There's something about flawless product shots that's always bothered me. The perfect lighting. The precise shadows, falling precisely where some art director wanted them to fall.
My home, however, is not a flawless art studio. It is a dusty busy abode home to four humans and a dog. But where I fall short in transforming my house into some nouveau-tech showcase, I tend to rely on my hardware to make up the difference.
Or to put it another way: I'm a lousy interior decorator. Buying cool stuff maybe makes up for that a little bit.
And that's why it was a great deal heartening to see the changes in Vizio's upcoming audio line. (To say nothing of its first OLED television, too.)
Let's start on the sound side of things. I have Vizio 5.1 soundbars in the living room as well as the bedroom. (And if you think that having rear speakers and a subwoofer in the bedroom is overkill, you're right. And it's wonderful and I highly recommend it.)
Less cloth means fewer places for dust to stick. And that makes for a happier and healthier home.
What I loathe is dusting. And in my house, you have to dust a lot. At least every couple of days. And that's where the old design of the Vizio soundbars fall short for me, due to the expansive use of cloth covering. There's not a lot that a dust rag can do in that sort of situation. It's like trying to use one piece of Velcro to clean another. The cloths just sort of pull on each other, and I'd resort to using compressed air.
But the new line of soundbars backs off on the use of cloth a bit, in exchange for more plastic. And plastic is plenty easy to wipe off.
That's even more true for the new Vizio Elevate soundbar. The only cloth you'll find here is the microfiber shami you use to clean this gorgeous piece of kit like it was a new car.
Why the change? Design for design's sake for one. Cloth just looks dated and less sophisticated than a matte plastic. But function for another, especially in the case of the Elevate, which has speakers that rotate depending on the sound profile.
So, yeah. It looks better. It's easier to clean. And in the car of the Elevate switching to all plastic allows for some interesting new features.
There's been plenty of work on the TV side of things, too. Vizio sets have always looked a little ahead of their time, and arguably ahead of their price range. I've had a Vizio TV in my bedroom for years. It's almost a victim of its own success. Replacing a TV is a pain, and this one does everything I need it to in a secondary room. So why would I switch? And what would I switch to?
The two sets that absolutely caught my eye at Vizio's CES showcase were the P-Series Quantum X, and the new OLED TV.
The new TVs. Gorgeous. That's all you need to know. (And the price.)
And I'll admit it: The feature that perhaps stood out most to me in the PX is the Vizio logo. Or, really, the lack thereof. Sort of. You don't see the "Vizio" branding anywhere. Instead, in its place in the lower right corner, there's a small Vizio logo. It's far more subtle. And because it's about the same height as the TV's bezel itself, it all but disappears, taking the bezel along with it. It's gorgeous.
It's also nothing compared to the upcoming OLED TV from Vizio.
Never mind the OLED panel itself. (That's the screen tech that full turns off individual pixels when they're black, making the dark spots that much darker.) OLED is what you want if you can afford it. (And we don't yet know what sort of secret sauce Vizio might have up its sleeve to either bring the price down or the value proposition up.)
No, it's the the OLED TV barely has a bezel at all. And there's no obvious branding on the front anywhere. There's just screen, and that curved stand.
Going to wall-mount the OLED TV and don't need the stand? Fine. Take it off. But before you do, consider that the stand also serves as a mounting point for the Elevate soundbar. So you can combine the two best products Vizio has on the way in 2020 into something seamless, and more visually stunning than anything it's done in the past.
All we have to do now is wait.