Saturday, July 20, 2024

Vizio P-Series Quantum TV Review

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With the existence of TCL’s excellent 6-Series, it’s hard for the average person to justify paying more for a 4K TV if they can’t see the benefit. Vizio might therefore seem to be in a tough spot competitively when it comes to the P-Series Quantum television, since it’s $300 more expensive for the 65-inch than the same-sized TCL with many of the same promises.But Vizio packs the P-Series with just enough to make it a compelling buy, even if it is a bit more expensive.

The P-Series Quantum (not to be confused with the Quantum X which features almost 200 more local dimming zones) is, overall, a very good television with just a few niggling caveats. For those who don’t intend to make the most out of the P-Series’s gaming features, the TCL 6-Series might still be a better buy. But for those looking for an all-around display for viewing HDR content and playing a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X, you won’t find a better television under $1000.

Vizio P-Series Quantum TV Review

Vizio P Series Quantum – Design and Features

The Vizio P-Series Quantum is a surprisingly big and beefy television. Perhaps it’s the number of slim OLED and QLED TVs I’ve seen recently, but the P-Series just feels a lot larger than I was expecting. The bottom of the gaming TV is thick enough to nearly fully grasp with my open hand, for example, and that thickness is kept for nearly the entire height of the television.The legs were easy enough to install but do require a screwdriver, and while they are slim and attractive, they don’t offer any kind of cable management system and don’t lift the TV up particularly high. The latter issue isn’t a Vizio-specific problem and is pretty common these days, but if you have a taller soundbar like the Sennheiser Ambeo, you might find the clearance to be a bit tight or completely impossible. The lack of any kind of cable management is a bummer, as I really like to hide my many HDMIs as much as possible.Viewed from the side, it’s not the most attractive television. For a brand-new display, I was hoping for a bit thinner of a casing, but we probably should expect the cost savings of this television to make themselves known somewhere, right?

Luckily, the view you’ll be seeing a majority of the time – the front – looks pretty good. The outer bezel is thin and nondescript, with the thickest edge found on the bottom. The grey Vizio logo is also understated and placed in the lower right hand corner, which is a plus.

Vizio split the four total HDMI ports into two locations: The two HDMI ports that support 4K at 120 frames per second are located on the right side, while a regular HDMI port and the eARC port – which is useful for connecting your audio equipment – face downwards also on the right side. You also get an optical port, composite (interesting to see, as this isn’t a given anymore), left/right audio out, cable antennae, and ethernet inputs.

This is a solid number of connection options, and it’s great to see two ports that support 4K at 120 frames per second. If you plan to own both a PlayStation 5 and an Xbox Series X, for example, you won’t have to unplug one and plug the other in to enjoy maximum performance out of both.

The back also houses two 15-watt rear-firing speakers, which we’ll cover in the audio section.

Vizio P Series Quantum – Remote

Vizio’s included remote is rather nondescript, which could be seen as a good thing – I have a few remotes that feel either too large or two heavy for what they are designed to do. It’s bigger than some of Samsung’s remotes and is about one and a half times the size of a Roku remote, but it is much smaller than some of Sony’s behemoths.

It is not a voice remote, however, which means it’s particularly tedious to search for content on YouTube as you have to punch each letter in using the on-screen keyboard and arrow keys on the remote.

Vizio also seems to have doubled down on the sponsored shortcut buttons, with seven services given premium placement at the top of the remote. Our review model featured Vudu, Xumo, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, and Vizio’s own “Watch Free” channel. That’s a lot of options and while you probably will use three to four of them, it’s still an intrusive color palate on the otherwise understated black remote. I would have preferred dedicated pause/play buttons – those are instead shared with the “ok” center button” – and the number pad is a bit dated at this point, but overall the remote is not overly objectionable.

Vizio P Series Quantum – Ease of Use

I have traditionally been wary of built-in smart TV operating systems since up until this year Android TV’s atrocious interface did a great job souring me to anything other than dedicated external devices. But as of late, televisions have finally been getting processors that are capable of running smart TV operating systems well and the Vizio is no exception.

With the experience I’ve had on this television, Vizio’s own SmartCast OS is probably my second favorite proprietary TV interface now.

Roku is, in my opinion, still better, and Android TV offers you more options for content, but SmartCast beats the pants off LG’s now-dated webOS and Samsung’s lackluster Tizen. SmartCast doesn’t try to be too much, and it operates a lot like Android TV but without all the bulk that can come with that system. The interface is snappy and easy to navigate, and I never really found myself in any situation where I wished something loaded faster. I think it’s even faster at launching apps than my Roku Ultra is, which is high praise.

I will say, on occasion, the operating system seemed to snag for an undue length of time, and it can be a bit slow to boot up as well. But once you’re up and running, it’s a very nice experience.

The setup of this television was pretty quick. After giving it some basic information like my Wi-Fi password and location, as well as giving it a few minutes to download the latest update from Vizio, it launched SmartCast and I was watching content.

The Vizio comes pre-loaded with a lot of apps. Actually, that is a bit misleading: It comes pre-loaded with every app available for SmartCast. There is no App Store, but you are free to organize the apps in the order you would like to see them. While this meant that I was instantly able to start watching YouTube and Netflix without having to download them, it also means that if you don’t see a streaming service you use listed, it doesn’t exist for SmartCast. Anime fans will be out of luck, for example, as neither Funimation nor Crunchyroll are supported apps.

This may dip a bit into a discussion about picture quality, but I wanted to point out that this television comes out of the box nearly exactly where I wanted it. The “motion” setting is off, it smartly swaps among supported HDR formats like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision when the content launches, and it remembers what settings you might change and applies them across the board where they are relevant. The only thing I needed to change was to adjust the color Picture from “Vivid” to “Calibrated” and turn the color temperature from “Warm” to “Natural” for standard dynamic range content. In Dolby Vision, I thought the out of the box options were perfect. More on these specifics below.

As far as ease of use is concerned, most will find that the TV is ready to watch and enjoy quickly, easily, and with next to no roadblocks.

Vizio P Series Quantum – Picture Quality

The Vizio P-Series Quantum gets a lot right when it comes to picture quality, especially for the price. It is far from perfect, but given its support for a wide range of different HDR profiles as well as a full-array backlight and 240 local dimming zones makes for, overall, a pretty great picture in ideal circumstances.

Just don’t stick with the stock television picture setting – for regular content navigate to Calibrated, and for video games make sure you’re set to Game. I also turned off all Motion settings, which thankfully are either off by default or set to very low.

I say ideal circumstances because the picture quality of the P-Series Quantum can vary between really nice and really awful depending on where you are in relation to the screen: this panel has a particularly noticeable narrow viewing angle.

If you are sitting anywhere except straight-on when viewing this television, the contrast dips considerably and all the little inconsistencies with the panel become visible. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the panel on the P-Series Quantum is “dirty,” but some panel uniformity issues are visible in certain conditions. These are well-hidden when viewing at the correct angle, however.

Best 4K Gaming TV For PS5 and Xbox Series X

Viewing it straight on, overall these are only minor quibbles. The Vizio P Series Quantum can output a stunning 1,200 nits of brightness, which is great, and you do see that when it comes to HDR content. As mentioned, the P-Series Quantum supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, which will get you pretty well covered for the multitude of HDR content that’s out there.

Speaking of Dolby Vision, streamed content from Netflix like Ozark looks very good. If you’ve watched Ozark, you know how dark the show can be and there are several settings in the Dolby Vision picture mode that can be adjusted to brighten the picture up without losing contrast (counterintuitively, for example, you’re going to want to avoid the Brightness setting). The only real issue I’ve encountered with watching content, HDR or SDR, is directly related with one of two of the P-Series’s flaws.

Firstly, this television’s biggest flaw is in its halo control. While it doesn’t have any blooming issues because of that nice backlight and local dimming array, it doesn’t have enough local dimming zones to mitigate a noticeable halo from appearing around bright objects when contrasted with a dark background.

It doesn’t have enough local dimming zones to mitigate a noticeable halo from appearing around bright objects

For example, when loading up Apex Legends on the PlayStation 5, the loading icon in the lower right hand corner will cast a red glow around it rather than keeping a strong, defined edge. More on gaming below, but this is one such example that many will encounter with a host of different games and television content.

Another example involves subtitles, which cast a noticeable white halo around themselves when contrasted with dark backgrounds like you find in Uncut Gems and Ozark.

The second flaw of this television has to do with processing, which directly affects how good streamed content looks. Sony has been the real king of this space for years, but LG is no slouch at it either. Vizio is noticeably behind the leaders in the space, as some low bitrate content can show some seriously bad artifacts. Mr. Robot streamed from Amazon Prime, for example, frequently will place actors in front of shadowy backgrounds, and those shadows are rendered with large pixel blocks that look particularly bad. Other low bitrate content from YouTube will show banding and pixelation in highlights that can bother those with sensitivity to this kind of thing.

These two downsides are by no means a dealbreaker especially for what other features this television offers, but they will be noticeable to those who are used to seeing content from higher end Sony LED televisions or OLED displays.

Vizio P Series Quantum – Gaming Performance

One of the biggest selling points of the P-Series Quantum is its support for HDMI 2.1, and therefore next-generation gaming. While it took a bit of time for Vizio to release a firmware update that allows the television to properly work with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, that update was recently rolled out and the result is the ability to play games at 4K and 120 frames per second.

If you are a console gamer that enjoys playing games on the couch, then the P-Series Quantum is the only television at this price that offers two HDMI 2.1 ports, support for auto low latency and variable refresh rate, all with gaming HDR enabled. While the TCL 6-Series, the next closest gaming competitor, does offer some great gaming features, it did not go so far as to give HDMI 2.1 and as a result cannot handle 4K at 120 frames per second.

I tested Apex Legends and Destiny 2, and other games with the Playstation 4 and the Playstation 5, and all the games played really well on the P-Series Quantum. I will say that I experienced a strong magenta color cast when playing Apex Legends on the PS4, but that issue was not visible with the PS5.

Playing Destiny 2 Crucible at 4K and 120 frames per second was beautiful, smooth, and felt outstanding. Ghost of Tsushima looks amazing at its capped 60 frames per second, but the HDR and low latency were appreciated. The same can be said with regard to Risk of Rain 2 and Apex Legends.

Outside of the dedicated gaming monitors that are coming later in 2021, you cannot beat the P-Series Quantum for gaming performance at this price: it really is that good. To do so, you are going to have to consider paying almost double for an OLED.

Vizio P Series Quantum – Sound Quality

I’m going to keep this short and sweet: this TV doesn’t sound very good, and you will absolutely need to use a soundbar or sound system in order to get much in the way of quality audio with the P-Series Quantum.

The rendition of bass is extremely weak and makes most audio sound tinny and hollow. Higher volumes can sound strained and borderline unpleasant: it gets louder, but not cleaner. Even voices seem to lack any kind of low end, which can make dialogue sound like a low quality telephone call.

This, like almost every television coming on to the market today, is mainly display. Yes, it makes sound, but you’re going to want dedicated hardware.


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