Vizio is elevating its mid-range TVs and soundbars

Vizio has long been known as a budget TV brand, but in recent years the company has started to push into premium territory with its P-Series and OLED TVs, as well as the rotating Elevate Dolby Atmos soundbar. This year, Vizio is focusing on its cheaper mid-range devices. These include the M-Series Quantum X (MQX) TVs, which offer a variety of features gamers will appreciate, as well as the M-Series Elevate soundbar, which takes the original Elevate’s rotating Dolby Atmos functionality to a lower level price brings offer.

All devices make it clear that Vizio is trying to target a market that demands better specs and features, but also doesn’t want to overpay for Vizio’s highest-end hardware. The 50-inch 4K MQX TV is especially aimed at gamers as it offers a 240Hz refresh rate when gaming in 1080p. Gamers who want to see faster frame rates typically lower their resolution to 1080p, even with 4K or higher resolution monitors. So it’s not hard to imagine the 50-inch MQX paired with a gaming PC, especially since it supports AMD FreeSync Premium VRR.

The TVS of the MQX family – with 50, 65 and 75 inches – are packed with Quantum Dot technology and the new IQ Ultra Plus processor from VIzio. The company says they will cover 80 percent of the rec. 2020 color space, which technically makes it one of the best TVs on the market for color accuracy (at least according to RTings’ tests). The MQX TVs also feature full array backlighting and 32 local dimming zones, which are said to help improve contrast and black levels, as well as 1,000 nits of peak brightness.

When it comes to gaming, the MQX sets offer a native 120Hz refresh rate (the 50-inch model is somewhat unique with its 1080p 240Hz mode), as well as sub-8ms lag at 120Hz. That likes it PC monitors tout a lag of less than a millisecond compared to somewhat high-sounding, but are on the faster end of current TVs. There are also four HDMI 2.1 ports, enough for any new console and PC, and a new “Game” menu that should make it easier to adjust your settings.

Vizio M-Series Quantum X in the living room.

Vizio

During a brief demonstration in Vizio’s moving demo bus (which definitely caught the eye in a nearby suburban park), the MQX TVs looked almost as good as Vizio’s 2020 P-Series TVs. Color popped up on screen during daytime scenes Moana, and the bevy of local dimming zones prevented light from entering dark areas of the screen. It’s clear that Vizio has come a long way since the last line of M-Series sets. The new MQX TVs will start at $630 when they arrive later this month.

Vizio still keeps its existing high-end sets on the market, but you’ll see some changes in the rest of its lineup as well. The Quantum 6 M-Series TVs also feature Quantum Dots and Full Array backlighting, along with some helpful gaming features like FreeSync VRR, Dolby Vision, and three HDMI 2.1 ports. The 43-inch MQ6 TV starts at $350, but there are also sizes between 55 and 75 inches to choose from.

Vizio V series

Vizio

Another notch down is Vizio’s new V-Series TVs, which also have some gaming smarts with a much lower starting price of $290 for the 43-inch entry. These will also range up to 75 inches and include features like VRR and three HDMI 2.1 ports. From the demos I’ve seen these seem like an ideal choice for gamers on a budget. At the lower end are the 1080p sets of the D series again. These have always stood out as budget TVs for small spaces, and it looks like Vizio is continuing that trend this year. But they also have some gaming features like low input lag and VRR. They range from 24 to 43 inches and start at $160 when they arrive this month.

Elevate of the Vizio M series

Vizio

If you’ve had your eye on Vizio’s first Elevate soundbar to feature rotating speakers that can bounce off your ceiling for overhead Dolby Atmos sound, you now need to consider a more affordable option: the aptly-titled Elevate der M series. Starting at $800, it offers 5.1.2 sound (five speakers, a subwoofer, and two height channels) through 13 speakers, plus two small rear speakers for surround sound. During normal programming, the Dolby Atmos speakers point towards you to expand the soundstage, but once they detect an Atmos source, they flip up to give you an enveloping sound.

Judging by the crowd of Moana From songs I’ve listened to, the M-Series Elevate sounds impressive, but I was surprised to find it felt a bit thinner and weaker than Sonos’ Arc soundbar. This unit costs the same price, and while it doesn’t include rear speakers or a subwoofer, it delivers far richer sound and more believable Atmos imaging. The M-series Elevate might make more sense if Vizio drops the price a bit. The original Elevate is only $200 more, after all you’d think there would be a bigger difference for a mid-range alternative. If you’re looking for something more compact, there’s also the new M Series all-in-one with two built-in subwoofers, DTS:X and a low starting price of $200.

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Russell Falcon

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