The Vizio E Series TV: Is getting a budget TV prudence or folly?

At a very affordable price, you can get a TV model that has excellent picture quality and a local dimming feature, amongst many other high-profile features; the TV model is the Vizio E series.

The picture manifests deep black levels that have minute or no blooming effects, and hence shows great performance in brightly lit rooms; it also has several other enhancements to give you the ultimate viewing experience. From the Smart TV feature, you get fantastic content from as very simple design. On the downside, the Vizio has a simple aesthetic design, a poor remote control, low-quality sound and the video processing is not as accurate as that found in other TV of the same category.

After the Panasonic line of Plasma TVs was phased out, people started looking for a TV that would combine picture quality with affordability, and not many could find any. However, Vizio and a few others soon took up the challenge and produced TVs that had local-dimming, a feature that affords LED LCD models the ability to compete against Plasma models.

In the year 2014, Vizio looked into the possibility of producing local-dimming TV sets that would be affordable to most people. They produced the E series, which is their cheapest line, and the models had screen sizes from 39 Inches and above. This proved to be an extra, and their models have improved ever since.

One can simply deduce that there will not be a TV model released this year that will have a superior mix of picture quality and price to that of the Vizio E series. In fact, the closest competitor is yet another Vizio series and this is the M series. However, the M series is costlier that the E series, and there is really not much difference in the picture quality.

Well, do not go over the head yet, since the Vizio E0i-B does not really beat the picture quality of a top notch plasma TV, but it does beat most LED TVs in the same range, which cost a lot more than it does. The company has managed this feat by using minimal zones and also the number of LEDs in the screen, which has helped to bring out the cost, and also provide a great dimming effect; one can say that the effort paid of really well since the E series has a superb black-level presentation. Once again, given the low price of the model, the E series puts across a wonderful color range apart from the black. The Vizio, hands down, does deserve to be given a “10” when you consider the value of the TV.


The company did not do too much brainstorming when they drew up the design of the E series. When you look at the E559i-B2 and E420i-BO, you can hardly tell the difference from their predecessors made in the past year. Apart from slimming the bezel of the TV, there is no other difference. One can kindly say that the design of the model series “understated”, and to be harsher, it can be described as being “generic”. The models have a glossy black shell, and there is little contrast from the matte black strip on the bottom and the Vizio logo placed on the right of the TV. The TV has a low profile, but the stand does not allow it to swivel; the stalk is somehow delicate and has a triangular shape. They made the base of the TV to be thinner, but one can hardly tell the difference from that of the previous version.

For several years, there have been complaints about the remote control of the Vizio range of TVs, and one can hardly fault one reviewer who stated that, “If they’re not going to make the effort to change it, I won’t re-describe it.” The remote does not have adequate illumination, and the keys for the Back, Menu, Guide and Exit features are too small. One can hardly get the keys right, and there is no way to directly switch between the different aspect ratios. The best features of the remote control is that you can go to Vudu streaming services M-Go, Netflix and Amazon Instant at the tough of their individual dedicated buttons.

However, it was not all repetition, since the company did make one change to the design. They made sure that the menu system was upgraded to the same system that you find on the higher series, the M series of 2013. It looks a lot tighter than that of its predecessors and it is easy to navigate. It also has wonderful and useful onscreen hints, which include access to the full manual and descriptions of the various items found on the menu.

The Key Features of the TV


This is an LCD TV and has a Full array backlight with local dimming. It has a flat screen with a resolution of 1080p. It is a Smart TV, and the remote is standard. It does not have a cable control box; the IR blaster, 3D capability and 3D glasses are not available on the E series. It has a matte screen finish with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The Photo, Music and Video features are all DLNA-compliant and they can also be viewed using the USB. There is no mirroring on the screen and it cannot be controlled via any application.


In 2014, Vizio used the term “Full-Array” when marketing the local-dimming feature of the E series, as compared to the term “Direct” which the used in the previous year. However, one must be cautious; The E series does not have the same quality of local-dimming that you find on other models, which have a full-array of LEDs. Models from Sharp and Sony, and including the M, P and Reference series from Vizio have more LEDs and therefore more dimming zones, which gives the viewer more control over the dimming of the picture, therefore giving an overall better picture quality. However, all these other models cost a lot more than the E series. Therefore, this is a TV that should be marketed as a TV that provides excellent value for the price that it is sold at.

Vizio can be given kudos for being one of the TV manufacturers that will always tell how many dimming zones it uses. For most other manufacturers, this is one aspect that they do not divulge. Many a tome customers and reviewers will ask for this specification, only to be told that the information is not available. The Vizio E0i-B series has 12 dimming zones and the company says that there is little variance between it and the series that has 16 dimming zones.

The 120Hz Effective Refresh Rate is a feature that is found on all Vizio models that have a 39 inch screen and above; this includes that that have local dimming. However, although this is a remarkable improvement, it does not have the same picture quality that is found in other TV models with the same effective refresh rate.

One of the major upside of this TV series is the fact that it does not have any dejudder or smoothing processing. Other TVs usually have the option of turning this feature on and off; the feature brings about the kind of smoothing that you may see in a soap opera. The good thing is that the E series does not employ the feature at all.

There is no E series that can have the same kind of motion resolution that you will find on other TVs with 120Hz Effective Refresh Rate. One can liken the motion resolution of most of the TVs in the series to that found in TVs with a 60Hz Effective Refresh Rate. Those with a 48 inch screen and above have a feature called the Clear Action 180, which only slightly improves the motion resolution when it is turned on.

The Vizio E series does not have 3D effects. In the past, many of the TVs made by Vizio used to have a passive 3D compatibility, but in 2014, the company completely dropped the feature and they announced that they will not put any 3D compatibility in any of its E, M or P series, including the R series, which is considered to be a high-end TV. Just so you know, you will not get the screen mirroring effect that is found in many TVs and you will not get the feature where you can control the TV using a phone, computer or a bevy of other controller like you would get in other TVs.

Vizio, along with Samsung and LG, have been using a quick-access strip of icons spread at the bottom of the screen so as to get quick access to the Smart TV interface of their TVs. However, the engineers at Vizio must be feeling very proud of themselves, albeit surreptitiously, because the Samsung and LG models, normally considered to be superior to those of Vizio, only started using this feature recently; Vizio have been using it since the year 2009.

Similarly to the menu system, the Vizio series now boast of having an improved interface for the Smart TV feature, which is similar to that which was found in the predecessors, and which was known as “VIA Plus”. This means that every app will display seven icons at the same time, as opposed to four; this feature minimizes the time and effort it takes to scroll down menus when looking for the app you want to use. Like many other TV models, you can also multitask on the E series. You can be watching Netflix and then go to your Facebook or Twitter accounts which will be overlaid on the video that you are watching.

When you tap the “V” button twice, you can get the full-screen feature and you can also add, remove and rearrange the applications listed on the band. There is plenty of good categorization of the apps on the E series; the best is that you can choose to ignore the wide array of Local TV applications that are available today.

Vizio has excellent selection of the content you see. One cannot get HBO Go, which is still a feature that remains exclusive to Samsung TVs. You will also not be able to access most sports applications such as NBA League Pass, MLB or NHL GameCenter, but you will be able to access a bevy of other applications which are very much in vogue. There is one app called Web Video, which has a number of smaller apps bundled in it, which allow you to watch specialized video channels. You will also get an average amount of audio apps. You will get Rhapsody, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Tunein; you will however miss out on many other subscriptions services, which can be found in the M series, such as Spotify.

Vizio does not offer a web browser, a feature that you will find on many other Major TV brands and models. This does not count as a major hitch because many people still prefer to browse the Internet using their phones, tables and laptops. However, one can say that major brands such as Samsung and LG have made serious improvements today, while Vizio seems to have made relatively minute ones. The extras that are found in these major competitors, such as the Cable Box Control, Voice Command, Universal Search and many others are conspicuously missing from Vizio E series models.

In summary

The Vizio E series is suitable for people who do not want to splash a lot of money for a TV set. Given the price, it can be considered to be a superior TV when compared to others falling in the same price bracket. But when you consider the claims that it can put many plasma models to shame, then it does not quite meet the mark. You can get the model where you just want features that are somewhat above basic, and you do not want to ruin your monthly budget in doing so.

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