Vizio Thin+Light CT14 review: Vizio Thin+Light CT14

Vizio currently has three configurations of this 14-inch ultrabook. This review unit is the highest-end model, the CT14-A2, which has an Intel Core i7 CPU and a 256GB SSD. The CT14-A1 has a Core i5 and a 128GB SSD, while the CT14-A0 has a Core i3 CPU and the same 128GB SSD. All three models have the same 4GB of RAM and Intel HD 4000 graphics.

In our CNET Labs benchmark tests, this high-end Core i7 model performed admirably, matching up well against other low-voltage Core i7 laptops, including the Asus Zenbook UX32VD and the Dell XPS 14 , in our tests. Like any current Core i5 or i7 laptop (and, honestly, most Core i3 laptops), this system has more than enough power for even heavy multitasking, from Photoshop to video encoding.

Where it falls a bit behind is in gaming performance. With no discrete GPU, you're stuck with Intel's integrated HD 4000 graphics. That's fine for HD video playback and Facebook games, but in our Street Fighter IV test at 1,600x900 resolution, the CT14 only ran at 20.4 frames per second. You'd have to dial the resolution and settings way down to get a playable experience from most any current game.

Juice box
Vizio Thin and Light CT14-A2 Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.26
Sleep (10 percent) 0.78
Idle (25 percent) 6.70
Load (5 percent) 33.78
Raw kWh 31.52
Annual power consumption cost $3.58

Annual energy consumption cost
Vizio Thin and Light CT14-A2

One area in which an ultrabook really needs to excel is battery life. Unfortunately, the Vizio CT14-A2 is borderline adequate in this area, running for 4 hours and 9 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air ran nearly twice as long, and even Dell's high-powered XPS 14 ran for nearly 2 hours more. Hitting around the 4-hour mark is just not going to cut it for a purportedly highly portable laptop.

Vizio offers a two-year warranty, at least for any Vizio laptop purchased through its Web site, or a one-year warranty otherwise. From its years in the television business, the company has detailed Web support tools and a clean, easy-to-search interface. Toll-free telephone support is available from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT at 877-698-4946. As a new entrant in the PC field, however, Vizio has yet to be put to the test in providing long-term computer support.

The Vizio CT14-A2 is a hard laptop to dislike. Its design is familiar but different enough to stand out, and it feels like a fully formed consumer product, rather than a collection of thrown-together components. A few first-gen blunders, such as the omitted SD card slot and backlit keyboard, and the weak battery life, are things that can hopefully be addressed in the next wave of Vizio laptops.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell XPS 14
Vizio Thin and Light CT14-A2

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Vizio Thin and Light CT14-A2
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 256GB Toshiba SSD

HP Envy Sleekbook 6
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.4GHz AMD A6-4455MM APU; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 7500G; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 620M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch (Summer 2012)
OS X 10.7.4 Lion; 1.8GHz Intel Core i5; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Apple SSD

Dell XPS 14
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Vizio Thin+Light CT14-A2

Part Number: CT14-A2

MSRP: $1,199.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Installed Size 4 GB
About The Author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.