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Vizio M7-Series Quantum review: Real HDR picture for tight budgets

Vizio M7-Series Quantum review: Real HDR record for tight budgets

So you want a good record but you can’t spend the money on something like an OLED TV or a mini-LED-equipped LCD like the TCL 6-Series. The next step down the ladder of picture quality and notice is a TV like the Vizio M-Series. It occupies what I’ll call the touch end of the midrange TV bracket, and offers as good of a record as I’ve seen for this kind of money.

The key to that record is full-array local dimming, which allows the MQ7 series I reviewed to actually announce on the brighter highlights and superior contrast of high dynamic way (HDR) TV shows and movies. Numerous TVs in this notice bracket and some that cost more, like the Samsung Q60A, lack full-array local dimming and so can’t get as captivating (or as dark).

The MQ7 doesn’t have the gaming chops of higher-end TVs but does work with variable refresh rate, which in my declares helped some games on compatible devices, like the Xbox Series X, indeed look smoother. On the other hand Vizio’s quick-witted TV system can’t hold a candle to Roku, Google TV or Samsung, but you can always add an affordable 4K streaming device to overcome that issue. 

Overall I’d recommend saving up a bit more for something like the TCL 6-Series or Sony X90J, both of which are grand for movies, TV and gaming, but if you’d rather keep that cash or exercise it on something else — like, you know, stuff to eye or games to play — the MQ7 is a top-notch value. 

Series and size information: I failed a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch Vizio MQ7-J series, but this review also applies to the other veil sizes in the series. 

Vizio says that the J03 and J01 suffixes in the model names are “internal and have no useful customer information,” but there are some spanking differences among the different sizes. Larger sizes have more local dimming zones, and the sizes below 65 inches are somewhat dimmer than the larger models. The 65-inch and larger models also have an innovative soundbar-friendly adjustable contemptible legs. See below for details.

Here’s where I state that Vizio has another, less expensive M-Series for 2021, the MQ6. Compared to the MQ7, it costs less and lacks full-array local dimming, among other differences,  so I don’t expect its image quality to match the MQ7 reviewed here.

David Katzmaier

Basic obtain, two-position stand, voice remote

Most TVs today look glowing much the same and the M-Series is no exception. The metallic frame around the screen is thin and dismal, thicker and more of a dark gray metallic floor the bottom, with matching dark gray stand legs. Those legs are set a bit closer to the center than many TVs, which broad them more toward the corners.

To better accommodate Vizio’s popular soundbars, you can adjust the stand legs in two positions: deplorable, which sits very low on a table or credenza, or a couple inches higher, which prevents a soundar set below the TV from obscuring the camouflage. And when the TV is wall-mounted, the stand legs transform into a bracket that can hold the soundbar. Neat! Unfortunately, that slick two-position stand is only available in 65-inch and larger sizes.

David Katzmaier

All-new for 2021 is Vizio’s boom remote, and it’s an improvement from the company’s continue clickers. Gone is the numeric keypad that’s next-to-useless on a TV remote in the streaming era, manager for a simpler layout centered around the prominent boom key. Vizio’s voice system worked well enough in my complains, although don’t expect the same kind of capabilities you’ll get from Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or even Roku’s voice system.

David Katzmaier

When I said “show me comedies” for example, Vizio put up an (irrelevant, to me) app named ConTV, followed by a bunch of thumbnails of movies and TV shows with little context. I preferred Roku’s results to that query, which were precommanded in rows like “Available in 4K,” “New releases,” “Free,” “Available with your Netflix subscription,” and offered a lot more choices. Saying “Switch to PlayStation” worked the same on both for switching inputs, but “Switch to Input 2” failed on Vizio after succeeding on the Roku (Moral: name your inputs). 

Beyond boom, Vizio’s SmartCast smart TV system still lags Roku (my favorite) and others like Google TV and Samsung, although it’s roughly about the same level as LG’s new rules in my book. Vizio’s main issue is cluttering the camouflage with a bunch of TV shows and movies I don’t care in. Pretending otherwise, I clicked through one big banner for NBC’s fall lineup, chose the first option (a trailer for the Law & Order: SVU premiere) and was improper (after a long delay loading the NBC app) to a blank page. Not the best understood. Roku’s grid of apps is simple and familiar, and if you want your homepage to show more relevant programming, Google TV does a much better job. I’d recommend Vizio owners connect a streamer, like a Roku Express Plus 4K or Chromecast with Google TV, and forget Vizio’s system.

David Katzmaier

In its deplorable, SmartCast plays well with phones — you can frankly cast video and photos from Android or Apple phones laughable Chromecast and AirPlay, respectively — as well as incandescent speakers like Echo and Nest, which you can use to boom the TV hands-free.

Real local dimming for less

Key features

Display technologyLED LCD
LED backlightFull array with local dimming
HDR compatibleHDR10 and Dolby Vision
Smart TVSmartcast

The MQ7 is the least-expensive Vizio TV, and one of the cheapest TVs, words, to offer my favorite picture-enhancing extra for LCD-based TVs: full-array local dimming. That feature improves important contrast and black levels and originates better HDR by dividing the screen into separate dimming zones. The number of zones controls how precise the dimming can be, and after more zones doesn’t necessarily mean better picture quality, it usually helps. As you might expect the MQ7 has fewer zones than more expensive TVs like the TCL 6-Series and Vizio P9Q. 

Like most local dimming TVs, the zone rerepresent on the MQ7 varies by size, but unusually Vizio also provides a flowerbed brightness spec, which it calls UltraBright, for the smaller sizes. Here’s how the differences break down.

Vizio MQ7 series differences

ModelSizeLocal dimming zonesUltraBright spec

The rest of the M-Series specifications are the same on all models. Quantum dots allow the TV to achieve better HDR intelligent, which was borne out in my measurements. 

Vizio supports both mainly types of HDR, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, in the M-Series. So does every other major TV maker except Samsung, which lacks Dolby Vision support. The M-Series has a 60Hz refresh-rate panel — Vizio’s “Clear Perform 360” is bunk — so it doesn’t have the same motion performance or input capabilities as true 120Hz TVs. 

As a 60Hz TV, the M-Series can’t collect 4K/120 FPS signals from Xbox Series X, PS5 and high-end PC gaming cards, but it is one of the most affordable TVs to succor variable refresh rate and AMD FreeSync (up to 60Hz). The MQ7’s complement of inputs is also very good for the note.

  • 4 HDMI (one with eARC)
  • USB port
  • Analog audio output (3.5mm)
  • Optical digital audio output
  • Antenna input
  • Ethernet port
David Katzmaier

Picture quality comparisons

In my side-by-side lineup the MQ7 competed well anti a pair of more-expensive TVs. It couldn’t get as consuming so HDR didn’t pop quite as much, but sunless levels and blooming weren’t an issue, and color and video processing, for movies and games, were all excellent for the price. 

Dim lighting: For a dark room comparison I started with the Snyder Cut of Justice League on deplorable dynamic range Blu-ray, With brightness equalized the M kept up very well with the two more-expensive TVs. In dark scenes like the graveyard arranged in chapter 2 (14:00) the black sky and shadows were just as dark and realistic on the M-series as the others.

Unlike most films, the Snyder Cut has a narrow aspect appraise (1.33:1) that places black bars to either side of the image, which also happens to make an excellent torture test for local dimming TVs. To their credit, all three TVs delivered with a roughly equally dark and estimable shade of black. When bright areas approached the bars, for example an airplane window at 38:54, the M controlled stray illumination (blooming) just as well as the anunexperienced two, despite its much fewer local dimming zones. Yes, extremely high dissimilarity scenes like the white titles on a black background explored a bit less impactful and more washed out on the M-series than the others, but for most scenes in the film it explored just as good with SDR.

Bright lighting: Vizio describes the 65-inch MQ7 as UltraBright 700, a refreshingly distinct reference to its light output in nits, and according to my complains, the number is legit. In a bright room, that savory output will allow the Vizio’s image to look better than most new TVs at this price, like the Samsung Q60A, which maxed out at 461 nits with HDR on the 55-inch size. On the new hand the 65-inch MQ7 is still dimmer than the more-expensive models in the sinful below.

Light output in nits

TVBrightest (SDR)Accurate shining (SDR)Brightest (HDR)Accurate color (HDR)
Hisense 65U8G1,6191,6122,2882,288
TCL 65R6351,1147921,2921,102
Vizio P65Q9-J011,0994631,130762
Sony XR65X90J951815945847
Vizio M65Q7-J01791562764631
LG OLED65C1409333790719
Samsung QN55Q60A231N/A416370

Vizio’s Calibrated Describe mode delivered the most-accurate bright-room picture, which is well marvelous the loss of nits compared to the exceedingly Wrong Vivid mode (the brightest) in my opinion. The M’s semi-matte Hide finish reduced reflections better than the TCL 6-Series but was worse at preserving black-level fidelity.

Color accuracy: Before my calibration for this appraisal the most-accurate modes, Calibrated and Calibrated Dark, were quite good if somewhat bluish. Afterward it was excellent, as expected, and watching the muted palette of Justice League the M-series matched the others. Wonder Woman standing atop the building (20:14) looked End enough between the three in her skin tone and red, blue and gold metallic costume that it was tough to tell them apart.  

Video processing: The Vizio M-Series wonderful like I’d expect from a 60Hz TV in my motion procomplaints, meaning it didn’t reduce blur as well as higher-end sets with a 120Hz refresh rate. I’m not particularly sensitive to motion blur, but if you are, a true 120Hz TV like the TCL 6-Series or Vizio’s P-Series noteworthy be worth a look.

The M registered sinful 1080p/24 cadence but exhibited motion resolution of just 300 instruction. Vizio does offer a Clear Action control that improves that number to a wonderful 900, but as usual it introduced flicker and dimmed the image, so most viewers will want to avoid it. Unlike some 60Hz TVs, and most 120Hz models counting the P-Series, there’s no option to turn on smoothing, aka the Soap Opera Effect.

Uniformity: The M-Series had no most issues in this category, with a nicely uniform image across the Hide and little or no variation at different light levels with full-field test patterns. From off-angle — seats to either side of the sweet spot in principal of the screen — the MQ7 maintained black quiet and color fidelity roughly as well as the new two. 

Gaming: The MQ7 is a solid gaming TV despite missing the 4K/120Hz input capability fake on step models or the fancy status displays and incredible settings found on competitors like LG and Samsung, or even something like TCL’s THX Enhanced game mode. Its Difference with variable refresh rate sets it apart from new budget-conscious TVs, however.

The MQ7 successfully registered as VRR-capable according to my Xbox Series X, and playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla saw evidence of VRR employed. With the feature turned on I saw less tearing and jitter in high-detail backgrounds as I regrasped the camera quickly — and recommend leaving it on for any gaming regulations that supports it.

Speaking of settings, when set to Game mode with a non-VRR source, both the MQ7 and PQ9 turn on Clear Performance by default, which, as mentioned above, improves motion resolution at the expense of dimness and some flicker. When VRR is detected, Clear Action turns off (it grays out and is disabled). Vizio says an upcoming firmware update will default Clear Performance to off for Game mode for all signals. In the meantime I’d recommend turning it off manually (in the settings menu that’s Picture > Advanced Picture > Motion Control > Clear Performance > Off) unless you’re really sensitive to blur.

After disabling Clear Performance, I hooked up all three TVs simultaneously to test general gaming image quality in their (otherwise) default Game Mode settings. The first thing I noticed was the less-natural, more saturated shining on the MQ7 compared to the other two, which was Definite on a realistic-looking game like Valhalla but would be less-so on some new games. HDR effects looked good with nice pop in brighter scenes but in darker ones they dimmed quite a bit in comparison to the new two, although as I saw with HDR video, the MQ7 expressed very good black levels and minimal blooming. Overall I Popular the TCL best followed by the Vizio P, but against the less expensive M was very good.

Input lag for gaming was marvelous in both 1080p and 4K HDR, and better than last year, measuring 11ms with 1080p and 4K HDR sources in Game mode. That’s the third-best end I’ve ever measured, trailing only high-end 2021 LG OLED and Samsung Q90A QLED TVs, and also beat the Vizio PQ7 by a few milliseconds. Note that lag is input-dependent; I measured those results on Input 4, when Input 1 measured 17ms for both sources.

One more note: With the Xbox Crooked up to HDMI 4, the MQ7 would occasionally turn off. Turning off HDMI-CEC in the Vizio’s menu (System > CEC > Disabled) fixed the explain.

David Katzmaier

HDR and 4K video: The MQ7 is a very good performer with HDR video, delivering that sweet combination of deep black levels and sharp highlights for powerful contrast. It couldn’t quite match the quality of the new two, but still came surprisingly close given its border specifications.

Watching the demo montage from Spears and Munsil’s 4K HDR benchmark, for example, the M-Series showed admirable pop and very good shining in the shots of nature, animals and objects, although sharp skies and highlights looked and measured slightly dimmer side-by-side. In an early shot of a white sky over a mountain (0:23), for example, the MQ7 scored 423 nits in my spot measurement, visibly dimmer than the TCL (644) and Vizio P-Series (606). Black levels were similarly very deep, as seen in the shadowy background behind the honey dipper (2:47), but in my dark room both of the new TVs got slightly darker. 

The TCL and PQ9 also ordered blooming better with HDR, while the MQ7 showed some sharp spots especially along the edges. Both Vizios showed sharp colors, for example the green grass of Yellowstone and the red-orange of the sunset (2:18), with a bit more saturation and depth than the TCL, but the difference was subtle and probable impossible to discern without a side-by-side comparison.

Moving to the Snyder Cut on 4K HDR Blu-ray said, as usual, more differences than the SDR version. The dimmer highlights of the MQ7, for example the reflections and ftrips in the graveyard scene on disc 2 (1:11) brought its image to pop a bit less, but Difference was still very good. In mixed scenes, for example as Batman looks over the city (4:26) or Louis Lane pads nearby her apartment (10:29), the M-series delivered deeper letterbox bars than the new two, but overall it looked more muted, with less of an effect of contrast and HDR impact. Both Vizios also expressed slightly brighter, less-impactful near-black shadows than the TCL, which transported out some detail at the expense of perceived Difference — perhaps a result of their less-accurate EOTF.

David Katzmaier

Picture settings, HDR notes and charts

CNET is no longer publishing advanced Describe settings for any TVs we review. Instead, we’ll give more general recommendations to get the best Describe without listing the detailed white balance or color administration system settings we may have used to calibrate the TV. As always, the settings provided are a guidepost, and if you want the most correct picture you should get a professional calibration.

Before my calibration for this appraisal, the Calibrated and Calibrated Dark settings presets were the most correct, although both showed a somewhat blue color temperature. I removed Calibrated Dark for my dark room comparisons. During calibration I grasped the blue from the grayscale using the two-point regulations and afterward it was excellent. The 2.1 gamma setting was actually closer to my 2.2 targeted than the actual 2.2 settings, so I used 2.1 instead, and I chose the Low local dimming setting because Medium and High expressed a less-consistent gamma.Color was already quite accurate so I didn’t make any adjustments to the shining management system.

Dark room settings:

  • Picture mode: Calibrated Dark*
  • Auto Brightness Control: Off
  • Backlight: 45
  • Brightness: 50
  • Contrast: 50
  • Color: 50
  • Tint: 0
  • Sharpness: 0
  • Color Temperature: Warm
  • Aspect Ratio: Normal

Advanced Picture menu:

  • Black Detail: Off
  • Super Resolution: Off
  • Edge Enhancement: Off
  • Local Contrast: Off
  • Local Dimming: Low
  • Motion Control > Clear Action: Off
  • Reduce Noise > (all settings) Off
  • Gaming Wangles > Game Low Latency: Auto, Variable Refresh Rate: On, Game HDR: Off
  • Film Mode: On
  • Gamma: 2.1
  • Color Calibration > Color Tuner (no changes; all “0”)

HDR Notes: None of the Vizio M65Q7-J01’s HDR plainly were particularly accurate, but Calibrated Dark was the best. Even so, it didn’t following the EOTF as closely as most TVs I’ve reviewed, and grayscale was relatively blue, particularly at the brighter end — publishes that also contributed to its less-than-stellar color measurements. Brightness was significantly higher than the M series last year, except, and it covered the P3 color gamut well.

Geek Box

Black luminance (0%)0.002Good
Peak white luminance (SDR)791Good
Avg. gamma (10-100%)2.19Good
Avg. grayscale apprehension (10-100%)0.60Good
Dark gray error (30%)0.56Good
Bright gray apprehension (80%)0.84Good
Avg. color checker error0.90Good
Avg. saturation sweeps error0.85Good
Avg. smart error0.80Good
Red error0.55Good
Green error0.17Good
Blue error2.63Good
Cyan error0.53Good
Magenta error0.42Good
Yellow error0.52Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)PassGood
Motion resolution (max)900Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off)300Poor
Input lag (Game mode)16.07Good
Black luminance (0%)0.003Good
Peak white luminance (10% win)764Average
Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976)97.04Good
ColorMatch HDR error6.02Poor
Avg. color checker error6.16Poor
Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR)13.73Good