If you’ve been hoping to upgrade your old TV for an OLED model but don’t want to spend a fortune for a decently sized display, Vizio’s OLED is the TV for you.
For perfect blacks while watching movies or TV, you probably want an OLED. The OLED display to buy last year was the LG CX (OLED65CXPUA). But even with steep discounts on that TV right now, you’re looking at somewhere in the ballpark of $2,200 for the 65-inch version at the time of this writing. The same size display in Vizio’s OLED, meanwhile, will set you back about $1,800. The difference of $400 may not seem like a huge leap for some folks, but it may be for others. And that number also doesn’t take into account whatever else you need for your home entertainment setup, be that a soundbar or surround or even a streaming device with your preferred OS (both LG and Vizio run on their own proprietary OSes, neither of which are my favorite).
There are certainly some trade-offs between these two—we’ll talk about those in greater detail below—but if you’re looking for an OLED option that won’t cost you an arm, a leg, and potentially your firstborn child, the Vizio OLED is a fantastic value for the price.
Vizio’s 2020 OLED is actually its first entry into the space. Yet while I was reviewing this TV, it definitely didn’t feel like a first-generation experiment. The design was minimal and elegant, the experience was snappy and easy to navigate, and its feature support makes it a good option for folks who want their next TV to be relatively future-proof. It also has pretty good built-in sound on its own (though you may want to add some kind of sound solution eventually). And while monster displays may be the next frontier of consumer-ready televisions, many are still ridiculously expensive. The Vizio OLED ships in both 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes, and that’s usually more than enough TV for most people.
I found the Vizio’s picture quality to be superb out of the box, with minimal picture tweaking necessary. The Vizio OLED automatically detects Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR10+—the latter of which the LG CX does not support, should that be a feature that’s important to you—and it’s got much wider viewing angles than QLED TVs. Earth At Night In Color on Apple TV+ looked spectacular, and no detail was lost. Panning scenes of fireflies were truly breathtaking. I’d already watched some of this series on my Sony X900H, but the color and clarity that came through on the Vizio OLED made me feel as though I was watching the series for the very first time.
The same goes for Interstellar. My favorite scene from the film, a Saturn fly-by, frankly looked a little too good, but those perfect blacks really shined on this display. I did notice some funky image stuttering when watching night vision scenes in Night on Earth on Netflix, but I didn’t make out stutter elsewhere while I was reviewing this display. The room where I was testing this display gets a moderate amount of natural light, with sunlight coming in from west- and north-facing windows. The OLED did perfectly fine in these settings, though it really performed best at night when I could draw the blinds and watch the display do its thing without any outside light interruptions. Vizio says its display has a peak brightness of up to 800 nits, though it’s likely it’s much lower with calibrated settings. Without blackout curtains in a super sun-flooded room, I’m not sure this TV would be especially suited to daytime viewing. But most other spaces should be just fine.
Vizio made a big push with its 2020 line of TVs to be ready for next-generation gaming, and the TV claims to support HDMI 2.1 features like 4K 120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). The extent to which these features are available on each port varies, though. On the OLED, 4K 120Hz is supported on ports 2 and 3, while on the P-Series Quantum X, it’s supported on ports 3 and 4, the company told me. Vizio recently rolled out a firmware update that it said improved 4K 120Hz for PS5, Xbox Series X, and Nvidia graphics cards, and a spokesperson for the company told Gizmodo the update should have fixed an existing VRR issue as well. The firmware update also improved compatibility with AV receivers, improved audio support for Xbox when switching audio settings, and fixed some screen saver functions as well.
As for its design and hardware, Vizio’s display and included stand are as elegant as they are practical. The heavy metal base that holds that TV upright has a nice attachable cord management system that will hide your unsightly power, console, and set-top box cables. It’s also perfect for folks who don’t have especially wide consoles to accommodate feet at either end of a larger display of 65-inches or above. The TV can be wall-mounted with or without its metal base, as well. When wall-mounted with the stand attached to the display, Vizio’s Elevate soundbar can neatly clip directly onto it. The stand does make things a little tight if your console is narrow and you happen to be using virtually any other soundbar, but I didn’t have too much trouble with a TV stand that measured 24 inches in width.
Its remote is perfectly fine—nothing too flashy, but it does just about everything you need. One thing it doesn’t support, however, is voice-commands. You’ll need to connect the Vizio to a compatible smart home device to control it with your voice, or hook it up to some kind of streaming device with a remote that supports the feature. The only time I really had a problem with the lack of voice commands was when I was searching for titles on apps like Netflix or YouTube. AirPlay 2 and Chromecast are supported on this TV. But something for broadcast viewers to keep in mind is that it doesn’t support ATSC 3.0.
Ultimately, this TV gives a stellar cinematic picture and comes equipped with many of the features necessary for premium gaming. It checks most major boxes, with a few missing features available on other, more expensive OLEDs. But as far as value goes, Vizio’s OLED takes the cake. And with TV makers debuting their 2021 lineups at CES this month, now is probably the right time to snag this gorgeous display on the cheap.
- A very good budget option for those who want an OLED but don’t want to spend a ton of money.
- Does have HDMI 2.1 support, including 4K 120Hz on two ports, and a recent firmware update fixed outstanding issues with gaming features.
- It’s C-shaped metal stand works double duty as a holding mechanism for the Elevate soundbar when the TV is wall-mounted.
- It does not have voice-control support; you’ll need a separate smart home device to use the TV in this way.