Vizio SmartCast E-Series E65-E0 Review: A Sharp Display with Chromecast Built In

If you're looking for an affordable new home theater display, the Vizio E-Series E65-E0 ($849.99) ticks a lot of the boxes on your shopping list. The Vizio E65 is a 65-inch home theater display with a 3840 x 2160 resolution LCD display, full-array LED backlight with local dimming and HDR support. Plus, you get Google Chromecast built in for wide-ranging smart functionality, and the E65 does it all for a sub-$1,000 price. As long as you don't need a built-in TV tuner and a lot of built-in apps, this Vizio E-Series E65-E0 should satisfy.

Design

The E65-E0 doesn't stray far from the template set by other inexpensive TVs and displays, with black plastic construction and a glossy black bezel around the display panel.

Measuring 57.67 x 33.20 x 3.31 inches, the E65 is a bit thicker than the similar Vizio M65 (2.5 inches thick), but slightly lighter in overall weight – 50.72 pounds without the stand, as compared to the M65's 55.33. The included stand – a pair of V-shaped feet that attach at either end of the set – is black plastic, with lattice design.

On the back of the E65 you'll find the expected collection of connectivity options: four HDMI ports, component video inputs, a single USB port and an Ethernet jack. You won't find an RF connector, though.

The E65 isn't technically a TV, it's a display, meaning that it doesn't have a TV tuner built in. While that's not an issue if you're connecting to a cable or satellite box via HDMI for your live TV, it does mean that you can't connect an antenna for over-the-air content without also providing a tuner.

Performance

In testing, the E65 offered superb quality for a sub-$1,000 display. As measured with our X-Rite colorimeter, the display had a Delta-E score of 1.4 (closer to 0 is better), the same as the more expensive Vizio M65. That's better than even our favorite budget sets, the Insignia Roku TV (2.0) and the TCL P-Series 55P607 (2.2). And it did so with better-than-average color representation, producing 99.2 percent of the Rec. 709 color space.

The numbers look promising, but the proof is in the viewing, and while the E65 does look quite good for its price range, it's not perfect. Colors were actually a bit drab; in Arrival, skin tones took on a bit of a gray cast, and the few bright colors in the film, like a young girl's blue coat, looked slightly muted.

In testing, the E65 offered superb quality for a sub-$1,000 display.

You'll also get richer black levels from other sets, in part because Vizio's local dimming has only 12 dimming zones to work with, as compared with the 32 zones of the more expensive Vizio M65. As a result, the black levels aren't as rich, and some detail gets lost because of it. In Transformers: The Last Knight, shots of alien wreckage in space looked as if they were surrounded by a few notable points of light, while higher-quality sets display a sky full of pinprick stars.

The brightness also isn't at the same level as other sets, with a max brightness of 180 nits in vivid mode. By comparison, we saw better brightness from both the TCL P-Series 55P607 (464 nits) and the Insignia (351 nits). The lack of brightness also translated into reduced effectiveness of HDR. While there was some overall improvement with it turned on, it wasn't substantial, and while the E65 supports HDR10, it does not support Dolby Vision.

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Test results and fancy features aside, the Vizio did quite well on two fronts, with fairly smooth fast action for a 60Hz panel, and good upscaling performance.

Any Chromecast compatible app can be shared to the TV, and Vizio's SmartCast app also lets you mirror your device screen for sharing other content.

Audio

With a pair of 15-watt speakers, the E65 produces a good amount of volume, but the audio falls a bit flat. Low-end sound is fairly anemic, and midrange sounds tend to get muddied at high volumes. As a result, the booming sounds of explosions are muffled and music will often have disappointing vocals. For this home theater display, you'll do well to buy a soundbar.

Remote

The Vizio E65 uses the same SmartCast remote seen on Vizio's other current models, which combines the traditional channel and volume up and down controls with a large, square-shaped four-directional pad, buttons for accessing menus and exiting apps, and six dedicated app buttons: Vudu, Netflix, Amazon, Xumo, Crackle and iHeart Radio.

The sleek design of the oval-shaped remote is comfortable to hold, but the use of black buttons on a black remote will make it harder to see what's what when the lights are turned down to watch a movie.

Smart Features

The dedicated buttons on the E65's remote might suggest a healthy selection of apps on the TV, but in reality there are a total of 10 locally installed apps. There is no dedicated app store, and popular services like YouTube and Spotify aren't available on the TV itself. However, thanks to Vizio's use of built in Google Chromecast, you can still access those apps and thousands more.

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Any Chromecast compatible app can be shared to the TV, and Vizio's SmartCast app also lets you mirror your device screen for sharing other content. That's a lot of potential functionality, provided you bring along a second device.

Bottom Line

The Vizio E-Series E65-E0 is an affordable 4K home theater display, to be sure, but it's a testament to how excellent some inexpensive 4K sets can be that we can even have reservations. While the price is definitely attractive, the overall package has some gaps in its features and capabilities that give us pause. While it handles 4K resolution and some HDR content, it doesn't support the increasingly popular Dolby Vision HDR spec. And as a home theater display, you'll need to bring your own TV tuner to enjoy OTA content. Finally, while the flexibility of Google's Chromecast is a positive note for Vizio's SmartCast TVs, you'll also need to bring a second device to the party to enjoy those benefits, and without one, this smart TV is a lot dumber.

None of these complaints would matter much if the E65 were the only choice for inexpensive 4K. But there are more affordable and capable options available, like the TCL 55P607, with better HDR support and Roku's smart TV interface. For the truly budget-conscious, the 55-inch Insignia Roku TV might be an even better value, though it lacks HDR support entirely.

However, if you want better color and the wider app support the SmartCast line offers, then the Vizio E-Series E65-E0 is still a smart pick.

Credit: Tom's Guide

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