Last year, Vizio wowed us with its P-series 4K TVs, which delivered premium picture quality at a price much lower than other companies. But Vizio's mid-range M-series sets also gained a reputation for being more affordable while still looking pretty good. This year, things are a bit different. Surprisingly, the 2017 P-series TVs are exactly the same as last year's model. But the newer M-series "XLED" sets received some useful upgrades that will make them even more compelling to shoppers looking for a good deal.
The P-Series Quantum is positioned between the excellent P-Series Quantum X and the more affordable M-Series Quantum. As you might guess from the naming scheme, almost all of Vizio's 2020 TVs feature quantum dots, microscopic nanocrystals that enhance color saturation. They also all feature full-array local dimming (FALD) backlights, which make for better than average contrast--especially during HDR viewing. Time in the lab revealed something we already assumed: the P-Series Quantum is excellent. In fact, the only reason to spring for the higher-end Quantum X is if you really want top-of-the-line brightness and color performance.
When it comes to brightness, the key ingredient for punchy HDR, Vizio's P65-F1 smart TV nearly matches Samsung's QN65Q9F, a TV that costs nearly three times as much. Unlike last year's P-Series displays, this year's have over-the-air tuners onboard. This year's models also feature a slightly wider color palette and brighter array backlighting. What seemingly hasn't changed is the image processing. Add new backlighting artifacts to some holdover issues with moiré and anti-aliasing, and one might argue that last year's picture was actually better.
As the young folk say, the Vizio Reference Series is pretty hype. The vaunted 4K TVs first graced the stage during CES 2014, grabbing AV enthusiasts' attention and refusing to let go. But then 2014--and 2015--came and went with hardly a peep about Vizio's darling, save for a brief appearance last April when the company debuted surprise prototypes of the 65- and 120-inch Reference Series TVs in NYC. The TVs became available for special order shortly after, suggesting a masterfully timed release that would hit the market just in time to take advantage of the growing tide of new TV standards like HDR.. We've finally got the 65-inch Reference Series (Vizio RS65-B2, MSRP: 5,999) in our lab and have set Vizio's paragon to boil after two years of simmering. Does it really deserve the title of "Reference Series?"
Memorial Day may be over, but you can still take advantage of Vizio's holiday weekend sales if you're in the market for a high-quality TV. We've reviewed a lot of Vizios, and our favorite of the lot, the 50-inch P-Series, is currently on sale for $819.99, down from $999.99. The P-Series not only won our Editors' Choice award, but it also ranks in the top five for 50-inch TVs, and is one of the best 4K TVs for gaming. Not only does the 4K display offer up insanely sharp details, but the high dynamic range (HDR) brings depth and brightness to the picture too. This TV has SmartCast technology, which lets you easily access things like the Google Play Store, Netflix, YouTube.