Vizio M-Series (2018) review: An excellent picture you can afford, but competition is tough

    Vizio had a great run during the last couple of years as CNET’s favorite TV for the money, however this 12 months its domination ends. The TCL 6 series is a greater tv than the 2018 Vizio M-Collection.

    In fact there are nonetheless causes to love the M-Collection. Its picture high quality is nearly pretty much as good because the TCL’s, and it is accessible in a 70-inch measurement, whereas the TCL 6 collection tops out at 65 inches. In case you actually like utilizing your cellphone, Alexa or Google Assistant to regulate your TV, the M-Collection is extra suitable with these devices than the TCL. And the Vizio is a greater worth than any TV I’ve examined from Samsung, Sony or LG.

    Finally, TCL 6 collection does what the Vizio M-Collection has achieved for the final couple of years, only a bit higher. Proper now the 2 price about the identical: $600 (TCL) and $700 (Vizio) for the 55-inch measurement and a few grand (each corporations) for the 65-incher. That is ridiculously cheap for this degree of image high quality, anchored by full-array local dimming, a brilliant high dynamic range (HDR) picture and Dolby Vision assist. In my side-by-side comparisons nonetheless, the TCL seemed a bit extra punchy and, properly, dynamic than the Vizio. And let’s not overlook its far-superior Roku good TV system.

    Regardless of the prevalence of the TCL, the Vizio M-Collection stays a wonderful selection for TV patrons who need premium picture high quality for the cash and do not care as a lot about model fashion or additional options.

    Slim body, skinny legs, modern TV

    Sarah Tew/CNET

    The 2018 M-Collection is a method step-up in comparison with earlier Vizios. The border is slimmer across the image, and the glass of the display screen extends virtually to the sting for a really clear look. The little legs to both aspect are as skinny and spindly as I’ve seen — though they nonetheless felt steady sufficient.

    I am not an enormous fan of Vizio’s many-buttoned distant, and I saved having to look down fairly than function it by really feel. I desire the simplicity of TCL’s Roku TV distant or the advanced clickers of Samsung and LG.

    Vizio M-Series 2018Vizio M-Series 2018

    Sarah Tew/CNET

    Wire cutter scorecard: Yay tuner, boo built-in streaming

    Vizio has lastly addressed a obtrusive omission in previous TVs: All of its 2018 units embody a built-in over-the-air TV tuner, identical to these of rivals. The tuner has real value to twine cutters and others who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV.

    Much more beneficial to such of us is built-in streaming, and that is the place the M-Collection falls brief. That is hardly a deal-breaker since you may at all times join an external streamer just like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus or, if you’d like Dolby Imaginative and prescient, an Apple TV 4K, however it’s nonetheless a strike within the destructive column in comparison with rivals like TCL, Samsung and LG — all of which have higher Good TV implementations than Vizio.

    Vizio M-Series 2018Vizio M-Series 2018

    Sarah Tew/CNET

    The on-screen house web page takes too lengthy to load after you press the “V” button on the distant and as soon as it does arrive, there’s not a lot there. Simply 18 apps seem alongside the underside, and whereas six are heavy hitters (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube and Plex) the remainder are minor, and it would not have loads of different large apps like DirecTV Now, HBO, ESPN, CNN or Pandora. You may’t take away or reorder apps, or in any method customise the Uncover part, which occupies a lot of the display screen with films and exhibits you most likely do not care about. And even should you do, you will want a TV supplier sign-in for lots of them.

    Vizio has made a couple of enhancements, for instance including apps for YouTube and YouTube TV and enabling HDR on Amazon, however the system remains to be fairly weak except you’re keen on utilizing your cellphone as a substitute of on-screen menus. The TV’s Chromecast built-in system permits you to go into any supported app in your cellphone and hit the Forged button to disclose the Vizio TV as an possibility; choose it and video from the app will play again on the TV. There are literally thousands of supported apps, and the system works very properly basically, however I nonetheless desire an actual onscreen menu system — simply not Vizio’s.


    Vizio’s personal free TV streaming service is coming quickly.

    Sarah Tew/CNET

    Vizio says a brand new as-yet-unnamed streaming service geared toward twine cutters is coming to its TVs quickly. The corporate stated it could launch with the same channel lineup as Pluto TV, and would add extra channels sooner or later — all accessible by way of a grid-style information. For straightforward entry will probably be accessible as one other “enter,” very like SmartCast itself.

    Though it lacks its personal built-in voice assistant, the Vizio is ready to be to managed to some extent by Google Assistant (details here) and Alexa (here) good audio system. I did not take a look at that performance this time round, however Google House labored comparatively properly to regulate the 2017 M-Series.

    Within the (dimming) zone

    Key TV options

    Show know-how LED LCD
    LED backlight Full-array with native dimming
    Decision 4K
    HDR suitable HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient
    Display screen form Flat
    Good TV: SmartCast
    Distant: Customary

    Bringing full-array local dimming (FALD) to lower cost factors is Vizio’s wheelhouse. This function is my favourite enchancment for LCD image high quality as a result of it improves all-important distinction and black ranges, particularly with HDR, and has higher uniformity than edge-lit dimming. The variety of dimmable zones is a crucial specification as a result of it controls how exact the dimming could be. Extra zones would not essentially imply higher image high quality, however it normally helps. Here is how Vizio and TCL evaluate.

    Vizio M-Collection vs. TCL 6 collection dimming zones

    Model Mannequin Measurement Dimming zones
    Vizio M70-F3 70-inch 48
    TCL 65R617/65R615 65-inch 120
    Vizio M65-F0 65-inch 40
    TCL 55R617/55R615 55-inch 96
    Vizio M55-F0 55-inch 32

    Whereas far in need of TCL, Vizio’s zone depend is a bit increased than that of final 12 months’s M (except the 55-inch, which stays the identical). The M-Collection has extra zones then the cheaper E collection, however fewer than the step-up P collection and P-Collection Quantum (details here). Excluding the TCL 6 collection, most different TVs at this worth lack dimming fully, use the edge-lit selection, or price much more, just like the Sony X900F and Samsung Q8 (neither Sony or Samsung lists their dimming zone numbers).

    The M-Collection has a 60Hz refresh rate panel — Vizio’s declare of “120Hz efficient” is fake news. It lacks a setting to have interaction MEMC (movement estimation, movement compensation), aka the Soap Opera Effect, as discovered on the more-expensive P-Collection. All the sizes within the M-Collection use higher-performance VA panels, not the IPS panel discovered on some sizes in earlier years.

    Like LG, TCL and (finally) Sony, Vizio helps each major types of HDR, HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, within the M-Collection.

    Vizio M-Series 2018Vizio M-Series 2018

    Sarah Tew/CNET
    • four HDMI inputs (All model, with HDCP 2.2)
    • 1 element /composite video enter
    • 1 USB port
    • RF antenna tuner enter
    • Ethernet port
    • Optical digital audio output
    • Stereo analog audio output

    Vizio improved its connectivity from final 12 months, enabling all the inputs to simply accept all main 4K and HDR sources (except 120Hz enter for gaming, which is not accessible on the M collection — however it’s nonetheless on the P collection). Yep, there’s even an antenna enter. In different phrases, the M collection matches the connectivity of most of its competitors.

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