Hands on: Vizio P-Series (P65-F1) review

Vizio's P-Series TVs have impressively bright color

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Vizio continues to improve backlighting and contrast while keeping the P-Series at a truly competitive price point. These models are great for folks who want better performance features for fast-action content.

For

  • Improved black levels
  • Great contrast
  • High-quality performance

Against

  • Viewing angle limitations
  • SmartCast OS still limited
  • Fewer local dimming zones

While Vizio might be known for its value-first priority list, it's no stranger to creating a few powerful, performance-friendly TVs, too. These screens usually fall into the category of Vizio's higher-end P-Series - a rival to the likes of Sony's X900 and X850 lines, or Samsung's 8000, 8500 and 9000 models.

Offering  three types of HDR - HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG  - plus a 4K resolution,  Vizio has managed to keep its entry level prices while delivering models with high-quality HDR performance that will bring you into a picture that makes you feel immersed in its imagery. 

New for 2018 is the inclusion of ATSC tuners (a plus for you cord-cutters as you will only need an HDTV antenna to pull in free over-the-air channels) and voice integration for both Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. 

It has its share of problems so far, too, but from what we've seen Vizio's P-Series is shaping up to be the affordable, color-rich TV we need in 2018.

Design

First off, it's worth noting that while we're covering the 65-inch Vizio P65-F1, the P-Series will also be available in 55- and 75-inch variations that range in price from  $899 to $2,499.

In terms of design, the P-Series has a newer, sleeker bezel-less appearance on three sides in that the top and sides of these TVs have thin borders that are flush with the glass. The bottom piece is somewhat larger, projects out slightly and is aluminum in color making for an attractive piece whether hung on the wall or placed on its feet.

In terms of smart TV functionality, you can expect an updated version of Vizio's SmartCast OS. Vizio is prioritizing the inclusion of free apps on its home screen as well as direct support for some of the most popular streaming sites such as:  Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu and YouTube for immediate use out of the box.  Chromecast is built-in and a new universal search has been added for this year.    

Performance

As we mentioned earlier, this year's P-Series includes three types of HDR - HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG - to enhance images with better color; plus full array backlighting and up to 120 local dimming zones which aid in offering in deeper black levels.  

The number of local dimming zones have been reduced from the 2017 P-Series but peak brightness is achieved by increasing the number of nits from 600 to 1,000 which showed us brighter picture quality in our demo especially when comparing it side-by-side to the M-Series. 

Vizio's  John Hwang, Senior Director of Product Management, gave us a look inside its panels in a raw LED demo by removing its diffuser and prism sheets so that the raw LEDS were observable behind the glass (on all of its 2018 E, M, P and the flagship P-Series Quantum) enabling us to see how power is distributed to adjust the local dimming zones. The black levels and brightness performance was obvious from entry level to the top tier models.  Vizio is working with retailers on how to create this demo in-store for all of you to observe first hand.

Clear Action 720 is used to ensure that fast-action content gets an effective 240Hz refresh rate and all models come equipped with five HDMI 2.0 allowing easy direct connections for all of your 4K gaming or Blu-ray devices. 

Early verdict

The P-Series looks like it will be a great choice if you're after a TV that performs at an above-average level with great pricing. It has a number of top-shelf features with good black levels and only a few of the drawbacks like limited viewing angles.   

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.