Hands on: Vizio 70" P-Series Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV review

Vizio impresses with new line of 4K TVs in their New York City debut

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Vizio continues to disrupt the TV market by producing quality products and pricing them below their competitors. Their new 4K sets continue that trend.

For

  • Aggressively priced
  • Beefy image processor
  • Local dimming

Against

  • Single HDMI 2.0 port
  • Occasionally overbright
  • Native 4K content remains scarce

In New York City this week, Vizio gave us our first close-up look at their newest line of 4K Ultra HD TVs, the P-Series. TechRadar was there to go eyes-on with all the units, with a special focus on the biggest model, the impressive 70" P-Series Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV (P702ui-B3 to its friends). This is a very impressive set being sold at a very impressive price, making it clear that Vizio wants to keep both their premium and low-end level competitors on their toes. Since Vizio launched, it has been a consistent disruptor in the TV space, generally offering far lower pricing than its top-tier competitors and far greater quality than its value-priced rivals. The P-Series shows they're ready to sell the masses a good, cheap flatscreen again, only this time it'll be 4K.

Visual horsepower

In addition to the 70" model, the P-Series features 50", 55", 60", and 65" units, all of which feature discrete upscaling processors to boost graphical performance. 4K sets need to push four times more pixels than their 1080p counterparts, which can put a strain on a TV's image processing engine. This is why you may see image tearing and pixelation, especially during fast on-screen motion on low end sets. The demos Vizio ran on the P-Series sets showed impressive fast-action performance, as well as the bright, vivid detail we've come to expect from better 4K sets. Vizio says this is due to the proprietary V6 six-core processor that drives the screen, consisting of a quad-core GPU along with a dual-core CPU. In addition the sets contain a separate motion and picture-processing engine. Close up on the sets we were able to make out some slight juddering during fast motion, but in general they performed very well.

Contrast

The P-Series also differentiates itself with the inclusion of local dimming, eliminating the contrast-diminishing background glow that can mar edge-lit sets. Vizio's 5 new P-Series sets all feature local dimming and produced very impressive black levels in shootouts against competitive, edge-lit sets. The 70" set offers 72 local dimming zones (the rest of the sets offer 64 zones). While the black levels on these sets were very impressive, some of the content we viewed on them did appear overbright, though some of that may be due to the source material (4K mastering has yet to come into its own).

Tech chops

In technical terms, Vizio is also offering a fair bit of future-proofing. All sets in the line feature 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi, which (if you have a fast enough connection) should enable streaming of UHD content as more services follow Netflix's lead and begin offering it. In addition, one of the 5 HDMI ports is HDMI 2.0, enabling 60fps throughput once 4K optical players begin to hit the market. The P-Series TVs also offer de rigueur smart TV features, with built-in apps for Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus Pandora and more, as well as the ability to play content from mobile devices.

Priced to move

Perhaps most impressive, though, is the way Vizio is pricing these sets. In a market where larger 4K sets were only recently going for prices north of $7,000, the MSRPs on Vizio's P Series are almost shocking. With the 50" going for just $1000, the 55" for $1400, the 60" at $1700, the 65" at $2200 and the 70" at $2500, it's clear Vizio wants to move some TVs this fall. To be fair, we've also seen recent prices drop on sets from Vizio's premium competitors. Still these prices put Vizio hundreds or even thousands of dollars below their competition at each screen size. It's hard to understate the importance of these aggressive price points on consumer adoption of the 4K standard.

Early verdict

We were very impressed with the Vizio 70" P-Series Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV (P702ui-B3) combination of quality and value. Its beefy visual processor, impressive upscaling and local dimming technologies all separate it firmly from its value-priced competitors, and we believe their high-value pricing will give Vizio premium-focused rivals nightmares for months to come.

Look for our full review of the Vizio P-Series in the coming weeks.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.