Vizio meets the MacBook: Part 2

Vizio's ultrabook-style 14- and 15-inch laptops are stunning in some ways but less impressive in others.

Vizio's Thin+Light' ultrabook-style laptop.
Vizio's "Thin+Light" ultrabook-style laptop. Vizio

Vizio's new ultrabook-style laptops have a kink or two to iron out before they can take on the MacBook.

Last week, I wrote about my experience with Vizio's new ultrathin laptops -- which are just beginning to become widely available -- at the Microsoft store in Los Angeles. After sitting down and using the 14- and 15-inch "Thin+Light" laptops, I was wowed by their displays.

And that's what I focused on, since that's a crucial feature to get right if you take on the MacBook -- particularly now with the Retina MacBook Pro.

But this week I need to focus on a glitch, which I touched on as a parenthetical in a post back on July 14.

At that time, I wrote: "On Friday, in the Microsoft store there was a small crowd checking out ultrabooks (on display were half a dozen new Vizio ultrabooks -- and note that a couple of the ultrabooks were plagued by a freezing mouse cursor)."

Since then, I experienced the same problem with another Vizio 15.6-inch Thin+Light. Maybe it's just the models at that particular Microsoft store, but I tend to doubt it. (This problem was confirmed by staff at the store.)

Which brings us to another issue with Vizio. I tried to contact them about this as well as some other issues. And I really did try, finally asking the outside PR agency why Vizio wasn't responding.

In the end Vizio did not respond. For me, that's a red flag. It's very rare that a tech company won't respond in some fashion to my queries.

Let me add that I also found that the touch-pad wasn't easy to use. No touch-pad is perfect (the one on my 11.6-inch MacBook Air can be annoying sometimes) but on the Vizio Thin+Light models I used at the Microsoft store, getting the mouse cursor to go where I wanted it to could be extra vexing in some cases, even after making settings adjustments.

Vizio -- an American company, by the way, based in Irvine, Calif. -- has come up with beautiful aluminum-clad minimalist designs with gorgeous 1,920-by-1,080 displays that are as attractive as a MacBook Pro but hundreds of dollars less.

But, like I said, they still need to iron out some kinks.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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