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Vizio M551D-A2R LED HDTV Review
The Vizio M551D-A2R is a surprisingly stylish, affordable LED-backlit HDTV that sports tons of features, good picture quality, and out-of-the-box 3D for eight people.
(4 out of 5) Editor’s Choice
- Good all-around performance
- Solid 3D
- Generous feature set
- 3D shows crosstalk when viewed too close or off-axis
- Dark scenes can look slightly muddy
Vizio has once again produced a very good big-screen HDTV for a reasonable price. While the
For its relatively low price, the M551D
The M551D features built-in Wi-Fi and Vizio’s Vizio Internet Apps Plus (VIA Plus) service, which offers access to numerous streaming media services and online apps. You can access Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and M-Go streaming media services through dedicated buttons on the remote, and the VIA Plus button loads a toolbar on the bottom of the screen that lists various services like Hulu Plus and Yahoo! Widgets in addition to the services with dedicated buttons.
The 7-inch remote has a flat, glossy black face framed by a silver band around it. It features a large square navigation pad with playback and dedicated online service buttons above it and Volume/Channel Up/Down and VIA Plus buttons below it. The buttons aren’t backlit, but they feel distinct enough to easily identify them without looking. The non-navigation pad and volume/channel buttons are a bit small, though, which can be a problem if you have big thumbs.
We test HDTVs with the Klein K10-A colorimeter, SpectraCal’s CalMAN 5 diagnostic software, and DisplayMate test patterns. After basic dark room calibration, the M551D showed a peak brightness of 221.492 cd/m2, and a solid black level of 0.031 cd/m2 for a contrast ratio of 7,145:1, all very good for an HDTV in this price range. To do better, you’d have to spend a fair bit more for a screen like the Editors’ Choice Panasonic
Color accuracy for the M551D was generally solid, as seen in the chart above. The dots represent the measured color levels, and the squares represent the CIE ideal levels. Red was slightly oversaturated and green was slightly warm, but all colors were well within acceptable ranges to look accurate.
The strong black levels and accurate colors make the M551D look very good when watching movies. I watched The Big Lebowski and Piranha on Blu-ray, and both looked bright, crisp, and colorful without looking cartoonish and oversaturated. The Dude’s new rug and the Jesus’ bowling shirt both popped just enough to stand out against the just slightly warm colors of their respective sets in the Big Lebowski, and the murky underwater cave in Piranha had just enough shadow detail to look dark without seeming muddy. The fireside scene with Mr. Lebowski looked slightly muddy, but not enough to disrupt the scene.
3D and Power Consumption
The M551D uses passive 3D and comes with a whopping eight pair of 3D glasses (with additional pairs available from Vizio starting at $17.99 for two), so you can have a 3D movie party out of the box if you have a 3D-capable Blu-ray player. I watched Under the Sea 3D on Blu-ray, and the sea life popped out from the screen.
The M551D consumes an average of 97 watts according to our tests, which is fairly standard for an HDTV this size. It notably doesn’t have an energy-saving mode like many other HDTVs, which let the
If you want an affordable, 3D-capable HDTV, the LED-backlit Vizio M551D-A2R is hard to beat. Its $1,100 price tag puts it at the low end of 3D-capable HDTVs in its size class, and its generous feature set should satisfy your need for connectivity. You can get HDTVs with slicker designs or better pictures like the Samsung PN60F8500 or the LG 55LA8600, but you’ll pay nearly twice as much for them. The M551D-A2R’s combination of price and performance makes it our new midrange Editors’ Choice HDTV, edging out the Panasonic TC-L55ET60 in sheer value.
By Will Greenwald, PCMag
- Diagonal Screen Size: 55 inches
- Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 240Hz
- Video Inputs: Component, HDMI, USB
- Height: 28.5 inches
- Width: 48.6 inches
- Depth: 1.8 inches
- Weight: 44.6 lbs