Hi all! Picked up my M601d Tuesday night and finally got it up and running last night -- had to rearrange half the living room to make room for the larger size (was originally going to get the 55").
I only had about an hour to play with it last night, but first impressions, given my focus on usable black levels and shadow detail and tolerance for some flashlighting, are that it DESTROYS the Sammy F6350 I returned.
Threw in The Hobbit on BD for a little and tested out the opening chapter's title sequence, the part where Bilbo lights the candle and walks down the dark hallway, and the the darker scenes of the Dwarven mines. Gorgeous. I'm totally stoked! The panel is clean with no clouding, even on the loading screen when it's in torch mode. Either I'm extremely lucky, or the 60, 70 and 80 A3 sets are having fewer problems than other sizes, or both. For an edge-lit LED that needs to throw light across a fairly large screen, this thing is awesome. It's a keeper.
To be clear, this is not a set without it's faults. A few thoughts:
1) Smart Dimming does generate plenty of flashlighting from the sides when illuminating bright objects on a black screen, as has been mentioned many times on this thread. But that's a trait I'm willing to accept. Quickly dropping the backlight down helped reduce it some, but by no means is it gone yet. More time playing with it might yield more improvement. The Smart Dimming on this Vizio transitions in and out a little differently than my old LG set: It ramps up smoothly and then ramps down smoothly, rather than bursting on and off quickly. I kind of like their decision to do it this way, since it's actually a little less noticeable to me. I do think they could have sped up the transitioning a bit, but overall I think it works.
2) Initial impressions on motion performance are mixed so far. In general, with motion smoothing turned off, things look great. But there's a scene in The Hobbit where the camera makes a huge, moderately paced sweep across the Dwarven mines that showed quite a significant lack of sharpness. As soon as the camera slowed down, things became sharper again. Not sure if was I was seeing was due to a 24fps thing or just a general weakness with motion. Turning motion smoothing to Low instantly solved the problem, but at first blush it seemed a bit too strong for my liking: too much SOE, robbing the movie of its film-like feel. The Low setting isn't over the top, but it is noticeable. The set doesn't have a custom setting for blur and dejudder, which would've been nice. Just Off, Low, Medium and High. Again, though, I've hardly had time to tinker around with this. Could be that my PS3 wasn't outputting optimally from the BD with 24fps set to Auto.
3) Yeah, the remote responsiveness and operating system speed sucks. Don't care as long as it doesn't start locking up on me and as long as the picture stays this impressive overall.
4) Can't comment yet on any of the apps or smart features. Don't plan to even go there until the firmware updates. Out of the box I'm on 1.05 I think.
That said, are any of these things significant problems for me?
Absolutely not. I'm extremely picky, like a lot of us here, but life is just too short to let every single thing get to me. As annoying as it is, it's clear that there's nothing even close to perfect out there for this price point. Given what I care about and value most in a picture, I don't feel I'm compromising much. The picture is gorgeous and it'll probably get more impressive once I dial in the white balance and colors. So unless it starts to misbehave, I'm extremely happy and am looking forward to breaking out the popcorn and losing myself at the movies! (I also can't wait to check out some hockey and soccer on this thing).
I'll follow up with updates as I have time over the coming days and weeks.