Vizio M322i-B1 Review
32 inch 1080p Smart Full-Array LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The Vizio M322i-B1 is the smallest size available for the M series. The price tag of $329.99 makes it really geared toward the the value TV shopper, and a better deal than last year's equivalent model. Upgraded picture quality features and a redesigned Smart TV platform are the biggest improvemenets this time around. Full-array backlighting is the star addition that has a direct effect on the overall picture quality. This bumps the contrast to levels that compete with some of the big name TV manufacturers. This is also something we don't really see very often in value focused sets. The 32 and 42 inch sizes in the M series have taken a hit in terms of Active LED zones, but that's the only difference and is reflected in the price. Vizio's internet apps plus provides access to all the streaming services you'll need as well as second screen abilities for smartphone and tablet integration.
Picture Quality Rating: 86/100
Black levels are more saturated than we saw last year, and the TV certainly has plenty of brightness in whites. Active Pixel Tuning helps even further by addressing contrast issues at the pixel level for stronger brights and darks. The Black Detail option is one that we found particularly useful in getting the best picture. We normally don't employ these image processing features since they introduce too many negative effects on the image. That isn't the case here are we recommend using it. In terms of sharpness, we've seen better from the big names like Sony and Samsung. This is a result of the picture processing engines and Vizio is certainly not among the worst. To further the 120Hz native refresh rate, Vizio includes a 720 Clear Action Rate feature. This backlight scanning feature will help with sports programming and fast action, but is better off left disabled most of the time.
Active LED Dimming
The M322i-B1 features active LED Local Dimming with only 5 zones to enhance contrast. As mentioned earlier, the smaller M series TVs only have less zones compared to the larger sizes. More zones are definitely better, but the smaller screen will make up for less zones as well. Since the screen only has 5 zones, we really saw no difference with the featrue enabled. The Active LED Zones option in the Advanced Picture Settings controls this feature if you want to see how it works for yourself.
The overall picture quality of this TV will depend a lot on the picture mode you select. We thoguht Calibrated was the right choice to get the best out of the picture. The picture initally dims, but bumping up the backlight is key to getting the best balance between contrast and brightness in the image. Make sure the brightness setting is near 50% with the Contrast nearing 90%. There are a few other picture modes to choose from, but they either blow out the picture or are too dim. Other picture modes like Game or Computer are useful for cutting down the input lag or displaying video from a computer correctly.
OPC Control Setting
The OPC (Optimum Power Control) control is very hidden in the menu of the M-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 M-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 M-series 36 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, Click on Backlight Control and turn Off.
Features Rating: 84/100
Vizio Internet Apps Plus
Vizio has added a Plus to the name of their smart TV features this year. 802.11n wifi is built into the TV for speedy connection capable of problem free HD streaming. Some of the highlighted content streaming apps include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Vudu, Pandora, and all the social media you'll need. The new backlit remote even has dedicated buttons for Netflix, Amazon, and M Go. The whole platform has recieved a redesign with HTML 5 in order to achieve an inuitive user interface. We think it is an improvement upon previous iterations. Second Screen interactivity is also a feature for iOS and Android devices. Compatible apps will be able to broadcast their content to the M322i's display without any wires.
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.
Appearance and Design
The M322i features a familiar design. We saw this look with the M series last year, but with one improvement. The bezels are thinner. The 8mm thin bezels really push the frameless look and are 20% thinner than last year's bezels. The base and neck are made out of metal to give it a solid construction and feel. The profile is razor thin and competes with the best LED TVs on the market. We thought the desing was average last year and that still stands, but thinner bezels are always a welcome addition.
Value Rating: 93/100
The Vizio M322i-B1 presents an excellent value for a full HD backlit LED TV with Smart TV features for only $329. It's a pretty solid package for value TV shoppers when you take a look at what you can get for a similar price from other TV manufacturers. The Samsung UN32H5500 has a similar feature set, but with it uses edge LEDs instead of full array like on the M322i.
Overall Rating: 88/100
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 31.5" diagonal screen measurement
- 3 HDMI inputs / 1 USB input
- 5 Active LED zones
- Full Array Backlit LED Display
- (2) 5 Watt Speakers
- Dimensions With Stand: 28.61”W x 18.74”H x 6.90”D
- Dimensions Without Stand: 28.61”W x 17.09”H x 2.08”D
- Weight With Stand: 15.65 lbs
- Weight Without Stand: 13.23 lbs
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|