Earlier this year I reviewed the Vizio E320i-B2 TV which is an impressive 32” display. With good streaming content, a good image, and a low price it became my pick for the Best Small TV at The Wirecutter. Vizio has recently released the M-series model, the Vizio M322i-B1. While the styling is a little nicer, and the speed better, there is one major improvement: rear array LED zone lighting. While it is only 5 zones, it should be able to provide better blacks than one without it.
Review Types Archives: Flat Panel Displays
Unfortunately, people after smaller TVs are expected to give up performance. It is almost impossible to find a display with a 120Hz refresh rate or more than a pair of HDMI inputs. These displays often arrive in Europe where space is a concern but rarely make it to the United States. This year Samsung has a 32” model, the UN32H6350, that includes these high end features and more.
Watching the Samsung UN32H6350 it offers a good image with great features. With the high-end features, including a 10-point white balance and color management system, it can produce wonderful images. The 120Hz refresh rate allows for smoother motion than 60Hz models but the black levels are only fair. Aside from a small uniformity error at the top the 32” Samsung is a very good picture.
The first thing I usually do when I review a TV is disable all the “advanced” features on it. With few exceptions, these features overly-enhance one area of an image while being detrimental to others. So while the Vizio E320i-B2 doesn’t have a lot of those “extra” features that other displays do, you really won’t care. It has the streaming features you want along with good picture quality in an affordable package that sets the bar for value in a 32” TV.
After years of speculation Panasonic finally confirmed that plasma production would end. Early in 2014 the last panel will come off their line and the best current displays will go away. Despite having not spent much time viewing one in person, I still took advantage of the current availability and bought myself a 60” Panasonic VT60.
After spending time watching and analyzing the Panasonic VT60 I can say, without hesitation, that anyone after the best display they can get should pick one up now. Black levels are amazing, light output is high enough for almost any situation, and the contrast ratio is jaw dropping. It is a beautiful set that will keep you happy for years to come.
Samsung is the top-selling manufacturer of TVs in the USA now, and their cheapest 1080p model is the F5000. With no apps, a 60 Hz LCD panel, and only a pair of HDMI inputs the UN32F5000 is a very basic TV. What you don’t see listed in the specs is that the image that the F5000 produces is incredibly accurate right out of the box. The Samsung UN32F5000 produces the best image in a 32” LCD for the money of any display that I’ve used so far.
If you’re after a TV for a secondary room, like a bedroom or kids room, there is a good chance you want something very basic. If you sit more than a few feet away from a 32″ TV, a 720p set will look virtually identical to a 1080p model and save you a bit of money. Toshiba offers a very basic TV in the 32L2300U: a 32”, 720p model. It provides a decent image, but lacks the accuracy found in other displays for a similar price. It also doesn’t do well handing dark shadow details or motion even with its ClearScan and auto-dimming features.
Since Vizio came into the market and helped drive down the price of flat panels, I’ve associated many terms with them. Affordable. High Value. Bargain. But never Stylish. This year with the M-series they have decided to change that opinion. With a thin silver bezel and a stylish Vizio brand in the corner, the M-series will look nice up on a wall. At only 2” thick it will hardly stick out from its mount. Available in a wide array of sizes, from 32” to a massive 80”, the general features are the same. As you move up in size you find faster panels and other differences. I took a look at the 40” Vizio M401i-A3 model as the specs are closest to the 32” sizes that I am seeking to review. The 47″ model looks identical other than screen size.
Just a decade ago, the best displays you could buy for your home were close to 30” in size. CRTs were unable to go much larger so displays like the Sony KD-34XBR960 were state-of-the-art then. Now 32” displays are seemingly relegated to entry-level, low-end models despite being the best-selling TV size.
For many people 32” is an ideal size. They have smaller apartments or condos, or want a high-quality TV in a room that doesn’t dominate the space. Some vendors release premium 32” displays in Europe and Asia where space is more of a concern but not in the USA. This year Sony is bucking that trend by releasing the KDL-32W650A LCD TV.