Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1) review

The Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1) isn't just a pretty face; it has performance and a plethora of features in its corner.
Photo of Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1)

What a difference a year makes. The Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1) ($1,549 list) is a polished version of the rough 27-inch all-in-one desktop PC we saw a little over a year ago. A touch screen, hybrid drive setup, quad core processor, and improved trackpad help elevate the system to our highest honors. The CA27T-B1 is our new Editors’ Choice for midrange all-in-one desktop PCs.

Design and Features
The CA27T-B1 follows the form of previous Vizio all-in-one desktops like the Vizio 27-inch All-in-One PC (CA27-A1) ($1,249). If you put the two side by side, you’d be hard pressed to tell which is which. Though over a year old by now, the CA27T-B1′s styling still feels fresh, with a 27-inch widescreen panel suspended by a single diecast aluminum arm over the base where all the PC components reside. This is a more elegant and complicated setup than all-in-one desktops where the components are built into the screen like the high-end AiO Editors’ Choice Dell XPS One 27 Touch ($2,599). The Vizio’s screen is only a screen, so it’s even thinner overall than the midrange AiO Editors’ Choice, the Apple iMac 21.5-Inch (Late 2012) ($1,299).

The CA27T-B1 comes with a 10-point touch screen, which is a logical improvement over the non-touch CA27-A1. That 1080p HD (1,920 by 1,080 resolution) screen is just as bright and clear, no doubt a direct result of Vizio’s expertise with HDTVs. The screen can tilt back far enough that touch is comfortable, but it doesn’t fold almost flat like the Dell XPS One 27 Touch. Now Windows 8 feels better than the previous Vizio setup.

Along with the touch screen, Vizio has improved the responsiveness of their included wireless trackpad. About the only I/O interface that’s not improved are the somewhat slippery keys on the wireless keyboard. The CA27T-B1 comes with four USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, a SD card reader, eSATA port, a headset jack, and a pair of HDMI in ports. You can switch between the two HDMI ports and the internal PC with the included remote control. Having two HDMI in ports lets you hook up a pair of game consoles or a game and a cable set top box to the system. This is a boon for the high school or college student who may have limited space in their room. It would’ve been nice to have HDMI-out for connecting an external monitor, but it’s not a deal breaker. The system comes with 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, so you have a plethora of options when connecting to the Internet. The 802.11ac interface is faster and more robust than traditional 802.11 g/n Wi-Fi, provided you have a newer router.

Speaking of new, the CA27T-B1 comes with a 32GB SSD to supplement the 1TB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive. This helps speed operations like booting and launching apps. See below for how the hybrid drive setup helps the Intel Core i7-3630QM quad core processor make short work of day-to-day tasks. The CA27T-B1 comes with a combination AC adapter and subwoofer, which reduce clutter. However, this also means that if you ever have problems with the subwoofer it will mean that your entire system will have trouble. The sound that comes out of the sub and the system’s built in stereo speakers is clear and sonorous. Along with the headset jack, your young user should have no problem keeping the beat.

The CA27T-B1 is pre-set from the factory as a Microsoft Signature system. This means that it comes without any pre-loaded software aside from the Windows 8 standard setup plus a couple of Microsoft extras. The system has Skype and an ad for Microsoft Office pre-loaded, along with a copy of Microsoft Defender to protect against viruses and other online threats. Microsoft Signature also includes 90 days of technical support in addition to Vizio’s excellent two-year warranty.

Performance

The CA27T-B1 comes with an Intel Core i7-3630QM quad core processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 8GB of system memory, and a 1TB hard drive with 32GB caching SSD. This combo gives users a great 4,926 point score on the PCMark7 test, which measures day-to-day performance. This makes the CA27T-B1 faster than much higher priced rivals like the Dell XPS One 27 Touch and far ahead of rivals with closer pricing like the Acer Aspire 7600U (A7600U-UR308) ($1,899). However, the Dell XPS One 27 Touch shows its high-end performance prowess at the 3D tests, where it leaves the CA27T-B1 in the dust. The Acer is a better 3D performer as well due to its Nvidia discrete graphics, but the Acer’s performance improvement isn’t enough to call it a comfortable gaming experience. All in all, the CA27T-B1 is speedy where it counts: day to day, and on the multimedia tasks like Handbrake and Photoshop CS6. The CA27T-B1 has enough power for the majority of users, short of hardcore gamers who are willing pay more for 3D performance.

Features, design, and performance come together to give us a system that we can recommend to that majority of users looking for a mid-priced all-in-one desktop PC. Therefore the Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1) takes over the midrange all-in-one desktop Editors’ Choice from the Apple iMac 21.5-inch (late 2012). The CA27T-B1 has the power, the looks, and the features you’d want from a sub $2,000 all-in-one desktop PC, and it comes with our recommendations.

BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1)

COMPARISON TABLE
Compare the Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1) with several other desktops side by side.

More desktop reviews:

Specifications
Touchscreen Yes
Processor Family Intel Core i7
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 4000
Screen Size 27 inches
Monitor Type LCD Widescreen
RAM 8 GB
Type All-in-one, Touchscreen All-In-One
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 1000 GB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8

Verdict
With its great feature set and lots of performance, the Vizio 27-inch All-in-One Touch PC (CA27T-B1) is a system that can deliver on the promises made by its futuristic design.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc