If you want the most features for your TV buck, look no further than Vizio's E3D0VX series. It's the least expensive 1080p 3D TV on the market--yeah, entry-level 720p 3D plasmas from Samsung and LG cost less but don't include active glasses, while Sony's PlayStation TV is just 24 inches. The Vizio also sports a well-equipped Internet package, complete with content galore, built-in Wi-Fi and, yes, a remote equipped with a QWERTY keyboard on the flip side. About the only thing missing is an LED backlight.
The downside is that the Vizio's disappointing 2D picture can't match that of many basic-featured competitors that cost less. If you can overlook that significant flaw and actually want 3D, you'll find Vizio's E3D0VX plenty appealing.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 42-inch Vizio E3D420VX, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
|Models in series (details)|
|Vizio E3D320VX||32 inches|
|Vizio E3D420VX (reviewed)||42 inches|
|Vizio E3D470VX||47 inches|
|Panel depth||3.4 inches||Bezel width||1.75 inches|
|Single-plane face||No||Swivel stand||No|
The chunky Vizio E3D0VX series won't win any beauty contests. It follows the company's familiar aesthetic of the last year or two: a glossy black frame with a thick perforated speaker grille along the bottom. There's a strange dimple in the middle of the grille, which at first glance seemed like a dent caused by damage during shipping.
|Remote control and menus|
|Remote size (LxW)||6.25 x 2.1 inches||QWERTY keyboard||Yes|
|Illuminated keys||No||IR device control||No|
|Menu item explanations||Yes||Onscreen manual||No|
The remote and menus E3D0VX series are very good and surpass in many ways the efforts of more well-known brands, especially at this price.
We were excited (in the nerdiest possible fashion) when we saw that the backside of Vizio's remote had a QWERTY keyboard. It's better than the previous version found on models like the XVT3SV, with more responsive keys, an easier typing experience and no flimsy slide-up action. It's still not as good as the QWERTY clicker included on Samsung's expensive D8000 series, mainly because it doesn't have a backlight (making use impossible in the dark) and it works via infrared instead of Bluetooth--so you have to make sure to have line of sight between the Vizio remote and the TV. It's pretty darn good though, and obviously a much better value than the Samsung version.
The front side of the Vizio remote could be a lot better. It also lacks illumination, the menu/exit/guide/back keys are too small, there's not enough differentiation, and no direct button to switch aspect ratio. Its best feature is dedicated keys for Amazon Instant, Netflix and Vudu streaming services.
Vizio's menu system remains unchanged from the XVT3SV, and it's still very good. It resembles another app in appearance, and we liked that the picture settings section is actually integrated into the main App taskbar (see below). Responses were fast, explanations complete, and we had no problems finding our way around.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||N/A|
|3D technology||Passive||3D glasses included||2 pair|
|Screen finish||Matte||Internet connection||Built-in wi-fi|
|Refresh rate(s)||120Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes|
The Vizio E3D0VX series is the most fully loaded non-LED TV on the market. Its chief extra is the same kind of passive 3D found on LG's 2011 3D TVs--all of which are more expensive LED models that start at 47 inches. Check out our 3D TV Buying Guide for more on passive 3D and the Performance section of this review for details on the E3D0VX's implementation.
The E3D0VX includes two pairs of passive glasses instead of the four found on LG's TVs and more expensive Vizios. They don't match, either; one is the same curvy, glossy pair of spectacles included on those Vizios, while the other set is more generic-looking with flat lenses. The company sells additional (curvy) specs for $25 each on its Web site. Less expensive compatible circular polarized glasses are available from online merchants, and if you swipe a pair of passive 3D glasses from your local theater, they should work too.
We also appreciate that Vizio included built-in Wi-Fi, so you don't have to run a wire to the TV to take advantage of the Internet features. Unlike on earlier Vizios, Wi-Fi on this model worked well in our test environment.
|Streaming and apps|
|Amazon Instant||Yes||Hulu Plus||Yes|
|Other: CinemaNow, Rhapsody, TuneIn radio, Flickr, numerous other Yahoo widgets|
Vizio's Internet services suite, known as VIA, is our fourth-favorite among 2011 contenders, outdoing Sony by a nose but falling short of Panasonic, LG and Samsung. Content selection is very good; none of the major services go missing with the exception of YouTube. As for audio Vizio is still the only maker to include Rhapsody--a boon for subscribers but a big "meh" for everybody else.
The top three contenders on that list all improved their user experiences this year but Vizio did not; sticking to the same Yahoo widgets-based system it used last year. The main gateway consists of a strip along the bottom of the screen that shows just four widgets at a time, so finding the one you want is a tedious scrolling chore if you any more than 10 or so installed. Vizio doesn't make finding new widgets any easier, with a "gallery" that's crowed with entirely too much chaff, including way too many "apps" devoted to local TV stations.
On the other hand, we appreciated that unlike other connected TVs it can run two Apps simultaneously, allowing you to Tweet or check Facebook (or even browse Amazon Prime) while watching Netflix, for example. Think of it as TV multitasking, or just think of streaming services as another TV channel.
|Adjustable picture modes||9||Fine dejudder control||No|
|Color temperature presets||4||Fine color temperature control||2 points|
|Gamma presets||0||Color management system||No|
The selection here is adequate but not up to LG or Samsung's standards. There's a ridiculous number of picture modes, and all are adjustable per input, so viewers who like to create different settings for all kinds of material and sources will have a lot to like. We'd like to see gamma presets and especially the ability to adjust dejudder processing beyond the three presets, but neither is in the offing.
Most of the picture controls and all of the presets are also available when watching streaming video. Tweakers take note that the Ambient Light Sensor, which ships turned on by default, must be disabled before you can manually adjust the backlight setting.