Pros: Great price, above average performance, comes with 3D and Smart TV access via wired or WiFi
Cons: Not as black as a plasma, semi-matte screen may be troublesome for some, lack of full color management system- but is more than decent without
Upon first use you are welcomed to an nifty onscreen setup helper with will make sure you are using the proper inputs and are connected to the correct network.
After using the Spears & Munsil 2nd edition to select the best setting without a full calibration, I was pleasantly rewarded with deep blacks and very well contrasted colors. This set also uses an edge lit local dimming system that helps to improve on screen contrast. You also have the native 120Hz or an option to engage the screen blanking 240Hz. Frame Interpolation is able to activated as well depending on what you like and your viewing habits. In addition, the Game Mode is another option which will reduce the lag that is a notable problem with the LCD/LED LCD models of televisions. When I was done with the tweaking, in order to get the image as close to the Rec709 standards as possible, I was rewarded with a great viewing experience.
As I do not have professional testing equipment this will be an every man’s review – the eyeball test. I popped in several Blu Rays that I deem test worthy, list as follows; The Dark Knight, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Alien, Jaws, Life of Pi, and Star Trek (2009). All of these movies produced a wonderful image with only one major or minor complaint, “blooming”. While the blooming ranged from often subtle to very seldom overwhelming, it was still there. Once you see it, it becomes hard to ignore, however it was as I said usually minor. Scenes worth a noting include, in The Dark Knight when Batman glides through the night sky of Hong Kong, there was no visible black crush with full detail of Batman and the surrounding cityscape. During the opening scene of Alien, as the ship panned across the screen with the right amount of film judder for a 24Hz film. Life of Pi is full of vibrant color which the set is displayed accurately. All mentioned above is what makes this a great mid-sized display.
This set is a passive 3D TV meaning it uses battery free light weight glasses to produce your 3D image. And what an amazing 3D image it is, you will get a clean flicker free bright image. While watching Prometheus 3D, I was able to make out all the details within the computer world with no problem at all even in the predominately black scenes as well as the bright ones. The quality of stayed persistent during all the 3D content from 3D Blu Rays such as Tron: legacy, Hugo, Titanic, and Avatar to SBS/TB content from streaming services, anyone who is on the fence about 3D should take a look at what this television set can do. While wearing a special still cheap type of 3D glasses you can enjoy split screen gaming on a whole new level. These glasses are made with 2 left lens on one pair and 2 right lens on the other. During a split screen game you can select the 3D option that corresponds to your mode of split screen in the current game. When you look out of the glasses you will see that the screen is now split and when looking through the glasses the screen appears to look full, fitting the entire screen. All this happens with little to no crosstalk making it an easy way to play local multiplayer games with your full screen display and avoiding cheaters looking at your place in the game.
Wait, there’s more. With the many ways to get streaming services into your home including AppleTV, Roku, HTPC, gaming consoles and even Blu Ray players it can become overwhelming. This set can lend you one more option or the solution, as with many midrange to high-end television, this comes with Smart TV via wired or Wifi. The setup is easy; a guided set up menu will walk you through it with little or no problems. Simply connect via wire or Wifi, and then you will have access to the apps and yahoo store to purchase additional ones you like. Logging into my Netflix account was a breeze. When you view your installed apps, they will populate a slider bar at the bottom of your screen. I find this convenient as you can continue to watch your currently displayed source while browsing for the correct app. Once selected it will they bring you to the full screen mode of the app. Quality of streaming apps are dependent upon your network speed; I found the picture to be on par with my Apple HTPC and the Roku. CEC is also present, so if you have gear that supports such, you can ditch some remotes. The included remote makes it simple to navigate this whole process by including a full QWERTY keyboard for easy data input.
This set comes with 4 HDMI ports, a RGB input, antenna input, PC audio in, composite shared with component input and a digital audio in. One of the HDMI ports supports ARC, also known as Audio Return Channel where you can send the audio info from your TV to your receiver/preamp. The component input is capable of 1080p resolution which is a plus for pre HDMI HD gear. At the beginning of the review I mentioned this TV came sporting Passive 3D Technology, given this you can do more than just 3D.
Firmware updates are simple and are pushed to the set rather than sought out by the user. When accessing the user menus on this set, they can be selected two ways via the menu button or as an pre installed app.
As with most flat screen televisions, sound with this set is not as good as with a sound bar and better yet with a surround sound system. TV will deliver crisp sound, but overall lacks the bass punch.
To wrap things up I will say many people are weary of Vizio due to its new standing in the business. I say that everyone must start somewhere and Vizio is off to a great start. Stay tuned for my review of the M801d-A3 coming soon.