Vizio's low-price, high-value formula has a couple of new incarnations in the 60- and 70-inch E1i-A3 TVs, which are selling for $1,000 and $2,000, respectively, at press time. Those prices are bargain-basement for such massive, LED-powered screens alone, but Vizio goes one better by mixing in features like Smart TV and a remote with a real QWERTY keyboard.
To get better picture quality in a 60-inch LED TV you'd have to pay another couple hundred dollars for Sharp's LC-LE640U series, with its crucial ability to display a darker shade of black. The Vizio E1i-A3 series competes well against that TV in other areas of picture quality, however, making it undoubtedly the superior bargain. It has a tougher row to hoe against the excellent Panasonic TC-P60U50 plasma, which also costs about a grand but is "dumb TV," for better or for worse. Buyers who prize picture above all else and don't want a 70-incher should choose the Panasonic, but for everyone else in the big-screen market, the Vizio E1i-A3 is our value pick so far this year.
The Vizio E1i-A3 delivered a workmanlike picture, albeit one roughly as good as you see on many LED TVs that cost a lot more. That said, it still couldn't match the level of picture quality seen on its chief 60-inch LED competitor from Sharp, let alone on Panasonic's excellent U50 plasma. The Vizio's black levels were relatively unconvincing and it showed some uniformity and off-angle-viewing issues. On the other hand, it still warrants a score of "good" in this category, mainly by virtue of accurate color and solid performance in bright rooms.