I’ve been sitting on the fence about 4K video for a while now. Not about the video quality itself—it’s great—but about whether to move to a 4K TV. I finally broke down and picked up an Apple TV 4K before Christmas, so that pretty much settled it. Then the opportunity arose to evaluate a Vizio P65-E1 Ultra HD HDR XLED Pro Display. I’ve been a Sony Bravia guy for my last few TVs, but the chance to try out Vizio’s top of the line wasn’t something I was going to pass up.
Vizio points out that the P65 lacks a built-in TV tuner, so technically it is a display, not a TV. That being said, I’m going to call it a TV…
Unpacking and Setup
It’s been a few years since my last TV purchase. It was a 55-inch set that seemed huge at the time. The Vizio P65-E1 is a lot bigger, at 65-inches. Thankfully, it was delivered, because the box was huge. Count on taking a trip to the recycling depot after unpacking one of these… The TV itself was light enough to carry on my own (just over 60 pounds), but a little awkward given its size.
And then I ran into the primary challenge of this transition.
Vizio uses small feet at both ends of the display instead of a pedestal. And the distance between those feet was wider than the TV bench in our rec room. So, I decided to wall mount this time.
The TV is VESA compliant, so it wasn’t a problem. The inputs are all side or down-facing and the back is flat, so it can be positioned pretty close to the wall. I pre-installed all the cables, before hanging it, though—I’d rather deal with having to hide a few extra HDMI and USB cables than have to feel around back looking for an open input later on.
Speaking of cables, with five HDMI inputs (four of which can support 4K), plus composite and USB, there are plenty of ways to connect to the TV.
There’s also dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connecting to your network.
However, I passed on this, even though this TV also has Google Chromecast built in. We use our Apple TVs for all the connectivity and streaming. However, if you’re an Android or Chromecast fan, this is a good-to-have feature.
Vizio P65-E1 Ultra HD Key Specs
• 64.53-inch XLED Pro backlit display
• Ultra HD 4K resolution
• XHDR Pro, Dolby Vision, HDR10 support
• Ultra Color Spectrum
• Extreme Black Engine Pro with 128 local dimming zones
• 120Hz native refresh rate (240Hz effective rate)
• SmartCast with built-in Google Chromecast
• 5 HDMI ports (4 support HDMI v2.0a)
• Component, Ethernet, 2 x USB, 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
• 10W x 2 speakers with DTS StudioSound, DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume
• 57.44 x 32.99 x 2.54-inches and weighs 61.39 pounds (without stand)
• VESA compliant
There’s a Remote!
That shouldn’t be a big deal, but last year’s version of this TV came with a tablet instead of a remote.
Cool idea, but I’d rather have a plain old school remote, and this one is nice and basic, with a few extra dedicated buttons including Netflix and Amazon.
I stuck a Tile tracker on the back because my kids are terrible at losing these things, though…
The remote automatically worked with the Apple TV as well, although obviously not with the Siri voice control part of it.
4K and HDR Content
In a word: incredible! Connected to the Apple TV 4K with Dolby Vision, 4K and HDR content looks spectacular on this TV. I used the calibrated setting so things aren’t showroom-crazy bright, but the video was incredible. The blacks weren’t quite as perfect as my father-in-law’s Panasonic plasma (the reason he’ll never give that TV up), but they are far better than our other LED TVs. And the color range with HDR content was eye-popping.
We immediately put on the Netflix version of Planet Earth II (streaming in 4K and HDR) to showcase what it is capable of. The original Planet Earth sold a lot of HDTVs, and I suspect Planet Earth II is having the same effect for 4K and HDR…
Also worth noting, in the calibrated setting there was absolutely no trace of the dreaded “soap opera” effect with video smoothing.
HD and Lower
Even with 1080p—since Disney is still holding out on releasing its movies and Marvel films in 4K on iTunes—the video quality was still excellent. Bright, high contrast, crystal clear from the couch (about 10 feet away), and lots of color.
I was a little concerned about older video in my iTunes library, some of it 720p or even DVD quality. However, the upscaling works really well and pixelation was nowhere near as bad as I had feared it might be. In fact, watching old King of the Hill episodes, there was not only no evidence of artifacts (despite the DVD source), the series looked better than ever.
Connecting a Nintendo Switch to the Vizio P65-E is a near religious experience, especially playing Zelda. Graphics remained sharp and crisp, there was no blurring or input lag. Now the kids are ratcheting up the pressure for a PS4 Pro. I’m not falling for that one—I’d never get near the TV again. They can live with their Xbox One and the TV in their game room.
Flat screen TVs don’t always have the best audio—there’s not a lot of room for drivers, especially when manufacturers are also trying to minimize bezels. I find the Vizio P65-E sounds fine for regular TV viewing. Vizio makes some well-reviewed sound bars, but I connected my existing Yamaha YSP 800 digital sound projector, and we switch to that (connected via optical to the TV) when watching movies.
Should You Buy This TV?
It certainly has my recommendation, offering a lot of bang for the buck.
The TV that Vizio sent is a 2017 model, with 2018 models due to be revealed in April. So why feature it now?
Well, with the new models coming soon, the price has been seriously reduced. At time of publication, it was down to $1,299.99 on Vizio’s website, with free shipping. That makes the Vizio P65-E1 Ultra HD HDR XLED Pro Display not just a very high-quality TV that has all the latest technology on board—it’s now also a serious bargain.
Disclosure: Vizio provided a P65-E1 display for evaluation but had no input into this review. Some affiliate links are included.