The Vizio 15.6-inch Thin + Light Touch (CT15T-B1) ($1,359.99) is a laptop whose looks and design promise brilliant visuals, Cutting edge technology, high end performance, and a great user experience. Unfortunately, the CT15T-B1
delivers most, but not all of these attributes. It’s getting there, and is certainly a contender, but its features need work.
Design and Features
The CT15T-B1 follows the same design lines as previous Vizio Thin + Light laptops, like last year’s Vizio 15.6-inch Thin + Light (CT15-A1) ($999). The CT15T-B1 is essentially in the same chassis as the Vizio CT15-A1, measuring about 0.68-by-15-by-10-inches (HWD), though the new system weighs 4.69 pounds, which close to a pound heavier than the older model. Chalk the extra weight up to the touch screen and presumably to a more densely packed battery (more on that below). Visually, the system is on par with systems like the Google Chromebook Pixel (64GB, LTE) ($1,449), though gaming systems and convertible ultrabooks like the Sony VAIO Duo 13 ($1,399.99) are certainly flashier.
The CT15T-B1 has very bright and clear 15.6-inch screen. The screen’s 1,920-by-1,080 resolution ensures that you will be able to view all the pixels presented in a 1080p HD video, as well as giving you a large screen to work with in media creation apps or when viewing websites with a lot of info. That said, the ChromeBook Pixel and Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Retina Display) ($1,999) both give a higher resolution screen for even more screen real estate. The CT15-B1′s screen resolution matches the current Editors’ Choice for high-end ultrabooks, the Asus Zenbook Prime Touch UX31A-BHI5T ($1,199).
There is a noticeable flaw in the CT15T-B1′s screen: It bounces a bit after you touch the screen. Since this is a touch-screen laptop, the bounce can become annoying after a while, particularly on action games or reaction tests where you have to tap and move often. Contrast this with the Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 ($1,200), which has a dual-friction hinge to help prevent screen bounce while using the touch screen.
The CT15T-B1 has improved on its trackpad performance compared to the previous CT15-A1. The trackpad now works a little better and responds to input from your fingers a bit more accurately. Where the system still needs improvement is Vizio’s choice of a slick material on the floating key-type keyboard. The keys themselves are slick and the lack of space between the keys means that you may have trouble touch-typing until you get used to this quirky keyboard. It’s easy to handwave keyboard problems on a desktop, since you can replace a desktop’s keyboard easily. With a laptop, you’re stuck with the keyboard that the manufacturer supplies. This is definitely a system we’d recommend you try out before you commit to a purchase.
Sound from the built in speakers was loud enough for a moderately noisy room, but you’d be better off using a pair of headphones for any critical listening. The CT15T-B1 comes with very few pre-installed programs, basically just Windows 8, Skype, an ad for Microsoft Office, and a couple of Vizio utilities. All Vizio PCs are part of the Microsoft Signature program, which reduces bloatware and gives the user 90 days of Microsoft-based tech support for Windows 8. Vizio covers the systems with a one-year standard warranty for repairs and a year of standard tech support.
The CT15T-B1 comes with a 256GB of SSD storage space, which is plenty for an average user that doesn’t download many movies off of the Internet. For those that do, we’d suggest adding an external hard drive to one of the system’s two USB 3.0 ports. Two USB ports is a little light for a 15-inch laptop, but it’ll do. The system also comes with a HDMI port for connecting to an external monitor. Speaking of connecting, the system comes with an 802.11ac adapter, so you can connect to the newer wireless routers appearing on the market now. The system comes with 8GB of system memory, perfect for the users that like to open dozens of browser tabs during a surfing session. The SSD helps the system with quick reboots, while opening programs, and with general speed in day-to-day operations.
The CT15T-B1 has a third-generation (Ivy Bridge) Intel Core i7-3635QM processor, 8GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and that 256GB SSD to thank for its performance. The system makes quick work of the Handbrake and Photoshop CS6 tests, as well as the day-to-day tests of PCMark 7. Unsurprisingly, it lags the Sony Duo 13, which has a fourth-generation Intel Core processor, on the 3D tests. In any case, you’ll be playing mainly less demanding 3D and casual games on these systems with Intel HD Graphics in any case.
The place where the Vizio excels is its battery life. We were able to get 8 hours 40 minutes on our battery rundown test. This is just 15 minutes behind the Sony Duo 13, and more than two hours longer than the EC Asus UX31A-BHI5T.
So there’s the rub: There are elements of brilliance (nice screen, quad core power, almost 9 hours of battery life, etc.) in the Vizio 15.6-inch Thin + Light Touch (CT15T-B1). However, these gains are reversed by physical problems like the slippery keyboard and the bouncy touch screen. While the trackpad is improved, the keyboard and touch screen are the primary ways to interact with the system. On this PC, these are at best annoying and at worst frustrating enough to slow your workflow. It’s for these reasons we give the CT15T-B1 an improved score over its CT15-A1 predecessor, but it’s still not enough to unseat the Asus ZenBook Prime Touch UX31A-BHI5T as our high-end ultrabook Editors’ Choice.
|Processor Name||Intel Core i7-3535QM|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Type||General Purpose, Media, Ultraportable, Ultrabook|
|Processor Speed||2.4 GHz|
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||256 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc