Vizio M Series XLED 2017 TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
7.4
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.7
Movies
7.0
TV Shows
7.1
Sports
7.7
Video Games
7.8
HDR Movies
7.7
HDR Gaming
7.4
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the Vizio M Series 2018

Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

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.

Test Results
Design 7.5
Picture Quality 7.6
Motion 7.1
Inputs 6.9
Sound Quality 6.4
Smart Features 6.8
Pros
  • Great blacks
  • Low motion blur
  • Better than average local dimming
Cons
  • Image quality deteriorates at an angle
  • Handling of reflections is below average
  • Lacks a TV tuner
  1. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  2. Update 1/23/2018: Retested input lag with the latest firmware (3.4.8.15). Input lag is ~9 ms higher across the board; this is also the case with the E Series 2017 and HDMI port 1 on the P Series 2017.
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

7.5

Design

Curved : No

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.  

Stand

The stand is identical to the 2016 model and almost as wide as the TV. It supports the TV well but isn't quite as stable as some other TVs which use stronger or thicker materials.

Footprint of the 65" TV stand: 10.9" x 51.7"

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 400x400

The rear of the TV is quite basic but all of the inputs are accessible if placed close to a wall.

Borders
Borders : 0.71" (1.8 cm)

The borders are a bit thicker than average, but still look quite good with the metal side. The rest of the border is plastic.

Thickness
Max Thickness : 2.56" (6.5 cm)

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.

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
99 °F (37 °C)
Average Temperature
:
93 °F (34 °C)

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.

7.0 Build Quality

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.

7.6

Picture Quality

 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. 

9.0 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
5606 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
5861 : 1

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.

5.5 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
Yes
Backlight
:
Full-Array

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.

7.5 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
316 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
178 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
272 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
269 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
302 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
321 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
178 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
270 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
268 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
301 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
320 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.035

Good 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.

7.1 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
407 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
628 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
793 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
774 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
431 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
353 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
615 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
774 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
760 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
425 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
350 cd/m²
HDR ABL
:
0.050

Decent 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.

7.2 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
4.099 %
50% DSE
:
0.184 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
0.938 %
5% DSE
:
0.109 %

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.

4.2 Viewing Angle
Color Shift
:
18 °
Brightness
:
30 °
Black Level
:
18 °

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.

8.7 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
0.625 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
0.928 %

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.

7.0 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
:
6.3 %
Indirect Reflections
:
0.9 %

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.

8.4 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Calibrated Dark
White Balance dE
:
2.14
Color dE
:
2.02
Gamma
:
2.20
Color Temperature
:
6167 K

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.

9.6 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Calibrated Dark
White Balance dE
:
0.13
Color dE
:
1.08
Gamma
:
2.20
Color Temperature
:
6502 K

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

7.0 480p Input

Low-quality content such as DVDs look a bit worse than most other TVs. Some straight lines appear choppy.

7.0 720p Input

Upscaling of 720p content such as cable is a bit softer than most other TVs.

9.0 1080p Input

Upscaling of 1080p content such as Blu-rays is good. Details remain clear and the image is sharp.

10 4k Input

No issues can be seen with native 4k content.

Update 03/12/2018: We have received reports of different panels in the 50" Model (M50-E1). One reader has an offset sub-pixel arrangement which can result in a less-accurate 4k image, especially when used as a PC monitor as the sub-pixels are nonstandard. For another reader the same model of TV has a regular sub-pixel arrangement, which is unlikely to have these issues. There may be a panel lottery in this size.

7.5 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
Yes
DCI P3 xy
:
81.60 %
DCI P3 uv
:
88.29 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
60.45 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
70.01 %

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.

6.1 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
77.9 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
40.7 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
43.1 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
22.6 %

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.

8.4 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
:
0.096 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
:
0.107 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
:
0.086 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
:
0.094 dE

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.

10 Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
:
0.00 %

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.

10 Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
:
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Pixels

Update 03/12/2018: We have received reports of different panels in the 50" Model (M50-E1). One reader has an offset sub-pixel arrangement which can result in a less-accurate 4k image, especially when used as a PC monitor as the sub-pixels are nonstandard. For another reader the same model of TV has a regular sub-pixel arrangement, which is unlikely to have these issues. There may be a panel lottery in this size.

7.1

Motion

The motion handling of the M Series 2017 is average. It has a good 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. 

7.8 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
6.6 ms
100% Response Time
:
18.3 ms

The response time of the M Series 2017 is good, which results in great motion blur performance. Only a short trail can be seen following moving objects.

7.9 Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
:
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
480 Hz

The M Series 2017 uses PWM at 480Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 99/100 backlight setting, but at that frequency it isn't really noticeable. Lowering the setting shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant until very low backlight settings.

9.2 Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
:
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
:
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
:
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
:
60 Hz

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.

0 Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
:
No
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
:
No

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.

8.2 Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
:
23.4 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
:
0.0 ms

The Vizio M Series 2017 is great at displaying all types of content without stutter. The response time of the display helps to smooth the transition between frames, which produces a smoother overall image. This is true for movies, video games and sports.

7.8 24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
:
No
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
:
No
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
:
Yes

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.

0 Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
:
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No
4k VRR Maximum
:
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
:
N/A

The Vizio M Series 2017 has a 60Hz panel, and doesn't support any variable refresh rate implementation. This is normal behavior for 2017 TVs.

6.9

Inputs

 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. Like all 2016 model, the M 2017 does not have a TV Tuner.

7.0 Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
:
49.3 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
:
49.4 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
66.0 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
:
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
:
47.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
:
47.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
47.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
:
47.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
63.9 ms
4k With Interpolation
:
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A

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.

Update 01/23/2018: Retested input lag with the latest firmware (3.4.8.15). Input lag is ~9 ms higher across the board; this is also the case with the E Series 2017 and HDMI port 1 on the P Series 2017. The review has been updated.

6.7 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
:
No
1440p @ 60Hz
:
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
:
No

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.

Side Inputs
Rear Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI : 4
USB : 2
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 0
Analog Audio Out RCA : 1
Component In : 1
Composite In : 0
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 0
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 0
SD/SDHC : 0

Like the 2016 model, the Vizio M Series 2017 doesn't have a TV tuner.

Inputs Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
:
Yes
HLG
:
Yes
3D
:
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
:
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
:
Yes (HDMI 1)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
:
No
ARC
:
Yes (HDMI 1)
USB 3.0
:
No
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC : Yes
MHL : No
Variable Analog Audio Out : Yes
Wi-Fi Support : Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Update 07/14/2017: Variable analog audio out is supported, there was an error in the review.

6.4

Sound Quality

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.

6.3 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
142.54 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
3.49 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
3.60 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
5.44 dB
Max
:
89.4 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
3.75 dB

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.

6.6 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.131
Weighted THD @ Max
:
10.517
IMD @ 80
:
1.41 %
IMD @ Max
:
6.67 %

Poor distortion performance. THD is high at all levels, and it very noticeable levels at higher volumes.

6.8

Smart Features

Smart OS : SmartCast
Version : 1.27

The Vizio M 2017 runs Vizio SmartCast, which has a great phone and tablet app with full control over the TV's settings, and has great casting app support, but still nascent built-in app support. The highlight of the platform is the SmartCast app, which can change any of the TV's settings, enter text and act as the remote. The TV can play content cast from most apps on a smartphone or tablet, much like a Google Chromecast. An update recently added built-in app support, but currently few apps are supported and the app's interfaces are really choppy. The update also added proper USB drive support, so files can be browsed and played, but HDR is still not played properly. The TV lacks a built in tuner, so antenna and cable channels can't be played without using an external tuner like this one. However despite these limitations the TV is still quite usable as a smart TV, especially when used with a phone or tablet.

Update 06/07/2018: Smart OS Version has been changed from 3.3 to 1.27. It was discovered that the 3.3 version number referred to the TV's firmware version, while the TV's Cast Version refers to the smart OS version.

7.0 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Not Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
15 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
4 s
Advanced Options
:
Many

There is a side menu that can be accessed in any input, which contains all the TV's settings. There is also an apps screen, listed as 'SmartCast' under inputs, which is currently only one page and has really choppy animations. Because the app screen is listed as an input and has no button on the remote, it can take a while to click through the inputs to reach it.

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