Product Reviews

Vizio’s M-Series Quantum Is Our Favorite TV for Under $500

The colors also seemed accurate, especially in the TV’s Calibrated mode, which is where I’d keep it in all viewing environments except for gaming. A lot of TVs don’t always look ideal right out of the box, but Vizio did a great job.

Looks Like a TV

Photograph: Vizio

Physically, there’s not much to talk about. The M-Series Quantum has slim, black bezels and is just a couple inches thick. Like most of Vizio’s modern models, it has sleek pedestal feet that stick out to the edge of the TV, which means you’ll want to either wall-mount it or make sure that your TV console is beefy enough.

I actually like that the M-Series doesn’t feel as thin as some other modern TVs. In my opinion, the only time you notice a TV’s thickness is when you’re mounting it. I like being able to get a good grip on the sides of the M-Series.

The remote is equally utilitarian, a rounded candy bar with easy shortcuts to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, and two other services you’ll probably never use. Like many remotes, it has more buttons than it needs. Conveniently, of the TV’s four HDMI ports, one is an HDMI eARC port, where I plugged in a Vizio Elevate soundbar. That makes the TV’s controller instantly capable of adjusting the volume, so you don’t need a remote for your sound system.

Vizio’s Smartcast interface has grown into a pretty great ecosystem over recent years, thanks in large part to wide integration with Google Chromecast and Apple Airplay. Everything you can’t find in Vizio’s app store you can nearly always cast to the TV from an app or browser using these systems.

I couldn’t find an app for HBO Max when I wanted to try and watch Zak Snyder’s Justice League cut recently, so I just cast it from my phone in high quality. Now that Netflix has converted me, I plan to do the same with this year’s Formula One season via the Formula One TV app.

TCL uses Roku OS, which gives it the leg up overall in the TV operating system race. Roku is equally easy to stream and has better (and more expansive) apps and voice integration. Built-in Chromecast does give some flexibility, though you’ll still likely want a Roku, Google TV, or another of our favorite TV streaming devices at some point.

Affordable Luxury

Photograph: Vizio

There are very few TVs that look so much better than the M-Series Quantum that are worth the extra money. You can spend a couple hundred more dollars on a TCL 6-Series. That gets you backlighting in more zones via Micro LED technology. Or you can spend a thousand bucks on a Vizio OLED, in which each pixel is its own backlight. 

Those fancier Micro LED or OLED TV will look a bit better, but you may not notice enough to justify the cost. Unless you’re buying 4K Blu-Rays, own a brand new game console, or are planning to build out a real home theater, you may just want to get a Vizio like this.

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