posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Jan 2012 20:10 UTC
IconThe news I've seen coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show this year isn't particularly breathtaking or awe-inspiring. Phones, tablets, faster, thinner, yes, yes, we've all been here before. There is one piece of news, however, that stands out from the crowd. The best-selling TV maker in the US, Vizio, is entering the PC market. Stunning designs for both laptop and all-in-one - and buried deep within the press release lies the creamy nougaty centre that makes me want to buy one even more: a Windows 7 install optimised by Microsoft, free of crapware.

For people outside of the US, Vizio is probably an unknown name. Inside the US however, they're the best selling TV maker. They produce reasonable quality at a very low price point, and that's something I can attest to - for the past four years, I had a Vizio 32" HD flatscreen TV, and despite its relatively low price at the time ($450), it blew most more expensive TVs here right out of the water. Its design was interesting, too.

Up until a few weeks ago, when I indulged myself with a brand new €1000+ Sony Bravia, the Vizio performed just fine, and there was no technical reason to replace it (other than the fact I wanted a bigger TV and had a specific reason to give myself a treat). It seems many Americans agree with me, since Vizio is running circles around everybody else on the other side of the pond - and now, they're going to do the same with PCs.

At CES, the company announced a laptop and an all-in-one, both with a stunning and consistent design language - including a few peripherals to match. Especially the all-in-one is stunning with its minimalistic design and super-thin PC stuck in the thin foot. I've built my own PCs for as long as I can remember, but this might just be the first time I'm longing for a PC I didn't build myself (aside from laptops, that is).

The design is excellent enough, but it's this one tidbit from the press release that seals the deal for me. "Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room," Vizio states.

Not just a minimalist, distinctive design, but also a completely clean Windows 7 installation optimised in conjunction with Microsoft? A simple, easy-to-grasp product line? Not stuck with Mac OS X? Count me in.

Now that we've had the gushing part of this press release news item, let's plant our feet firmly back in the ground. Vizio is shipping the all-in-ones with a separate trackpad, which hopefully indicates they somehow managed to build a trackpad which is not from Apple and yet doesn't suck. I remain sceptical, though.

Then there's the part that's missing here: specifications. Looking at the ridiculously thin design of the all-in-one, we're probably looking at an ultrabook shoved in a desktop - in other words, don't expect to run Skyrim in 1080p on this one. Still, more than enough for me.

Another missing part: pricing. I'd say, taking the design and materials used into account, they're not gunning for the lowest end Dells and HPs here - they're gunning for Apple. My guess is that Vizio's PCs will be competitively priced compared to Apple's equivalents; in the end, that's how Vizio managed to out-compete the large TV manufacturers.

Lastly: Vizio, for the love of Andraste, get this stuff to the old world.

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