Skip to main content

Vizio D-Series (2021 model) review

The Vizio D-Series TV is compact, affordable and plenty smart. Despite mediocre sound and picture performance, it’s a solid value set

Vizio D-Series on a kitchen counter
(Image: © Vizio)

Our Verdict

The Full HD Vizio D-Series TV is compact, affordable and plenty smart. Despite mediocre sound and picture performance, it’s a solid value set.

For

  • Small size options
  • Good gaming TV
  • Ample smart features

Against

  • No HDR support
  • Struggles with high-contrast
  • Poor audio

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Full HD Vizio D-Series TV is compact, affordable and plenty smart. Despite mediocre sound and picture performance, it’s a solid value set.

Pros

  • + Small size options
  • + Good gaming TV
  • + Ample smart features

Cons

  • - No HDR support
  • - Struggles with high-contrast
  • - Poor audio
Vizio D-Series TV: Specs

Price: $249
Model number: D40f-J09
Screen size: 40 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
HDR: N/A
Refresh rate: 60 Hz
Ports: 2 HDMI, 1 USB
Audio: 10W, 2.2.2 channel sound
Smart TV software: Vizio SmartCast
Size: 35.6 x 20.5 x 2.5 inches (w/o stand)
Weight: 12.2 pounds (w/o stand)

The Vizio D-Series TV offers cheap access to a small-screen with more smarts than you’d expect. Does that mean it’s worth buying? 

It’s not going to match the picture quality of the best 4K TVs. Maxing out at 1080p, Full HD performance with no HDR support, the Vizio D-Series isn’t the TV for anyone looking to build the ultimate home theater. Instead, it’s a solid option for those who care more about saving space and money while still streaming their favorite shows.

Perhaps we’d call it one of the best cheap TVs, but read this Vizio D-Series TV review to decide whether the trade-offs for value matter to you. 

Vizio D-Series TV review: Price and configurations

The 40-inch Vizio D-Series TV we reviewed costs $249 at full retail. It comes in a 43-inch model for $299, too. There’s also a 32-inch ($179) model and of the Vizio D-Series, but it doesn’t provide Full HD — just regular HD with 720p resolution. That means our anecdotal viewing and test results likely won’t reflect the experience of using the smallest version of this set.

  • 32-inch Vizio D32h-J09: $179
  • 40-inch Vizio D40f-J09: $249
  • 43-inch Vizio D43f-J09: $299

All three sizes have Vizio’s SmartCast smart TV platform and two HDMI ports, as well as gaming features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and AMD free sync. If you’re not sure which configuration is right for you, check out our guide to what size TV you should buy.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Design

The Vizio D-Series design isn’t special. Assembly is a breeze and the included V-shaped feet keep the set sturdy. Like most other low-cost LED TVs, the back compartment juts out, making for a bulky wall-mount. But if that’s your preferred placement, the D-Series can hang on the wall with any of the best TV mounts measuring 200mm x 100mm.  

Image 1 of 3

Vizio D-Series

(Image credit: Vizio)
Image 2 of 3

Side view of Vizio D-Series

(Image credit: Vizio)
Image 3 of 3

Back view of Vizio D-Series

(Image credit: Vizio)

I don’t love the look of the plastic chassis adding a raised bezel to the TV with obvious Vizio branding, either. But you’re probably not buying this set for aesthetics.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Ports

If this were a pricier TV, I’d complain more about the limited port selection. But for the price, this is probably the set you’d buy when you only have one peripheral or two you’re looking to hook up, anyway. It has one USB-A port and just two HDMI ports, one of which supports HDMI ARC

Vizio D-Series ports

(Image credit: Vizio)

Still, the TCL 3-Series Roku TV (32S335) is one of a few similarly-affordable sets that provide better port selections. The 40-inch TCL 3-Series version has three HDMI ports for about the same price as the Vizio D-Series.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Performance

Without HDR, I had low expectations for the Vizio D-Series performance. But this 40-inch screen surprised me. It didn’t blow me away, especially compared to the Samsung Q80T QLED TV I normally use, but it held its own for an LED TV.

Vizio D-Series playing cartoons

(Image credit: Vizio)

Sure, the high-contrast strobe effects in the opening scene of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker gave the Vizio D-Series trouble, making it difficult to see a severe-looking Emperor Palpatine in Exegol’s shadows. But the set redeemed itself in the following sequence when Rey speeds through a Jedi jungle obstacle course. Though the greenery lacked a bit of color definition (no HDR is likely to blame,) the details of Rey’s draped getup held up well as she moved. BB-8’s spinning base didn’t blur much, either

Well-lit content with motion like daytime action scenes or sports is a Vizio D-Series performance highlight. The full-array backlighting offers solid contrast for a set this price, creating deep blacks as long as there aren’t too many shades of darkness to differentiate.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Test results

The Tom’s Guide TV testing also revealed the Vizio D-Series strengths and weaknesses. In most categories, the Vizio D-Series attained average scores for an LED set at this price. It reached a max brightness of 214 nits. We usually see closer to 600 nits from higher-end sets, for comparison, but this result is familiar for bargain sets. The Insignia F20 Fire TV Edition NS-32DF310NA19 we tested produced 236 nits of brightness, while the Toshiba C350 Fire TV 43C350 produced 227 nits.

We measure TV accuracy with a Delta-E rating. A smaller score is ideal (0 is perfect), and the Vizio D-Series TV earned an impressive 1.9. It beats out the TCL 3-Series Roku TV (2.2) and Insignia F20 Fire TV (7.6), though not the Toshiba C350 Fire TV (1.8).

When it comes to color reproduction, which we measure using a X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer and SpectraCal CalMAN Ultimate calibration software. The Vizio D-Series TV was able to reproduce 96.66% of the Rec 709 color space. The best TVs reproduce near 100% (or beyond, for the best OLED TVs specifically.) 

Child playing video games on Vizio D-Series

(Image credit: Vizio)

With a lag time of just 14.9 seconds, you can expect a responsive gaming experience from the Vizio D-Series TV. It even supports a dedicated Game Mode with low latency settings unlike the low-cost Samsung TU7000 TV, making the D-Series one of the best gaming TVs under $300.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Audio

The Vizio D-Series’s dual 10-watt speakers don’t impress. For watching cable or enjoying a game soundtrack, the sound is balanced enough that it won’t distract from the content. If you want any semblance of shaking bass or crisper vocals, you’ll want to consider one of the best soundbars or best cheap soundbars as an add-on. Larger, pricier TVs can better hold their own in terms of audio quality, but we usually recommend soundbars to anyone looking to elevate their entertainment experience. 

Vizio D-Series TV review: Smart features

The Vizio D-Series runs on Vizio’s SmartCast platform. Most affordable TV brands use a third-party platform like Roku or Google TV, though Vizio sticks to its native software. This year SmartCast added more local app support, so you’ll find popular services like Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock and Apple TV. You get the best Netflix shows and best HBO Max shows, too. 

Vizio D-Series smart features

(Image credit: Vizio)

SmartCast also has Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay built-in, so you can easily cast content from your smartphone to the TV. If you can enjoy it on your handset, you can get it on your Vizio TV through Chromecast and AirPlay. The set is also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. You can’t control the D-Series hands-free through the set or remote, but if you have one of the best smart speakers in the same room, you can ask your assistant for voice-activated controls.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Remote

The Vizio D-Series IR remote has more dedicated launch buttons than any remote I’ve seen in a while. There are buttons for Peacock, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Crackle, Tubi and Vizio’s own WatchFree channel.

Vizio D-Series remote

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The remote’s curved back makes it easy to hold, while the soft-touch buttons offer all the controls you need — not too few and not too many. That said, you can use the Vizio SmartCast smartphone app as a remote, if you wish.

Vizio D-Series TV review: Verdict

The Vizio D-Series is a rather basic TV, but for the price it’s a solid find. Vizio is among a limited group of TV brands that make premium-feeling sets for a more accessible cost, as well as low-end, small-sized sets like the D-Series. In other words, Vizio knows how to cut the right corners. You don’t get stunning picture performance, but you get great gaming features. You don’t get impressive sound, but the smart platform will satisfy all your streaming needs. 

As long as you care more about the savings, size options and smarts, the Vizio D-Series TV is easy to recommend. It’s one of the best smallest smart TVs in terms of lag time, picture accuracy and, of course, price. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.