The Vizio M Series 2017 is a good 4k UHD LED TV that works best in a dark room. It produces deep and uniform blacks, and its great handling of motion and good input lag are a boon for gaming. Its local dimming feature isn't the best, but it still enhances the depth of the picture a good amount. Unfortunately, it isn't the best at handling reflections, and its viewing angle is quite narrow, making it less suitable for bright, wide living rooms.
- Great blacks
- Low motion blur
- Better than average local dimming
- Image quality deteriorates at an angle
- Handling of reflections is below average
- Lacks a TV tuner
The design of the 2017 Vizio M Series is almost identical to the 2016 model. It has the same wide stand which looks quite good but may be difficult to fit on some tables. The borders are a bit thicker than average, but it still looks good overall and is a step up in design from the E Series 2017.
The thickness is exactly the same as the M Series 2016. It is a bit thicker than average, so will stick out somewhat if mounted on a wall.
The TV runs fairly cool, never getting more than slightly warm to the touch. The whole bottom edge is a big vent and there are multiple vents along the back. The heat is fairly even across the screen due to its full array backlight.
The build quality is a step up from the slightly lower end E Series 2017. The TV is still almost completely made of plastic, but the metal edges on the border is a nice touch.
- 11% Contrast
- 6% Local Dimming
- 6% SDR Peak Brightness
- 6% HDR Peak Brightness
- 6% Gray Uniformity
- 7% Viewing Angle
- 4% Black Uniformity
- 2% Gradient
- 4% Pre Calibration
- 1% Post Calibration
- 6% 480p Input
- 9% 720p Input
- 11% 1080p Input
- 6% 4k Input
- 4% Color Gamut
- 4% Color Volume
- 1% Image Retention
- 6% Reflections
- 1% 3D
The Vizio M Series 2017 LED TV has a good picture quality. Both the excellent contrast ratio and black uniformity make this TV a great choice for a dark room since it can display deep blacks without issues. In a brighter room, it will still perform okay with reflections, but if you have a very bright lamp or a sunny window straight on, it may have some difficulty fighting the glare. The gray uniformity is average but the dirty screen effect is not too problematic, so it is a good TV for watching sports like hockey or football. The only downside is that if you watch sports with a lot of friends, those sitting off center will have a worse picture quality since this TV has a poor viewing angle. Lastly, HDR on the M Series 2017 looks great. It has a good combination of wide color gamut, local dimming, and high HDR pick brightness, making HDR movies and games look very good and the difference between SDR and HDR is easily noticeable.
The contrast ratio is excellent on the 2017 M Series, even better than last year's M Series 2016. This high contrast ratio can provide excellent dark scenes performance with deep blacks, especially when the TV is set in a dark room.
When the local dimming is turned on, the contrast ratio goes up a little bit, but not by that much. This is a sign that the local dimming feature on the 2017 M Series is not as good as seen on other higher end LED TV, like the Sony X900E.
The local dimming feature on the 2017 M Series is not as efficient as that on the M Series 2016 since it has less dimming zones, but it still procures some benefit, as seen on our contrast ratio test and also looking at our black uniformity picture. While turned on, the local dimming helps to produce deeper blacks, especially if the TV is set in a dark room.
On the downside, like both the M Series and P Series 2016, the local dimming darkens the moving highlight too much. This is more visible when the highlight moves to a different dimming zone, and since the zones are even bigger than on the 2016 M Series, this is even more obvious.
Okay SDR peak brightness. The TV's local dimming dims highlights in dark scenes, as shown by our smaller window tests, which is not a good thing. This is the opposite of its HDR behavior, which brightens the small windows. The real scene brightness is close to the best case, but even it isn't very bright. This local dimming behavior is similar to the M Series 2016, but is a little better because the small windows aren't dimmed as much. A plot of brightness over time is shown here.
Great HDR peak brightness, though not as bright as high end TVs. The TV's local dimming effectively brightens highlights in dark scenes, as shown by our smaller window tests, yet its worst case brightness is still fairly bright. A plot of brightness over time is shown here. This brightness is a massive improvement over the M Series 2016, and though it is similar overall to the P Series 2016 the local dimming behavior is very different; the P Series dimmed the smaller windows rather than brightening them.
If you find HDR content too dim you can lower the TV's 'Gamma' setting. This doesn't affect bright white but will brighten everything else.
The gray uniformity is above average for this Vizio TV and is in the same ballpark as the 2016 M Series. Most of the issues come from the standard deviation being quite high and this is caused mostly from the sides and corners of the TV being darker than the rest of the screen. The 50% dirty screen effect test results is a bit higher than our good value number (0.165%), but dirty screen effect is minimal and is not too distracting.
When it comes to the 5% gray uniformity test, not many uniformity issues can be noticed besides a bit of a brighter edge at the bottom, but this is really not a problem at all since it is not noticeable while watching normal content.
Bad viewing angle. Blacks turn grey and colors shift when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while the brightness decreases at a more moderate angle. This is fairly typical of a VA panel, and is very similar to the M Series 2016.
The black uniformity of the 2017 M Series is excellent and it is an upgrade when compared to the 2016 models. Besides a bit of clouding in the bottom right and the top left corners, the rest of the screen is very even, which is great especially for dark scenes in movies.
With local dimming turned on, the uniformity is a bit worse since there is blooming around the middle white cross while the rest of the screen is mostly black. Note that in this test, we don't measure the black level of the screen, but rather the whole uniformity of the black. So even if the overall picture taken for the black uniformity with local dimming seems to have deeper black, the central blooming affects the final result.
The Vizio M Series 2017 performs similarly as the 2016 version with the exception that we did not notice any banding normally seen on 8-bit panel. Comparing to other 10-bit TVs tested before, there are more issues is the shades, even in the lighter color, which usually are free of banding. Luckily, we did not notice too many issues while watching normal content during the review process.
Out of the box, the Vizio M Series 2017 has a great accuracy. The white balance dE is under 3, which very good since most people would not even notice it. The gamma is on our 2.2 target, but the overall gamma curve has some imperfections, but once again this would not be very problematic.
When it comes to the color accuracy, once again, the color dE is under 3, which is very good and most people could use the TV as-is and would not notice the little imperfections. Most of the issues here are because of the white points being a bit off and as a result of this, the overall dE of all the other colors are affected.
The calibration of the Vizio M Series 2017 was very easy to do and the whole process did not take very long. The 2 and 10 points white balance calibration is fairly responsive. The use of the smartcast remote app is a big plus when it comes to the calibration and it makes the whole process much faster.
After calibration the white balance dE is only of 0.13, which is almost perfect. With the color space management system provided by this Vizio TV, the color dE was cut in half, which is a really good result. The blue imperfections are very minimal and will not affect normal content.
Looking at the gamma, the curve was flattened to track more closely our target, which in the end is excellent.
Note: At the beginning of the calibration process, we encountered a bug that makes the 10 point white balance calibration inaccessible. A firmware update occurred during the review process and seems to have taken care of this bug and as a result, we could finalize the calibration process without any problems.
You can see our calibration settings here
Wide color gamut, much wider than the M Series 2016 and very similar to the P Series 2016, but not as wide as many other high end TVs. Saturated red, blue and green all fall short of their targets, with green being the worst which is typical for modern TVs. The accuracy of the colors the TV can produce is not very good, as it severely undersaturates the lighter shades.
The TV's HDR EOTF most closely follows the PQ curve when the 'Gamma' setting is 2.4. This isn't actually gamma 2.4 as gamma is meaningless in HDR, but the 'Gamma' setting in HDR does raise and lower the EOTF. At the default 'Gamma' of 2.2 everything is brightened too much, as seen in this plot. However because HDR content is mastered for a dark room, you should lower the gamma (making the picture brighter) to suit the brightness of your room. The above two EOTFs were measured in the accurate 'Calibrated Dark' picture mode; the EOTF for the Computer picture mode with 'Gamma' 2.4 is here, and is identical to that of 'Calibrated Dark.
Mediocre color volume. The P3 volume is good, only really limited by the TV's color gamut and black level. The test was done with local dimming enabled, but still the black level never reached true black on our black-with-white-border slide. The P3 volume is fairly similar to that of the P Series 2016.
Looking at the Rec 2020 volume, fully saturated blues and reds are nowhere near as bright as they should be, blues especially. The E Series 2017 has a similar problem with saturated blue, but not red, and the M Series 2016 had no such issue.
The Vizio M Series 2017 does not have any image retention. Looking at our test picture taken right after the 10 minutes burn-in scene, no retention could be seen with the naked eye and detected by the computer analysis. This is a perfect result and it is in line with other VA panel TVs.
The M Series 2017 is good at handling reflections. The semi-gloss finish diffuses reflections across the screen, reducing their intensity. This is very similar to the 2016 Vizio M Series and should be fine for an average room. In a bright room, reflections may be distracting though.
The Vizio M Series 2017 is not compatible with 3D.
The motion handling of the M Series 2017 is good. It has a quick response time, resulting in only a short trail of blur following fast moving objects. It is possible to clear this up significantly by flickering the backlight with the 'Clear Action' setting but this does produce visible flicker. Like the 2016 model, it can play movies from a Blu-ray player smoothly but some judder is present when watching movies from a HTPC or cable. Most people won't notice this though. Unlike the larger sizes of the 2016 model, this TV doesn't have any motion interpolation options.
The response time of the M Series 2017 is low, which results in great motion blur performance. Only a short trail can be seen following moving objects.
The M Series 2017 uses PWM to dim the backlight, but at the high frequency of 480Hz so it isn't very noticeable. It is possible to enable 'Clear Action' to reduce the PWM frequency to 60Hz, and this helps to clear-up eye tracking persistence blur significantly, but produces a visible flicker. Note that the BFI option isn't available for HDR content as it reduces the brightness of the screen significantly.
Similar to the 2016 M Series, only 24p movies playing from 24p sources like DVD and Blu-ray players are judder free on the M series 2017. Judder is present in 24p movies playing via 60p/60i sources like cable/satellite boxes.
To remove judder from 24p movies playing from 24p sources, simply turn on the 'Pure Cinema' option from the picture setting menu.
This TV has a 60Hz panel and is unable to interpolate lower frame rate content. Fans of the soap opera effect may be disappointed. During testing, the option did appear in the 'Smartcast' app but is not selectable, the presence of this option is likely a bug as it doesn't appear on the on-screen menu.
The Vizio M 2017 supports nearly all input signals, including HDR. It has low input lag which should be good enough for most people, but competitive gamers may be disappointed.
Low input lag, which should be good enough for most people but competitive gamers may be disappointed. Unlike the 2016 M series this TV doesn't have a low latency port, so all ports measured the same for input lag. The picture mode doesn't matter for input lag, only the 'Game Low Latency' toggle matters, which can be activated in any picture mode. This input lag is nearly identical to that of the E Series 2017.
Aside: We measure input lag using the industry standard Leo Bodnar tool, connected to an HDFury Linker and Integral to change the resolution of the signal for the different tests. However when we tested using the Leo Bodnar tool alone, we measured ~29 ms, which is much lower than was measured using the HDFury chain. This is the only TV we've measured where the input lag from the tool was different than the input lag from the whole chain, because the Linker and Integral add less than 0.1 ms of lag each. To confirm our results we tested the input lag several times using the two screen method and TVs whose input lag was already known. All these tests measured an input lag between 40 and 43 ms, confirming our previous result of ~40 ms. This shows that our input lag results are valid for typical sources like game consoles and PCs.
- 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
- 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Most of the common resolutions are supported, except 120 Hz because this is a 60 Hz panel. 4:4:4 color is only displayed properly in the Computer picture mode. Only HDMI port 1 supports 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color, and only when 'Full UHD Color' is enabled for that port.
The Vizio M doesn't sound great, so it greatly benefits from being paired with a set of speakers or a sound bar. It's not completely unusable, but it definitely doesn't deliver a very compelling audio experience.
Below average frequency response. The M Series has a strong emphasis on lower frequencies that causes it to sound muddy and dark. Furthermore, its low-end cut-off is bad, causing the TV to sound very thin.
Poor distortion performance. THD is high at all levels, and it very noticeable levels at higher volumes.
The Vizio M 2017 runs Vizio SmartCast, which has no apps of its own and instead plays content cast from a smartphone or tablet, much like a Google Chromecast. There is a SmartCast app for phones and tablets that can be used to change the TV's settings and manage content. However, this year's SmartCast also has a better physical remote that can change the TV's settings on its own, so now a phone or tablet is only needed when playing content from apps.
SmartCast does have some limitations. Content can be played from a USB drive but control over its playback is very crude. When a USB drive is plugged in, the TV plays the first file immediately until it is finished, then moves on to the next file. Playback can only be played/paused, there is no option to skip files. HDR files are not played in HDR via USB. Another limitation is the TV's lack of a built-in tuner, so you cannot connect a cable or antenna directly to the TV, though you can use an external tuner like this one.
The TV has no apps of its own, but it can play content cast from many apps on a smartphone or tablet, such as Netflix and YouTube. However, Amazon Video cannot cast to SmartCast or a Chromecast and so requires an external player (such as a Roku stick). Netflix videos can play in 4k HDR, and YouTube videos can play in 4k but not HDR; this isn't unusual though as YouTube HDR support is fairly rare on TVs.
There are no ads in the TV's interface or the SmartCast app.
The Vizio M 2017's remote is a considerable improvement over the very basic remotes from last year, but the TV does not come with an included tablet like the 2016 M Series. Settings menus have been added to SmartCast on the TV, and the remote now has enough buttons to access these new menus. All the settings that once required the SmartCast app to change can now be changed using the remote. However the remote is still fairly basic and lacks smart features like a microphone or a pointer, like the smart remotes of other platforms.
Differences between Sizes and Variants
The Vizio M Series 2017 that we bought is the 65" with SKU M65-E0. Different sizes have different panel provenances, so it is possible our review doesn't represent exactly all sizes. If someone's Vizio M Series 2017 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
|Size||Model||Effective Refresh Rate||Real Refresh Rate||Local Dimming Zones|
|50"||M50-E1||120 Hz||60 Hz||32|
|55"||M55-E0||120 Hz||60 Hz||32|
|65"||M65-E0||120 Hz||60 Hz||32|
|70"||M70-E3||120 Hz||60 Hz||32|
|75"||M75-E1||120 Hz||60 Hz||32|
Compared to other TVs
The M Series 2017 is a good performer at its price, and offers some of the features found on the more expensive Vizio P Series 2016. It is generally a good pick over its direct competition.
The P Series is a little brighter than the M Series in SDR and has a significantly lower input lag. Since it has a much better local dimming feature and deals with gradients better than the M Series, it does a bit better for HDR. Overall, if you can afford it, it is a more complete package than the M Series 2017.
The Sony X800E is a similarly priced 4k LED TV that features a wider viewing angle. It's about as bright, but it deals with upscaling lower resolution content better than the Vizio, making it a better choice for daytime TV shows. In a dark room though, the Vizio M 2017 does much better, since its blacks are a lot deeper and it has local dimming, which the Sony lacks. The M Series is usually found a bit cheaper, but choosing between the two depends on your use-case.
The E Series 2017 is a cheaper LED TV from Vizio. It lacks a few HDR related features such as wide color gamut, and it doesn't get as bright, but it performs very similarly with SDR movies in a dark room. If this is the bulk of your consumption, it can be worth saving your money and going for the E Series, but it is far less versatile than the M Series 2017.
The MU6300 is Samsung's entry-level 4k LED TV. It doesn't have fancy features such as local dimming or wide color gamut, but it has a lower input lag than the Vizio. While the MU6300 deals with upscaling of lower resolution content a little better than the M Series 2017 and has a more intuitive set of smart features, it's usually slightly more expensive. Overall, the Vizio offers better value for money.