Vizio is elevating its mid-range TVs and soundbars
Vizio has long been known as a budget TV brand, but over the past few years the company started to push into premium territory with its P-Series and OLED TVs, as well as the rotating Elevate Dolby Atmos soundbar. This year, Vizio is focusing on its more affordable mid-range devices. That includes its M-Series Quantum X (MQX) TVs, which deliver a bevy of features that gamers will appreciate, as well as the M-Series Elevate soundbar, which brings the rotating Dolby Atmos functionality of the original Elevate down to a lower price-range.
All of the devices make it clear that Vizio is trying to aim for a market that’s demanding better specifications and features, but also doesn’t want to pay too much for Vizio’s most premium hardware. The 50-inch 4K MQX TV is particularly geared towards gamers, as it offers a 240Hz refresh rate while playing in 1080p. Players who want to see faster frame rates typically lower their resolutions to 1080p, even with 4K or higher-resolution monitors. So it’s not hard to imagine the 50-inch MQX being paired up with a gaming PC, especially since it supports AMD FreeSync Premium VRR.
The MQX family of TVS — at 50, 65 and 75-inches — are loaded up with Quantum dot technology and VIzio’s new IQ Ultra Plus Processor. The company says they’ll cover 80 percent of the Rec. 2020 color space, which technically makes it one of the best TVs on the market for color accuracy (at least, according to RTings’s testing). The MQX TVs also have full-array backlighting and 32 local-dimming zones, which should help to improve contrast and black levels, as well as 1,000 nits of peak brightness.
When it comes to gaming, the MQX sets offer a 120 Hz native refresh rate (the 50″ model is a bit unique with its 1080p 240Hz mode), as well as sub-8ms lag at 120Hz. That may sound a bit high compared to PC monitors touting less than a millisecond of lag, but it’s on the faster end of current TVs. There are also four HDMI 2.1 ports, enough for every new console and a PC, as well as a new “Game” menu that should make it easier to adjust your settings.
During a brief demo on Vizio’s traveling demo bus (which definitely stood out in a nearby suburban park), the MQX TVs looked almost as good as Vizio’s 2020-era P-series TVs. Colors popped off the screen during daytime scenes in Moana, and the bevy of local dimming zones kept light from bleeding into dark areas of the screen. It’s clear that Vizio has made plenty of progress since the last batch of M-series sets. The new MQX TVs will start at $630 when they arrive later this month.
Vizio is still keeping its existing higher-end sets on the market, but you’ll see some changes across the rest of its lineup too. The M-series Quantum 6 TVs also feature Quantum Dots and Full Array backlighting and a few helpful gaming features like FreeSync VRR, Dolby Vision and three HDMI 2.1 ports. The 43-inch MQ6 TV will start at just $350, but there will also be sizes between 55 and 75-inches to choose from.
Stepping another level down, there’s Vizio’s new V-series TVs, which also have quite a few gaming smarts with a much lower $290 starting price for the 43-inch entry. Those will also range up to 75-inches and will include features like VRR and three HDMI 2.1 ports. From the demos I’ve seen, these appear to to be the ideal choice for gamers on a budget. At the bottom end, once again, are the D-series 1080p sets. These have always excelled at being cheap TVs for small rooms, and it looks like Vizio is continuing that trend this year. Still, even they have some gaming features, like low input lag and VRR. They’ll range from 24 to 43 inches and will start at $160 when they arrive this month.
If you’ve been eyeing Vizio’s first Elevate soundbar, which features rotating speakers that can bounce off of your ceiling for over-head Dolby Atmos sound, you’ve now got a cheaper option to consider: the aptly-titled M-Series Elevate. Starting at $800, it offers 5.1.2 sound (five speakers, a subwoofer and two height channels) across 13 speakers, along with two small rear speakers for surround sound. During normal programming, the Dolby Atmos speakers point towards you to widen the sound stage, but once it detects an Atmos source, they flip up to give you enveloping sound.
Judging from the bevy of Moana songs I listened to, the M-Series Elevate sounds impressive, but I was surprised that it felt a bit tinnier and weaker than Sonos’s Arc soundbar. That device goes for the same price, and while it doesn’t include rear speakers or a subwoofer, it delivers far richer sound and more believable Atmos imaging. The M-Series Elevate may make more sense if Vizio lowers the price a bit. The original Elevate is only $200 more, after all, you’d think there would be a bigger difference for a mid-range alternative. If you’re looking for something more compact, there’s also the new M-Series All-in-One, which features dual built-in subwoofers, DTS:X and a low $200 starting price.
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