Vizio's new 27-inch all-in-one makes good on the company's promise to bring some of the design flair of its TVs to the world of computers. But the company didn't break any new ground in pricing. At $1,350, the CA27-A2 falls in the middle of the price range among similar sized all-in-ones we tested.
The design improvement we noticed first was a display that's thinner than on the typical all-in-one. It's thin enough, in fact, to resemble an HD TV. To make it so thin, Vizio put all the computer components in the unit's base. But when we tried tilting the screen, the hinge had too much play, especially in the horizontal direction. It also felt loose vertically. Vizio also moved the power supply (a component that normally makes an all-in-one bulkier) into an external, pyramid-shaped module that contains a subwoofer.
A subwoofer is an unusual feature to get with an all-in-one. But this subwoofer is very small, so it added very little bass to the sound. In fact, when we placed it to the left or right of the computer, it produced unbalanced sound.
Vizio equipped the CA27-A2 with a hybrid drive, a feature we've seen on laptops, but not on a desktop model. A hybrid drive pairs a standard hard drive with a solid state drive. The latter is supposed to be able to reduce the time it takes the computer to boot or wake up from sleep mode. On this model, the hard drive is 1TB and the solid state drive is 32GB.
The company also did away with bloatware (often found on other brand computers): That's pre-installed software that either you don't need or that can annoy you by nagging you from time to time. If you want any such extras, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, or Rhapsody, the CA27-A2 has a feature that can automatically call them up.
Bottom line: The CA27-A2 is a very good, first-effort desktop by Vizio. While there are lower priced, 27-inch all-in-ones in our Ratings [link] that scored higher overall, this model is worth considering, especially if you want a very thin display.