Connectivity: The Vizio has ample inputs for high-quality sources, namely three rear and a fourth side HDMI, one component-video and one VGA-style PC input. There's just one analog video input, however, that uses the same jack as the component-video input. A pair of side-panel USB ports is also on hand.
I don't expect world-beating images out of a budget TV, but the Vizio E42VLE doesn't even beat other budget models. It earned the same 5 in this category we recently gave to the incredibly inexpensive TCL L40FHDF12A. The TCL actually has better perceived contrast and black levels, but falls short in color accuracy, so overall it's a scoring wash between the two. In our book, the addition of 120Hz doesn't mean much, since the E2VLE doesn't handle 1080p/24 sources properly, but if you like smoothing -- which isn't available on the TCL -- then you may be swayed toward the Vizio's picture.
Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Samsung LN46D630||46-inch LCD|
|Sony KDL-40BX450||40-inch LCD|
|TCL L40FHDF12TA||40-inch LCD|
|Vizio M3D550SR||55-inch LED|
|Sharp LC-60LE645U||60-inch LED|
Black level: Overall the Vizio produced the brightest, most washed-out shade of black in our lineup. In dark scenes, like Chapters 3-4 in "I Am Legend" (11:45 and later) when Neville closes up the house for the evening, it looked less impressive than any of the others by a wide margin, with less pop and impact. In brighter scenes the difference was less noticeable but still obvious, for example in the black of the letterbox bars.
For calibration I turned off the DCR setting to achieve better gamma. Turning it back on did improve black levels to a visible degree, but they were still worse than any other the others except the TCL (which basically tied the E2VLE). I'd probably keep it on if I owned this TV.
Perhaps as a result of that worse gamma, the shadows with DCR mode engaged appeared too-bright and transitions from dark to light didn't look the same as the other sets with better gamma scores, lending the image a flatter look than any (including the TCL). The trade-off for relatively better black levels was worth it, but definitely not ideal.
Color accuracy: The E2VLE performed quite well in this area, roughly matching the accuracy of the Vizio M3D550SR and the Sharp, and outdoing the others in this category. Skin tones were neutral during the kitchen scene with Anna and Ethan (Chapter 19, 1:05:49), for example, and very dark areas didn't show the overly bluish blacks we saw on most of the other sets. Colors lacked the richness and saturation we saw on any of the others, however, an issue I blame primarily on poor black levels.
Video processing: LIke most other Vizio TVs we've seen the E2VLE couldn't properly resolve the 1080p/24 in our test. The planes and deck of the Intrepid from "I Am Legend" (Chapter 7, 24:59) showed the choppy stutter characteristic of 2:3 pull-down, not the smoother, more regular caddence of film (more info). We played with the Real Cinema and Film Mode settings to no avail.
The Vizio scored a surprisingly good motion resolution result for a 120Hz TV (see the Geek Box, below), but to get that benefit you'll have to engage the smoothing effects of dejudder. I definitely don't think the tradeoff is worth it, not least because the benefits of high numeric motion resolution are, to my eyes, almost impossible to discern.
Uniformity: The screen of our E2VLE review sample was largely free of brighter blotches in darker areas, although the top edge did show a bit brighter than the rest, especially in material with letterbox bars. Seen from off-angle both Vizios washed out more quickly then any of the others, but did a better job of maintaining color accuracy.
Bright lighting: The Vizio's matte screen serves it well in bright rooms where lights, windows and bright objects cause reflections. The rest of the sets in the lineup also have matte screens, and in general they all performed equally well in this category.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0823||Poor|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2848/0.2913||Poor|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3127/0.3292||Good|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3121/0.3286||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||6674||Average|
|After avg. color temp.||6496||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||1.4557||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||1.1796||Good|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||0.1138||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2156/0.3274||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3219/0.1557||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4169/0.4976||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i Deinterlacing (film)||Fail||Poor|
|Motion resolution (max)||1000||Good|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||300||Poor|