The Good The Vizio CA27-A1 offers a 27-inch all-in-one and a bold, mostly compelling set of home entertainment features for a reasonable price.
The Bad A few risks, like swapping in a touch pad for a mouse, don't pay off, and some quality shortcuts take away from the overall polish.
The Bottom Line Forgive its quirks, and people looking for a big-screen all-in-one to serve as a small-room entertainment hub will find the Vizio CA27-A1 a price-competitive possibility.
Editors' note: Despite multiple different attempts and methodologies, we were unable to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on this desktop. We are thus unable to report on our experience with the track pad in Windows 8.
Vizio's first attempt at a desktop PC is a consumer-friendly effort that succeeds almost in spite of itself. You'll admire the CA27-A1's large, thin display, its clean Windows installation, and a generally tidy take on the PC as home entertainment device. An imprecise touch pad and a few nagging design issues are the main complaints, but it's hard to argue against the overall value of this $1,149 desktop, one of the most affordable with a 27-inch screen. Wait a few weeks to see what other PCs emerge in the run-up to Windows 8, but Vizio has a respectable claim thus far to making an affordable, big-screen all-in-one that we can recommend.
From first glance it's apparent that Vizio has put significant effort into the shelf appeal of its new PCs. The thin 27-inch screen, port-obscuring base unit, and sleek, all-wireless input devices collectively give this PC an anti-computer vibe. Yes, this is a standard Intel-based Windows PC, it seems to say, but only because it has to be. Forget all that, try out the touch pad, then use the remote to access your non-PC content via one of the two HDMI inputs. You did connect your cable box to the system, didn't you?
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