The P-Series TVs from Vizio have always had exceptional color accuracy and peak brightness. Is it possible to process the video? Not at all. However, as the testing process for Vizio’s new-for-2021 model P65Q9-J01 unfolded, it became clear that the business had finally perfected its processing abilities. It’s not just on par with, but sometimes even outperforms, it’s more expensive competitors. Vizio, you’ve made a nice comeback.
Design and features of Vizio P-series
Vizio sent me a 65-inch P-Series TV for $1,300, but the same TV is also available in a 75-inch size (model P75Q9-J01) for $2,000 more. There’s also an 85-inch P-Series, but that’s the Quantum X, which has roughly three times the brightness and dimmable zones—a completely new monster.
The P65Q9-J01 in our evaluation has a 3840 x 2160, 120Hz, 10-bit screen with a coating of quantum dots for accurate color and a peak brightness of about 1,100 nits. It offers 144 dimmable backlighting zones, compared to 210 on the 75-inch model. The majority of common high dynamic range material is supported by all of the TVs in the series: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
With four HDMI 2.1 connections, one supporting eARC, and two supporting 120Hz 4K UHD, the port selection is cutting-edge. With the latest game consoles, you’re good to go.
There’s also Ethernet, coaxial for cable and antennae, and optical and analog (3.5 mm) audio outputs. The Wi-Fi is 802.11n, and the Bluetooth is 5.0 with BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). This Vizio TV isn’t cheap. Dolby Digital, DTS, and DTS Virtual are also supported.
Of course, you can use SmartCast’s own voice commands to operate the TV or use Google Assistant and Alexa with the appropriate smart speaker. HomeKit from Apple is also supported.
Interface and remote
Over the last few years, Vizio has put a lot of effort into its SmartCast user interface, and it shows. When it comes to content organization, it’s the best, and it’s the only interface I’m aware of that combines streaming and curated material into the channel guide. The majority of channel guides only show OTA (over-the-air) and/or curated programming. Vizio, of course, offers much of the latter.
The Vizio remote is a minimalistic masterpiece that works beautifully with the SmartCast interface. That is, with the exception of the advertising shortcut buttons. They’re useful if you use them. If you don’t, they’re at least out of the way of the essential features.
The simple remote control has few buttons (foregoing the advertising shortcuts), but they work well with SmartCast and are multifunctional; for example, the rocker/enter cursor controls double as transport controls during playing. Furthermore, you rarely need to delve deep into menus to find the desired setting. Vizio’s interface/remote combination, along with Roku’s, is the most efficient in my opinion. There’s also a microphone onboard for the voice-recognition features discussed before.
Vizio also offers a smartphone app called SmartCast. I’ve always found it slow to respond and prefer the dedicated remote, but it’s a great perk if you misplace the latter and need to view something right away! Users who are mostly reliant on their phones may even prefer the app. That is what keeps the world turning.
The P-Series has a reputation for accurate color and a lot of brightness. On the other hand, video processing has always lagged behind the competition: Text anti-aliasing issues, excessive shimmer and moiré, and difficulties drawing fine diagonal lines are just a few of the vexing problems we’ve seen.
Thankfully, the P65Q9-J01 doesn’t have any of these drawbacks. (Huzzah!) Not only that, but the judder reduction on this TV was exceptional. The scrolling cherries and text on the Spears & Munsil LCD 4K UHD were handled better than any other LCD 4K UHD I’ve seen. With this test, most TVs show some evident flaws.
The P65Q9-J01 from Vizio impressed us with the greatest video processing we’ve yet seen from a Vizio TV.
The backlighting was also surprising, with minimal bleed and flowering while keeping a high level of brightness. I’ve lately seen a number of mini-LED TVs, and the P65Q9-J01 was fairly competitive.
The screen uniformity was outstanding, the viewing angles were fantastic, and there was no glare. There’s also a new Black Detail feature that helps with contrast in really bright environments. The sound is also quite good. Of course, a soundbar or similar device would be beneficial, but you won’t need to hurry out and buy one for casual viewing.
In what can only be described as a strange feeling (considering Vizio’s previous track record), I’m having trouble recalling a 4k UHD LCD TV that has performed better overall in our testing. Sony, Samsung, LG, TCL, and so on…. Nope, I’m not aware of any.
Users using USB media should be aware that Vizio’s playback program will only read NTFS-formatted discs and will not read exFAT-formatted devices. Aside from that, the app has considerably improved since its inception. It enumerates files much more quickly (perhaps owing to the CPU) and does not crash. The latter could hardly be claimed by Sony’s otherwise excellent A90J.
A vast improvement
The P65Q9-J01 has a vast improvement over its predecessors, more than competitive with similarly priced competitors, and a world apart from the company’s V- and M-Series. It includes all of the most up-to-date technologies, as well as a great picture for the price. I had it penciled in for four stars before my hands-on. It easily reached 4.5. Vizio, you’ve done well.