Vizio E500i-B1 Review
50" 1080p Full-Array LED Smart TV
by Jack Burden, Senior Reviewer
Vizio's 50-inch entry into the basic lineup of LED TVs has been given some attractive upgrades for 2014. The price is one of those attractive features as well. The E500i-B1 features full-array LED backlighting instead of the edge-lit variety we have seen in the past. The 55 inch size has 16 zones of Active dimming for enhanced contrast, more than the smaller sizes. Vizio Internet Apps Plus is also included in the E series for the first time. The E500i-B1 is available for a price of around $650.00. The 50-inch size does not in the E series does not offer a non-internet enabled variant.
- Very thin bezles compared to previous E-series models
- The whole package is very lightweight
- Calibration gets the best out of this value display
- The many different picture modes each have their strong suits
- The speakers are plenty loud
- The Black Detail feature increases black saturation and boosts contrast
- A clicking noise from the fan can be heard when the TV is off
- High pitch hum produced from the display when the TV is on
- Aspect ratio issues with standard def programming could not be properly addressed
- Side angle viewing isn't great, but on par with other LED TVs
The E500i-B1 has a good quality picture after calibration. This still House of Cards shows good picture depth and detail. Color reproduction is on the weak side, but not terrible
Picture and Viewing Features
The Vizio E500i-B1 is an excellent choice for the entery level E series thanks to more zones for the Active LED Local Dimming. The 50 inch features 16 zones while the 48 inch only has 6. The 55 inch only has 12 zones, making this one seem a little more alluring to us. More zones are better because their divisions become less noticable to a watchful eye. The full-array LED backlighting achieves much better peak whites and deeper blacks than seen on previous versions of the E series. Colors are also going to benefit from this backlighting scheme, as there will be less washout and uniformity issues. Also, the 120Hz refresh rate with a 180 Clear Action Rate backlight scanning feature imrproves judder and motion blur. The Clear Action Rate may produce negative effects in some circumstances and is probably better left off for movies and regular TV programs.
Picture Quality Rating: 84/100
The E500i-B1 certainly doesn't compete with a plasma display in terms of picture depth and color, but it's a clear winner when it comes to picture quality and screen space for the price. In darker scenes I noticed that it can get a bit flat and blacks can seem to have a haze over them. Colors also seem a tad bit washed out and leave a little more to be desired.
Black levels end up being somewhat flexible thanks to the Black Detail option in the Advanced Picture Settings menu. It provides a much needed contrast boost which gives the picture a more three dimensional quality. Colors pop a bit more too. This is a case where I made a rare exception and use the Black Detail on the high setting. Normally, we would have such a setting off.
This is a shot from an HD broadcast. Detail and sharpness are high points here while color seems a bit lacking
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.
Picture Modes and Calibration
Choosing the best picture mode for the E500i-B1 is extremely important and Vizio provides some strong choices: Standard (energy saving mode), Calibrated, Calibrated Dark, Game, Computer, and Vivid. The calibrated and calibrated dark modes are the best choices with only the backlight strenght being the difference between the two. 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, the two calibrated modes available are the way to go when you want the best picture out of this TV. Try the others out if you need to push the brightness a bit more depending on the room the TV is located in. From Calibrated Mode use the following settings for calibrated picture settings:
|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|
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 E500i 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 most useful apps included are Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, MGO, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Facebook. There are plenty more too.
Some notable apps included this time around are:
Spotify: This music streaming app gives your Vizio access to just about all the music you'll need. You can search albums, tracks, and artists to create personalized playlists instead of leaving it up to the app to decide what is next. There are ads, but premium subscription models are offered for those who really enjoy the experience.
Lyve: LyveHome gives the TV the ability to compile all of your content from Android, Apple, and Windows devices and access them from one place. Vizio Internet Apps Plus users can easily sort, view, share and their photos and videos right on the big screen.
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.
This still from House of Cards displays decent picture depth and contrast levels. Getting to the Netflix app only involves a single button press
Appearance and Design
The E500i-B1 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 E500i-B1 presents a strong value on all fronts. The $650 retail price tag isn't too shabby for the amount of screen space. Similar TV's from major brands sell in the mid to high $700 range. Picture quality for the $650.00 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 aren't dealbreakers by any means.
Overall Rating: 87/100
- Full HD 1080p
- Diagonal Screen Measurement: 50.0"
- Full Array LED Backlit
- 16 Zones of Active LED Dimming
- Speaker output: 8W x 2
- 802.11n wifi built in
- 10mm thin bezel for frameless appearance
- 4 HDMI, 1 USB inputs
- With Stand: 44.10”W x 27.46”H x 8.64”D
- Without Stand: 44.10”W x 25.69”H x 2.48”D
|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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