Home Theater Review

 

VIZIO E65u-D3 4K LED/LCD Monitor Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
3.5 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4 Stars

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Measurements
Here are the measurement charts for the VIZIO E65u-D3, created using CalMAN software by SpectraCal. These measurements show how close the display gets to our current HDTV standards. Click on each photo to view the graph in a larger window.
Vizio-E65u-gs.jpgVizio-E65u-cg.jpg

The top charts show the projector's color balance, gamma, and total gray-scale Delta Error, below and after calibration. Ideally, the red, green, and blue lines will be as close together as possible to reflect a neutral color/white balance. We currently use a gamma target of 2.2 for HDTVs and 2.4 for projectors. The bottom charts show where the six color points fall on the Rec 709 triangle, as well as the luminance error and total Delta Error for each color point.

For both gray scale and color, a Delta Error under 10 is considered tolerable, under five is considered good, and under three is considered imperceptible to the human eye. For more information on our measurement process, check out How We Evaluate and Measure HDTVs.

The Downside
Aside from the imprecise local dimming that I mentioned above, the only notable performance issue is that the viewing angle, like that of most LCDs, is just average. Bright scenes hold up okay at wider viewing angles, but you can see the black level start to rise in dark scenes at less than 45 degrees off-axis. Also, like all current VIZIO displays, this one does not support 3D playback, so it's not a good choice for anyone who wants to enjoy the occasional 3D Blu-ray movie.

My other concerns revolve around SmartCast. I'm just not entirely sold on it. I think the addition of Google Cast is a great convenience, but it's a gamble to require that someone own/use a smartphone or tablet in order to enjoy many aspects of the smart TV experience. Again, the higher-end models come with a tablet, so it's less of a concern. I personally found it annoying that I constantly had to go get my phone whenever I wanted to adjust some image parameter or test some aspect of the smart TV experience.

Also, several remote-control apps that I've reviewed include a tool that keeps your phone awake while you use the app--so you don't have to constantly wake it up and navigate back to the app just to initiate a command. The SmartCast app doesn't have this feature.

Lastly, I flat-out hated using the SmartCast app to make picture adjustments. Controls like backlight, brightness, contrast, and RGB gain/offset all use sliders, and it was very difficult to make fine adjustments--going up or down one step, for instance. In the Android version of the SmartCast app, you have the option to use up/down arrows to make single-increment changes, but the iOS app doesn't have that function...at least not yet.

Competition and Comparison
In searching for 65-inch 4K displays priced under $1,000, some of the models I found were the Samsung UN65KU6290 ($999.99), Hisense 65H7B2 ($899), Sharp LC-65N7000U ($899.99), Westinghouse WD65NC4190 ($699.99), and TCL 65US5800 Roku TV ($999.99). All of these models include a smart TV platform, and the Samsung, Sharp, and Hisense models support HDR; however, none of them has the local dimming found on the VIZIO E65u-D3 to improve black level and contrast. HDR support doesn't mean much if the TV doesn't inherently have a high level of contrast.

Conclusion
I'm struggling to render a final verdict on the VIZIO E65u-D3. On the one hand, it's a good all-around performer in its price class. It doesn't have any egregious flaws in the performance department, and it will likely perform better than many direct-LED and edge-lit LED TVs in this price range--thanks to its full-array backlight with local dimming, which allows for better brightness, black levels, and screen uniformity.

On the other hand, when I weigh the E65u-D3 against the rest of VIZIO's lineup, I think there are better options to consider. For example, the 65-inch M65-D0 costs $1,299.99. For that extra $450, you get a full-fledged Android tablet that doubles as the dedicated remote control, you get 64 active zones of local dimming instead of 12 (which means better, more precise black levels and detail), and you get both HDR10 and Dolby Vision support to make your TV more compatible with the latest Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming services. Basically, the upgrades found in the M Series address the primary concerns I have with the E65u. (I haven't personally reviewed the M65-D0, but it did earn CNET's Editor's Choice award.) It just seems like a logical upgrade for anyone who really cares about picture quality.

On the flipside, if what you really value is value in a 65-inch 4K display, then the E65-E0 makes more sense. It's nearly identical to the E65u-D3 in specs (it has a slightly lower Clear Action rating for motion blur) but costs $150 less, at $699.99.

I guess the overall point is that, whatever your priority may be, VIZIO likely has a display to suit it, and that's a good thing. The E65u-D3 doesn't exactly dazzle, but it doesn't disappoint either. It's a good value-oriented performer that's especially well suited to the person who streams a lot of content through their phone/tablet and wants an easy way to add a big 4K screen to the mix.

Additional Resources
• Visit our Flat HDTVs category page to read similar reviews.
VIZIO Adds FandangoNOW to Its SmartCast Platform at HomeTheaterReview.com.
VIZIO SB4551-D5 5.1-Channel Soundbar System Reviewed at HomeTheaterReview.com.

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