Vizio Ultrabook

The Verge: First, let’s get one thing out of the way. These thin and light notebooks that the PC industry is calling ultrabooks will all look like MacBook Air clones, because they are. Even so, Vizio seems to have developed a good-looking one.

The subdued size and location of the logo is one thing. The limited number of ports is another. The speaker holes on top of the keyboard is lifted directly from Apple, but it looks tastefully done. Another copy is the mechanism that connects the display to the main chassis. It’s the same as Apple’s where as it opens, slides down, and reduces its vertical stance. The one area that looks good in the photo, but probably was a bad design choice is the keyboard. Fingers will get lost among those flat keys.

Vizio’s ultrabooks, despite some similarities to the MacBook Air, look like the result of some good design work. But looks aren’t everything; what will make or break them is the overall user experience, including the price you’ll have to pay at some store. They’ll come in two sizes (14, 15.6) and be available in May.

Update: According to Nilay Patel, The Verge, the 13.3-inch version sports a 1600×900 pixel format while the larger 15.6-inch packs 1920×1080. That’s a lot of pixels, and besting Apple’s equivalents.

Update 2012.07.23: Sean Hollister, The Verge:

The 15.6-inch, 1080p IPS panel doesn’t have incredible pixel density or a exceptional color gamut, but it is decidedly crisp and clear, blacks are noticibly deep, and the dark bezel can help give that screen the illusion of floating on air. The display also has great viewing angles, as you’d expect from IPS: you lose a lot of brightness when viewing off-center, but the colors don’t wash out or invert even from extreme positions. It’s also a matte display, so you can use it in a bright room without reflections disturbing your work.

A matte IPS 1080p LCD on a notebook is a great start. The resolution is 141 ppi, which isn’t bad at all. The only 15.x-inch notebook on the market today with a resolution much higher than the Vizio is the retina MacBook Pro. From the looks of it Vizio uses a cover glass on top of the LCD. A cover glass adds protection but also adds weight, thickness, light refraction, and the possibility of dust getting between it and the LCD. Still the display is high caliber.