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Vizio TVs - 2018
Reviews and Smart Features

We've reviewed 18 Vizio TVs. Vizio offers compelling performance at each price bracket their product aims. Unlike most other manufacturers, most of their models released prior to 2018 lack a tuner (rendering them unable to brand them as TVs). This is less of an issue nowadays, but it's still a good thing to keep in mind if you plan to cut the cord.

Compared to other brands

  • Competitively Priced. For the same feature set, Vizio TVs are priced very competitively, and in some cases, several hundred dollars cheaper.
  • Great Picture Quality in Dark Room. All their models have a full array local dimming backlight, which helps to produce deep blacks.
  • Very Low Input Lag. All Vizio TVs that we tested so far had a really low input lag, which is great for gaming.
  • Unpolished Experience. From firmware issues to cheaper design look, Vizio TVs feel like they cut some corners. At least, they often fix issues in firmware updates.
  • Sub-par Upscaling. Low-quality contents like DVDs or SD channels don't look as sharp as on other brands. 

Vizio vs Samsung

Vizio TVs often perform very similarly to Samsung TVs but are usually priced very competitively. Some people might not like Vizio's SmartCast platform, which works just like Google's Chromecast. Samsung's SmartHub is a bit more intuitive and fully-featured.

Vizio vs Sony

Unlike Sony, Vizio offers inexpensive entry-level TVs with good value. Sony TVs are usually brighter and have more polish in their construction. Plus, their Android based smart features include both the Chromecast capabilities of the Vizio and more. They are usually more expensive though.

Overall, Vizio TVs are very well priced and have great picture quality. They don't have the high-end feel as some other brands, but they are one of the best value you can buy for your money.

Best Vizio Smart TVs

Vizio's lineup is fairly straightforward. Their naming scheme is pretty simplistic as each model is simply a letter of the alphabet (D,E,M,P). Their prices follow the alphabetic order from cheap (D) to more expensive (P).

Best Vizio 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
8.6
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.6
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
8.3
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
8.3
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
9.1
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
8.7
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.8
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.5
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 65"

The best Vizio TV we've reviewed is the Vizio P Series Quantum. The Vizio P Quantum is an extremely versatile 4k TV, and is one of the best LCD TVs we have reviewed. The extremely bright screen and excellent anti-reflective coating delivers excellent bright room performance, although the image quality degrades when viewed at an angle. Excellent native contrast delivers near-perfect black levels. It has excellent motion handling and excellent low input lag for gaming, although it lacks newer gaming oriented technologies like FreeSync or automatic low latency.

See our review

Best mid-range Vizio 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
7.8
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
7.6
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.4
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.6
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.5
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
7.7
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.3
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.1
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 55" 65" 70"

The Vizio M Series 2018 4k LED TV offers a lot of the performance found on the P Series for a significant discount. Its local dimming feature isn't quite as good as the P Series, but it's still better than the average found in its price range. It doesn't support a wide color gamut so it isn't ideal for HDR movie buffs. Like all Vizio TVs the smart features are limited and there aren't many apps available. Overall, it offers some of the best value in the mid-range segment making it a great choice. They've also added a TV Tuner this year, so cord cutters don't need to buy an external tuner.

See our review

Best budget Vizio 4k TV

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
7.6
Mixed Usage
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
7.1
Movies
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.3
TV Shows
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.4
Sports
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.4
Video Games
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
7.3
HDR Movies
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.1
HDR Gaming
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.0
PC Monitor
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 43" 50" 55" 65" 70" 75"

The Vizio E Series 2018 4k TV is a great bang for the buck as it offers good picture quality at a low price, especially for the larger screen sizes. It's not equipped with all the features that come along with the more expensive models in the line, but it still offers a good experience. It has great low input lag and is well suited for video gaming, but the viewing angles are poor and will not provide a good experience when viewed from the side.

See our review

Vizio Smart Features

7.0Interface
10Ad-Free
6.5Apps and Features
6.0Remote
8.0Remote App

Vizio updated their smart features slightly in 2017. They're essentially the same Google Chromecast based apps as before, but the TVs now have an on-screen interface that allows you to access web-based applications using the remote.

While the platform is versatile and has considerably grown in support from app makers, Vizio’s implementation is far from perfect. The Smartcast app Vizio provides to access content as well as adjusting settings isn't the fastest and most stable, and not everything is available for casting.

Interface

Vizio Main Interface

Smartcast now features a more traditional home-screen. Apps like Amazon prime video and Netflix are available, as well as featured links to content found on the online TV service Pluto TV. Unfortunately, there is no app store, and apps are not actually installed on the TV. They're essentially links to web based interfaces.

Vizio SmartCast

Vizio's improved the set of options you can change from the TV itself. Nowadays, you don't need to touch the Smartcast app at all to get the TV going properly, and even complete calibration settings are available on the on-screen menus (however, we do recommend using the app for more in-depth calibration since it's a lot more efficient for making a lot of adjustments).

Vizio Interface Setup

Pairing your mobile device is fortunately quite easy. Just launch the app and start the setup, then place it in the bottom right corner.

 

Apps & Features

Boot Time

Since there isn't much to load, the Vizio P consistently launches under 10 seconds. That makes it easily one of the fastest TV we've tested this year. This is mostly because Smartcast has a "fast boot" feature that essentially keeps the TV in a sleeping standby mode instead of shutting it off completely. From the Smartcast app, you can enable "eco mode" to have it shut down completely instead. This has the disadvantage of disabling the ability for the TV update automatically.

USB Playback

Unfortunately, Vizio's software upgrade also removed the ability to browse through USB drives for content. All it does now is play everything on the drive in a loop. You don't have any control over what's playing, not even play or pause. To enable this feature, just plug in a USB drive when the TV is on and on the main screen. It won't work if it's kept in before starting the TV. Since the Vizio D Series still uses last year's smart OS, it will have better capabilities in this regard.

Most video formats are supported, but it's not worth using it as anything other than a live photo frame. Unlike competing TVs, the Vizio Smartcast TVs were also incapable of interpreting HDR Metadata from a USB source.

Google Cast

Vizio Google Cast

This TV's entire smart features are reliant on Google's casting platform. If you've ever used a Chromecast before, this will be the same. You use the app you want to send to the TV on your phone, and if you're connected to the same network as the TV, you'll see the "cast" logo at the top of the screen.

Vizio Google Chrome

Google Chrome allows you to cast a page from a Mac or PC, but you can also cast and mirror the screen of your phone. This somewhat negates the inclusion of a real integrated web browser, but it makes navigating the internet on the TV a bit cumbersome. It is quite useful however for watching content that hasn't been made available through mobile apps.

Remote

Vizio Smart TV Remote

In 2016, Vizio provided both a tablet remote as well as a very basic standard remote for their TVs. In 2017 however, they thankfully went back to a standard style of remote instead of the highly limiting and inconsistent duo that was previously used. The new model is similar in size, build and design as the basic variant from last year, but it's a significant improvement in functionality with more on-screen control and better, more tactile buttons.

Vizio figured out that essentially all of its consumers already owned a mobile device, and that offering a remote for which the functionality could be obtained by simply downloading the application was unnecessarily complex. The Vizio tablet was also notably unstable, and finding yourself unable to adjust the TV's settings due to the battery being dead was not an uncommon occurrence.

Remote App

Vizio tablet remote

One of the best features from Smartcast is the app that comes pre-installed with the tablet remote. It's not the most intuitive, but it has a lot of depth and it allows you to cast a lot of sources from a single place.

Vizio display settings

This is also where you'll find all the settings. In fact, it's the only way to change most of them. Fortunately, they offer a lot of control.

Conclusion

In general, Vizio TVs have great picture quality for their price. They are not as well polished as the main brands offering, but they offer one of the best value for the money that you can get. Their Smart platform leaves a lot to be desired though, and some people might want to consider upgrading to a set-top box such as a Roku or Nvidia Shield TV.

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