Pros: Superb 3D, customer service, ease of use, remote, picture, backlighting
Cons: remote a bit flimsy
Pervious to getting the VISIO I had a 2004 Sharp Aquos 32" that cost $3,400. That was given to a friend in 2007 when I purchased a $1,800 Sharp Aquos 42" TV. That set was also given to my friend. In February 2013 it was time to go bigger and after reading many, many reviews I decided to give VISIO a try. They seem to be the Hyundai of electronics. Started out with a bad reputation, but iver the years the products have come close to world class and the quality has improved tremendously.
Due to my entertainment stand and space issues I was limited to a max of 55". I settled on the VISIO M3D550KDE as the best overall choice. Part of my decision was based on the fact that VISIO gave 4 pairs of passive 3D glasses with the TV. The other was price. I shopped on Amazon and for $849 the set was delivered to my front door and set up.
The initial set up was a breeze. A few prompts had my wi fi connected, updates applied and the set was ready to go. My first noticeable complaint was how shiny the screen is. With the picture off, it could be a mirror that is good enough to use for shaving. With a picture on screen, it is perfectly acceptable for viewing.
The set is about an inch thick. It is amazingly thin (compared to the 42" Sharp that was something like 4" thick). All of the inputs are on the left of the set, behind the screen and there are black buttons on the right side of the set, behind the screen for manual control. Unfortunately these buttons are marked with raised black labels and are easy to miss even knowing that they are there.
Documentation that comes with the set is minimal at best. There is an extensive Help section as part of the Smart TV functions. These features include Netflix, Pandora and a few others that I haven't used. Netflix is the killer app on this set and works just wonderful.
Now about the picture. Glare aside the picture is crisp, the lighting uniform, the blacks are black. I use DISH as my content provider for what that's worth. No complaints about the picture. There are several picture controls, like Baseball, Golf, Movie, etc. These controls make a subtile difference to the picture. One can do a manual setting of picture quality, so this is a case of using the one that pleases you the most.
The 3D viewing is simply superb. There is a very wide viewing angle, the passive glasses do no distract from the experience. At 55" the set is just large enough to make the 3D worthwhile. I use a $99 VIZIO 3D Blu-ray player. Watching Avatar, Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, Hugo and World War Z in 3D was like being at the movies, without the sticky floors, overpriced popcorn and people talking. It was a great viewing experience.
The sound from the TV is a bit thin. I mean how good can the sound be coming from speakers that are small and thin to start with? I added a VIZIO 32" sound bar that included the digital cable. That helped to add some 'body' to the sound. Overall I rate the sound to be good to very good.
Now for the one problem I encountered. Upon set up I noticed that HDMI port #1 did not work. It has 4 HDMI slots. I called VIZIO and they had a truck deliver a NEW replacement. The replacement was unboxed, the old unit taken off the stand and replaced with the new one. We checked that all the HDMI ports worked. They took the old set and I had a fully functional new replacement. The Customer Service experience was great.
So what did I get for $849? Coming off 10 years of Sharp TV usage, I got a set that was 13" larger diagonally, lighter, and $1,000 cheaper. Is it as good as a Samsung or Sony? I don't know as I can't do an A/B comparison. What I do have is a 55" TV that offers a sharp uniform backlit picture, where the blacks are black, the sound is good, the 3D fantastic and the viewing angles are as good as the prior Sharp TVs I have owned. While I had reservations about going VIZIO, and I did take out the 3 year warranty, after 10 months of heavy usage, I have no regrets and I am totally satisfied with my choice.
I consider my VIZIO M3D55KDE to be an excellent TV, the price was superb and my one dealing with their customer service was incredible. Now that I have 3 VIZIO products it looks like I have confidence that VIZIO is the Hyundai of electronics. It overcame a horrid beginning and is now a quality product with a very attractive price.