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.
|Display Type:||LED LCD|
|Inputs:||2x HDMI, 1x Component, 1x Composite|
|Outputs:||HDMI ARC, Optical|
|Streaming Services:||Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, M Go|
|Display Size:||28.58” x 18.65” x 6.83”|
|Display Weight:||11.46 lbs.|
|Review Date:||March 1, 2014|
Design and Specs
The first new display from Vizio that I have for review this year is the E320i-B2. A 720p, 32” LCD TV with a full suite of SmartTV features, it is well suited for a secondary TV or as a primary TV in a smaller space. It has a 60Hz refresh rate, dual HDMI inputs, and built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet. It also includes the Calibrated and Calibrated Dark presets that are found on the M-series Vizio TVs.
The B320i-B2 is a bit thick compared to the slimmest LCD TVs, but is still pretty trim at only 2.6” deep. The bezel around the screen is smaller than previous models at 10mm thick and is a glossy black plastic. Despite the plastic, I do not see many fingerprints showing up on the edge to distract me while I watch anything. If you wish to wall mount the E320i-B2, there are VESA mounting holes on the back, or you can use the included stand. The app selection from Vizio includes the major choices with Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, but not many beyond those major ones.
Setting It Up
The E320i-B2 has one of the easiest stands to set up that I’ve seen to date. It has a single captive screw in the base to connect it to the integrated stand that takes two minutes to assemble. Anyone could manage to open the box and get the Vizio on the stand and turned on in 5 minutes or less.
The initial setup takes you through your Internet settings, time zone, and so on. Once you have it configured, you can choose from a variety of picture modes, including two calibrated presets. If you pick Calibrated or Calibrated Dark the only things you need to configure in the main picture menu is the brightness, contrast and sharpness. Set the white balance to be Normal and you have a very accurate, nice image.
Configuring the apps in the SmartTV content is done the same way it is on other TVs; some apps are done through the TV and some are done through a website. I still think this is the one area that vendors get it wrong, as I’d love to see a single website to register all of these services, but that blame likely goes to Netflix and the other service providers.
Good Picture, Great Value
The overall picture quality of the Vizio E320i-B2 is very good for the price– the colors are accurate and the grayscale is neutral. Aside from the sharpness being set too high, most of the default settings are very good for a 32” TV. The full calibration details can be found on Page 2 of this review. The main issue with the picture quality is motion blur from the 60 Hz refresh rate, but any 60 Hz LCD is going to suffer from this (though some use backlight tricks to reduce it). Fast moving content is a bit of a mess, though movies are better than sports.
The selection of Apps includes the major ones but is light when it comes to music. Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Vudu and M Go are all present but there is no music beyond iHeartRadio or Pandora. The interface for the Apps shows a bit of the transition for Vizio as well. Netflix runs nicely and full screen, but Amazon Instant Video is stuck in a sidebar that makes it harder to navigate. This works for some of the other Apps that you might want to take up the side of the screen, like the Weather one, but not great for browsing movies.
Apps are a bit slow to respond. I often press the Netflix button on the remote 2-3 times to make sure I pressed it as it takes a while for the app to load. Once the app loads I found movie playback to be good and just like on any other streaming device. It isn’t as easy to use as a Roku box, but for an affordable 32” TV it certainly does a good job I think.
While the E320i-B2 has a rear array LED lighting system, it does not support local dimming. The feature you can enable to provide better black levels is called Backlight Control. With this implemented, the entire backlight dims on dark scenes and gets brighter on light scenes. When you quickly transition from a bright outdoor scene to a dark indoor scene you can see the dimming in action which isn’t great, but I rarely noticed this so I left this feature enabled. Stepping up to the 40” E400i-B2 would give you a local dimming array that should work much better if the Backlight Control on the E320i-B2 is not sufficient.
The 2013 32” E-series Vizio was the best value in small TVs, and the 2014 model looks to be taking over that distinction. The picture is very good out of the box and needs no adjustments beyond the basics. The selection of apps is not huge but it includes the main ones that most people use. Combining both of these at this price point provides a 32” SmartTV that will serve many people well.
|Pros:||Accurate image out of the box, good selection of apps|
|Cons:||Motion blur is evident, slow interface|
|Summary:||The Vizio E320i-B2 is a well performing, high value 32" SmartTV|