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