Hands on: Vizio M-Series Quantum (M658-G1) review

Vizio's mainstream-priced TV really stands out from the crowd

What is a hands on review?
Vizio M-Series 2019
Image Credit: Vizio

Early Verdict

Vizio is legendary for its affordable products that offer a competitive variety of features. The 2019 M-Series Quantum mid-range line certainly fits the bill embodying the greatest technology improvements of Vizio’s entire line offering 4K quantum dot color for less money than most upper-tier TVs.

For

  • Quantum Dot color
  • Full Array Backlighting
  • Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit

Against

  • Limited viewing angle

Introduced as part of Vizio's 2019 lineup, the all-new M-Series looks to be a competent performer at a cut-rate price by introducing the company's quantum dot technology to its affordable mid-range screens.

Quantum dots, for those who missed their explosion onto the scene a few years ago,  allow for a wider color gamut along with increased local dimming zones for the top of the line M-Series models - and is usually found in screens that cost twice as much.  

The M-Series is now available in two new lines called the M8 (55” and 65”) and M7 (43” to 65”) which offer better image quality making it a good economical purchase, but one that could please the hardcore cinephiles out there as well. 

Design

Admittedly, the M-Series looks the same last year with a sleek design that emphasizes a black bezel-less appearance on three sides. The top and sides of these TVs have thin borders that are flush with the glass, and the bottom piece is somewhat larger and projects out slightly.     

Turn the TV on and you'll be met with Vizio's updated SmartCast 3.0 that contains a redesigned interface which includes Vizio provided apps and a new WatchFree TV streaming app comprising Pluto TV with over 100 channels of subscription and sign-in free content, and essentials such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, CBS All Access and more are available on the home screen.  

Image Credit: Vizio

Image Credit: Vizio

Features and performance

During a hands-on demo with the TV we noticed a new “Trending Now” banner and a detail page that will provide information on any movie or TV show requested showing providers and comparable pricing.

Like previous years, Google Chromecast is built-in and the platform is compatible with the Google Nest Hub. SmartCast already uses both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and these directives will extend beyond basics with searching for genres, titles and more. This feature is coming soon along with backward compatibility to 2016 models for all software updates.

Even better, this summer SmartCast 3.0 will also add support for Apple AirPlay2 and HomeKit, and Siri will play music or content on all AirPlay devices all over your home with your phone acting as a remote control for the TV.

In terms of picture quality, the M-Series has benefited from trickledown technology as all 2019 models now have quantum dot for better HDR color reproduction.

According to Vizio, the top of the line (M8 series) will have 90 local dimming zones and a peak brightness of 600 nits and a secondary M-Series (M7) has up to 20 local dimming zones with a 400 nit peak brightness level. That's not nearly as bright as Vizio's newly introduced P-Series Quantum X that will boast a 3,000-nit peak brightness, but the M-Series will be a fraction of the cost of the high-end models.

The M-Series has Clear Action 360 (i.e. a 120Hz refresh rate), as well as HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG for better picture color and contrast.

Early verdict

From what we've seen of it so far, the M-Series looks like a strong selection for those who want a TV with cutting-edge technology - like the aforementioned quantum dot screen and Dolby Vision support - at an incredibly affordable price.  

The M8 series will be available in 55” and 65” ($800 and $1,000). The M7 series will come in the following sizes: 43” ($400), 50” ($550), 55” ($700), 65” ($900).

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.