The question posed by the Vizio E2VLE series comes down to priorities. If your priority is getting scads of streaming video and audio content delivered wirelessly to your TV as cheaply as possible without having to use an external box, it's worth a look. But if your priority is getting good picture quality for the money, look elsewhere. The Roku LT can supply those scads to any TV for as little as $50, and the TCL L40FHDF12A is one example of a budget TV with picture quality that matches this Vizio's. Many others perform better at the same price, so despite a lengthy features list the E2VLE series is tough to recommend.
Editors' note: The CNET Editors' rating above factors in a new Value score that joins Design, Features, and Performance in our ratings calculations for TVs. In the case of the Vizio E2VLE series, the Value score is 6.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 47-inch Vizio E472VLE, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and should provide very similar picture quality.
|Models in series (details)|
|Vizio E422VLE||42 inches|
|Vizio E472VLE (reviewed)||47 inches|
|Vizio E552VLE||55 inches|
The chunky, pedestrian exterior of the E2VLE series hearkens back to TV designs of a few years ago, when frames and panels were thicker, black was glossier and angles were sharper. Those angles on the frame seem intended to echo the "V" of the logo (which illuminates, and can be turned off), and the only other accent is a similarly angled badge proclaiming the presence of "120Hz Smooth Motion." The angular (see the theme?) stand refuses to swivel.
Unlike Vizio's higher-end Smart TV remotes, the clicker that comes with the E2VLE models lacks a backside QWERTY keyboard. The front side could be a lot better. It 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 recent years, 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||No|
|Smart TV||Yes||Internet connection||Built-in Wi-Fi|
|3D technology||N/A||3D glasses included||N/A|
|Refresh rate(s)||120Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes|
Vizio is known for getting more features to ever-lower price points, and by ditching expensive LED backlighting on the E2VLE series, it created one of the cheapest Smart TV-equipped models around. I like the addition of built-in Wi-Fi, and Vizio finally caught up with the competition by adding DLNA to browse files over a home network (it stopped responding and crashed in our brief test with a packed media server, however). The only image-affecting extra is 120Hz with smoothing, if you like that kind of thing (I don't).
Smart TV: Vizio still calls its app suite VIA for "Vizio Internet Apps," although its Web site now uses the generic Smart TV. Its design, based on the original Yahoo Widgets, consists of a strip along the bottom of the screen. It 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 "Yahoo Connected TV Store" that's crowded with entirely too much chaff, including way too many "apps" devoted to local TV stations. Overall the experience feels dated and definitely a step behind major competitors.
Content selection, however, is among the best available today. Since last year it has added CinemaNow, YouTube, and many others, leaving no major video services off the list (although sports apps like MLB.TV and NHL are still AWOL). There's also a Skype icon but it seems inactive for now--clicking it simply exited the system. Vizio is still the only TV maker to support Rhapsody, and with Pandora, TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio there's plenty of musical choice too.
Picture settings: The selection here is adequate but not up to LG or Samsung's standards, lacking a gamma presets, a 10-point grayscale, color management and fine dejudder control. There's a ridiculous number of picture modes so viewers who like to create different settings for all kinds of material and sources will have a lot to like.
Most of the picture controls and all of the presets are also available when watching streaming video.