If you want the most features for your TV buck, look no further than Vizio's E3D0VX series. It's the least expensive 1080p 3D TV on the market--yeah, entry-level 720p 3D plasmas from Samsung and LG cost less but don't include active glasses, while Sony's PlayStation TV is just 24 inches. The Vizio also sports a well-equipped Internet package, complete with content galore, built-in Wi-Fi and, yes, a remote equipped with a QWERTY keyboard on the flip side. About the only thing missing is an LED backlight.
The downside is that the Vizio's disappointing 2D picture can't match that of many basic-featured competitors that cost less. If you can overlook that significant flaw and actually want 3D, you'll find Vizio's E3D0VX plenty appealing.
The Vizio E3D0VX's chief extra is the same kind of passive 3D found on LG's 2011 3D TVs--all of which are more expensive LED models that start at 47 inches. Check out our 3D TV Buying Guide for more on passive 3D.
The E3D0VX includes two pairs of passive glasses instead of the four found on LG's TVs and more-expensive Vizios. They don't match either; one is the same curvy, glossy pair of spectacles included on those Vizios, while the other set is more generic-looking with flat lenses. The company sells additional (curvy) specs for $25 each on its web site. Less expensive compatible circular polarized glasses are available from online merchants, and if you swipe a pair of passive 3D glasses from your local theater, they should work, too.
The chunky Vizio E3D0VX series won't win any beauty contests. It follows the company's familiar aesthetic of the last year or two: a glossy black frame with a thick perforated speaker grille along the bottom. There's a strange dimple in the middle of the grille, which at first glance seemed like a dent caused by damage during shipping.
We were excited (in the nerdiest possible fashion) when we saw that the backside of Vizio's remote had a QWERTY keyboard. It's better than the previous version found on models like the XVT3SV, with more responsive keys, an easier typing experience and no flimsy slide-up action. It’s still not as good as the QWERTY clicker included on Samsung's expensive D8000series, mainly because it doesn't have a backlight (making use impossible in the dark) and it works via infrared instead of Bluetooth--so you have to make sure to have line of sight between the Vizio remote and the TV. It's pretty darn good, though, and obviously a much better value than the Samsung version.
The front side of the Vizio remote could be a lot better. It also lacks illumination, the menu/exit/guide/back keys are too small, there's not enough differentiation, and no direct button to switch aspect ratio.
The Vizio features plenty of jacks for most setups, but better yet in our book is that composite, component and HDMI are clearly labeled "Good," "Better," and "Best" so novices can easily determine which connection to use.
Most connected TV purveyors improved their user experiences this year but Vizio did not; sticking to the same Yahoo widgets-based system it used last year. The main gateway consists of a strip along the bottom of the screen that shows just four widgets at a time, so finding the one you want is a tedious scrolling chore if you any more than 10 or so installed.
We also appreciate that Vizio included built-in Wi-Fi, so you don't have to run a wire to the TV to take advantage of the Internet features. Unlike on earlier Vizios, Wi-Fi on this model worked well in our test environment.
Vizio's menu system is very good. It resembles another app in appearance, and we liked that the picture settings section is actually integrated into the main App taskbar. Responses were fast, explanations complete, and we had no problems finding our way around.
The selection here is adequate but not up to LG's or Samsung's standards. We'd like to see gamma presets and especially the ability to adjust dejudder processing beyond the three presets, but neither is in the offing.
In terms of 2D the picture quality of the Vizio is a dead ringer for that of the much less expensive LK450 series, characterized by poor black level performance and accurate color. That means that other entry-level TVs, like the Sony BX420 series and Samsung D550, provide superior 2D picture quality. In 3D the Vizio is an intriguing choice, with a couple of surprising advantages over LG's larger passive sets, but again its lighter blacks make it unsuitable for dim-room viewing.