July 3, 2013
The good: The Vizio M-series is an excellent value with great design and a snappy picture; it has excellent shadow detail, fairly deep black levels, and excellent processing; and its smart TV access has been improved.
The bad: It doesn't have as deep a black level as a plasma; the TV suffers from a slight red push; it has a reflective screen; Yahoo apps aren't very slick; and the remote sensor isn't very responsive.
The bottom line: The Vizio M-series offers a potent combination of excellent design, decent picture quality, and a pocket-friendly price.
Vizio has been around a while now, and though it started as a budget brand it has been making some small steps toward improving its image, and with the new M-series the improvement is literal. The M series is inarguably the best-looking TV the company has produced, with a barely there bezel and subtle design elements.
The picture the TV can produce is also impressive for its price, with excellent shadow detail and fairly deep blacks, and making it worth the extra money over Vizio's entry-level E-series for more natural image quality. Local dimming for the price of a nondimming set is nothing to scoff at. Meanwhile, color performance offers up a little bit too much red, but otherwise the Vizio displays a full, rich color palette. It's certainly a well-performing LED-backlit TV for the money, but it's worth repeating that it doesn't hold a candle to our value kings, the Panasonic ST60 series of plasmas.
With its new M-series, Vizio has shown that it is determined to deliver a good-looking TV with unexpected performance for the price. If you need a large screen with design and picture smarts, the Vizio M551d and M501d offer compelling combinations.
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