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 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.
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.
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