My father is an executive for a fairly well-known clothing brand, and inside their offices they have a saying that goes something like this: sometimes in order to win you needn't be the first, just the first to follow. While that may not sound very sexy, since we tend to romanticize the trailblazers and not the first runners-up, it nevertheless makes a great deal of sense--especially when it comes to consumer products. Vizio has arguably changed the very face of consumer electronics, specifically as it pertains to displays, not by being first, but often by following. Waiting has its advantages. For one thing, you get to see what your competition is up to, and second, you're (often) able to take advantage of lower costs due to manufacturing becoming less expensive with time. At the end of the day, does the consumer care that you weren't technically first? Not at all. Which brings me to Vizio's latest and arguably greatest display to date: the new P-Series Quantum, a clear shot across the bow of both OLED and Quantum Dot displays everywhere.
Looking for an overview of the best TVs on the market right now? Check out HomeTheaterReview's 4K/Ultra HD TV Buyer's Guide.
Coming in a one-size-fits-all package of 65-inches diagonally and retailing for an MSRP of $2,099.99 (though sale prices plunge it far below that), the PQ65-F1 is now the brand's flagship product. The P-Series Quantum, as its name suggests, is an LED-backlit LCD display that uses a quantum dot layer--technology not unlike the Q Line of displays from Samsung. Quantum dots allow the P-Series Quantum to obtain OLED-like contrast and color, while preserving the light output users have come to more readily associate with traditional LED-backlit LCD displays. And the PQ65-F1 is bright. With 192 local dimming zones, it is Vizio's brightest and most composed (in terms of light and light control) display to date. More on this later.
From the outside, the P-Series Quantum is a Vizio product through and through, a sort of cross between the company's existing P-Series and now generation-old M-Series. The P-Series Quantum measures nearly 57 inches across by almost 33 inches tall and just under three inches deep. It tips the scales at a hearty but not back-breaking 54 pounds.
From the front it features a nearly bezel-less appearance not wholly unlike some of Sony's or LG's current crop of OLED displays, while along the side the TV sports a sort of perforated silver metal look. It's not ugly, but not quite to the level of OLED displays we've seen in that minimalist-chic aesthetic. It's way better looking than the plastic fantastic Samsung Q9FN.
Like Sony and LG's OLED displays, the PQ65-F1 is not all one depth as you turn your attention around back. It bulges at the bottom, meaning it's thicker near the base than at the top of the panel. This isn't a bad thing, but it's worth noting if for no other reason than it will impact how you mount the P-Series Quantum to your wall.
Like all Vizio displays I've encountered (and I've reviewed more than a few), the P-Series Quantum has more than enough input and output options--even a few legacy ones you don't see very often these days. There are five HDMI ports--two along the side and three at the bottom--along with component and composite video (remember them?), an Ethernet port, a USB port, as well as a cable TV/antenna input.
Outputs consist of a pair of analog audio outs, an optical audio out, and ARC (via HDMI). There are wireless connection options too. The P-Series Quantum features WiFi (802.11ac Dual Band), allowing you to cast, stream, or what have you until your heart's content. There is no native voice control of the PQ65-F1, unless you add the display to your existing Google Home or Amazon Alexa ecosystem, in which case you can speak to those devices in order to somewhat control the Vizio. For you cord cutters out there, the TV is chockful of streaming options and services built-in.
The PQ65-F1 has a native resolution of 3,840 by 2,160, which makes it an Ultra HD display. It is HDR capable, with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (hybrid log gamma). UHD scaling of non-UHD sources is handled by a V8 Octa-Core Processor and Vizio's Spatial Scaling Engine. As I mentioned earlier, the P-Series Quantum utilizes 192 LED local dimming zones, the most for any mass-market Vizio display to date, and 20 more than the regular P-Series. It has a maximum reported light output of 2,000 Nits, which is somewhat insane, but nevertheless that's Vizio's claim. 2,000 Nits is more than enough light output to display, well, anything and will likely be curbed quite a bit through calibration. Still, not many displays on the market today can claim peak brightness of 2,000 Nits--at least none that I know of costing around $2,000.00 retail.
As for the remote, just get this over with. The remote is ehh. It's serviceable, I guess. Functional, I suppose. It's also completely forgettable. It's the same remote you get with any other Vizio TV, which is to say that there's nothing remotely special about it. Definitely nothing that makes you believe you're in control of a brand's flagship product. If you have multiple Vizio displays in your home (like I do) it will work on all of them, so maybe that's a plus?
I took delivery of the P-Series Quantum a few weeks after the Samsung Q9FN left my home, and it replaced my now aging 7000 Series Samsung LED-backlit LCD. Unboxing and mounting the PQ65-F1 is a job for two people, but since I was flying solo on the day of its arrival I threw caution to the wind and installed it myself. Thankfully the P-Series Quantum is more robust than an OLED and nowhere near as cumbersome as Samsung's Quantum Dot display, so I was able to manage, but I advise against doing so yourself. Because the PQ's mounting points rest low on its backside, it ended up sitting a little higher up on my wall than I like. If I ended up keeping the display, I would definitely reposition my Sanus wall mount lower, so that the TV could sit a little closer to the top of my equipment cabinet.
I used a single HDMI cable between the P-Series Quantum's ARC-equipped HDMI equipped input and my Marantz receiver's HDMI monitor output. I utilize CEC to allow for the display's remote to automatically control everything, which in the case of the PQ65-F1 worked flawlessly. Though since my source component of choice was my Roku Ultra, it was the Roku Ultra remote that ultimately served as the primary selection and volume controlling tool--not the included Vizio remote.
Once everything was connected, I fired up the display and waited. No seriously, I did, for as anyone who's ever had a Vizio will tell you, they take a hot second to turn on. The whole process from power on to picture takes 28 seconds. Going into the menu and switching the display's Eco Mode to Standard improves start up time to 14 seconds. With everything powered up and ready to go, I got out my laptop and light meter and fired up my CalMAN software from SpectraCal and went to work.
As mentioned above, Vizio claims that the P-Series Quantum is capable of 2,000 Nits of light output. While 2,000 Nits is a lot of light--more light than you (likely) will ever need or want to see--I did want to see if this claim was true. So, I selected the PQ65-F1's Vivid picture profile straight away and in its out-of-the-box configuration measured a staggering 1,827 Nits. Not quite the 2,000 Nits Vizio advertises, so I juiced the backlighting to 100 percent and remeasured, giving me 2,100 Nits!
The P-Series Quantum ships with its Standard picture profile engaged, which is bright at 456 Nits, but far more manageable. Sadly, the Standard picture profile is nowhere near accurate in terms of its grayscale or color rendition. Switching to the Vizio's Calibrated profile yields only slightly better results while curbing light output even more to 418 Nits. In other words, there is no out-of-the-box picture profile that is close to even approaching calibrated, meaning a professional calibration is required in order to extract that last bit of performance from the display.
Starting with the Calibrated preset, I began to take measurements and make adjustments. Vizio has come a long way in their implementation of calibration and picture controls over the years, and the P-Series Quantum appears to be the culmination of all that time, for its higher picture controls and CMS are brilliant. However, the color controls do seem to be impacted quite heavily by which other advanced picture options you have turned on or selected. For example, enabling or disabling the P-Series Quantum's Xtreme Black Engine Pro has a profound effect on two things: the display's ability to achieve near-OLED black levels, but it also affects its white balance. Normally, I would tell anyone to simply turn off all superfluous picture enhancements such as these, but as it stands with the PQ65-F1, these picture enhancements actually do contribute to the overall quality of the display and its performance.
Thankfully, turning the Xtreme Black Engine Pro to its Low setting (High is far too noticeable in real world viewing) is enough of a kick for the dynamic zone-based backlighting to plunge blacks to near-zero while giving brightness a boost, and it's a good starting point for calibration. Once I was able to work out that little caveat, along with settling on a proper backlighting setting, the rest of the calibration went rather smoothly.
While the P-Series Quantum's out-of-the-box performance was all over the place, after calibration it was able to be brought into line. It wasn't as accurate as either of my experiences with Sony's recent displays, but it was well within the margin of error (Delta Es all below three) to be considered perfect. It managed better overall measurements than Samsung's flagship Q9FN, which I wasn't expecting.
One final note about the P-Series Quantum's Xtreme Black Engine Pro and subsequent backlighting settings: both go a long way to curbing any and all LED light spill you may encounter out of the box with respect to high contrast content seen on screen. Yes, there is noticeable backlighting blooming in areas of extreme contrast (take the startup Vizio logo for example), but it can be eradicated through calibration and proper implementation of the display's backlight setting and dynamic contrast controls.
The reference standard for rendering absolute black is OLED, since it can do just that: render pure black. The next best that I've tested is Samsung's Q9FN, with its absolute black rendering coming in at .03 Nits. The P-Series Quantum matched the Samsung at .03 Nits whilst maintaining slightly better brightness overall at 339 versus 274 Nits. It is possible for the PQ65-F1's absolute black level to match OLED and hit zero Nits when you set its Xtreme Black Engine Pro setting to High, however the dynamic dimming/brightening of the backlighting zones is very noticeable, which is why I don't recommend this setting.
Satisfied by my calibration results, it was time to dig in to the P-Series Quantum's performance.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...