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Vizio E series 2017 (60- to 80-inch) review: A big, affordable TV with a focus on picture quality

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Later this year Google will roll out additional Google Home tricks to Chromecast and TVs like the E series.

No antenna tuner, ample connections

The E series lacks a built-in TV tuner, so it can't receive local TV stations available via antenna/over-the-air broadcasts. In fact, lack of a tuner means they're not technically "TVs" anymore, which is why Vizio's web site calls them "Tuner-Free Displays." If you're someone who watches a lot of TV via antenna, rather than cable, satellite or streaming service, Vizio recommends you purchase a third-party tuner.

Beyond lacking a tuner connection, the E series' connectivity is fine for an entry-level TV.

  • Four HDMI inputs
  • Component video input
  • USB port
  • Wired Ethernet port
  • Analog audio output
  • Digital audio output

The capabilities of the HDMI inputs vary on most sizes in the series -- some are version 1.4 and some version 2.0 -- but that shouldn't be a big deal. Even the version 1.4 inputs can accept most 4K sources.

Vizio E Series
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Picture quality

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CNET

The larger E series TV beat the smaller one for image quality and also outperformed a couple of the other budget TVs I had on-hand to compare. Its strengths include deep black levels and contrast, powered by local dimming, accurate color and solid screen uniformity. It's not the best performer in bright rooms, and HDR image quality had some issues, but at least it can handle high dynamic range. That said, the TCL P series was all-around superior.

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: The effectiveness of the E65's local dimming was clearly evident in a dark room, especially with darker scenes. During Chapter 16 in "Logan" in the darkened car, for example, the shadows and letterbox bars looked darker and more realistic on the Vizio E65 than on any of the other sets except for the TCL P series. The other big Vizio, the D65, came closest, but the E50 and D50 were both markedly brighter (worse) and the Element and TCL S405 looked even worse, with brighter blacks and a washed-out look.

Shadow detail was good, a hair better than the TCL P series even, but I still preferred that TV's dark-room picture overall. There was also little evidence of blooming on the E65, that stray illumination that can plague some local dimming-equipped sets.

Bright lighting: The E series was one of the dimmest TVs in my lineup and not a great performer in a bright room. One issue with the E65 is that 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.

Here's how it stacked up:

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-E0 Calibrated 223 226 N/A

The D and E series Vizios all share a very similar matte screen finish, and it was a bit better than any of the others at reducing reflections. It also preserved black levels well.

Color accuracy: Before and after calibration the E series was quite accurate, with impressive skin tones and natural colors. The E50 didn't match the saturation or richness of the E65, however, although it was still solid enough, and I doubt the difference would be visible in side-by-side comparisons.

Video processing: The E series 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 E65's "Clear Action 180" improve motion performance to 600 lines, but it wasn't worth the trade-off in brightness or flicker.

There's a "Game Low Latency" setting but according to my tests it didn't affect gaming input lag, which was very good at 33 ms. The 50-inch E was even better at 29ms.

Uniformity: Lighting across the E65's screen was impressively even, the best in my lineup along with the D65, with little variation or brights spots in test patterns 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, color and pop better than any of the others aside from the TCL P series.

HDR and 4K video: In this budget TV lineup only two models are capable of HDR playback, the TCL P series and the Vizio E65. Between the two it wasn't much of a contest; the P series won handily. When streaming "Marco Polo" on Netflix, the E65 looked flatter and more washed out compared to the much punchier TCL, which also showed more vibrant saturated yet natural colors. The TCL did crush shadow detail a bit more than the Vizio, but overall it was still much better.

The story was similar watching "Logan" on 4K Blu-ray and HDR. The P series looked much more dynamic, and I immediately notice its significant light output advantage in brighter highlights. HDR on the P series had all of the punch I expected, while on the E it was altogether more muted, like standard dynamic range material.

The E65 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 E65-E0 Geek Box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0034 Good
Peak white luminance (100%) 289 Poor
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.33 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 0.722 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 0.633 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 0.558 Good
Avg. color error 1.603 Good
Red error 1.965 Good
Green error 0.82 Good
Blue error 3.908 Average
Cyan error 0.615 Good
Magenta error 1.011 Good
Yellow error 1.299 Good
Avg. saturations error 1.37 Good
Avg. luminance error 1.31 Good
Avg. color checker error 1.59 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 600 Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 300 Poor
Input lag (Game mode) 33 Good



HDR default

Black luminance 0.0034 Good
Peak white luminance (10% win) 288 Poor
Gamut % DCI/P3 (CIE 1976) 82 Poor
Avg. saturations error 15.4 Poor
Avg. color checker error 11.7 Poor

Vizio E65-E0 CNET review calibration report by David Katzmaier on Scribd

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