August 6, 2012
- Attractive, portable design
- Nice-looking IPS display
- Strong performance
- No keyboard backlighting
- Keyboard & touchpad issues
- Mediocre battery life
As Vizio's first venture into the laptop market, the 14-inch Thin+Light CT14 is a decent first try as it has a very portable, attractive design but it still feels like a first-gen product. It lacks some basic features, like a backlit keyboard and a media card slot in addition to disappointing battery life.
When Vizio first announced it was getting into the PC business, we admit we were skeptical and excited at the same time. Vizio is typically known for making low-cost HDTVs, so perhaps PCs aren't too far away. The CT14 is a good first attempt at a laptop, but it is a little rough around the edges so to speak.
The design of the Thin+Light CT14 is definitely centered around making a premium-looking exterior. It has a matte silver finish with sharp angles and a very thin and lightweight feel. It measures 13.3 x 9.2 x 0.7-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.4-pounds, so rest assured that it lives up to the "Thin+Light" name.
The keyboard is a throwback to some older keyboard designs, particularly the old Apple MacBook Pro keyboard from several years ago. The keys are flat and placed virtually edge-to-edge. As a result, the keyboard does flex quite a bit and feels a little too uncomfortable for our taste. With plenty of room on both sides of the keyboard, we don't understand why the keys couldn't have been spaced out a little bit. Also strange is the lack of keyboard backlighting, which is quickly becoming the new norm, especially for ultraportables.
The touch pad is also just like the Apple MacBook Pro models, with a single surface with built-in click buttons instead of discrete buttons. We found the sensitivity to be a little lacking and this was definitely noticeable while attempting to perform multitouch gestures. As with the keyboard, the touchpad could have definitely been made both taller and wider because of the large empty area that surrounds it.
Vizio's Thin+Light CT14 has a 14-inch display with a native resolution of 1600 x 900-pixels. The display is an IPS panel, so it's quite bright and had good viewing angles. Overall the display is slightly above average compared to other similar laptops.
For ports, the CT14 includes two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, a headphone jack and built-in 802.11n and Bluetooth wireless. There is no optical disc drive included. To our disappointment, there is no Ethernet port or an SD card reader. While those omissions are critical, it's something to think about before you buy.
The internal configuration of the Vizio Thin+Light CT14 includes a third-gen Intel Core i7-3517U (1.9GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics.
Performance with the above configuration matched other third-gen Core i7 CPUs, so that was definitely good to see. The integrated Intel graphics is more than enough for playing HD videos or playing 2D games, but it lacks the power for today's 3D games.
Battery life with the CT14 is one aspect of this computer than really disappointed us. We were able to barely squeak out 4-hours of life, which is at least 1.5-hours short of other similar, ultraportable laptops and definitely way short of the Apple MacBook Air.
In all, the Vizio Thin+Light CT14 is a good first-generation product but it has some weak spots that need some fixing. We have no doubt that Vizio will improve upon this product and become a solid PC manufacturer.
For more ultraportable laptop reviews, visit our Notebook & Ultrabook Reviews section.