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Vizio M Series (2017) XLED TV Review

65 in.
49.50 in.
54.64 in.
69.50 in.
74.54 in.

This Vizio is one of the best TVs for the money you can buy right now

October 02, 2017
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

About the Vizio M65-E0

The 2017 Vizio M Series comes in five models, and the only major difference between them is screen size. We have tested the 65-inch model in our labs for this review. While we believe our results speak to the performance of all five TVs in the series, our pictures below come directly from our time with the M65-E0.

About the Vizio M50-E1

The Vizio M Series comes in five sizes, from 50 to 75 inches. Our tests were conducted on the 65-inch model, but the M50-E1 is the 50-inch model. There are no major differences to be aware of, but the M50's screen size is smaller than what is pictured below.

About the Vizio M55-E0

The Vizio M Series comes in five sizes, from 50 to 75 inches. Our tests were conducted on the 65-inch model, but the M55-E0 is the 55-inch model. There are no major differences to be aware of, but the M55's screen size is smaller than what is pictured below.

About the Vizio M70-E3

The Vizio M Series comes in five sizes, from 50 to 75 inches. Our tests were conducted on the 65-inch model, but the M70-E1 is the 70-inch model. There are no major differences to be aware of, but the M70's screen size is larger than what is pictured below.

About the Vizio M75-E1

The M75-E1 is the largest TV in the 2017 Vizio M Series, but it's otherwise identical to the smaller sizes. Just be aware that the 75-inch screen has the same number of local dimming zones (32) as the other models, so they have to cover a larger part of the screen.

In the last few years, Vizio has carved out a niche for itself as a go-to brand for people who want a great TV at an even better price. In recent years, the company's M Series and E Series, in particular, have become synonymous with great performance and competitive features, all at prices well below those of Vizio's higher-end competitors.

The 2017 Vizio M Series (available at Amazon) is more of the same—and that's a good thing. The Vizio M65-E0 we tested isn't a $10,000 set you'll build an entire home theater around, but it delivers high-end features, excellent picture quality, and a respectable selection of smart features all at a great price.

There are a few drawbacks, of course. The built-in smart platform is very juddery, so you'll probably want to use a streaming box like a Fire TV or a Roku. It also doesn't have a built-in TV tuner, meaning you'll need an extra box if you hook it up to an antenna (though cable boxes and streaming boxes all work just fine).

All in all, the 2017 Vizio M Series is arguably the best value in Vizio's entire lineup, and one of the best values on the market. It's not perfect, but for a lot of people it'll be just right.

About the M Series

The 2017 Vizio M Series is available in five screen sizes: 50", 55", 65", 70", and 75". We received the 65-inch model (Vizio M65-E0) on loan and, as usual, gave it over 24 hours of break-in time before testing. Here's how the other sizes compare in price:

· 50-inch (Vizio M50-E1), $599.99
· 55-inch (Vizio M55-E0), $679.99
· 70-inch (Vizio M70-E3), $1,999.99
· 75-inch (Vizio M75-E1), $2,499.99

All five of these models share most of the same specs, including an advertised 120Hz refresh rate (60Hz native), HDR10/Dolby Vision support, and a wide color gamut.

Remote
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
The Vizio M Series' Remote includes all the basic as well as dedicated buttons for Netflix, Amazon, and a bunch of services you'll probably ignore.

Each model also features local dimming with a full-array backlight, meaning that certain parts of the screen will get brighter or darker depending on what is on the screen. This can help isolate bright objects on a dark background, as the TV can have one zone get brighter while the rest remain dark. All screen sizes come with 32 zones, though obviously that means the individual zones on the larger sizes will be bigger than on the 50-inch, so the effect may be more convincing on the smaller sets.

None of the 2017 Vizio M Series models include a tablet, like last year's did. Tweet It

Note that none of the 2017 Vizio M Series models include a tablet, like last year's did. While this provides a little less value, the updated Smartcast system (which uses built-in apps and still includes a Google Chromecast built into the TV) is much simpler to understand.

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What We Like

First Class 1
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
A screen grab from the movie X-Men: First Class on the Vizio M Series. View Larger

The M Series continues to excel where it matters

You buy a TV because you want to watch content and you want it to look good. Seems simple, right? Well a lot of TV manufacturers tend to gum up the equation by throwing in extra features you may or may not want to pay for. Vizio doesn't (typically) do that, focusing instead on delivering great picture quality at prices below the competition.

Though the M Series doesn't offer the best bang for your buck that we've seen this year—that honor still goes to the TCL P Series—it does provide excellent all-around picture quality and next-gen features like a 4K panel, local dimming, and the most important of all: HDR, or High Dynamic Range.

System Info
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
With HDR remaining a confusing mess, Vizio's M Series gives you a clear and easy way to make sure you're getting the right content.

The M Series gets HDR right without breaking the bank

Though the M Series isn't the most stunning HDR TV we've tested this year, it nails the basics. The idea behind HDR is simple: you want content where the bright highlights get really bright while still providing deep blacks so shadowy objects look the way they should.

Martian 1
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
A screen grab from the movie The Martian on the Vizio M Series. View Larger

Getting this right requires HDR content (which is typically coded in either Dolby Vision or HDR10), and a TV that can get bright while maintaining deep black levels. While there's a point where TVs become too bright, typically the best HDR TVs deliver good black levels while getting very, very bright.

The M Series will look great today, tomorrow, and will hold up for a long time. Tweet It

The M Series doesn't quite get that bright, topping out at around 350 nits. A good "standard" dynamic range TV like what you already own likely gets up around 150. The best HDR TVs can now push above 1,000 nits, though personally I find that uncomfortable to watch in a dark room. The M Series also supports both major forms of HDR (HDR10 and Dolby Vision), so you should be set up for some time.

What does all that mean if you're not a technical person? The M Series will look great today, tomorrow, and will hold up for a long time to come.

Remote 2
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
Vizio's latest M Series doesn't come with a tablet, but its more traditional clicker is more useful.

Vizio's dialed back some of the smart feature experimentation this time around

Last year's M Series focused on Vizio's still-new "SmartCast" system, in which Vizio trimmed out all the TV's smart features and menus in favor of a built-in Chromecast. Though you could still control some features on the screen using a built-in remote, Vizio off-loaded most of the major stuff—including Netflix and other streaming apps—to an included tablet that you could use to cast content to the screen.

Smart Platform
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
The M Series now includes on-screen apps that can be controlled with the remote. It's easier than last year, though the apps are stuttery.

If you were used to Google's Chromecast, which powered Vizio's underlying tech, then it was (mostly) a breeze. But for most people a good old-fashioned remote and built-in apps make more sense. The M Series this year still has Chromecast built-in, but it now has a more traditional user interface that includes popular apps like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

In a nutshell, you're getting a simpler, more streamlined experience in line with older Vizio TVs.

What We Don't Like

No TV tuner is a pain for cord cutters

One of the main things separating a TV from a plain display like a computer monitor is the inclusion of a TV tuner that can decode over-the-air broadcast signals. Vizio has omitted one from the M Series, likely in an effort to save on costs.

Most people don't use the built-in tuner, because they either use built-in apps, a streaming box, or plug their cable box into an HDMI port. Getting rid of it won't affect the majority of people. But cord-cutters that pick up local broadcasts with an antenna do need the tuner.

Even if you have cable, antennas can be useful for adding HD broadcast stations to a TV in a guest bedroom you otherwise can't hook up. It's cheap, and it works great, but if you want to hook up an antenna to the Vizio M Series you'll need to get a separate box that includes a TV tuner.

One solution would be to invest in something like the Tablo DVR. This would add pause/rewind/recording features to your OTA antenna feed and includes a tuner. These boxes typically have monthly fees if you want program guide data, though, so there's that to consider.

Viewing Angle
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
The Vizio M Series dims quite a bit when you move off-center, though the picture remains fairly uniform. View Larger

Viewing angles aren't great

Though the Vizio M Series has a very good performance profile with deep blacks, bright highlights, and support for major HDR standards, it is lacking in some areas. The biggest let down for us was the viewing angle. Though it's pretty common with the panels that Vizio is using, you're essentially trading the ability to deliver deep, rich black levels for the ability to appreciate those black levels if you're sitting off to the side of the TV.

It's not atrocious, and we certainly don't consider this to be a deal killer, but if you're planning on mounting this TV in a weird spot just make sure that your preferred seat is front and center. And if you wall-mount above eye level, make sure the screen is tilted downward to get the best picture.

Ice Age 1
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
A screen grab from the movie Ice Age 3 on the Vizio M Series. View Larger

The smart platform is stuttery and a bit slow

While we're very happy with Vizio's decision to simplify the M Series' smart platform and return to built-in apps, there are some issues. The biggest is speed. The interface is sluggish, with lots of fits and starts. It is definitely a big point of separation between the M Series and pricier sets.

The remote itself is also functional, but it feels a bit plasticky and the text can be tough to read in limited light. That said, we should reserve special praise for the litany of dedicated buttons. The most important ones are the buttons for Netflix and Amazon, though there are options for Crackle, Vudu, iXumo, and iHeart Radio. Most people will only care about the first two, of course—and programmable buttons would be great—but these are great options for non-techy folks to quickly access Netflix and Amazon.

Ports
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
There are four 4K-ready HDMI 2.0 ports on the Vizio, but only HDMI 1 supports 4K and HDR at 60Hz—a must with some streaming boxes.

The HDMI port selection is confusing

4K and HDR are exciting technological advancements, but it does mean some ports we are accustomed to need to be updated as well. Though new HDMI ports look the same as they have for years—and still take older HDMI cables—getting 4K and HDR means you need both HDMI 2.0 ports and HDMI 2.0 cables. Cables are cheap, so this shouldn't be a huge deal.

Hdmi cable hero

Related

The Best HDMI Cables of 2017

Vizio's spec page for the M Series lists HDMI 1 as the only HDMI 2.0 port that offers 4K at 60fps, with HDMI 2-4 being listed as HDMI 1.4. We've seen reports that the other ports can still carry a 4K signal, but simply don't provide enough bandwidth for 4K and HDR from a 60Hz device like the 4K Apple TV. Competitors like the TCL P Series offer three full HDMI 2.0 ports, so no matter how you slice it Vizio is a bit behind the curve.

Should you buy it?

Yes—it represents one of the best all-around values on the market

TVs are in the middle of a full-blown technical revolution, with exciting new tech like 4K resolution, better streaming services, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR is the most important one, and it's finally rolling out to TVs you can actually afford. It's also a bit of a mess—surprise, surprise—with competing standards, a lack of content, and ostensibly "HDR compatible" TVs that don't do anything special.

Logo and Feet
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
The Vizio M has very understated styling, with caltrop-style feet. The feet look good, but they are very far apart.

The Vizio M Series isn't the best HDR TV we've tested all year, but it supports both major HDR formats, gets bright enough that the highlights in HDR content look fantastic, and you can get a 55-inch version for under $700. It has fantastic picture quality and just the right features to hold up for years.

Its only real competition is the TCL P Series, which is a slightly better performer and comes in a 55-inch size for between $600-650 online. The TCL only comes in that size—TCL's promises of a larger version are on hold until 2018—but it does offer three full HDMI 2.0 ports, meaning you can hook up three devices and get 4K/HDR from all of them without any issues.

First Class 2
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
A screen grab from the movie X-Men: First Class on the Vizio M Series. View Larger

If you're specifically after a 55-inch model, we'd lean towards the TCL. The smart platform is a bit smoother, the performance is slightly better (especially for gaming), and the price is lower—at least for now. 55-inch buyers aside though, the Vizio M Series is arguably the best HDR TV for most people in this part of the market.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Compare Prices
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Compare Prices
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Compare Prices
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Compare Prices
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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