Customer Reviews: VIZIO CT15-A5 15.6-Inch Thin + Light Ultrabook
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on November 14, 2012
I was considering purchasing the Vizio laptop CT15-A5 only as choice #2...the Samsung Series 9, similar to that of the Vizio except for the 8GB RAM memory, was my primary focus. However, taking into consideration Vizio's specifications, its price, and Amazon's association, I decided to proceed with the Vizio acquisition.

The shipping/delivery packaging, both by Amazon and Vizio, was excellent, neat, tidy, safe, and simple. The laptop's stunningly unique appearance, [lightweight, slim] and durability cannot be denied. The manufacturer's future considerations and modifications must continue regarding opening the laptop with one hand, currently it can only be done with practice and patience. But this should not be a dealer breaker.

I cannot say enough about the boot ramp-up time, absolutely phenomenal with a threshold of 3-7 seconds. Additionally, Out of the box you will have approximately 200GB of free space. Let's not forget that Vizio has a MS signature allowing for no bloating software, I applaud this initiative.

Historically, from my own personal research, there has been significant negative reviews pertaining to Vizio's `track pads'. Not so with Vizio Windows 8, all functions are readily available, easily accessible, two finger scroll [up, down], zoom [in, out], double touch throughout, [right, left] click, etc. This is by far one of the best track pads I've ever used.

I compared the screen with the Samsung series 9 which is owned by a friend, the S9 is superior, especially while viewing in daylight. Saying this does not mean the screen is bad, I watched several movies and the screen did not disappoint me at all, it was adequate.

The battery charger's cable houses enough length extending its usage to outlets immediately out of reach. It also provides visual indicators such as `yellow', `green' notification during the charging process. Depending upon usage, battery life is approximately 3 hours on MS Signature Power Plan.

WIFI reception has not been an issue, it has actually been outstanding. Proximity during usage in my home, which is relatively spacious, far surpasses that of the Samsung 9.

I have yet to max-out speaker volume...Vizio has provided more than adequate sound during my recent movie viewing.

Amazingly, Vizio's heat venting and dispersemant system is incredible, I have not experienced any unnecessary grills during operation and the fan's performance is barely audible.

In conclusion, as its name implies, Vizio is visually looks cool, feels cool, runs cool, and most importantly my fingers are happy dancing around its keyboard. On that note, Vizio, Visual that is, back-lit keys should have been implemented improving its night usage.
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on December 5, 2012
I previously owned a 15" Macbook pro i5 (about 2 years old) and moved to this vizio. I've been using the vizio for about a week and can comment on most important aspects of it in comparison to my old mac.

Design- feels great. Fantastic build quality- easily on par with my mac. very light too! The chassis feels very solid with very minimal flex. I think I remember reading vizio is using some unibody-type construction like the macbooks do.

Screen- Fantastic. I got so sick of the glossy screen on my mac so the matte screen on the vizio is a very welcome change. The resolution is fantastic and viewing angles seen to be better than most laptops.

Speed- I am doing mostly document editing, lots of web browsing and some video watching. Most computers are plenty adequate for this and the vizio is definitely overkill here. The SSD is incredibly fast (both in real world use and benchmarks). One of the best thing about this computer to me though is that it is so fast and does NOT get hot. My macbook would literally burn me if I played a flash video or anything slightly intense. This vizio doesn't have ANY heat problems- I'm really impressed here.

Neither pro nor cons:
Battery life- for web browsing and document editing you should expect to get about 4.5 hours. This is fine for me but it simply can't compare to the 6.5 hours I got with my mac.

Speakers- good for laptop speakers, but they lack a lot of lows and are definitely inferior to my previous mac's speakers.

Touchpad- it is probably the best touchpad you will find on a PC! That being said, it still isn't quite as good as the apple touchpads. What I think I miss the most is how fluid the scrolling was on the mac- this vizio can't quite compare although I think it is more a limitation of microsoft windows.

Windows 8- Windows 8 is just plain weird. I'm slowly adjusting to it, but this is seriously weird. I've used PCs for all except the last two years (when I got my mac) and have had quite a few confusing moments with it. I think I will get adjusted fine eventually though. The good news is that Windows 8 appears to be very efficient power and speed-wise.

Keyboard- it kind of sucks. The key travel is very low and there is a small amount of flex. Put these two problems together and it is definitely not the easiest computer to type on. You will end up accidently double-typing a lot of letters. I think this may be something I will adjust to though. It just will require you to adjust the way you are used to pushing on keys though. The keyboard on the macbook is the best there is on any computer and it definitely beats the vizio. Note the samsung 15" ultrabook has similarly low key travel issues too but I found it more comfortable to type on that this computer.

Charger- Two problems: 1. It is piano gloss black- what this means is after 1 day of use you will already have plenty of scratches on it and it is going to look like crap after a couple of weeks. 2. I really wish more comopanies would design their power bricks so they can be directly plugged into the wall like apple does. As someone who always commutes with my laptop it is really annoying to have to pack not only the charging brick but ALSO a huge annoying cord as well.

Overall, I'm very happy with this computer though. I did pay significantly less than retail during a blackfriday sale but you will be very hard pressed to find a 15" ultrabook with specs anywhere near this for the price. Unless you really need the extra space and speed of the CT15-A5 the CT15-A4 may be a much more affordable option and likely has even better battery life.
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on March 28, 2013
I've probably bought 12 computers over the last 20 years and this is by far the absolute best. In December I bought a Dell 24" all-in-one, with a SSD, and I thought that was the best. But after having this Vizio for only 24 hours, I am in love. It really is an instant on computer (about 2 seconds) and 1 second to shut down.

The matt finish of the screen is very friendly on the eyes. My Dell has a mirror like finish and it is blinding when the sun shines in the room. Not so with the Vizio.

Out of the box the Vizio took about 10 minutes for it to set itself up. Then less than an hour to install all the Microsoft updates. The computer is super fast.

Can't comment on the track pad as I use a mouse. I'm not a fan of Windows 8, and I use a Windows 7 start button substitute.

I would have liked to see a numbers pad, some indentation of the keys on the keyboard, and maybe some better speakers (they sound tiney). And an Ethernet port would have been nice. If I remember right the last DSL modem I had installed in my vacation home (where I will be using this laptop), required the modem to be connected to a computer for the initial setup. Not sure what I will do if I switch from the telephone company to cable.

I may be leaving Dell as I now have a company that builds high quality computers (I also have 3 Vizio TV's).
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I bought this laptop for my wife about a month ago to replace her slower than turtle less than one year old Dell laptop. I took a gamble on buying a laptop from Vizio as they are new to laptop manufacturing but after hours and hours of research I am happy to say if has been a great purchase. I should note that I did not buy it here but from another
online seller for 100 less. After reading reviews here which have been very helpful I went to Vizio's website and updated the touchpad drivers and the wi-fi drivers. Big improvement. I also made some adjustments to the two finger scrolling in the settings and works very much like my Macbook pro now.
My wife was very hesitant about it because of the windows 8 thing but after about 2 days she is really liking it. The keys on the keyboard are fantastic with great feedback and proper spacing. The touchpad is great size and works like a charm once the drivers are updated. I think I totally blew my wife away when I turned it on and it was ready to use in 2 seconds or less for real. It makes my Macbook pro look really slow. I am kind of embarrassed now. I use to brag about how fast my Macbook starts up but Wow I can't even begin to start mine up in 2 seconds or less and that is from either a total shutdown or waking from standby.
I also noticed how much faster this laptop is on the internet than any other computer I have seen. So I guess internet speed is also related to the computers performance after all. I will say that I have been anti Microsoft for many years and still am but my wife loves Microsoft windows so that is why I bought this for her. I also have to admit that this Vizio laptop is really making me rethink Microsoft windows again. It is a combination of the huge screen size, extremely thin size, blazing fast speed, battery life and on that is making me think about buying one for myself and maybe try to install mac OS on it.
Ok now onto the battery life. We have been experiencing about 4.5 hrs continuous use with preset screen brightness which is very bright by the way. Onto the screen now. The screen is very clean, clear, and bright. I am really glad they have chosen the matt finish and not the gloss. Another great thing I have noticed is that the laptop stays very cool even after hours of use for work or play. If you listen really closely in a very quite setting you can faintly here a soft whisper from the fan.
The aluminum chassis is fantastic and built just like an Apple. Very ridged and overall construction quality resembles a Macbook Air. I really hope that it holds up as well too.
If I had to have a gripe then it would be the lack of a SD card slot. Yes you can just use an USB adapter that accepts SD cards so no big deal. All I can say is that after many hours of research I choose this laptop for my wife and she loves me for it. Oh I should also mention that I considered The Acer Ultrabook, the Sony T series, and Samsung but in the end this one was a hands down for me. I would certainly recommend this to anyone serious about a performance Ultrabook.

Pros: Extremely thin and light. Might be the thinest for a 15.6 size screen?
I7 very fast processor that performs very well.
Fantastic feel and responding keyboard and multi touch keypad
long battery life 4.5 plus hrs real life use.
Laptop runs very quite and cool
Laptop startup in 2 seconds or less and ready to use
Very fast internet performance
Exceptional screen clarity and performance
Microsoft Certified with no bloatware software to waste time removing. Finally!
Might be able to turn it into a Macbook with Mac OS??

Cons: Well if I must complain it would be the lack of an SD card slot but this can be overcome with an USB adapter that accepts SD cards.
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on November 13, 2012
Update: I had to send back the computer it had 2 factory flaws one was the wireless dropping issue and the cpu fan was faulty and would make a grinding noise. But the rest of the rev view stands. Its still a good computer.

Okay this is a great computer -but has flaws here are the facts about the system.

The true battery life 4 hrs not 7 like it claims.
Battery takes a long time to charge from dead to full it takes 90 minutes.

Keyboard is smashed but very nice to type on ( having a 15 inch frame they could have spread it out and put in a numpad

The trackpad is a nightmare if you are left handed like I am, The reason why is because of Windows 8 when using your left hand ( I tend to place it towards the bottom left and when you do that it causes the screen to flip apps constantly)

I am retraining myself to work in the middle.

webcam just completely stinks.

I do not know if this is a system flaw or Windows flaw but my wireless will not stay connected it will drop quite often I have a dual channel router that runs on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz when it is connected to the 5GHz radio and the computer goes to sleep and you bring it back up it will disconnect and will automatically connect to the 2.4GHz radio
( will update once this is found out)this is the reason for the dropped star.

As for cosmetic the bottom has a rubbery nonslip type of feel and its is going to wear very fast

The Good!!

The sound is pretty good you will certainly need the SRS EQ that is built in turned on ( I found that if you use it in movie mode it sounds the best but you are able to customize it anyway you like.)

I LOVE THE NO JUNKWARE this is what sets Vizio apart from the competition.
The design is sharp "literately"
Display is beautiful just like my vizio tv.
The SSD is fast - no moving parts makes it completely silent.
Neat Charger ( automatically disables itself once battery is full ) glows green and orange when charging, green when complete, green when disconnected.

Drop price to 899.00 this will sell out.
Needs a backlit keyboard.
Needs a SD card plenty of space to do so.

VIZIO CT15-A5 15.6-Inch Thin + Light Ultrabook
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on November 3, 2012
Congrats to VIZIO for getting the the windows 8 ultrabook right. This is the cheapest ultrabook of all core i7 that has a 256GB SSD. Start up is truely instant.. something around 1-2 secs. The design make it so slim that you don't mind carry it everywhere. It beats my old hp. The screen is great to watch movies, do work, read email. I love the multi-touch trackpad, especially with windows 8 gestures.

My only recommendation to Vizio is to offer a upgradable storage option. I would have enjoyed a 500gb one.


I want to add that if you update the synaptic touchpad driver to the latest (go to Synaptics website), you can enable 3 and 4 finger windows 8 gestures built specifically just for this large touchpad. It is really awesome!
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on February 26, 2013
Stupid me. I was seduced by the hardware specs.Yes the screen is nice. And the i7 is great. But if you spend any extended time interfacing with your laptop, you might wonder how they could get the basic things like keyboard, trackpad and wi-fi so wrong. First, the wi-fi drops all the time. When it decides to act up, it won't go more than 3-4 minutes without dropping. Sometimes it's fine but I've since purchased a USB-ethernet adapter to ensure smooth data transfer. It's a huge annoyance.
The keyboard is also a little weird. If you don't squarely depress the keys, the stroke won't register. It's a little annoying, Then you start to realize the arrow keys are slightly misproportioned. It seems minor until you're tapping the keys and realizing your intuition about arrow keys fail on this layout. Caused me some teeth-gritting especially when you are coding.

The trackpad is unresponsive at times and wildly sensitive others. I knew of the issue before I purchased the laptop and decided to use it with a Logitech wireless mouse. However, the few times I like to use the computer in my bed or sitting on my couch, using the trackpad requires your utmost focus. Forget about selecting and dragging files around.

The irksome qualties detract from what is superficially a nice laptop. It is light, the screen looks good and the SSD is quick. But the edges are sharp and will irritate your palms, should you inadvertently rest them there. The battery life isn't great but it got crazy hot when you're using the laptop and charge it the same time. Kind of alarming.

These are just my thoughts. If you don't typically care about the finish of a product but instead the performance specs then I think this is a great buy! Bought it through MS store for $800 and it gets the job done. But these defects do get you to start thinking whether a few hundred more dollars to get a quality MacBook might've been worth the constant tug of remorse
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on January 21, 2013
I finally bit the bullet and bought it from microsoft store for $799.
Mainly because I thought that for 1080p IPS Laptop with Core i7 and 256GB SSD is pretty good deal and I can live with any downsides. And I think I am justified.

The main feature of this laptop is 1080p IPS MATTE SCREEN. Very vibrant and well color balanced. I am absolutely thrilled how good it is. I had a think pad x201 tablet and it was difficult to work with in direct sun but this one is workable even at the half brightness. The brightness is a little bit more than SONY VAIO S series 15" notebooks.

The second most important feature is 256GB SSD. It is not a whole lot of space to store your media. But other than that it is more than adequate. I run two VMs off of it and have documents and other stuff and does the job. Pretty snappy boot time. I had a samsung SSD SATA-II based and it is easily twice as fast as that.

If these two features haven't made you fall in love with this then third one is large trackpad and bloatware/trialware free windows. It looks nice and very sleek and lightweight and has a neat look. Boots in 3 seconds.

Great. Now stop here and go buy the laptop!!!

Okay Great you bought it!!! Honeymoon is over and now work on the compromise and respect each others's feeling. Stop complaining about the keyboard! Yeah I know you don't like it. The old thinkpad had a pretty good keyboard...but live with it. After sometime you will begin to like it.
Yes my only wish was dedicated PgUp and PgDown key and full size arrow keys. The key does misses sometimes. But hey that black spot above your nose doesn't look right either.

Okay I know your next complaint, Windows 8... well it is not too bad. You will get used to it. Learn a few gestures and with good trackpad you will have the honor of educating your friends on how to use windows 8 and start convincing them to drop their iProducts and make a switch (as if they will ever!! after all they earn for apple).

Battery life is what everybody said. And I am comfortable with that. The only complain is that to replace it is a pain when time comes. Good news is that replacing battery yourself will not void the warranty. Does it matter if it wasn't covered? Hell no. Because you will most probably be replacing the battery after warranty expires in one year. If you buy additional warranty, check if they will cover battery replacement or you may end up losing your warranty. You have been warned!!!

On warranty side, A three year warranty on this thing will probably cost you about $200 with ADP. So once you pay $200 and anything happens you get back $799. But that means you effectively netted $599 to get a replacement. So save your money ($200) because after two year you will want to buy a new laptop anyway. Hey Haswell is just around the corner. Isn't it?

For those brave souls who want to install Virtual Machine. The key to get to BIOS is F2. (to save yourself time to search). If you are unable to get to BIOS after repeated shutdown and pressing F2 then you are probably just resuming windows not restarting. Use the restart option of windows 8 and then press F2 and enable Virtualization in BIOS and you will be good to go.

Will update if I notice any problem....

**UPDATE 2/1/2013 **
Spilled some coffee on the laptop. But was quick in drying it out so didn't encounter any issues. The key felt sticky for next two days but became fluid again.
The keyboard feels fine now..that I am getting used to it. So folks .. it takes some time but you will eventually forget about it.
The screen still feels very good... I work with about 30% brightness and still think it is very bright.
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on December 21, 2012
My wife needs a new laptop because her old Toshiba (upgraded to Windows 7) is getting cranky. For Christmas, I planned to get her something special, so decided on the Vizio CT15-A5 Ultrabook. We like the hardware, but Windows 8 sucks so badly, she won't use the computer. We can't properly rate the Vizio without using it. I gave it 3 stars because the hardware seems fine but Windows 8 is abysmal.

So what's a husband to do? I don't want to return the Vizio, but a $1,000 doorstop I will not have. How the heck can I get Windows 7 on the Vizio?

Advice is appreciated, but don't tell me what an idiot I am. I'm not interested in some complicated or Microsoft-blessed way of doing this. I paid for the operating system and can't stand Microsoft acting like it's still theirs. Do I pay somebody to nuke Windows 8 or do I get a lesser ultrabook?

UPDATE 12/22/2012

After researching the issue of the "suck rating" of Windows 8, we found a small program called "Start8"(tm) at [...]. It's free for 30 days, after which you pay an incredible $4.99 for the program. What a wonderful app!

If you struggle with Windows "Hate", consider "Start8" as an add-on. It negates Microsoft's arrogant approach to customer friendliness by putting the start menu back where it belongs. It combines the friendliness of Windows 7 with the features of Windows 8. Disclosure: I neither own nor work for Stardock.

We've upped the rating of our Vizio Ultrabook experience from 3 stars to 5 stars.

UPDATE 5/25/2013

I downgraded the rating from 5 stars to 2 stars after a bad experience with Tech Support. Our four month old $1000 laptop stopped working. We followed the rules established by Vizio Tech Support and sent pictures of a broken screen (vertical color bars). Their first comment was: "The screen has an impact point and since it is your fault, we won't cover it under the warranty." WHAT? Before diagnosing or laying their hands on the laptop, they deemed the broken screen my fault. It took forever (4 weeks) to get the laptop fixed and cost me over $325.00. Because I claimed no fault for the broken screen (still do) and I criticized two design flaws, Vizio Tech Support dragged their feet at every opportunity. I called them five times and it took three attempts just to get a shipping label (although they claimed it was authorized twice, but somebody made a mistake and didn't follow through).

The design flaws I told them about: 1) the power plug keeps falling out of the laptop; and 2) the laptop is too difficult to open causing stress on the screen (which broke). Of course they absolutely disagreed. They insisted the top can be opened with one finger(?) and the power plug is designed correctly.

The product is good, but Vizio is not the only horse in this race. I'm totally pissed at Vizio's stumbling Tech Support and will hammer them at every turn. They appear to be proud about their US-based support, but that's just a marketing gimmick without proper tools and training. My recommendation -- STAY AWAY UNLESS THEY ESTABLISH THEMSELVES AS A PLAYER IN THIS MARKET SEGMENT.

It's too bad because I was waiting for Vizio to come out with their new 5.1 Sound Bar. They now have -- but I won't be buying it. I already spent my $325 fixing a broken Vizio PC.
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on September 29, 2013
I'm a web developer, and I demand a lot from my computers. This was a great find. I did a lot of research, and decided on this and have been happy all the way through. The low RAM is actually not a problem as the SSD swaps so quickly. I run Visual Studio, IIS, 2 instances of SQL Server, like 20 Chrome tabs, Outlook 2012, Word 2012, and about 6 other misc. utilities and such and never have a RAM or performance issue. I've considered upgrading to 16Gb RAM, but it's never been important enough to do so as the machine is very fast.

The wireless is the only disappointment. It was intermittent for me, and I ended up getting a USB ethernet instead. I'd also suggest using an external keyboard/mouse when possible, but the trackpad is surprisingly usable - just not for programming.
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