September 12, 2012
- Sleek design
- Four USB 3.0 ports
- Beautiful 27-inch 1080p display
- Good all-around performance
- No optical drive
- So-so gaming performance
The Vizio CA27-A1 all-in-one desktop PC offers some serious performance without the cost that usually accompanies it. It also has a strong multimedia feature set, which includes a 1080p full HD 27-inch display, two HDMI port and four USB 3.0 ports. It does lack an optical disc drive, which does seem rather strange.
The Vizio CA27-A1 looks very slim and sleek with its silver finish and thin display. The display is supported by a thin stand connected to a silver base. It is definitely a pretty computer that goes for a futuristic look with the thin, silver design.
Vizio includes a wireless keyboard that's fairly simple and didn't do much to wow us. The keys are flat and slippery, which doesn't make for the best experience. Instead of a mouse, on the other hand, Vizio includes a large wireless touchpad. It works quite well and looks nice too, but some users may want to use a mouse just out of habit or comfort.
The 27-inch display has a native 1080p full high-definition resolution and looks beautiful. The screen is reflective, but luckily there is some tilt allowed to help mediate the glare. We found the quality of the display to be very good, especially for watching streaming HD media online and looking at high-resolution digital images.
Unfortunately, the screen is not a touchscreen, which may be a slight downside considering the upcoming release of Windows 8 next month. As most of you probably know, Windows 8 has been designed with a touch input in mind, so a touchscreen would have been a nice addition.
The selection of ports are all located on the unit's base mostly in the back, which isn't the most convenient place, especially for a USB thumbdrive. There are four USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI-in ports, one eSATA port, gigabit Ethernet and the usual audio ports. We really like that Vizio chose to go with all USB 3.0 ports for future use with high-speed peripherals. The two HDMI-out ports mean you can use the 27-inch display for things like a cable TV box or video game console.
There is no optical disc drive, which we believe is a slight downside, especially since a Blu-ray player would have added a lot to the already strong multimedia feature set. There is, however, built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Vizio includes a third-generation Intel Core i5-3210M (2.5GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and a discrete, mobile Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. Performance with this configuration was quite impressive on all accounts. It seemed faster than most other all-in-one systems with a 27-inch display.
The discrete Nvidia graphics system is designed for a mobile system, which Vizio needed to use in order to help conserve space. It's not the best graphics system for gaming, but it will run some of them decently with the graphics settings dialed down a little bit.
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