While Vizio didn’t wander far from the pretty design of its first-generation 27-inch all-in-one PC, it did make a few improvements under the hood. Unfortunately, this model ships with the same thoroughly crappy peripherals.
The CA27T-B1 is based on Intel’s mobile 2.4GHz Core i7-3630QM quad-core processor, supported by 8GB of DDR/1600 memory, and a 1TB 5400-rpm hard drive supplemented by a 32GB solid-state drive acting as cache (that is, you can’t use the SSD for additional storage). A Vizio spokesperson told us that this machine was built for power, and that’s pretty much what it delivered, producing a Desktop Worldbench 8.1 score of 179. That’s a 79-percent edge over our reference desktop—Acer’s Aspire U-A5600U-UB13 all-in-one—and a staggering 178 percent increase in performance compared with Vizio’s less-expensive AMD-powered 24-inch AIO.
The CA27T-B1’s glossy 27-inch touchscreen is an edge-to-edge glass model delivering a native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The bezel is actually under the glass, not raised, and the panel’s touch sensitivity extends just beyond the screen, so that you can swipe in from the edge to open Windows 8’s Charms bar. Touch input is smooth and accurate, and it’s definitely the preferred input method when compared with Vizio’s peripherals (more on those later).
The screen is a little disappointing—especially coming from an HDTV maker. Colors look a little washed out and faded, and skin tones seem to be way, way off. In my test clips, subjects looked overly tan or washed out, and HD streaming video featured lots of choppy artifacting. Still, the screen is fairly bright, and you’re unlikely to notice all the choppiness if you’re far enough away (which you won’t be if you’re actively using the touch input).