MAJOR improvement from what I have) is worth it. We need to start seeing some of these specs on more laptops, especially the IPS display, which is desperately needed on most laptops, which should be standard on most if not all laptops... Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    They should also be lauded for using a MATTE SCREEN.

    Glossy screens are the biggest regression in computing ever. Moronic.
  • Sufo - Monday, February 18, 2013 - link

    Depends on the quality of the anti-glare coating. Glossy screens are a lot nicer to watch movies on due to the free boost to black depth, not to mention essential for touch enabled devices. Overall, I prefer matte finish, but "biggest regression in computing ever" is a vast overstatement. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    A thousand dollar laptop with (non-upgradeable) 4 GB of RAM and poor battery life gets a recommendation?

    If anything, Vizio should be raked over the coals for their RAM configuration, not lauded. Not just the size, but also the fact that it is soldered on.

    Props for the 1080p IPS panel, but 4 GB is not enough in a premium product. Microsoft erred here with the Surface Pro, and Vizio did it too. Granted, Win8 is very efficient with resources, but that doesn't help users when their legacy software is still bloated and RAM-hungry (Adobe, I'm looking at you).

    With 6-8GB as the default configuration, Vizio could have hit it out the park for users who want a high quality screen and are unconcerned about the limited mobility.
  • cknobman - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    The less than 4 hours of battery life is a real deal breaker for me.

    Its a shame because at the price this just might have been on my short list.
  • rangerdavid - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Soldered-on is pretty standard in these thin form-factors. Yes, 6 or 8 would be nice, but removable means thicker in most cases. No pun intended. Wait, no; intended. Reply
  • blueboy11 - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    LOL! Yeah, the damned soldered unremovable RAM that should've been upgraded to 8GB in the first place! What the hell where they thinking in the first place? Oh wait, they weren't!! Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    Just because a rip-off has become standard doesn't mean we should accept it.

    Apple has led the way in degrading its computers with soldered-in RAM, glued-together chassis and now shitty laptop drives in its desktop computers. We should not give them or any other manufacturer a free pass on this crap.
  • PeteH - Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - link

    I honestly don't think manufacturers are doing things like soldering down RAM to rip people off, I think they're doing it because that's the only way to get the form factor.

    The problem is that consumers continue to endorse trading flexibility for pretty industrial design (based on what they buy). Manufacturers are just giving the consumers what they want, and it's hard to fault them for it.
  • Ninhalem - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    When do you need more than 4 GB of RAM? If this is used as a non-gaming notebook I don't think you will ever need more than 4 GB for a regular notebook (the HD 4000 already guarantees that this isn't a gaming oriented notebook).

    I'm running a desktop at the moment with only 4 GB of RAM with about 5 applications open (including Adobe running a big file) and only using about 1.7 GB.

    Actually this notebook is a slam dunk for me. I've been crawling the internet for a notebook with these specs for my father to use as a research (history) tool when he goes overseas.

    I just don't think the perception of 4GB is not enough is viable here.
  • halo37253 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Tell me what you need more then 4gb of ram for?

    I have 6GB of RAM in my main system and have never had a program fill it other then p95 while stressing. Really unless the user is running VM crazy or is going crazy in some adobe program I think the user is more then set with 4gb.

    RAM does not make your PC faster if you don't need it, no one using a laptop like this with no GPU to load advance compute or even games onto. Though even for gaming you don't need more then 4gb.

    4GB in my gaming HTPC and 6GB in my main system, both always has RAM left.

    I would rather have them take the 256gb SSD out of this laptop and toss in a 128gb m-sata chip and toss in a HDD for user storage. For SSD you only need some apps and OS on your SSD. Pretty much all user files in the c:\users\yourname can be moved onto the HDD for more storage. Do the same thing with my laptop and desktop, but with sata SSD not msata. No point to have movies, music, games installed onto the SSD.
  • themossie - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Chrome can easily use more than 4 gigs of ram with a minimal set of extensions.

    6 gigs used right now (2 more cached) out of 8 gb on my old Arrandale Studio XPS 16. Notepad++ and two web browsers with 50 tabs open, flash disabled and minimal extensions.

    How could I upgrade to a machine with less RAM? Many people can sacrifice processing power for battery life and form factor, but not RAM - especially given how cheap it is these days.
  • themossie - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Also - 4 years ago (early 2009), the entry-level config of the earliest version of my laptop (Core 2 Duo) came with 4 gigs of ram.

    It had the same $1100 MSRP at the time, though definitely not an ultrabook - weighing 2.5 lbs more:-)
  • seapeople - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    Browsers allocate far more memory than they actually use, and are programmed to trim this allocation with virtually no impact to performance once the memory is needed elsewhere in the system.

    So even though your Chrome may routinely report a use of 4-6 gb on your 8 gb system, if you only had a 4 gb system then Chrome would likely purr along just the same while using only 2-3 gb of RAM. Perhaps once every four days when you switch over to tab number 80 it will take 2 seconds for Chrome to pull up the picture at the bottom of the page on this tab, which you would only even notice if you switched to that tab and immediately hit Ctrl-End.

    Not to mention that hibernating a system with 8 gb of RAM will take significantly longer than one with 4 gb of RAM...
  • cbf - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Software Development.

    Visual Studio, local ASP.NET server (for debugging), and connection to large databases.

    Also, certain CAD work. Normally one would say you need a workstation class laptop with Quadra or FirePro onboard, but frankly Intel HD4000 graphics is pretty close to where mobile Quadra or FirePro was a few years ago, and works OK with a lot of CAD packages now.
  • althaz - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I'm on my lunch break and my machine is currently using ~5.2Gb of RAM. 8Gb is the realistic minimum for a lot of people.

    4Gb is ok if you don't want to do any multitasking, but I pretty much always have a couple of browsers, Visual Studio, Photoshop and Notepad++ open, so for me it's the more the merrier (I have 16Gb at home, which is probably overkill).

    The 4Gb of RAM is also the only qualm I have about buying a Surface Pro (but I'll probably still pick one up, I'm not likely to have VS and PS open at once there).
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    See, the problem with that though is that there is a more than established precedent for $1200 ultrabooks with 4GB of memory. Everyone from Samsung to ASUS to Microsoft to Apple to (I could continue). So while complaints are more than warranted (I can think of at least two places in which I voiced displeasure about it) you really can't rake them over the coals without indicting the entire industry.

    Which isn't necessarily unwarranted, but a bit out of place in a product review like this. Especially when I, as someone who uses ultrabooks as primary machines, haven't had a single issue with a 4GB RAM limit or even close. 128GB SSD is far more limiting than 4GB of memory on both my Zenbook Prime as well as my Surface Pro.

    The battery life is a direct trade-off for the display. Vizio should have seen it coming and specced a bigger battery, but from an evaluation standpoint you'd be surprised how much you're willing to overlook when a system is clean, responsive, and has a great display. Find me another 15" machine anywhere near the $900 mark that comes anywhere close to the Vizio's areas of core competency. It's a surprisingly rare combination in today's world.
  • nerd1 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Apple still sells non-retina macbook pro at $1199 - with 1280*800 TN screen, 4GB ram and 5400rpm mechanical HDD.

    It is plain absurd to bash this bargain laptop for the ram alone. And I doubt any 'serious' user will use this laptop for their main workhorse either. Get a real desktop with real GPU. (Or a gaming laptop / mobile workstation if you really want to work on go)
  • Homeles - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    "I can't run my weather forecasting simulations on this ultrabook! This ultrabook sucks!"

    I can't believe how clueless these people are. This thing is not a workstation. It's an ultraportable laptop computer. Sacrifices have to be made in oder to cut down on weight and to shrink the size of the device. That means upgradability goes out the window. That means lower performance.

    It'd make just as much sense to complain about why I can't upgrade the GPU to a GTX 690.
  • themossie - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Non-upgradable? These aren't high-performance machines, yes.

    But the price difference for the company to have 8 gigs of RAM is certainly under $30. If the customer can't fix it later, do it right the first time :-)
  • seapeople - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    Ever consider that maybe the user experience is BETTER on this laptop with 4gb of RAM vs 8gb?

    Advantages of 4gb RAM:
    1. Hibernate and recover from hibernate are faster
    2. Less drive space wasted on the hibernation file
    3. Better battery life (important for this laptop, no?)

    Disadvantages of 4gb RAM:
    1. You can't run weather simulations
    2. If you multitask heavily with VS, Note++++++++, VM's, 1000+ tabs open, then switching to an application may require a page hit from the SSD (ogh noes, not the SSD, those are so slow nowadays!)
    3. You lose nerd cred in the dorms
  • blueboy11 - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Hell, my current laptop uses 6GB of RAM, and it's 3 years old...What gives? The panel on this laptop is totally worth the price to pay, along with the standard HDMI, which sadly I don't have on my laptop. I fell in love with the display that my aunt had on her laptop and it was an anemic PENTIUM processor at that. Why did others not follow this route with the display, sure it wasn't IPS, but it sure was a hell of a step up from what others and my display is. I would've took it any day!!! Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Why is a dual core i7 not just an i5 since it is just a dual core? Is it because it has HT? Hyperthreading has been around along time and seems artificial to me to not make it available on the i5 chips. Reply
  • arthur449 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Because Intel's marketing department is evil and they're getting back at consumers because we use engineering codenames such as Ivy Bridge and Haswell rather than 3rd Generation Core architecture. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    With ultra-low voltage parts, the distinction between i5 and i7 is that the latter has been binned for higher clock speeds and higher turbo frequencies essentially. Both have hyper-threading (2C/4T); it's the i3 that really gets hosed due to lack of turbo. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    More cache too I believe. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    3MB on i5 vs 4MB on i7, yes. Reply
  • xaml - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    In a Freudian slip of sorts, Dell put an i5 sticker on my XPS 14 (2012) powered by an i7. Reply
  • StephaneP - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    It's all in the subject. I'm surprised that these informations are not in this review. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    With the Windows 8 multitouch driver, I have zero problems with the touchpad on my 3 year old Dell Studio 15, actually it's pretty good. It's not Mac good, but I'd say something like 80% as good which is good enough for me. The bad input rejection is just right, there is smooth scrolling throughout the OS, good pinch to zoom, etc etc.

    So would all Vizios you could order now have a Synaptics pad instead of the horrid old one? How can we make sure?
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    All of the Windows 7 ones came with Sentelic touchpads (CT15-A0, A1, A2), while the Windows 8 ones have Synaptics touchpads (A4, A5). A small, but very important, hardware update that came at the same time as the Windows 8 refresh. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Awesome, thanks. Reply
  • PEJUman - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I have the following systems: 48GB in x58 970, 16GB on H77 3770, 8GB on P45 Q9650, 8GB on Hudson (AMD C-60) and 4GB on QM77 3217 @ Acer W700. the only way I can use more than 4GB on serious use is by disabling PF. (It is disabled on the 8GB+ systems). the 48GB system is actually used for Ramdrives and VMs. I cannot tell the difference between responsiveness under load (simultaneous encodes/virus scans + browsing/word/excel/ppt/matlab) across these devices; with the exception of the C-60, and that thing got 8GB.

    To the ultrabook point, I found 4GB is sufficient for occasional power use (even encoding/rippings via DBpowerAmp, quicksync or handbrake). I think the 4GB + SSD IOPs for PF is a good combo and I can't think of any usage pattern that would need more, esp. when the CPU speeds and/or cores counts less than 4. I actually rather take the $20 discount on price than additional 4GB for my mobile devices, they simply become obsolete way too fast nowdays to held any kind of monetary value. I much rather get them cheap & offload them quickly when I upgrade the next year.

    My mobile devices are mostly throttled (thermally) on loads that can use 4GB+. so I think present ultrabook thermal constraints is the weakest link in their performance, not RAM or PF speeds.

    Huge database on excel, CADs or matlab might cross the 4GB line, but for those you'll probably will be working on a 1600p or multiple 1080p screens (AKA desktop) anyway.
  • Netscorer - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I owned briefly their first-gen Thin+Light that was available in October for $600 (talk about value!). same form factor, just slightly downspecced with core i5 and 14" 1600x900 display. Loved form factor! Best ultrabook design right after leaders in ASUS and Apple. The three biggest complaints from the users for that generation were (in order)
    - keyboard
    - battery life
    - lack of ports.

    When I read this review it's like deja vu all over again. Same lackluster keyboard, same disappointing battery life and again no ports beyond bare minimum. Now, if these factors are not critical to you, I would recommend this laptop heartily. It's very sharp looking, has great IPS display and specs that would satisfy all but gamers and developers.
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    No, the absolute number one worst thing about the first-gen system was the touchpad, without question. And I mean, this is the same laptop, just with Windows 8 and a new Synaptics touchpad.

    Keyboard and battery are getting fixed with the touchscreen ones, and you can cry about lack of ports all day long but on an ultrabook you're just not going to get any semblance of decent port selection. The only thing I feel like could be a reasonably expected addition is an SD card slot. Just be happy it has a full-size HDMI instead of this smartphone-grade micro HDMI stuff that ASUS is using on the Zenbook Prime.
  • MarcusMo - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Regarding the ports, these two statements are from your preview of the new Vizios at CES as well as the current review:

    "The selection of ports onboard is pretty disappointing as well"

    "I think I’d still like to see some improvements in terms of ports on offer (2xUSB and no SD slot just isn’t enough)"

    If you are going to tell someone to have reasonable expectations and "not to cry about ports", it is best not to have done it yourself several times first.
  • chrnochime - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I don't see the link for the next CT15 announcement that's referred to in this article. Could someone post the link? Reply
  • Ninhalem - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link!/thin-light Reply
  • vectorm12 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I've been looking for a decent new laptop for a couple of months now. Thus far the closest I've come are some of the Sony Vaio computers. This version is a nogo for me as I imagine I couldn't live with the flex in the chassi. If some retailer in Sweden starts selling the revamp I'm gonna buy one. Too bad I can't find a single one in Sweden currently carrying Vizio. Here's hoping... Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    The upcoming revision sounds like a real winner if it really fixes the flex/keyboard issues and includes a bigger battery. Also being able to put an AMD A10 in there for some basic gaming on-the-go will be great. I'm just torn between getting this or their upcoming Tablet PC. Hopefully you guys will do a review of that in the near future.

    I don't really get the complaint about the ports (or lack thereof): I don't see me having a ton of things plugged into what's supposed to be a portable device. Also, while more RAM never hurts, 4GB is more than fine unless you're really going to be doing some serious work on it. Even then, dipping into the page file on an SSD isn't really a trying experience like it is with an HDD.
  • kyuu - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Also, I have to echo another commenter: where are the temperature and noise sections of this review? I'd like to know if the thing gets hot enough to melt the enclosure to slag or turns into a jet engine under load. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Typically, I only include those sections on notebooks with GPUs in them. We're at a stage where mostly all systems (the ones without insane form factors at least) that rely on IVB for compute and graphics processing end up being completely fine from heat/noise standpoints unless something drastically goes wrong during the design phase. This is especially true when you have a 17W part in a 15" chassis. Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Fair enough. So I guess what you're saying is you experienced no noticeable noise or heat issues (including hot spots on the chassis) from the Vizio? Reply
  • jeffkro - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Wow, that is so much better than my $300 Lenovo. Reply
  • Subyman - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Strange to see people defending Vizio for only offering 4GB of ram. I own a current MacBook Pro with 8GB of ram. I usually have PS CS6, Xcode, iOS simulator, a PDF reader, Safari, and a few miscellaneous development apps open. I easily hit the RAM limit at times, though most users would not multitask this much, I think Vizio is missing out on a robust business market.

    I'm looking for a Windows laptop for use with Office suite (Access, Excel, and Word) that will also be running proprietary billing software, a browser, and several smaller programs. This is a typical work setup that requires more than 4GB.

    Lastly, buying a $1000 laptop isn't so you can scrape by now at the minimum specs, but so you don't have to purchase another device for 3-4 years. 4GB is the bare minimum these days, and it will quickly become useless.
  • DanStp1 - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Why take the chance? If they support their laptops as well as their TV's?

    They do not stock parts for the TVs, and have made many models that die within 2 years or less.
    Thanks to Costco..........or I would have been out over 2,500 bucks due to their lack of non support.
    If you don't believe me, research some. The AVS forum had a long tread about this.
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Ultrabooks are a scam. I don't know how much the stupid aluminum body costs on an ultrabook, but I'm assuming it adds somewhere around $50-100 to the base price of the product, in materials and machining and all that.

    No Ethernet? HAHAHAHAHA

    But they're portable, you say. Really? Is 3.9lbs really that much less than 5.3lbs when you need to carry it in a bag anyway?

    But my main point is this: The target market for ultrabooks is not people who need outrageous ultraportability; it's Joe Public. And he buys them because they look like, and are priced like, a Macbook. Yay, aluminum.
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    My ideal laptop would be this exact laptop, except with a normal plastic frame (reduces cost), normal connectivity (ETHERNET...), normal removable battery so I can buy a spare 9-cell if I want, and space for 2 hard drives (instead of an optical drive). None of these things add significant cost. Price it at $800. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Sorry forgot to mention user-upgradable RAM. Should take 2x8GB. Reply
  • R3ason - Sunday, March 10, 2013 - link

    I thought all computers with the i5 processor offered WiDi?....Does this Vizio CT15 have WiDi or not? Reply

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