What a difference a year makes. When we tested Vizio’s XVT3D650SVlast year, we thought its $3,699.99 list price was reasonable for a full-featured 65-inch LED backlit HDTV with 3D capabilities. The company’s latest 65-inch set, the M3D651SV ($1,749.99 list), rings up at less than half the price of last year’s model, and it too offers LED backlighting and a boatload of features, including integrated Wi-Fi, passive 3D along with glasses, and plenty of Web apps. More importantly, it delivers a bright picture with solid blacks in both 2D and 3D mode. Its green levels are a tad high and its cabinet design is nothing to write home about, but neither gripe prevents it from becoming our latest Editors’ Choice for midrange LCD HDTVs.
Design and Features
Like the aforementioned XVT3D650SV and the more recent Vizio M3D550KD, this set’s plain-jane design won’t win any style awards, but at 2.3 inches thick the cabinet is relatively slim. Wide (2-inch) rounded glossy black bezels frame the screen on all sides, and there’s a black grilled speaker bar mounted below the bottom bezel. A bezel-free design such as the one featured on Toshiba’s 55L7200U would look more elegant, but would likely also command a steeper price.
The huge, shiny, black oval stand does a fine job of supporting the 92.8-pound cabinet but does not provide swivel. There’s a silver multifunction dial on the lower left side of the cabinet that controls power, volume, channel changes, and input source; you won’t find any other function buttons on the set.
The unique double-sided remote is 6.3 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 0.6 inches thick. One side holds a typical set of buttons including a direction pad, number pad, four color keys, player controls, and dedicated 3D, Amazon, Netflix, and M-Go buttons. The buttons are smaller than what you’ll find on most remotes, which can be problematic if you have big hands. The flip side is matte gray and contains a QWERTY keypad and four directional arrow keys. These keys are also small but come in handy when using the many Web apps that come with this set.
At the rear of the cabinet, two USB ports, four HDMI ports, and two audio outputs (optical and analog) face left, and LAN, VGA (PC video-in), PC audio-in, component audio and video jacks, and a cable/antenna coaxial connector face down. In addition to wired Ethernet, the M3D651SV offers built-in Wi-Fi networking via the single-band 802.11n radio.
The set comes with a full roster of Vizio Internet Apps (VIA) including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Rhapsody, Vudu, and the soon-to-be-released M-Go entertainment app. You also get Yahoo Weather, News, Sports, and Finance, as well as the Yahoo Connected TV Store which offers scores of free and paid apps.
Picture settings are plentiful. You get nine presets including Standard, Movie, Game, Vivid, Custom, and four Sports modes. With the exception of the Standard and Movie modes, I found the presets to be too bright and plagued by oversaturated colors.
Basic settings include Brightness, Contrast, Backlight, Color, Tint, and Sharpness. The Advanced Settings menu offers Smooth Motion and Real Cinema settings that can be used to smooth out jaggies and reduce judder, three Noise Reduction modes, Color Temperature with user adjustable RGB gain and offset levels, Backlight Control, and Adaptive Luma (dynamic brightness control). There’s also an Ambient Light Sensor control that works with a built-in sensor to adjust backlighting according to room lighting conditions.
The M3D651SV uses passive technology to bring 3D to the big screen. Vizio bundles four pairs of lightweight, Roy Orbison-style glasses with this model, but if you need more you can always purchase an additional four-pack for $24.99.
Using images from the DisplayMate HDTV diagnostic tests and a Konica-Minolta chromameter, the M3D651SV produced a peak brightness measurement of 224.57 cd/m2 (candelas per square meter) and a nice deep black level of 0.02 cd/m2, resulting in an impressive contrast ratio of 11,228:1.
Color accuracy was generally good out of the box. Reds and blues were pretty much in line with the CIE 1931 chromaticity standards (see the chart below). Green levels were slightly warm but not to the point where they caused tinting or color tracking errors.
In my tests, the benefits of a generous contrast ratio became apparent while watching scenes from The Bourne Legacy on Blu-ray. Aerial flyover scenes of the snow-covered mountains really showed off the M3D651SV’s ability to deliver very good shadow and highlight detail, and flesh tones were natural looking throughout the movie. Colors remained bold and the picture stayed bright when viewed from an extreme side angle.
The M3D651SV’s passive 3D technology delivered good depth and a very bright picture while playing Sharks 3D. Watching 3D on a screen of this size really puts you on the center of the action. The picture was crisp and artifact-free for the most part, but there was a trace of crosstalk (image ghosting) when viewed from an extreme side angle, which is a common characteristic of passive 3D technology.
As with the Vizio E601I-A3, Vizio’s non-3D 60-inch LED HDTV, the M3D651SV lacks the dedicated power-saving features that are standard issue on most HDTVs. The set averaged 145 watts of power during testing. That’s a bit more than what we saw with the E601I-A3 (118 watts), but still not what you would call a power hog for its size.
With the Vizio M3D651SV you get your money’s worth and then some. Its huge 65-inch LED illuminated screen, sharp imagery, and generous interactive Web app catalog are enough to recommend it to anyone looking for a big-screen HDTV for under $2,000. Throw in passive 3D with four sets of glasses, Wi-Fi, and a neat little remote with a QWERTY keypad, and you’ve got our latest Editors’ Choice for midrange LCD HDTVs.
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|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, DVI, HDMI, USB|
|Diagonal Screen Size||65 inches|
|Pixel Refresh Rate Speed||240Hz|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc