Vizio P Series Quantum X Ultra HD Smart TV Reviewed

Vizio P Series Quantum X Ultra HD Smart TV Reviewed

The Vizio P Series Quantum X is, according to the company, their brightest, most colorful, most accurate display to date. If that sounds like something you've heard before, you're not crazy. It was the P Series Quantum that was once...

The Vizio P Series Quantum X is, according to the company, their brightest, most colorful, most accurate display to date. If that sounds like something you've heard before, you're not crazy. It was the P Series Quantum that was once the harbinger of these same traits. This wouldn't be too bad if the P Series Quantum was some years old, but it isn't. The original P Series is hardly a year old, which means it's quite possible you may have purchased it just a month or two ago thinking you had the best of the best, and now here comes the X, along with an updated 2019 Vizio lineup that adds quantum dots at every level from M Series on up. Don't you just love technology?


The X comes in two sizes: 65- and 75-inch diagonal variants. The 65-inch, reviewed here, has a MSRP of $2,199.99, but if you shop smartly you will likely find it cheaper--much cheaper. From a visual standpoint, there isn't much of a difference between the chassis of the P Series Quantum X and the 2018 P Series Quantum I reviewed last year. The P Series Quantum X has an all-black bezel whereas the 2018 P Series Quantum sported a more graphite colored one. The 65-inch P Series Quantum X measures nearly 57 inches across, 33 inches tall, and two and a quarter inches deep (without stand) and tips the scales at just under 73 pounds. This puts the P Series Quantum X in the slim, but not wafer-thin category, which is okay by me, as some TVs feel too thin for their own good in my humble opinion.

The P Series Quantum X feels substantial and competently built, something that can withstand a bit of "life," unlike some thinner LED and OLED displays available nowadays. The look of the P Series Quantum X is, again, rather minimalist, which is a good thing and shows just how far Vizio has come over the years with respect to its industrial design.

Diving into the P Series Quantum X's spec sheet reveals few differences between it and its predecessor; in fact, the only difference that I could see between the two models was the P Series Quantum X's number of Local Dimming Zones, which rests at 384, up from 192. Outside of that, the two displays boast very similar specs. It should be noted that should you choose to buy the P Series Quantum X in its 75-inch form, the number of local dimming zones increases to 480.

Vizio_2019_P-Series_Quantum_X_Back-Closeup.jpgThe P Series Quantum X sports five HDMI inputs (two side, three bottom), a single Component video input (side), an Ethernet port (bottom), USB port (side), and a TV Tuner input. Outputs include a single analog audio out, as well as a digital audio out, both located along the bottom. ARC is also present via HDMI for those needing that functionality. There are two, 10-Watt loudspeakers internal, though I doubt many reading this will be utilizing the display's internal speakers much, if at all.

Behind the screen, the P Series Quantum X utilizes an Octa-Core Processor, a carryover from the P Series Quantum. The panel itself has a native resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 which is good for Ultra HD/4K viewing, with an effective refresh rate of 240Hz. Vizio claims a five-million-to-one dynamic contrast ratio. Also, the P Series Quantum X is capable of displaying over a billion colors. As for HDR content, the P Series Quantum X supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG. Ultra HD codec support includes HEVC (h.265), which is necessary for many of today's best 4K streaming platforms, as well as VP9, which is a newer, more efficient, royalty-free codec used most notably by YouTube. Lastly, the P Series Quantum X has built-in Wi-Fi (802.11ac Dual Band) as well as Vizio's own SmartCast with Chromecast built-in as its native operating system. More on that in a bit. Vizio_2019_PX-Series_PX65-G1_Front.jpg

The P Series Quantum X's remote is 100-percent plastic and rather cheap feeling, though its basic enough to memorize by feel rather quickly. I say "by feel," because the all-black remote has zero backlighting or glow-in-the-dark keys, making impossible to navigate in low-light situations by anything other than feel. Still, for what it is, it's functional, pretty responsive, and not too directional.

The Hookup
The P Series Quantum X arrived the day after Sony's fantastic X950G left my home. The X950G is one of the true standouts of 2019 so far, so to say the P Series Quantum X had some big shoes to fill is an understatement.

Vizio_2019_P-Series_Quantum_X_ID.jpgI set the P Series Quantum X up on the main wall of my living room where I test all the displays that come through. Mounting the P Series Quantum X is a job best suited for two, but it can be done solo as I did. Once on the wall I decided to utilize the P Series Quantum X all on its own for a bit, which is to say that I didn't connect it to any third-party devices, at least not at first. Instead I connected a pair of Kanto YU6 loudspeakers to the P Series Quantum X's analog audio outputs, which allowed me to have a 2.1 channel home theater setup with only two speakers, the matching Kanto sub, and the P Series Quantum X serving as the main display and source component. So many displays nowadays have all the apps and smart tech a guy like me could ask for that I often question the need to connect superfluous components--even those as minor as my Roku player.

With everything mounted and setup I began my initial measurements of the P Series Quantum X. Out of the box, I wouldn't classify any Vizio as calibrated; they definitely do require some tweaking, though the P Series Quantum X isn't too far off the mark. First, let me just say, speaking about calibration in 2019 feels a bit like yelling into the void, for statistically few people actually calibrate their displays, despite demanding reference-grade performance. With that said, here is a summary of sorts with respect to how the P Series Quantum X fared straight out of the box measured using both an SD/HD and HDR workflow within SpectraCal's CalMAN software.

Vizio_2019_P-Series_Quantum_X_Left-Side.jpg

Regardless of the picture profile chosen, none was absolutely perfect out of the box. The Calibrated preset proved to be the most accurate, both in terms of its grey scale and color accuracy overall. Calibrated Dark was the next best option, followed by Standard, which is the default for the P Series Quantum X. So, if you rush out and purchase the P Series Quantum X for yourself, be sure to set it to the Calibrated picture profile before sitting down for any sort of critical viewing.

In its Calibrated profile, the out of the box margin of error, with respect to its greyscale, rested (largely) below a Delta E of five. Anything under three is considered calibrated and below what we can (likely) perceive; so, the fact that the bulk of the measurements fell below that threshold with the other third falling just above is good. Yes, there are displays that measure better out of the box, but the P Series Quantum X isn't too far off the mark. The color bias to the P Series Quantum X's grey scale was a touch red, whereas I had been expecting a blue shift, as most displays err to that side of the spectrum. For what it's worth, the Standard, Calibrated Dark, Vivid, and Computer presets all favored blue in their greyscale measurements, but the Calibrated profile didn't, it leaned ever so slightly warm.

Color via the Calibrated preset proved pretty accurate to the point of being able to be called "calibrated" out of the box. Green and Cyan were the least accurate, but were well within the ballpark of what I'd consider to be good enough, or otherwise calibrated.

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Using an HDR test pattern within CalMAN I measured the P Series Quantum X's max light output to be a whopping 3,400 Nits when in its Calibrated profile. That's a lot of light output, and proof positive that Vizio's claims of 3,000 Nit brightness for the P Series Quantum X isn't bullshit. I repeated this measurement several times over the course of an hour or so, and got a range of values between 3,100 and 3,400 Nits. It should be noted that upon detecting an HDR signal the P Series Quantum X will override or adjust any and all backlight and brightness settings to ensure proper viewing of HDR content.

I went ahead and made some adjustments to the Calibrated picture profile via the P Series Quantum X's higher CMS controls in order to tidy a few things up, resulting in a picture that, near as makes no difference, ended up being "perfect."

A few things to note after you've set the display to its Calibrated picture profile: first, turn all of the P Series Quantum X's sharpening to zero or off, as having it on will result in edge artifacts and moiré. Disable Vizio's Enhanced Viewing Angle feature as well, as it dramatically alters the overall image and color fidelity but not for the better. Vizio's own hint text below the feature itself speaks to a loss in resolution when this is feature is set to on, but it does a lot more than just soften the image; it dramatically alters its color, as well.

Lastly, turn all dynamic backlighting/contrast features to low or off (it's up to you) in order to maximize the display's black level performance. I was able to measure absolute black on the P Series Quantum X, a feat usually reserved for OLED displays, and it makes a difference in real world viewing when you can visually experience absolute black versus a very, very dark shade of grey.

Performance
I decided to kick off my evaluation of the P Series Quantum X with Netflix's smash hit series, Stranger Things (Netflix). Spoiler warning, but the colorful climactic battle in the shopping mall in season three's final episode was the stuff dreams are made of via the P Series Quantum X. Well-saturated colors mixed with copious amounts of brightness equal serious eye-gasms. The fireworks exploding in a rainbow of colors were not only a visual feast, but a showcase of just how far streaming video has come.

Brief aside, to those who may still be clinging to the hope that physical media will reign supreme, let me just say the fat lady is on in five. Based on my viewing, the typically difficult-to-compress particles that made up the firework explosions, were rendered brilliantly with artifacting approaching non-existence. Colors were rich, bold, saturated, and appropriate to the stylization contained throughout the series, and stood in stark contrast against the dark, menacing body of this season's Big Bad.

Last year, all but one (I think) of the LED backlit LCD displays that I tested were able to hit absolute black like OLED can. The original P Series Quantum came close but missed it the mark by just that much. The P Series Quantum X can do absolute black, and that extra five percent or so in terms of darkness goes a long way with a show that relies heavily on you being more fearful of what you can't see, rather than what you can. The scenes in the basement of the chemical plant were dark, but unlike the all-too-dark scenes in this last season of Game of Thrones, were still intelligible through and through. Meaning the contrast contained within the darkest scenes via the P Series Quantum X had enough dynamic range to still make them wholly enjoyable. Again, compression artifacts were kept to a minimum, though some banding was present around areas of extreme contrast, say a street lamp against a dark, lifeless sky. This isn't a knock per se against the P Series Quantum X, as costlier displays have suffered similarly.

Apart from the color and black level rendering, the detail, texture, and nuance contained throughout the HDR stream of Stranger Things was excellent. I have to say, and this may come down to the P Series Quantum X's screen material or coatings, but the X's image does appear just a tad richer and punchier in its overall vibe versus the more matte finish of say Sony's LED/LCD models on the market right now.

Moving on, I watched the Women's World Cup Final between the US and the Netherlands courtesy of YouTube TV. While live sports broadcasts are typically rife with compression artifacts, the P Series Quantum X did a very admirable job in keeping things largely tidy. I'm not suggesting that there were no compression artifacts present, just that what did exist wasn't too distracting or outside of the norm. Motion was smooth, there was no ghosting that I could detect from normal viewing distances, and even when trying to pixel peep, colors were rich and vibrant. The pitch wasn't as green as some I've seen, but I didn't think that was the fault of the P Series Quantum X. The players themselves looked extremely lifelike in their rendering; skin tones, and textures were especially natural and pleasing. Nuances such as weathering on their uniforms and pads were easily discernible, even in wide shots. It was a rather spectacular sporting presentation, one of the best I can recall from recent memory, made better (obviously) by the fact that the US Women's team was victorious.


Satisfied with Netflix HDR content and "broadcast" HD, I cued up my favorite streaming platform, Vudu, and bought Shazam! in Ultra HD. The Dolby Vision download of Shazam! was just a fun time at the movies. The primary color saturation and punch was a real treat, proving that the delta between OLED and LED backlit LCD displays like the P Series Quantum X is ever-shrinking. Moreover, where OLED used to have a clear advantage in the shadows, the darker scenes were equally deft and rich in their portrayal--though admittedly they didn't always fit the film stylistically. Shazam's suit was ogle-worthy, as each stitch and hieroglyphic embellishment was easily discernible even when not in closeup. The dynamic range throughout the P Series Quantum X's picture proved one of its great party pieces, as it takes contrast not just between absolute light and dark values, but within colors themselves to pull off nuances such as those found in Shazam's suit. The same was true of the villain's rock-like skin, which may have lacked the color punch of Shazam's trademark red suit, they were nevertheless enjoyable to behold via the P Series Quantum X. I've never had much issue with compression artifacts of any kind via Vudu's HDR streams, and I didn't see anything egregious during this outing either. Again, motion was smooth and I could detect no blooming or ghosting during fast motion scenes, even those featuring dramatic shifts in contrast between light and dark.

With respect to blooming, there are instances where the P Series Quantum X will show some, but it rarely, if ever was during real world viewing. No, you can make the set bloom when viewing the static Vizio logo upon start up or conversely the Netflix logo when launching the app. But when it counts, during actual viewing, the P Series Quantum X keeps its backlight in pretty tight check. Also, I cannot stress this enough, the P Series Quantum X's already enjoys stellar edge fidelity, as in it's sharp AF on its own, with no additional sharpening required. I bring this up because every picture profile within the P Series Quantum X's menu applies some measure of additional sharpening by default, which when viewing SD content isn't too bad, but when viewing HDR or Ultra HD content looks positively horrid. Set sharpness to zero straight away and leave it there, because if you don't you can expect to see massive amounts of edge artifacts and moiré--you've been warned. Apart from those few caveats, the P Series Quantum X's visual performance is every bit as good and then some as the P Series Quantum I reviewed last year.

The Downside
The P Series Quantum X is, for all intents and purposes, a world-class display, capable of performance that up and until a few years ago would've been reserved for only the best displays money could buy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the picture the P Series Quantum X puts forth. It's drawbacks all have to do with its user interface and operating system. So, if you plan on using the P Series Quantum X as a "dumb" monitor, one that displays a picture and does nothing else, skip this next section, head to your nearest Vizio retailer, buy it, and enjoy. But if you're looking for a Smart TV that will cut down on your AV clutter and hopefully simplify your daily entertainment life... read on.

First, all Vizios take a hot minute to turn on, period. Yes, they can turn on quicker by tweaking their energy settings, but on a whole, they're slow, real slow.

Second, while the P Series Quantum X (like all Vizio displays) has ChromeCast built-in, it does not use Android TV as its OS, instead opting for Vizio's own SmartCast, which I simply do not like. I've pulled my punches with respect to SmartCast in the past, but not anymore, because it SmartCast makes Android TV--which isn't that great in the first place--look damn near clairvoyant.

I also dislike how SmartCast requires a sort of "handshake" with Vizio's servers or whatnot in order to function, meaning if their servers ever go down--regardless of the status of your Internet connection--your Vizio's value-added smart TV features will be rendered useless. While this did not occur during my evaluation of the P Series Quantum X, it has happened to me and my other Vizio displays quite a lot this year. Also, you cannot completely do away with apps you don't want to see or will never use, meaning every time you turn on the TV it's full of bloatware.

Again, if you're not going to rely on the P Series Quantum X's smart TV tech, then disregard everything I've just griped about, as you'll be too busy enjoying a truly great display in the X.

Competition and Comparisons
When it comes to the best of the best displays on the market today, the P Series Quantum X is up there with them. On a whole, it's not quite as good as say an LG OLED, or Sony 900 Series LED-backlit LCD, but it's dangerously close. It is every bit as good as Samsung's upper end models, including the 8 and 9 Series displays that command far higher price points than the P Series Quantum X.

But the real question is how the P Series Quantum X stacks up against the rest of the Vizio line, for the likelihood is that people who are considering the P Series Quantum X are price shopping it against Vizio's "lesser" models. So, Smart TV tech aside, for all the Vizio's will perform the same in this regard, is the P Series Quantum X a worthwhile upgrade.

If you value brightness and want to ensure that you have all the light output Vizio currently offers at your disposal, then yes. If you already own the P Series Quantum, should you return it for the X? No. Should you be angry with yourself or your purchase? No. Is the P Series Quantum X better than the M Series Quantum? Yes. Is it two or three times better than the M Series Quantum, as its price would indicate? Yes. Is it better than Vizio's V or D Series? Yes, absolutely.

Conclusion
For a TV with an MSRP of $2,199.99 and a street price far lower than that, the P Series Quantum X is, once again, another fabulous display from a maker that has been on a tear with respect to making displays that punch above their weight class. Is the P Series Quantum X perfect? No, though its imperfections lay not with its visual performance, but rather with its cumbersome OS. Where it matters most, picture quality, the P Series Quantum X is a true stunner, one that can run with the best of the best on the market right now.

I have been a Vizio customer and owner for well over a decade now, and while my displays have never led me astray, I do know that as TVs have gotten smarter, issues with respect to Vizio's usability and longevity have arisen. While I have never had a Vizio display outright fail on me in any capacity, I do think they face some challenges ahead with respect to designing an OS that is competitive with the likes of Apple and Android.

All that said, if you rely on third-party sources for your disc or streaming entertainment, this is all a non-issue, in which case the P Series Quantum X from Vizio isn't just a great display, it's one that you absolutely need to consider if you're shopping for a new TV.

Additional Resources
• Visit the Vizio website for more product information.
• Check out our TV Reviews category page to read similar reviews.
Vizio Intros New WatchFree Streaming App Powered by Pluto TV at HomeTheaterReview.com.

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