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Vizio D series 2017 (D65-E0 and D55-E0) review: This cheap TV still has a very good picture

Although this review only applies to the 65-inch D65-E0, I also tested the D50-E1 at the same time in the same lineup. At times below I also include my observations of that TV.

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

Dim lighting: Thanks to local dimming the D65 punched way above its weight in a dark home theater environment, the most demanding for any TV. During one of my favorite black level torture tests, the attack on Hogwarts from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the shadows, letterbox bars and other dim areas it looked darker and more realistic than any of the other sets aside from the more expensive E65, which as very close, and the TCL P series, which was much darker and better. Meanwhile the non-dimming-equipped Vizios looked worse (brighter and more washed out), and the TCL S405 and the Element looked the worst of all.

The dimming Vizios and TCL also delivered brighter highlights than the others, for example in the faces of Voldemort and his wizards as they stood on the hilltop. Shadow details were also very good, and the D65/E65 actually showed a tiny advantage over the otherwise superior TCL P series in resolving near-black areas like the folds in their robes. That TV still had a superior dark-room image, however.

Bright lighting: The D65 was one of the dimmest TVs in my lineup and not a great performer in a bright room. Just like the E65, getting peak brightness out of this TV requires disabling its local dimming, something few users will likely remember to do when the lights are up. That said, it should still be plenty bright for most viewing situations.

Light output in nits

TV Mode (SDR) 10% window (SDR) Full screen (SDR) Mode (HDR) 10% window (HDR)
Vizio M65-D0 Calibrated 456 450 Vivid 507
TCL 55P607 Vivid/dimming off 438 431 Brighter/Dark HDR 448
Element EL4KAMZ5517 Standard 363 368 N/A
TCL 55S405 Brighter/Vivid 301 298 N/A
Vizio E65-E0 Vivid/dimming off 289 287 Vivid/dimming off 288
Vizio D65-E0 Vivid/dimming off 260 260 N/A
Vizio D50-E1 Vivid 250 304 N/A
Vizio E50-E1 Calibrated 223 226 N/A

The Vizios all seemed to share the same matte screen finish, and it was the better than any of the others at reducing reflections. It also preserved black levels well.

Color accuracy: Before calibration my D65 review sample was much worse than the E65, but that could just be an issue with the specific sets Vizio sent me, so it's not a major knock. After adjustment the two looked very similar and both were was quite accurate, with impressive skin tones and natural colors. I also appreciated the lack the of inaccurate bluish tint in dim areas, as seen on the non-dimming LCDs.

Video processing: Both D sets I tested handled 24-frame content properly, with the smooth but not too smooth look of film. Motion resolution was typical of a 60Hz TV, the panel's native refresh rate, despite Vizio's "120Hz effective" fake specification. The D65's "Clear Action 180" improves motion performance to 600 lines, but it wasn't worth the trade-off in brightness or flicker.

Unlike on the E series, the "Game Low Latency" setting actually did improve gaming input lag, but it was still worse than the E overall at 43ms. The 50-inch was slightly better at 40ms.

Uniformity: Lighting across the D65's screen was impressively even, the best in my lineup along with the E65, showing little variation or brights spots no matter the brightness level. Watching hockey, which can really expose uniformity issues, the two large Vizios again looked better than any of the others, although the P series was close.

From off-angle the E65 and D65 maintained black-level fidelity, pop and color better than any of the others aside from the TCL P series.

4K video: As I mentioned above both of the D series models I reviewed can handle 4K sources, unlike most D series sets available. On the other hand, since they can't do HDR, I really didn't see any improvement from their higher resolution.

For what it's worth the sets were able The D series was able to pass the full resolution of 4K from YouTube and played through a suite of 4K test patterns from Florian Friedrich with no issues. 

Vizio D65-E0 Geek Box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.4488 Poor
Peak white luminance (100%) 260 Poor
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.01 Poor
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 0.611 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 0.347 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 0.845 Good
Avg. color error 1.711 Good
Red error 1.712 Good
Green error 1.797 Good
Blue error 4.109 Average
Cyan error 0.823 Good
Magenta error 1.137 Good
Yellow error 0.685 Good
Avg. saturations error 1.37 Good
Avg. luminance error 4.58 Average
Avg. color checker error 1.28 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 600 Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 300 Poor
Input lag (Game mode) 43 Average

Vizio D65-E0 CNET calibration report by David Katzmaier on Scribd

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