Quantum dots were originally pioneered by Samsung in its QLED TVs, but Vizio has embraced the technology wholeheartedly. The P-Series Quantum was first introduced by the company last year, and now it’s being rolled out to even more TVs, in even more price ranges. The Vizio M-Series Quantum has arrived.
With a starting price of just $800, the Vizio M-Series Quantum brings quantum dot technology to the mid-range, with the most expensive model clocking in at a more manageable $600. Despite this, the mid-range TV market is heating up as a result of Hisense ULED TVs and TCL’s low-cost offerings. Is the Vizio Quantum M-Series worth the money? Absolutely.
Several sizes of the Vizio M-Series Quantum are currently available for purchase, including the 32-inch model shown here. It is also available in a 55-inch (M558-G1), a 50-inch (M507-G1), and a much more compact 43-inch (M437-G0) model, all of which cost $799. In this review, we focus on the $799 65-inch model (M658-G1).
Not all models in the Vizio M-Series Quantum have the same specifications, so it’s important to keep this in mind when purchasing one.
A similar 65-inch Quantum M-Series display, the M657-G0, is available for the same price but has only 20 dimming zones and a 400-nit brightness rating. If you’re shopping for a 55-inch display, opt for the more expensive display with 90 dimming zones and a 600-nit brightness rating. In order to make things easier, check the model number – and make sure it ends with the suffix G1.
Although Vizio TVs aren’t always at the forefront of TV design, they still look great: Built to look good on any TV stand or entertainment center, the Vizio M-Series Quantum has a sleek and stylish design. Bezels around the edges are extremely thin with a slightly thicker bottom bezel that you won’t even notice. The thin and sturdy metal legs of the TV contribute to the overall premium look and feel of the device.
You’ll find all of your ports and connectivity on the back of the TV. In addition to the four HDMI ports, there are USB ports, optical digital audio outputs, and stereo analog audio outputs on the device. Although the TV has a good number of ports, the lack of HDMI 2.1 means you won’t be able to use features like variable refresh rate. Considering the price, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, you can always buy an Apple TV 4K remote or a universal remote for every Roku TV, but the included remote is still fine. You’ll find six quick-access buttons for apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as input controls, menu buttons, and so on, on the remote control. A directional pad and channel buttons also exist. It’s safe to say that you’ll be able to easily control the TV with the remote, but it may take a few minutes to get used to the wide range of buttons.
Smart TV (SmartCast 3.0)
Even though Vizio’s SmartCast 3.0 is included with the Quantum M-Series, it doesn’t make for the most user-friendly experience when it comes to watching movies or playing games. However, it isn’t the worst TV operating system on the market, and it isn’t as fast or robust as Roku or Apple’s tvOS.
SmartCast aims to bring together streaming apps and services like AirPlay and Google Cast in a single platform. But it still takes a few seconds to load and switch between the various items on the main interface.
Vizio’s own content is heavily weighted in this interface, which prioritizes content based on what it thinks you’ll like. Some of the most popular streaming apps are also included in the SmartCast streamer’s app row, including YouTube, which was briefly unavailable earlier this year.
A free live TV streaming app called Vizio’s WatchFree is also available through SmartCast. Not every favorite channel is there but you never know when you might stumble upon a gem. It’s also free, so you can’t really complain.
SmartCast, on the other hand, has a plethora of useful features. SmartCast is now compatible with Google Cast, AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, and HomeKit, and can even be controlled by voice commands. If you’re a HomeKit user, it’s great to be able to control the TV from your phone and integrate it with smart home automations.
Vizio’s HD and SDR content upscaling has improved over the last year or so, but it hasn’t always been so great. As a result, the M-Series Quantum’s HD and SDR performance is quite good, but it still lags behind the more expensive competitors.
Natural-looking colors and bright images can be achieved with upscaled HD and even SDR content on this 4K panel. For the most part, you’ll still be able to enjoy your old TV shows and movies without any interruptions thanks to HD content, which isn’t as impressive as native 4K/HDR content.
Despite this, there were a few hiccups. Blooming can be clearly seen in darker scenes, while graininess can still be seen at closer distances. Parks and Recreation’s nighttime blooming in the sky bothered me during my review of this TV, so I went back and watched it again. The TV did well in bright scenes, but you may still notice some issues with clarity when watching HD/SDR content. This wasn’t always true.
In terms of the M-Series Quantum’s specs, Vizio has stepped things up a gear or two. With 90 local dimming zones and 600 nits of brightness, the 65-inch model we tested was above average for a television in this price range. If you’re looking to improve the quality of your images, you may want to consider increasing the brightness of your images and adding more dimming zones. There is also Quantum Dot technology, which in theory, should improve the color and overall image quality of these mid-range televisions from Vizio.
It’s actually a lot of fun to watch 4K HDR content. As a result of the TV’s HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, Netflix’s Planet Earth II looks fantastic. Colors are natural and defined, and there’s plenty of brightness to create a lot of contrast. Local dimming is also helpful. Local dimming helps the TV get close to OLED-level blacks at least some of the time, but it’s not perfect.
Although there are many viewing options available, some are better than others. Using the TV’s default setting of Vivid, we noticed that Vivid made the colors appear a little washed out and unnatural. The display was set to the standard setting the vast majority of the time. The Calibrated mode, on occasion, looked fantastic.
Motion smoothing is pre-installed on the TV, but you can only turn it on or off; there is no way to customize the amount of motion smoothing. As a result, the motion smoothing isn’t as effective as on a 120Hz panel, but that may be a positive thing for some people. (The higher-end P-Series Quantum, which has a 120Hz panel, might be worth considering if you want the soap opera effect.) Despite this, the TV was able to keep up with fast-moving scenes even with the slower 60Hz display.
It was also fun to play games on the TV. Aside from the fact that I only have a PS4 (not Pro) and a Nintendo Switch, the TV was responsive, and the content displayed consistently looked fantastic.
There’s nothing wrong with the speakers on the Vizio M-Series Quantum, but they’re nowhere near as good as the picture. We were pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of the TV’s two 20 Watt speakers. It’s rare for built-in speakers to be impressive, but these speakers were able to crank out some decent volume, with a decent amount of bass. Some, but not a lot.
However, the mid-range and high-end detail were both adequate and the overall sound quality was acceptable. At higher volumes, the speakers would occasionally stutter.
Even a modestly priced set of stereo speakers will sound superior to the TV’s built-in speakers in most cases. If, on the other hand, you’ve already spent all of your money on the TV, the speakers will suffice.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum continues Vizio’s winning streak. For a TV with built-in speakers, it offers decent audio and decent picture quality but not as many features as the P-Series Quantum.
Indeed, we believe this TV is among the best available in its price range. If you want a great TV for less than $800, the Vizio M-Series Quantum is the way to go. It has better picture quality and more features than the TCL 6-Series (which is still an excellent value).