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Vizio M-Series (2017) review: The sweetest spot between image quality and affordability – CNET

Late 2017 update

The Vizio M series is our front-runner midprice television for 2017. If you want great picture quality but do n’t want to step up to an OLED television at more than twice the price, this is the 2017 television to get. In my side-by-side comparisons, its visualize matched numerous more-expensive LCD TVs, and in some ways it performed better. Vizio improved HDR trope quality from last class and maintained a superb picture with Dolby Vision sources, and the M-Series handles even high-def sources extremely well, excessively. The key to everything is local anesthetic dim, a technology that actually boosts LCD prototype timbre, particularly in demanding home-theater light situations where it matters most. so why would n’t you want an M-Series ? The biggest reason is probably brand reputation — some people would quite pay extra for a Sony or Samsung television of like image choice, or get one of those brands ‘ “ good-enough ” TVs at the M-Series ‘ price. Another is styling : Let ‘s face it, the M-Series is n’t going to win any beauty contests, and if you spent a fortune on department of the interior interior decoration you might want a hardened that looks the part.

With that in beware, here are some early highly rated 2017 CNET TVs, and why they might be better than the M for you. For even more options, check out our Best television lists. If none of those apply to you and you want a new television receiver now, go with the 2017 Vizio M serial. It remains my go-to recommendation for understanding buyers who want excellent painting quality for an low-cost price, and for the second year in a row, earns CNET ‘s Editors ‘ Choice award. Editors’ note December 11, 2017: This review has been updated with an presentation that offers direct buy advice with competing models. aside from a few child updates to the smart television receiver section, it has not otherwise been changed .

Goodbye, free tablet; hello, weak menus

last year Vizio ( and others ) made a big deal about including a pill outside with the M- and P-Series and ditching built-in menu. This year there ‘s no include pad — just a regular generic-looking clicker — and onscreen smart television menus are back. They ‘re weaksauce, but that ‘s hardly a conduct circuit breaker since you can constantly connect an external pennant like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus or, if you want Dolby Vision, an Apple television receiver 4K. Sarah Tew/CNET Vizio ‘s smart television receiver system takes besides long to load after you press the “ V ” button on the distant and once it does arrive, there ‘s not much there. equitable 13 apps appear along the bottom, and while four are heavy hitters ( Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Vudu ) the perch are minor, and it does n’t have batch of early big apps like YouTube, HBO and Watch ESPN. You ca n’t remove or reorder apps, or in any direction customize the Discover section, which occupies most of the riddle with movies and shows you probably do n’t care about. Netflix and Vudu support both 4K and Dolby Vision HDR but I was miffed to discover that the Amazon app does n’t support HDR, evening on shows labeled “ HDR ”. meanwhile the only way to get YouTube is via your call, and even then it ‘s in 4K, not HDR. By “ via your telephone ” I mean the “ Chromecast built-in ” function. Going into any supported app on your phone and hitting the Cast push button reveals the Vizio television receiver as an choice ; select it and video from the app will play back on the television receiver. There are thousands of confirm apps, and the system works very well in general, but I however prefer a real onscreen menu organization — merely not Vizio ‘s. But if you ‘re a phone-centric rather person, you can constantly use Vizio ‘s SmartCast app to control the television. Sarah Tew/CNET A Google Home Mini ( $ 50 ) lets you control the M-Series with voice commands . Chris Monroe/CNET One cool trick you can do with a Chromecast television, however, is control it with a Google Home speaker. It worked very well in my tests on the M, although unlike Alexa commands of Sony TVs, for model, office on/off is n’t supported. As of December 2017 Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV, HBO now, Viki, Crackle and the CBS All Access and CW apps are supported by voice on Home. As a YouTube TV drug user, I appreciated being able to say, “ OK, Google, play NBC, ” or, “ OK, Google, play the Knicks, ” and have the Vizio play the live channel or my recording of final night ‘s basketball game on ESPN, for exemplar. “ OK, Google, bet ‘Game of Thrones, ‘ ” and, “ OK, Google, play ‘Star Trek : discovery, ‘ ” worked as well. subsequent commands, such as, “ Skip advancing 30 minutes, ” and, “ next episode, ” worked in some apps but not in others. YouTube besides worked as promised. Sarah Tew/CNET

Heavy on features, not style

Vizio is n’t investing heavily in its external design department. The M looks precisely like last year ‘s M : slate-grey frame of reference from the battlefront, silver medal edges and thickish visibility from the english. The bandstand leg dwell of chrome rods deflect into round supports, and while distinctive, they risk looking a tad cheap to my eye .

Key television receiver features

Display technology LED LCD
LED backlight Full array with local dimming
Resolution 4K
HDR-compatible HDR10 and Dolby Vision
Screen shape Flat
Smart TV SmartCast
Remote Standard

The focus is on picture-enhancing features, starting with full-array local dim ( FALD ), which Vizio is branding “ XLED Plus ” this class. It improves the all-important contrast and black levels, and has better uniformity than edge-lit blind. The count of dimmable zones ( 32 ) is actually half that of last year ‘s M and one-fourth that of the P-Series, and in general, more zones equal better picture choice. With the exception of the TCL P series, most other television at this price miss dimming wholly, use the edge-lit kind as seen on models like Samsung MU9000 or cost a batch more, like the Sony X900E. The M-Series has a 60Hz review pace panel — Vizio ‘s claim of “ 120Hz effective ” is basically bunk bed. It lacks a adjust to engage MEMC ( gesticulate estimate, apparent motion compensation ), aka the Soap Opera Effect, as found on the more expensive Vizio P-Series. For 2017 all of the sizes in the M-Series use higher-performance VA panels, not the IPS jury found on the 55-inch interpretation of the 2017 P-Series and the 60-inch version of the 2016 M-Series. Like LG, TCL and ( finally ) Sony, Vizio supports both major types of HDR, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, in the M-Series. The M-Series lacks a built-in television radio receiver, so it ca n’t receive local television stations available via antenna and over-the-air broadcasts. sarah Tew/CNET

Connectivity caveats and complexities

  • 4 HDMI inputs (1x version 2.0, 3x version 1.4, all with HDCP 2.2)
  • 1 component video input
  • 1 USB port
  • Ethernet port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • Stereo analog audio output

hera ‘s another difference between the M-Series and P-Series. Of the M-Series ‘ four HDMI ports merely one, Input 1, supports HDMI 2.0a. The other three, inputs 2 through 4, support HDMI 1.4. In practice, however, you can distillery connect many of today ‘s highest-quality sources to any of the Vizio ‘s HDMI inputs. The “ 1.4-only ” inputs will work with 4K Blu-ray players from Samsung and Oppo and, according to Vizio, ampere long as you send standard 4K/24 signals, but not with the Xbox One S ( you ‘ll need to connect that to HDMI 1, and engage the “ Full UHD color ” sport in the Vizio menu ). I tested the Amazon Fire television receiver and it worked all right on Input 4, but the Roku Streaming Stick Plus needed to be connected to HDMI 1 ( with a port saver for the taut quarters back there ) to pass 4K and HDR. I besides tested the Sony UBP-X800 and it worked fine on Input 4 with standard 4K/24fps movies like “ Wonder Woman, ” but not “ Billy Lynn ‘s Long Halftime Walk, ” the only magnetic disk I know of that sends a 4K/60fps signal. “ Billy ” via the Sony did n’t deliver HDR on Input 4, but did work properly on Input 1. In short : When in doubt, use Input 1. If you have a crowd of “ finical ” 4K HDR devices or ones you are n’t certain about, possibly an HDMI 2.0 switch will work. Or possibly the M is n’t for you. Input 1 is besides adequate to of accepting 1080p at 120Hz, a frequency typically reserved for computers. Since there ‘s no radio receiver, the standard RF-style antenna stimulation is prominently absent. Otherwise connectivity is standard .

Picture quality

CNET Simply put, it ‘s in truth hard to see any difference between the M-Series and the more expensive TVs with which I compared it. Its black levels and contrast were excellent, laying the initiation for an accurate, punchy word picture in demanding home theater environments. It ca n’t get ampere bright as many others, and so is n’t the best choice for ultrabright rooms, but it ‘s plenty bright enough for the huge majority of indoor situations — and its light output signal with HDR, where it actually counts, is solid. talk of high dynamic image, the M-Series was besides excellent with both Dolby Vision and, unlike final year, the more common HDR10 sources. Click the image at the right to see the photograph settings used in the review and to read more about how this television ‘s photograph controls worked during calibration. Dim lighting:  Of the 65-inch sets in my batting order the M-Series is the cheapest, but most scenes looked just a dependable, if not better, than on the others. I watched “ Jason Bourne ” in my iniquity home field and the open setting, where Bourne ( Matt Damon ) one-punches his opposition to the ground in a match in Greece, looked great on the M, with superb saturation and, erbium, punchiness. It did on the others besides, and telling them apart was baffling. Things started to separate in dark scenes, when the M ‘s deep black levels could strut their stuff. During the Reykjavik hack in chapter 2, the letterbox bars and abstruse shadows looked a bit colored and more naturalistic on the M than on the Sony and the Samsung. interim the P-Series sets ( both TCL and Vizio ) looked dark placid and the best overall, while the 2016 M-Series looked basically identical to the fresh one, despite the deviation in their count of dimming zones. The M besides handled tail details very well in this scene, keeping up with the best sets in the lineup. During my favored identical dark scenes, like Chapter 2 of “ Gravity ” when Ryan tumbles against a backdrop of stars, or in Chapter 12 of “ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ” when Voldemort attacks Hogwarts, the M ‘s black levels actually started a snatch bright ( worse ) than the Sony and the Samsung at times. But as the scenes brightened the M promptly pulled ahead of those sets by maintaining deeper letterbox bars and black areas. I chalk this up to more accurate zones on the M than on the early two, causing less reaction ( black-level ascent ) from mix scenes — which are much more common than extremely dark ones. It ‘s a subtle dispute, but it makes the M ( and the two P ‘s ) look closer to the ideal of pure OLED black and less like LCD. Bright lighting: Although it ‘s placid plenty bright for just about every unhorse position, the M-Series was still among the dense sets in my batting order with SDR ( non-HDR ) contented, which you ‘ll be watching most of the time. Its numbers were comparable to those of cheaper sets like the TCL S-Series and Vizio ‘s own E-Series. On the undimmed side for Vizio, full-screen light output was actually pretty decent, and the M ‘s highly accurate Calibrated mode is n’t much dimmer than Vivid at 274 nits with a window practice .

Light output in nits

Light output in nits
TV Mode (SDR) 10% window (SDR) Full screen (SDR) Mode (HDR) 10% window (HDR)
Samsung UN65MU9000 Dynamic 1410 509 Dynamic 1435
Samsung QN65Q7F Dynamic 923 588 Dynamic 1781
Sony XBR-65X900E Vivid 908 524 Vivid 902
Vizio P65-E1 Vivid 459 575 Vivid 498
TCL 55P607 Vivid/dimming off 438 431 Brighter/Dark HDR 448
LG OLED55C7P Vivid 433 145 Vivid 715
Vizio M65-E0 Vivid 288 339 Vivid 880

With HDR, light output was substantially higher, outpacing every comparable television apart from the Samsungs and the Sony, and in Calibrated mode it was besides great at 788 nits. possibly Vizio should adjust its brightest SDR presets to take more advantage of the M ‘s capabilities. The M and P share a alike semimatte screen finish, which beat the others ( with the exception of the Samsungs ) at reducing reflections. preservation of black-level fidelity was solid, about adenine commodity as the others. Color accuracy:  According to my measurements and program material, the M is ampere accurate as any television receiver available. When the CIA conductor ( Tommy Lee Jones ) lands in Las Vegas in Chapter 14 of “ Jason Bourne, ” for case, colors from the skyline to the abandon hills to his cragged skin tone appeared well-balanced and saturated, and very similar to on the early sets. Outside of a side-by-side comparison, it ‘s tough to tell the difference between them after calibration. Video processing: The M lacks the blur and judder reduction of the P-Series, and it did n’t perform a well in terms of reducing confuse. I ‘m not particularly sensitive to motion smear, but if you are, the P-Series or a Samsung might be worth the excess money. The M registered proper 1080p/24 cadence but exhibited the gesture resolution characteristics of a 60Hz television at just 300 lines. Vizio does offer a net Action manipulate that improves that act to a goodly 900, but as common it introduced flicker and dimmed the image, sol most viewers will want to avoid it. Input lag for gambling was adequate at around 45ms, whether or not I used the Gaming Low Latency setting. That ‘s better than the P-Series but a sting worse than the cheaper E-Series and the Sony X900E. Uniformity: Brightness across the M ‘s screen was quite undifferentiated, better overall than on the Samsung and TCL and alike to the others. With full-field test patterns there were no bands or bright spots, and alone near the edges were there slight variations in brightness — and those were impossible to discern with real television. From off-angle the image maintained black-level fidelity and discolor well, if not quite ampere well as on the Samsung or the Vizio P. All of the sets in my lineup were in the same ballpark, however. HDR and 4K video: The M-Series was actually among the best television receiver in my lineup at high dynamic range, whether with an HDR10 or a Dolby Vision source. only the Sony looked systematically better, and it was quite close between the two. I flipped back to the HDR10 4K Blu-ray of “ Jason Bourne ” and put all the sets in their best nonpayment settings for HDR, since I do n’t calibrate for high active range. The Sony and Vizio M looked a moment better than the others in bright outdoor scenes like the Greece fight, with the brightest highlights and more saturated colors. Between the two I ‘d give the flimsy edge to the Sony with its more poise color. In the dim hacking setting from chapter 2 the M ‘s deep blacks again outdid the Sony and Samsung, and combined with bright highlights to again provide more pop than the others, including the Vizio P. That set had a slightly more dull coloring material palette, however, without the deep saturation I saw on the M and the Sony. The difference was most obvious in reds, for exemplar a London city busbar in chapter 12. It actually popped on the Sony and M-Series, not therefore much on the Samsung and the P. I was particularly surprised at the P-Series ‘ HDR10 lagging behind the M, but my measurements bore that out : It was dim and had a slenderly narrower discolor gamut ( 91 % on the M, 90 % on the P ). When I presented the company ‘s engineers with my findings they basically confirmed what I found : “ Yes, your measurements are like to Vizio ‘s expectations. While the specification for the two displays are similar, the M-Series dialog box and filters are slenderly different, including more red in the gamut, which increases its overall coverage. ”

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Sticking with “ Bourne, ” I compared Dolby Vision from the Apple television 4K ( on the Vizios and TCL ) to the HDR10 4K Blu-ray. It did n’t make a huge difference, nor were the images identical to what I saw with HDR10. The Sony silent looked best overall, and the M-Series however looked great, but the P-Series sets ( both TCL and Vizio ) looked better than ahead, and closer to the M. The M even delivered bright highlights and the P dark blacks, but the M ‘s color looked less saturated. Of naturally, different films have different characteristics, specially in HDR. I besides watched “ Wonder Woman ” as part of the comparison lineup in the MU9000 reappraisal and the results were like. The TCL and Vizios looked better overall, like they did with HDR10, but then again so did the Sony, which was n’t playing Dolby Vision. once again, the television receiver seems to have a larger effect on what you see than the HDR format. For more comparisons involving the M-Series, check out our MU9000 review .

Geek box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.014 Good
Peak white luminance (100%) 288 Poor
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.32 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 0.503 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 0.379 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 0.441 Good
Avg. color error 2.103 Good
Red error 1.654 Good
Green error 2.486 Good
Blue error 2.094 Good
Cyan error 2.55 Good
Magenta error 2.24 Good
Yellow error 1.593 Good
Avg. saturations error 1.68 Good
Avg. luminance error 2.58 Good
Avg. color checker error 1.39 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 900 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 300 Poor
Input lag (Game mode) 45.13 Average
HDR default
Black luminance 0.003 Good
Peak white luminance (10% win) 880 Average
Gamut % DCI/P3 (CIE 1976) 91 Average
Avg. saturations error 3.3 Average
Avg. color checker error 2.5 Good

How We Test TVs

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