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Vizio E0VL series

Among the least expensive 120Hz LCDs available, the Vizio E0VL series delivers a decent picture but falls a bit short of competitors.

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David_Katzmaier.jpg

David Katzmaier

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1 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

Overview

Like most TV makers, Vizio offers a wide variety of features at different price points. The E0VL series reviewed here lacks the Internet and LED backlight options of the company's flagship XVT3 series, but its spec sheet and price tag hold the real appeal--it's one of the least expensive TVs on the market with 120Hz processing. On the other hand the Vizio's downsides, namely lighter black levels and less-impressive performance when viewed from off-angle, give us some pause when comparing it with other non-LED-based 120Hz LCDs. But if you want this feature set and don't mind a couple of sacrifices, the Vizio E0VL makes a strong value-driven argument.
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Corner detail

The one distinction offered by the pedestrian-looking, black-on-black frame of the E0VL is the beveled bezel, which is glossy toward the screen and matte away from it such that it resembles a stylized picture frame. That 120Hz badge is not removable.
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Stand detail

Nope, that stand doesn't swivel.
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Side view

In case you care, the Vizio E0VL isn't quite as slim as LED-based models.
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Remote control

From an ergonomic standpoint, Vizio's clicker is middling at best. We liked the well-differentiated button groupings, but the main keys around the diamond-shaped cursor are too easy to confuse, the little-used "media" button is too prominent, and the lack of a dedicated key to switch aspect ratio is annoying. We did appreciate the three direct input-type keys (HDMI, AV, and TV), however. In addition to standard control-over-HDMI, the remote on the 47- and 55-inch members of the series (but not the 42-incher) can command up to three other devices via infrared.
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Back panel inputs

Analog video inputs are relatively scarce. The back panel has just two, in the form of one component- and one composite-video.
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Side inputs

The side panel lacks analog jacks altogether, but the USB does allow photo viewing.
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Photo viewer

Slipping a USB thumbdrive with picture into the side slot brings up the E0VL's only multimedia capability. Music and movies won't play back.
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Main menu

Vizio's menu system is clean-looking and easy to navigate.
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Main picture menu

Sure you could choose the Movie mode, but what if you want to watch football?
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Picture modes

Vizio has you covered. (Note that choosing a sports-related picture mode doesn't necessarily improve the picture for that particular sport.)
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Advanced picture menu

Dejudder presets are in evidence, although a few more advanced controls go missing.
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Color temperature menu

We like the option to adjust color temperature via two points, but Samsung and LG offer 10, if you're counting.
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Picture-in-picture

Picture-in-picture is becoming rarer these days.
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Picture quality

The overall picture quality of Vizio's E0VL series competes well against the similarly featured Sony and Samsung models we tested, although we'd rate it a notch below them on account of its less-impressive black levels and off-angle performance. Color in bright areas was a strong suit, however, and there were no major issues with video processing or uniformity--the latter proved better than typical edge-lit LCDs, in fact.

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