|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Max Screen Resolution||1920x1080 pixels|
|Processor||2.3 GHz Core i7-3610QM|
|RAM||8 GB DDR3|
|Hard Drive||1 TB|
|Graphics Coprocessor||NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE|
|Card Description||Nvidia GeForce GT|
|Number of USB 3.0 Ports||2|
VIZIO CN15-A5 15.6-Inch Laptop
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- 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core inside Aluminum Unibody
- 1 TB Hard Drive + 32 GB Flash Solid-State to Boost Performance
- 8 GB DDR3
- 15.6-Inch Full-HD LED IPS Display, NVIDIA GeForce GT
- Microsoft Signature Windows 8
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This item VIZIO CN15-A5 15.6-Inch Laptop
|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||—||Fateka USA||Grand River Tech||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|RAM Size||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB||16 GB||8 GB|
|Processor (CPU) Manufacturer||Intel||Intel||Intel||Intel||Intel|
|Processor Speed||2.3 GHz||2.3 GHz||2.3 GHz||2.6 GHz||2.5 GHz|
|Display Resolution Maximum||1920x1080 pixels||1920 x 1080 pixels||1920x1080 pixels||3820*2160 pixels||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|Screen Size||15.6 in||15.6 in||15.6 in||15.6 in||13.3 in|
|Hard-Drive Size||1 TB||256 GB||256 GB||512 GB||256 GB|
|Item Dimensions||9.9 x 14.92 x 0.86 in||10.2 x 15.02 x 1.19 in||15.08 x 15.08 x 10.43 in||0.8 x 10 x 15.1 in||12.7 x 8.7 x 0.5 in|
|Item Weight||5.28 lbs||5.27 lbs||6 lbs||5 lbs||2.6 lbs|
|Operating System||Windows 8;||Windows 10||Windows 10 Home||Windows 10 Home||Windows 10|
|RAM Type||—||Unknown||DDR3 SDRAM||DDR4 SDRAM||DDR3 SDRAM|
|Wireless Compatibility||802.11bgn||802.11 A/C||802.11 A/C||802.11 A/C||802.11 A/C|
The VIZIO Notebook with Windows 8 delivers remarkable power in a beautifully portable profile. Stylish and light, its aluminum construction provides solid durability not possible with cheaper plastics. Powerful 3rd generation Intel Core processors deliver lightning-fast performance while the Microsoft Signature experience offers the best way to get the most out of the entirely reimagined Windows 8. With an impressive 15.6-Inch diagonal Full HD display, premium SRS sound and a long-lasting battery, the VIZIO Notebook is an on-the-go powerhouse. Whether you’re kicking back or leaning in, the VIZIO Notebook’s unique combination of performance and aesthetics will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Top customer reviews
I first bought a Dell XPS 15 (highest-end model, with 1 TB + 128GB SSD drive), for $800 more than this laptop. I didn't like it, and here's why:
- Dell XPS: Bad trackpad. Vizio: Good trackpad.
- The Dell has a delay on every action. A lot of false detections of gesture. Can't possible configure it to accept a double-tap as a right click (only a double-full-click). I can't stand the Mac-inspired "press the whole trackpad as if it were a mouse button". Conversely: the Vizio has an excellent trackpad, on par with the MacBook Pro, and handles double-tap and every other gesture I care to use without any trouble. Also, the Dell's trackpad seems to have higher friction than the Vizio. Both use basically the same finish for the trackpad as the body; the Dell's matte rubber body would seem to require a "stickier" finish on the trackpad.
- Dell XPS: Excessive fan noise. Vizio: little to no fan noise.
- I bought the XPS (and Vizio) because I want to at least occasionally play games. I'm not super hard-core, I don't need an AlienWare, but I at least wanted something on par with my 6-year-old MacBook Pro; these days, it seems like 99% of all laptops have no discrete graphics. The Dell XPS 15 has the same chip as this machine. The performance in Skyrim (full HD resolution, high graphics), while not stellar, is playable in both. However, the Dell needs to spin the fan at max RPM constantly, generating a racket well in excess of a full-size room-cooling tower fan right next to it. Meanwhile, the Vizio, running the same game at the same performance, only sometimes needs the fan, and the volume is much lower. The actual heat of the laptop (to the touch) is far less, as well. I credit the metal casing, as opposed to rubber (seriously? rubber? in a heat-sensitive device?), and likely superior cooling for the GPU.
- Dell XPS: Heavy. Vizio: light.
- I didn't expect this, and I'm not sure the official specs can back me up, but I'll be damned if the Vizio isn't at least 1/3 lighter than the XPS. It's the lightest 15" I've ever handled...lighter than a MacBook Pro. Not sure what the deal is. Maybe better heft? Something about build quality? It's light. Really light for a 15" that can play 3d games like a boss.
- Dell XPS: Backlight chiclet keyboard (good!). Vizio: Non-backlit traditional keyboard (less good).
- The Dell wins here. I liked that keyboard. The backlighting I can understand--the Vizio is 40% cheaper at nearly the same internal specs. The flat style vs chiclet? I think that's a matter of personal preference. I don't like the Vizio's arrow keys--there are two different sizes to force the bundle into a solid rectangle--but it's hardly a deal-breaker.
- Dell XPS: Normal Dell charger (ugh). Vizio: nifty new charger (yay!)
- Coming from a MacBook world, I was dismayed to see the sad state of PC laptop chargers. I feel like I just stepped back in time by a decade. That being said, Dell chargers are hard to come by without buying direct, in some cases paying 3 digits. What? Seriously, wtf? Even Apple charges 50-60 bucks for a charger...and they're APPLE. And apparently Dell computers detect if the charger is "genuine" and won't charge if it isn't. Okay Dell, get off your high horse. You're Dell, not Apple. I will give them this though: if you already have Dell laptops, your existing chargers will likely work.
- The Vizio charger isn't a MagSafe (damn patents), but it's perhaps the next best thing. Less bulky than the Dell charger pin, with a colored LED to let you know if it's charging or not, it was a welcome change. Unfortunately, I cannot find a replacement charger anywhere on the internet (at this time, Vizio is "out of stock" with expectations of having more stock soon). Ding vs Vizio. Still, if they get more stock soon, all is forgiven. They're smaller than Dell or Apple, I can understand.
- Dell XPS: Windows 8. Vizio: Windows 8. Result: draw.
- Windows 8 is terrible. Awful. Abhorrent. Stupid. Folks, I've been using Microsoft operating systems since 1985. I'm not some Johnny-come-lately. I've never been a huge fan of Mac OS, could never seriously embrace Linux full-time, and have never used anything but a DOS/Windows machine as a primary dev/gaming/general use box. I say this in my full capacity as a consumer, a developer, a gamer, and an IT professional: Windows 8 is a usability disaster so bad that I honestly hope Microsoft permanently goes out of business (or at least leave the OS business) forever. As a tablet OS, it's at least a distant 3rd place. As a desktop OS, it is a crime against humanity.
- That being said, both machines ship with it. If you use the new UI, the Vizio is your best bet (see previous issues with trackpad gestures). If you use the Desktop (and Pokki!) like a boss, it doesn't really matter. It's just software. But it's worth mentioning; unless you're 100% cognizant of who is to blame for the awfulness of Windows 8 (hint: neither Dell nor Vizio), you might despise either of these laptops (at least until you learn how to replace the Start menu and stay in Desktop mode).
- Dell XPS: Attractive. Vizio: Very attractive. MBP: Extremely attractive.
- I admit it. My primary laptop for the last 6 years was a MacBook Pro. I like an attractive machine. More importantly, I also like a machine with serious build quality--none of this creaky plastic that slowly loses its paint job and accumulates nast. After more than 6 years of heavy use, without any babying or protective casing, my all-aluminum MBP looks about 90% as good as the day I bought it. I can't say the same of any plastic PC laptop of half that age.
- As any serious laptop buyer knows: most PC laptops are ugly and poorly built. That's changing (slowly (way, way, too slowly)), but there are leagues to go just yet. With either the Dell XPS or the Vizio, you pay a premium for appearance and build quality. Of course, in the Vizio's case, that premium is much, much less.
- The Dell XPS is made primarily of metal (one would think aluminum, but the relative weight has me wondering if it's actually steel...or maybe polonium). The top looks very MBP-like, save for the Dell logo instead of an Apple logo. But the working surface (the one with the keyboard and trackpad) is covered almost entirely in black rubber. Why? I don't know. Just to be different? I'm paying for aluminum. Apparently aluminum costs hundreds of dollars per pound in laptop form (as opposed to ones of dollars per pound in any other use ever). So I shelled out the cash...why coat it in rubber? Rubber is high-friction; that's why tennis shoes have rubber soles. Got a pet? Or hair? Or humans living in your house? Count on hair, lint, and dust clinging to that rubber like Spider-man to a skyscraper wall.
- Meanwhile, the Vizio's exterior is nearly 100% metal; the bottom is rubberized, but that's fine. I don't really care if cat hair sticks to the bottom. The top of the main body, and of course the top of the laptop when closed, are 100% metal, with the usual silver finish. Like that color? You'll like this. It also happens to be much less high-friction (see above), and I suspect far better at conducting heat (see above again).
A few notes about things where neither one wins:
- Both of these machines have the same problem for me: when running 3d applications on an external monitor (via the HDMI port), the screen frequently (3-10 times per minute) flicks off and back on, with 1+ seconds of blackness, rendering it unusuable. This *only* happens in "second monitor only" mode, as opposed to extended desktop mode, or built-in-display-only mode. Because it happens in both machines, I suspect the Nvidia GPU--common to both--is at fault. So far, driver updates haven't fixed it, but I suspect it will be fixable (on either machine) eventually with only software updates.
- Both machines seem to be having WiFi problems, with the connection randomly dropping (interval ranging between 5 minutes and a few hours), requiring manual re-connect. I doubt it's either laptop's fault (I haven't begun to rule out my home network, although it's worth mentioning I have two different routers from two different manufacturers, one of which is a WRT54GL, not exactly known for unreliability, and none of the 14 other WiFi devices on my network are having these problems), but the Dell does have a lot of complaints about WiFi, and it has me wondering if both of these machines are using the same, faulty chip, antenna, or some other such component. In any case, YMMV, but this is certainly the kind of thing either manufacturer should be on the hook for, should it affect you.
Well, there you have it. Didn't mean to ramble so much, but hey: more data > less data, I guess. I'll update if I find a solution to the WiFi or GPU problems.
TL;DR: if you're comparing a Dell XPS 15 to this, buy this. The performance is a virtual match for the high-end Dell XPS 15, but a vast price difference (at the time of purchase: roughly $2000 for the Dell, $1200 for the Vizio), and every single feature of the Vizio is at least as good, if not better, with the exception of a backlit keyboard and subjective appraisals of appearance.
That said, I purchased this laptop before the discount, and even then I think it is a fantastic price for what you are getting.
The two most iffy parts about the computer:
1. The touchpad. Whew boy. Initial thoughts, "I love it!" 20 minutes later, "I completely LOATH it!" About 4-5 hours of use later, "Meh, it is ok." Firstly, the gestures with this thing are fantastic, very smooth, work flawlessly most of the time. No complaints there. Moving the mouse around is speedy and very sensitive, which is great as well. I haven't really had any of those glitchy jumps and such that were described in the earlier models. The issue is when you start clicking. I found that clicking wherever your finger lays on the touchpad is the most accurate way to go (though still not flawless). Moving your finger to the bottom of the touchpad often makes the mouse jump a little bit when you click, often making you miss what you are clicking if it is small (though this still happens a little when using the whole pad). However, the top 1/4 off the touchpad isn't really clickable because the buttons ARE actually at the bottom.
EDIT: I find that the bottom of the touchpad goes down into the case a LOT when you click on it. I am thinking the mouse moves when clicking near the base because the touchpad is actually flexing a decent amount, making your finger roll a little or something. Not a huge deal, kinda annoying but not too hard to get used to.
2. The keyboard is a little shallow, but very solid. The keys are bigger than average, and quite close together. This might take some getting used to, though I honestly love the layout of this keyboard. I miss my page up and page down buttons (EDIT: Though not labeled, holding FN and using arrow keys act as page up/down and home/end), but I can indeed make due without, though it really wouldn't have been hard for them to add as the have plenty of room. There is one annoying glitch with the keyboard where it sometimes registers a key twice. I have played with it a lot and it isn't my typing, the keyboard does indeed register key strokes twice here and there. It happened twice with typing the previous two sentences. Another small gripe is the shrunk up and down arrow keys. I would have been happier if they just shrunk them all, as shrinking just the up and down makes it a little awkward to use in video games because of the different size. However, like everything else, it isn't that hard to get used to. And if it REALLY bugs you, redefine your controls in-game to something else.
The rest of the computer I find superb. The frame is extremely solid, very little flex in the monitor (which is absolutely beautiful), not to mention the whole machine has a fantastic simplistic design. It is a little hard to open, though you will soon discover the required technique and can open it with one hand. Also, the edges of the computer are decently sharp and can leave marks on your wrists after even short periods of use.
For such a thin laptop, you get some decent guts for a fantastic price:
- Intel i7 ivy quad, 8 threads, with 2.3ghz clock and 3.3ghz boost. (Intel 4000 integrated graphics, but who cares? ;] )
- Nvidia 640m LE of which I found was a Kepler with DDR3 and 1GB vram(to those who care, as there is a Fermi and DDR5 version as well) Underclocked base to 500mhz, boo, but there are ways to remedy that. This thing ran Unigine in 720p with 2x antialiasing, full tesselation, 2x anisotropy, and full shaders without dipping into the single digits, though it got awfully close. It liked the framerates of 11-17 in the heavier areas (This isn't a good analysis by any means, but take what you can from it).
-8GB DDR3 1600. You're not going to be upgrading, but you shouldn't really need to.
Also to note, I have yet to see this thing get really hot, even running Unigine (though I didn't run it for more than a few minutes). If this thing starts to burn I will come back and say so. Secondly, I find the battery life is about 4-4 1/2 hours of basic web browsing and full brightness (though this thing is monitor plenty bright, even when half way dimmed).
EDIT: Computer seems to be cooled quite well. I have done some gaming (GTA IV, UT3 and the like) for a few hours. It does get a bit hot under the speakers, however I am overclocking the video card a little and it still stays around 68-70C, highest it has ever reached was 72C. Not bad at all for such a thin laptop.
So yeah, quick sloppy review by moi (I don't generally write them). I would recommend it because of the build quality, nice specs, and cheap price. The only determent is the keyboard glitch and getting used to the oddly sensitive mouse clicking.
I spent about $110 more buying two 8GB RAM chips with which I upgraded it such that it is now a 16GB RAM unit.
It is a stunning, minimalist piece of laptop design, and it absolutely FLIES.
You have to follow the advice on the other reviews here regarding updating ALL drivers from the Vizio website.
Nobody should whinge about anything until they have done that.
Notwithstanding that, the two problems I HAVE had were:
1. I had issues (blue-screen on restart) installing the recommended wireless driver, and eventually gave up (I have not suffered the drop-outs others speak of anyway, although the range/reception is not spectacular), and,
2) The double letter typing IS a sometimes annoying issue ... however, I have adapted the way I type somewhat, and have found if you hit the keys a little harder, that this problem is manageable.
It is for these issues that I have removed a star from the rating.
One of the main reasons I got this laptop, was the centred (no numpad) keyboard. So difficult to find in any laptop over 13" ... and when you do find them, for whatever reason, they cost a bomb.
So now, for under $900, I have a 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD, high-res-screen, gorgeous-looking laptop with a completely centred keyboard and trackpad ... that goes like the clappers.
What's not to like?
I am sad that Vizio seem to have dropped out of this market, because with a bit of fine-tuning and persistence (especially regarding the keyboard problem), pricewise, they would be seriously kicking some heavyweights' asses all over the block.
I will update this review moving forward as I see more about how the machine holds up over time.
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