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.
In terms of 2D the picture quality of the Vizio is a dead ringer for that of the much less expensive , 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.
Prior to calibration the Movie mode came closest to our ideal dim-room picture settings--but that's not saying much. Its color temperature in the Normal preset was too red, the picture was too dim, and gamma measured exceedingly dark--the latter two problems, we're guessing, a result of the TVs dynamic contrast and ambient light sensors being active by default. After disabling those and proceeding with our standard calibration we got good results. For our image quality tests we used the comparison lineup below and checked out "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
|Comparison models (details)|
|Sony KDL-40BX420||40-inch LCD|
|Insignia NS-42E859A11||42-inch LED-based LCD|
|LG 47LV5500||46-inch LED-based LCD|
|Panasonic TC-P50ST30||50-inch plasma|
Black level: The Vizio tied with the LG LK450 for worst in our lineup at producing a deep shade of black. The difference was obvious between those two and the others in our dark room, and even visible in some scenes under bright ambient light. Dark areas, like the letterbox bars, deep shadows and recesses, or Voldemort's banquet hall (Chapter 2) showed the most obvious differences between those two and the rest of the lineup, making those dark areas appear washed out and much less impactful than the other TVs.
Details in shadows, such as the folds in Snape's robe (4:57) appeared neither obscured nor too blown-out, but again looked worse than the other displays because of those bright blacks.
Color accuracy: White its measurements aren't as razor-straight as the charts from LG's LK450, the color on the two TVs was remarkably similar--and generally excellent in terms of accuracy. In brighter areas like the faces of the good guys in Chapter 3 (12:15) skin tones, clothing and hair color looked more accurate than on the Samsung D550, the Insignia, the Panasonic and the Sony. On the other hand it lacked the punch and saturation of the D630 and colors in general were less rich and saturated than on the sets with better black levels.
Video processing: When fed a 1080p/24 source the E3D0VX failed to preserve the proper cadence, instead seeming to "catch" every second or so during the pan over the Intrepid from "I Am Legend." We disabled 1080p/24 on our Blu-ray player and the catch was replaced by the characteristic hitching stutter of 2:3 pull-down, an effect we preferred to the "catch." That's why we'd recommend disabling 1080p/24 on your Blu-ray player if you own this TV.
Uniformity: The screen of the E3D0VX didn't have any of the bright spots we saw on the Sony or the edge-lit LG and Insignia, maintaining its brightness and color well across its surface. From off-angle its blacks washed out quicker than any of the others, but on the flipside we didn't see as much discoloration as we did on the Samsungs, the Sony and the Insignia.
Bright lighting: The Vizio's matte screen serves it well in bright rooms where lights, windows and bright objects cause reflections. Such objects appeared dimmer and much less distinct, and thus less distracting, then they did on the Panasonic plasma, for example, and black levels were also preserved better. The rest of the sets in the lineup also have matte screens, and in general they all performed equally well in this category.
PC: Performance was excellent via VGA, with full resolution, no edge enhancement and excellent detail.
3D: For our 3D comparison we swapped out the majority of the TVs above (keeping only the Panasonic plasma) and added the Sony KDL-46EX720, the and the . We watched "The Green Hornet" Blu-ray with all of the TVs set to their default Movie or Cinema modes.
In terms of the artifacts we've come to associate with passive 3D, we actually found the 42-inch Vizio E3D420VX better than the 47-inch LG 47LW5600. We suspect some of the difference has to do with the Vizio's smaller screen size, not because smaller screens make artifacts less visible but because there may be some difference in the way the two sizes' FPR renders 3D. As usual for our tests, we did our best to compensate for purely size-based differences by staggering the seating distance of the two--the Vizio was about 7.5 feet away and the LG about 8.5.
Even so, jagged edges along lines were less prevalent on the Vizio than the LG. When Britt got into the limo after the funeral, for example, the LG showed uneven edges along Chudnofsky's suit (13:38) and even more noticeably on the edge of the sunlit seat in the background behind Britt (13:47). On the Vizio the suit and bottom of the seat looked very slightly softer than the LG, but line structure was much less evident, even when we moved even closer to the screen to look for it. Again at 14:05, as the camera tilted slightly we saw the telltale crawling effect along the reflected light of the background window frame when watching the LG, but the same area looked softer and showed no crawl on Vizio.
In other places however we did see jagged edges on the passive Vizio that were not visible on the active 3D models, for example on the inward-facing windows of the publisher's office (14:49). Horizontal line structure was also evident in many places, particularly text and icons but also on flat fields of bright colors. Finally the Vizio's 3D image did look a bit softer overall than the LG and the active sets, but the difference wasn't that evident in most scenes.
As usual for passive the Vizio's image was brighter and showed less crosstalk--those annoying double images--than any of the active TVs in our lineup, including the Panasonic plasma.
As with 2D, the Vizio's biggest weakness in 3D was black level. Its lighter blacks washed out dark areas of the image and reduced contrast to a much greater extent than any of the other sets in our comparison. Some tweaking of picture settings might help (we don't currently calibrate for 3D in our tests) but there's no way the TV could get as dark as even the LG, let alone the active models.
Between the two kinds of glasses Vizio includes, the flat version fit much better over our regular glasses; the slicker, curved specs didn't fit well at all unless we took off our prescription glasses (maybe Vizio needs to include Croakies). The flat lenses should also reject glare and lead to a better overall 3D experience.
All told 3D on the Vizio was satisfying enough, especially for casual viewing in brighter rooms where its black level issues won't be nearly as apparent.
Power consumption: The Vizio is no power hog but it can't match the efficiency of Samsung's larger D630 model, for example.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0372||Poor|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2858/0.2945||Poor|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3128/0.3293||Good|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.313/0.3305||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||5918||Poor|
|After avg. color temp.||6429||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||1.2231||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||2.14||Average|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||1.2||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2174/0.3302||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3276/0.1594||Average|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4207/0.5064||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Fail||Poor|
|1080i De-interlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||300||Poor|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|
|PC input resolution (VGA)||1920x1080||Good|
|Vizio E3D420VX||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||112.21||82.589||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.15||0.11||N/A|
|Cost per year||$24.80||$18.30||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Good|