Vizio M502i Review
50 inch 1080p Smart Full-Array LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The Vizio M502i is reasonably priced at $729.99. There is less than a $200 difference between the 50 and 55 inch sizes. If you have the room for the 5 extra inches of screen space, it may be worth the extra cash. Otherwise, it's an excellent value for the amount of screen space and features included. The 2014 rendition of the M series has focused on upgrading picture quality and smart TV features. It is important to note that Vizio has ditched 3D playback in all M series models this year. It keeps the price down, but may not be good for those who have been building a 3D content library. 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. 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.
The overall 2D picture quality of this TV will depend a lot on the picture mode you select. Active LED Local Dimming with 32 zones to enhance contrast control is one of the standout picture quality features of the M502i. 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. 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 screen 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.
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 M502i's display without any wires.
Appearance and Design
The M502i 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.
|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