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Vizio E400i-B2 Review

40" 1080p Full-Array LED Smart TV

by , Senior Reviewer

Vizio E400i-B2 LED TVVizio's entry level lineup of LED TVs has seen a major upgrade for 2014, and they still are offered at an entry level price. The E400i-B2 is a full-array LED TV with 5 zones of Active dimming for enhanced contrast. Vizio Internet Apps Plus is also included in the E series for the first time. The internet enabled E400i-B2 is available for around $450.00.

The Vizio E400-B2 is the model number for this TV without Vizio Internet Apps Plus. Note the lack of the 'i' in the model number.

“I was surprised by a couple of no-brainers that we have not seen from a branded TV in some years: noise from the TV and aspect ratio problems”

Strengths

  • Very lightweight, with thin bezel frame
  • Great picture after some much needed calibration aspect, notwithstanding
  • Strong Picture Mode qualities
  • Audio Volume pronounced and can get plenty loud
  • Black Detail Feature increases black saturation and creates more contrast

Weaknesses

  • Noise issues, clicking fan noise even when turned off
  • High pitch whining noise when turned on
  • Aspect ratio modes not sufficient for SD programming
  • Side angle viewing (but no more than other LED TVs)
Vizio E400i-B2 LED TV
The E400i-B2 shows a strong picture after calibration. Contrast and dark area detail are strong suits of this shot from the blu-ray of Troy

Picture and Viewing Features

The Vizio E400i-B2 is loaded with picture features that really boost the picture quality. The full-array LED backlighting achieves much better peak whites and deeper blacks than seen on previous versions of the E series. This model features 5 Active LED zones for local dimming. We tested the feature and found no real benefit to picture quality. It's a shame since this is one of the featured aspects of the set after full array backlighting. The 4K P series has 64 zone and is more likely to have a positive effect. Also, the 60Hz refresh rate combined with a 180 Clear Action Rate backlight scanning create an effective 120Hz refresh rate. Live sports programming and camera movement won't see as much judder and motion blur, but it is probably better to leave this off for most of the time.

Picture Quality Rating: 84/100

This Vizio doesn't render the picture depth of a plasma display, but presents a good picture for the price. In darker scenes it can get a bit flat and blacks can seem to have a film over them interfering with overall immersion. The colors are not what I would call rich either.

Black levels are somewhat flexible with the Black Detail advanced picture setting. It adds some much needed contrast and three dimensionality and colors pop, so I made a rare exception and use the Black Detail on the high setting. Normally, we would have such a setting off.

Vizio E400i-B2 LED TV
Another still from the Troy blu-ray reveals a highly detailed picture and excellent picture depth

The Film Mode does cut down slightly on judder from movie-source programming with no noted side effects. We're typically sceptical of this type of de-judder feature but on the Vizio e-series the effects are subtle enough to be of good use.

Side Angle Viewing, better than expected especially with the Black Detail setting on high. Nevertheless , there is contrast reduction starting at around 20 degrees off center, but becoming pronounced at 30.

Aspect Ratio Choices and Quality

Normal, Wide, Stretch, and Zoom modes are controlled by the diminutive “wide” button on the bottom left of the remote face. With HD programming your normal and wide selection will appear the same and of course there is no problem with this aspect rendering. The following pics from Nat Geo Wild show what your choices will look like with normal non-HD cable. The order is:

Vizio E400i-B2 Wide Aspect Ratio
Wide: Obviously you will have bars left and right as well as top and bottom, but everything is sized perfectly without distortion. You just lose half the screen space!

Vizio E400i-B2 Zoom Aspect Ratio
Zoom: Looks decent but the picture is stretched vertically too much and is not proportional. As well, you are losing some of your picture top and bottom, notice the NBC logo

Vizio E400i-B2 Normal Aspect Ratio
Normal: This is your 4:3 format picture. Wide aspect almost took off as much on the side bars as 4:3.

Vizio E400i-B2 Stretch Aspect Ratio
Stretch: As you can see you get the full width but the algorthmic scaling leaves a lot to be desired. His face is not even close to being proportional. It's much more evident with faces on the left or right side of the screen.


Picture Modes and Calibration

Choosing the best picture mode for your setting is extremely important and Vizio gives us some nice choices: Standard (energy saving mode), Calibrated, Calibrated Dark, Game, Computer, and Vivid. The calibrated and calibrated dark modes are the best with the only difference being the backlight being tuned down to 58/100 in the calibrated dark mode as opposed to 100% backlight in the calibrated mode. Calibrated mode will probably be the choice mode for most situations as the dark shadow detail and full backlight give the picture some needed punch. Overall, I am very pleased with the selection of picture modes, especially the two calibrated modes for this price point of TV. From Calibrated Mode use the following settings for calibrated picture settings:

Picture Settings

Advanced Picture

Backlight: 90 Auto Brightness: Off
Brightness: 54 Black Detail: High
Contrast: 91 Smart Dimming: On
Color: 54 Reduce Signal Noise: Low
Tint: -1 Reduce Block Noise: Low
Sharpness: 30 Film Mode: Off

I could make out not discernible difference in the look of the picture with the Film Mode or Smart Dimming On or Off.

OPC Control Setting

The OPC (Optimum Power Control) control is very hidden in the menu of the E-series Vizio TV, but it can and should be turned off due to the distracting influx and outflow of light/brightness produced by the backlight. Out of the box, it will be set to On position for any of the preset picture settings. When I recently retested the e-series from Vizio I found it added unnecessary picture noise when light flow moved up or down lagging the picture image. The OPC's purpose is to save energy by manipulating the backlight through the 18 backlight zones, or probably more accurately to lower the Energy rating for Vizio's TVs. But at less than $1 a month total, and just a few cents per month for the OPC feature, you probably prefer a better picture. To turn it off: Go to Picture Settings, scroll down to More, Scroll down and click Advanced Picture at he bottom of the menu, this will finally bring up the Backlight Control as the very last setting. Turn Off.

Features Rating: 83/100

Vizio Internet Apps Plus

The Vizio E400i has the Vizio Internet Apps Plus platform included. The built-in wifi allows for instant access and plenty of speed for HD content streaming. The 'Plus' in the name means the interface is much more user friendly and the overall performance is faster than before. Some of the content streaming apps include Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, MGO, Hulu Plus, and YouTube. You get Pandora and iHeartRadio for music. On the social media front there is Facebook and Twitter. Once you dig in you'll find what is going to be useful for you.

Vizio E400i-B2 Streaming Netflix
The Netflix app works wonderfully on the Vizio Internet Apps Plus platform

The Smart TV gets good marks as far as performance goes. There were a few initial hiccups in the set up process, but all was smooth once we got past those and connected to our wifi network. Streaming content loaded up quickly and provided a high quality image over wifi. This is a big plus since not all smart TV platforms handle streaming so well.

Vizio E400i-B2 Streaming Netflix
This still from House of Cards displays decent picture depth and contrast levels. Getting to the Netflix app only involves a single button press

Standard Remote

The Vizio E-series does not include a remote with any special capabilities. No motion control, voice recognition, or QWERTY keyboard. But that's okay. It's a small remote with efficiently laid out small keys that give quick access to the necessary controls. That's really all we need in a remote after all. The buttons to access video streaming apps quickly will be some of the most used.

Vizio E400i-B2 Remote
The small black remote is clearly labeled with plenty of room for the channel and volume buttons. The number buttons may be a little too small for those with bigger hands

Appearance and Design

Vizio E400i-B2 LED TV Design

The E400i-B2 has also recieved some upgrades to the appearance. The bezels are now slimmer than they were last year, at a mere 10mm thin. Not bad for an entry level set. The profile has also seen a reduction of 30%. These aren't nearly as bulky as they have been in the past. The black plastic square stand is nothing special, but it doesn't take away from the sleek look here. All in all, this is an average looking value LED TV.

Value Rating: 93/100

The Vizio E400i-B2 presents a solid value across the board. Picture quality for the $449.00 price tag is excellent. Strong contrast and picture depth from front and center is the highlight in the picture quality realm. Vizio Internet Apps Plus don't do anything new for the platform, but everything works well and doesn't leave much to be desired. Some downsides are a non-backlit remote, 2-point white balance, and a non-swivel stand. But these are dealbreakers by any means. This TV will stand out in the 40 inch class. Competition includes the Samsung UN40H5500 and the Sony KDL-40W600B.

Overall Rating: 87/100



Jack Burden Jack Burden has been reviewing and writing reviews in the consumer electronics category for 7 years with CEAG. He considers grayscale gradation, film patterned retarders, and focus field drives to be fun topics. Read more about Jack




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