Normally I review TVs and soundbars separately, but Vizio’s P65 Quantum and 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar system are the company’s highest-performance 4K TV and soundbar, and when combined they work together as a system.
This system is classic Vizio, bringing home cutting-edge features and performance at affordable price points. For example, the P65 Quantum is currently on sale for $1529 at newegg.com (over $500 off MSRP) while the 46″ 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar system sells for $999. When combined, you get a true home theater experience at a surprisingly affordable price.
Features and Specifications
This is Vizio’s 2018 flagship 4K TV and is impressive in terms of performance. It is a 192-zone FALD display that utilizes quantum dots to achieve a high color gamut and brightness. It features Vizio’s Smartcast platform that’s powered by Chromecast, which allows the TV plus soundbar to act as one system.
According to the review site rtings.com, this TV is capable of hitting 2000 nits peak luminance in a 2% and a 10% window, as well as sustaining 800 nits full screen. Combined with a native contrast of 6000:1 and 15,000:1 contrast when using Fuller a local dimming, you’ve got a TV that can do justice to HDR content including HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Furthermore, because of the use of quantum dots, this TV covers just about the entire DCI/p3 color gamut that is used when mastering movies for commercial exhibition as well as Ultra HD Blu-ray and HDR Streaming.
The P65 Quantum features a standard VESA wall mount or may be used with the supplied legs. It has a fairly wide stance, requiring a stand that is at least 51 inches wide. The legs are just wide enough, and just tall enough to accommodate the Vizio 46″ Atmos soundbar.
On this TV, you will find five HDMI inputs. The first four are full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0, and the fifth port still supports 4K, but trades bandwidth for low latency. There is also one HDMI input, a USB port, component video in, composite video in, a coaxial connection for cable or tuner, an ethernet port, a digital optical audio output, an analog stereo 3.5 mm audio output, stereo RCA analog audio output. And, of course, it supports Wi-Fi.
Vizio’s P65 Quantum is a TV that supports a 120 Hz native refresh rate along with a 10.6 ms latency with 1080p input, making it a viable choice for gamers who require a “fast” display but also seek the picture quality and sense of immersion that a TV such as this can provide. 4K latency is 15 ms in SDR, and 27 ms for 4K HDR. And importantly for anyone planning to use this TV with the PC, it will accept a 4K 60 Hz signal 4:4:4 chroma for crisp text.
46″ 5.1.4 Atmos Soundbar
Vizio has a long history of making affordable soundbars that sound good and this is the company’s most ambitions offering ever. With 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos capability built-in, it delivers 3D immersive sound without the high cost or complicated installation that AVR-based Atmos solutions demand.
The system is comprised of the main soundbar unit, as well as a wireless sub that also powers the rear satellite speakers. According to the manual, the subwoofer frequency response range is 30 Hz to 160 Hz, while the soundbar frequency response range is 100 Hz to 20 kHz. That gives it a total system response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz, and Vizio says that it is able to output up to 105 dB SPL.
The satellite speakers feature two of the systems four upfiring drivers that are crucial to creating a proper 3D immersive effect.
This soundbar has Google Chromecast (with Wi-Fi connectivity) built-in, as well as Bluetooth. It works with Google Home.
Vizio’s top soundbar has a HDMI input that allows you to use it with ARC (audio return channel). Additionally, it has a 3.5 mm stereo analog input, and RCA digital audio input, and optical digital audio input, a USB input, and an ethernet port. The soundbar ships with a remote control (you can also control it with the tablet or phone) as well as all the necessary cables to connect it to ATV, to peripherals, and to connect the satellites the subwoofer.
LED indicators on the front left hand side of the unit give feedback if you use the supplied remote. The manual spells out what the different LED behaviors mean. Because it’s a little bit cryptic, for advanced configuration I recommend using the app instead. And in a pinch, if you can’t find your phone or the remote, there are some physical controls on the top of the soundbar. This includes a power button, source selection button, a Bluetooth pairing button, and volume controls.
This is a wall mountable soundbar, and it does ship with a template as well as brackets. Furthermore, the satellites are also wall mountable. Dimensions of the soundbar itself are 46.00″ x 2.52″ x 3.34″ and Vizio offers a one year warranty on this product.
Setup & Performance
OK first things first… this is not a technical review of the P65 Quantum. For that, I recommend checking out the numerous existing reviews and heading to rtings.com for measurements. This is a hands-on experience report i.e. I used it as I would expect a (reasonably AV-competent) consumer to use it.
I used my basement media room to review this system, it’s a 12’ (W) x 20’ (D) x 9’ (H) room with a couch, carpet and TV stand. There’s some acoustical tile on the walls, but it has a flat and hard ceiling that’s ideal for reflected-sound Atmos (the approach used by this soundbar). What’s important is that the TV and couch meet the guidelines offered by the manual for seating position, etc.
I followed Vizio’s instructions for linking the TV and soundbar, which essentially occurred automatically once the TV figured out that the soundbar is present. The soundbar rested right in front of the TV while the satellites rested on stands placed behind the couch. I used HDMI ARC, which the soundbar detected on its own. Furthermore, the wireless connection to the subwoofer was completely automatic.
Unlike an AV receiver, there is no automatic calibration with this soundbar system. But, it does provide individual channel level controls, and for the best effect it’s worth tweaking the sound, both to taste and to better match the unique acoustics of a given room.
Vizio includes a pair of extra long cables that connect the rear satellites to the subwoofer. However, for pragmatic and aesthetic reasons, this means that you will likely want to place the subwoofer somewhere near the rear of the room, as opposed to up front. I got good results by placing it right next to the couch with plenty of physical “impact” from deep bass you can feel. The sub is not too heavy, so experiment with placement for the best effect. The set up used in this review is close to a perfect imitation of the setup diagram Vizio provides in the manual.
Taken separately, the P65 Quantum and the Atmos soundbar are both great performers. But together, they complement each other and become a complete home theater system. Simply put, this at once one of the most affordable and easiest ways to add a cinematic viewing experience to just about any room.
First, let’s look at the TV’s performance. This model has been reviewed by numerous online sites including rtings.com and is known for delivering great quality visuals. I performed measurements and a basic calibration, which revealed performance on-par with what rtings measured. Long story short: If you calibrate it, you’ll get “reference” quality color out of this TV. But for most people, the Calibrated and Calibrated Dark modes are going to deliver plenty accurate, natural-looking color right out of the box. Given how accurate This TV can be post-calibration, I recommend having it done.
Vizio provides a full suite of picture quality controls, including Motion Control that lets you reduce judder and reduce motion blur. Use these settings carefully, you don’t want to introduce soap opera effect to your content. However, with judicious application (including the use of the Clear Action setting that activates black frame insertion) you can improve the sharpness of fast motion, such as sports. There are also noise reduction settings available but I generally avoid content that requires that sort of processing to begin with. More useful is the dedicated film mode, which is designed to remove judder from 24p sources.
I don’t wish to be an arbiter of taste when it comes to how people use the built in video processing settings found on TVs. I do know that if you disable these features, this Vizio P65 Quantum is able to take high quality content and show it faithfully. One thing I did wish for is an easier way to enable and disable game mode. If you use an Xbox One X as both a gaming platform and an Ultra HD Blu-ray player/video streamer, diving into the menu to enable and disable Game Mode can be a drag.
When viewed on-axis, I found the picture quality of the P65 Quantum highly appealing. The measured contrast translates into a punchy, vivid image that does justice to 4K HDR content. The recent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse made me giddy, it looked so fresh and detailed and vivid on this screen. It’s one of the greatest movies ever, animated or not… but it’s also an undeniable visual masterpiece that demands a TV that handles HDR well in order to see the incredible attention to detail and texture and lighting found in every frame. When a TV leaves you in awe of the artistry found in cinema, it’s doing its job right.
Off axis, things are not so great. Viewing angles could be better, with a loss of saturation and contrast and color accuracy that would not affect somebody sitting on the sofa facing the TV, but could be an issue for somebody sitting on a side chair. I watch movies and game sitting centered to the screen, so for me it’s not an issue and the head-on picture quality of this TV more than makes up for it, IMO.
So, my general impressions of the TV are that it is an all-around good performer. No surprise there, I suppose—the TV has been out for a while and is well reviewed. I’ve watched a fair amount of basketball recently, using YouTube TV. The 720/60p and 1080i feeds look “cable TV quality” to my eyes and the TV does a good job of handling sports action—I can see what’s happening in complex plays.
Where Vizio’s approach to smart TV becomes fun is when you take full advantage of voice recognition to power a connected entertainment system. You do need some sort of voice assistant device and Vizio supplied an Echo Dot for that purpose.
The Atmos soundbar is Vizio’s best sounding offering yet. It includes a powerful wireless subwoofer, and the integrated elevation channels create a sense of ambience that is missing from lesser soundbar systems. The subwoofer in particular impresses with its power and ability to dig deep; it can shake the room and yet there’s texture as well as precision to its sound. Bass quality is crucial to any sound system, and Vizio did not skimp on it here.
Just before writing this review I watched Ralph Wrecks the Internet on this system and the sound effects were all over the place, the dialog was clear and the bass provided enough grounding for the effects to have impact. I have no complaints, given the price and ease of setup.
Now, don’t get the wrong impression, a quality 5.1.4 AV receiver based system featuring a full-size subwoofer and separate, decent-quality speakers outperforms this soundbar—it’s a matter of physics. I’m also not all that excited about listening to music with this soundbar system, it’s much more in its element with TV and movie sound. Interestingly, Bohemian Rhapsody sounded quite good, so I’d speculate that real surround-sound mixes (and especially Dolby Atmos) are what it takes to really make this soundbar strut its stuff. Buy something else if you want to stream music, buy this for movies.
If the goal is to be able to play Dolby Atmos soundtracks on a low-key, easy to install, affordable system then the 46″ Vizio 5.1.4 Atmos soundbar is a great choice.
If you are looking for a FALD 4K TV with quantum dot performance and an Atmos soundbar that, when combined with the TV, turns your living room into a home theater, this dynamic duo from Vizio delivers.
The Vizio P65 Quantum and 46″ 5.1.4 Atmos soundbar are easy recommendations, both on their own and when combined into one system. You get a lot of features and performance for your dollar, in the Vizio tradition.
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