Vizio's VX32L HDTV may not be the least-expensive 32-inch flat-panel LCD on the market, but it's still quite affordable. Unlike most bargain-basement LCDs, however, this model provides a well-rounded feature set, including two HDMI inputs and a PC input along with plenty of picture controls. Those features, combined with perfectly acceptable picture quality, earn the VX32L HDTV our commendation as one of the best values at this screen size.
Vizio HDTVs have always been basic silver and black, but the 32-inch VX32L HDTV adds a few accents to complement the glossy black screen frame. The middle of the silver speaker bar below the screen curves in softly in an indentation reminiscent of the cable guy's backside. The back and sides of the panel are actually white, not silver, and there's a thin white border around the speakers. And the Vizio logo lights up white when the TV is on, then turns orange when it's turned off.
Set atop the included matching silver-and-chrome stand, the Vizio VX32L HDTV measures 31.4x23.3x10.4 inches (width/height/depth) and weighs 40.8 pounds. Remove that stand--the speakers are fixed--and the panel shrinks to 31.4x22.1x3.9 inches.
The remote control will be familiar to anyone who's ever operated a Vizio TV. It's crowded with buttons, many of which serve more than one purpose, and while we liked the direct access to input types and picture-in-picture controls, the sheer number and similarity of the keys will take some getting used to. Unlike with Vizio's larger sets, the remote included with the 32-inch VX32L HDTV lacks backlighting.
The menu system has a new look, however, with a friendlier blue font and slightly more advanced-looking icons. It offers the same options as most other HDTVs, Vizio or otherwise, and the layout is generally intuitive. We liked that the picture controls receded to the bottom of the screen during adjustment.
The Vizio has everything we could want in an inexpensive LCD. Like all 32-inch LCD HDTVs, the Vizio VX32L HDTV has a native resolution of 1,366x768, which is enough pixels to display every line of 720p HDTV content. All sources, whether HDTV, standard def, or computers, are scaled to fit the pixels.
A built-in ATSC tuner anchors the VX32L HDTV's list of conveniences, allowing it to tune over-the-air channels with the addition of an antenna. It also can receive digital cable channels courtesy of a QAM tuner, so if your cable provider happens to have a few unscrambled HDTV channels it might pick them up. Vizio also includes picture-in-picture with a versatile array of combinations, along with a freeze-frame option.
The Vizio VX32L HDTV also offers more picture controls than your average 32-inch LCD. Three preset picture modes are on tap, in addition to a fourth mode that allows you to change the picture parameters, such as contrast and color independently for each input. In addition to the three color temperature presets, you can fine-tune color temp using red, green, and blue controls. There's also a range of advanced video features we mostly left off for critical viewing.
We also were impressed by the good deal of connectivity around back. There are two HDMI inputs, two component-video inputs, one AV input with composite video, one RF input for antenna or cable, an optical digital output, and a VGA-style PC input that can handle resolutions up to the full 1,366x768.