There’s no denying it; 4K is a thing now. While I have to admit that I’ve remained skeptical these last few years as the ultra-HD market took shape, I’ve come to realize I can no longer hold out. I cautiously watched as this new budding market began to gain traction, after witnessing the 3DTV fad rise and fall quickly. Actually, “fall” is a generous term. Crater is a more accurate description. But now, it’s apparent that all signs are pointing towards the end of 1080p being the measuring stick of video excellence. It would appear 4K has now risen to take the crown. So be it, I say. All hail the new ruler of HD. I now am one of your loyal subjects!
What finally dragged me into the new high-def age of 2017, you might ask? One word: VIZIO. If you’re not familiar, VIZIO has quickly become one of the absolute best, go-to companies in the HDTV market. It provides high-quality televisions at an entry level price just about anyone can afford. Recently, the folks at VIZIO were nice enough to provide one of their new models in the M series: the M65-E0, in exchange for review. I spent several days with this beauty, really putting it through its paces. If nothing else, I was determined to prove myself right in assuming that the 4K craze wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It was surely just an over-rated flavor of the month that was bound to pass, right? Wrong. Oh boy, was I wrong.
The first thing you have to notice when unboxing a HDTV like this is just how simultaneously big and small the thing is. While the display clocked in at a whopping 65 inches, it was less than three inches thick. To give you an idea, that’s smaller than your Game of Thrones season one box set. That’s as thin as about three iPhones stacked on top each other. Somehow, through what I imagine is a combination of brilliant engineering and some type of voodoo, this awesome piece of equipment has packed in an amazing amount of stuff into a space that only continues to shrink with each passing year.
But the really mind blowing moment was when I turned this baby on for the first time. After your typical setup procedure, I decided I wasn’t going to throw any curveballs at it right away. I tweaked some of the color settings to my liking and took a stroll through my normal daily grind. I hit several cable channels I like to frequent, loaded up some Netflix, and even knocked out a few Xbox One multiplayer matches. The first area in which the TV deserves credit is how it makes all my old stuff look even better, a pleasant surprise I was not expecting.
The reason for this is twofold. First is the awesome up-scaling functionality that any 4K display worth its salt will have on board, and the M65-E0 is no exception there. The second reason is the very impressive specs under the hood. We start with the massive 20,000,000:1 contrast ratio that does an excellent job of ensuring your brights seem brighter and your darks appear darker. (Yes, I know that sounds like a Tide commercial). Via its use of “32-zone full array local dimming,” the display analyzes the image into small zones and can increase the LED brightness for portions of the image that are bright and dim the LED in areas that are dark, thus ensuring maximum contrast in the picture you see. In addition, the M-Series prides itself on having one of the best HDR (or High Dynamic Range) functions around. Without getting too technical, this is what’s going to allow your TV to become a window to the world. Its goal is to achieve a more natural color pallet, much closer to what the human eye sees. I can confirm firsthand the XHDR Plus goes above and beyond in achieving that end, especially when paired with some true 4K content. VIZIO also supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10. Dolby Vision is a higher-quality version of the two, while HDR10 is more readily available on UHD BD.
Which brings us to one of the most important aspects of this particular television. Sure, it makes even your low-resolution picture quality look better (who would’ve thought 1080p would be considered low-res at this point), but the 4K is really where this TV shines. I decided to test the jump to 4K on a movie I’ve seen a million times, and therefore know it inside and out. So I borrowed a friend’s copy of Deadpool in 4K. (It's not my favorite movie mind you, but it’s been on cable an ungodly amount of times this last year). With it also came a stack of several other films, both new ones and classics. Two things immediately struck me about halfway through this flick. Not only was I having a completely different viewing experience (at almost four times the resolution of standard HD), but the sounds were near theater quality as well. Now granted, while a TV like this could use a little help from either a soundbar or a nice home speaker system attached, it does sport DTS TruSurround, which does a great job of simulating full-on surround with just two 10-watt speakers. This makes it ideal for those in a small apartment or home with limited space. In short, my eyes and ears were in unanimous praise of our new lord and savior… 4K be his name. All brought to us via the ark known as the M65-E0.
At this point, I could easily end the review and just tell you to run out and buy the M65-E0 right now. Why continue to regale you with tales of the hours I spent play testing things like multiple game consoles, movies, music, and everything else I could think to throw at this puppy? All signs would surely point to the same conclusion, which is that the M65-E0 is awesome. But I have yet to bring to you the single most awesome feature of this TV, and what in my estimation will be something all great HDTVs will come standard with in the future. Three little words: built… in… Chromecast!
I can tell you I absolutely love that this HDTV now gives me a portal to cast all my digital content to my display with one simple command, without ever having to setup a secondary device on one of the inputs. No muss and no fuss, just seamless integration. It’s so simple and a thing of beauty. In fact, your phone integration doesn’t stop there. You can easily turn your phone into a smart controller by downloading the SmartCast app, which allows you to access everything from the M65-E0 menus to the tons of on-board media apps that will suck hours from your productivity, guaranteed!
At the end of the day, I don’t even know if calling this TV “smart” is appropriate. We might be looking at an A.I. so advanced, it should be kept under lock and key. That’s how Skynet became self-aware, ya know! But in all seriousness, VIZIO has once again proved why they are one of my personal favorite brands in the HDTV market. The M65-E0 packs in just about everything you could possibly want in a full array LED display in regards to picture quality, features, and price. It’s so good; it kinda makes me hate myself for waiting to take the 4K plunge this long. So thanks a lot VIZIO, now I just feel bad. Good thing I have such an epic TV to console me.
My only regret is that the Xbox One X isn’t out yet to test on this beauty. That would’ve been a 4K match made in gaming heaven!