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Tuesday October 16, 2018 12:04 am

Vizio E-Series 2018 4K TV review

Vizio E Series

The Vizio E-Series is a budget-priced television set, but don’t let the great price fool you. The E-Series has one of the displays in terms of image quality that you’ll find for the money, thanks in large part to the local dimming (which you typically have to pay a lot more money for.) Let’s dive into the features and design of the Vizio E-Series to see if it’s worth your attention.

Disclaimer: Vizio sent over the 2018 E-Series at no cost for us to review.

What you’ll find with the Vizio E-Series is a TV that doesn’t cost a lot, yet offers a ton of value in terms of picture quality. In fact, it’s in the nice sweet spot between the super-budget TVs that don’t offer much in terms of image quality and smart TV features, and some of the more…top-of-the-line budget TVs like the TCL 6 Series. 

This is, thanks in large part, to Vizio going with full-array local dimming (aka FALD) - this lets the TV provide better contrast, even in a dark room. Not many TVs at this price range offer FALD, and I can’t think of any reason why you’d want a TV that doesn’t offer this capability other than price. If you want FALD, you generally have to pay a pretty penny for it.

One area where the E-Series does represent its inexpensive price tag is the the build of the actual body of the TV. It harkens back to the days of HDTVs half a decade ago. Thick, black bezels and not much premium styling - but you can’t expect everything to be premium at a budget price point. Still, as far as how it looks, the E-Series isn’t going to be winning any awards for its design.

Vizio E Series 2018

Smart TV implementation is also lacking, with not too many streaming services built directly into the TV. Vizio says that the built-in apps account for 80% of all streaming services - so if you're looking for things like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and the other usual suspects, you'll find them here. For less popular services though, as you can just use an Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, etc. to easily get around that restriction for not too much money. So while you won’t find as much built in as you would on a TCL Roku TV, Samsung, or LG, I’d bet that most people already own a separate device that is capable of streaming just about anything (even an Xbox One or PS4 can serve as an excellent media streamer.) All that said, the TV does have Google Chromecast built-in, which means you can use your phone or tablet to stream content to the E-Series. The cool thing about that is that while you are using your smart device as your streaming remote control, the TV actually does the heavy lifting of actually streaming the content from the cloud.

Thankfully, Vizio has also included an over-the-air TV tuner as well! Attach an OTA antenna, and you’ll have access to anything that’s playing over your local airwaves. Additionally, VIZIO WatchFree, a service that offers 100+ channels of free TV, is also available from the Input selection (and as an app on the SmartCast screen.)

Going back to the strength of the E-Series, you’re getting a really nice display with 12 dimming zones on the 65- and 70-inch models (or 10 zones on the 43-, 50-, and 55-inch versions.) Not as strong as the 32 to 48 zones you’d fine on Vizio’s higher quality M-Series, but still - you’d be hard pressed to find local dimming on any other sets at this price point.

You’re also getting support for the two main flavors of high dynamic range content - HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Expect more colors to be displayed on the screen, with increased contrast and peak brightness. Truth be told, the jump to HDR content is more impressive even than the jump from 1080p to 4K. Additionally, as a bit of future-proofing, the E_Series also boasts support for Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG.) This is a third HDR format that hasn't seen much adoption just yet, but it's expected that broadcast TV will use HLG for HDR broadcasts.

As for connectivity, the Vizio E-Series sports:

  • 3 or 4 HDMI inputs (All HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2.0)
  • 1 component /composite video input
  • 1 USB port
  • RF antenna tuner input
  • Ethernet port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • Stereo analog audio output

The HDMI ports support the latest generation HDCP 2.2, with one also supporting audio return channel (ARC) functions for sending audio back to a receiver over HDMI.

All in all, the Vizio E-Series is the best budget TV you can pick up today if your main reasoning for buying a television is picture quality and not design. You get local dimming, HDR support (with Dolby Vision!), 4K resolution, some smart TV functionality, and built-in Chromecast support. You can pick up the Vizio E-Series now.

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