Vizio PQ65-F1 Image Analysis Review
By Chris Heinonen on
The Vizio PQ65-F1 is the top-of-the-line set from the value-oriented company. It comes fully decked out when it comes to image specs, with over 2000 nits, HDR10 and Dolby Vision capability, DCI/P3 gamut coverage, and 192 zones of local dimming. On paper, the PQ65-F1 looks to be an all-star, but the question is how it performs in real-world use.
Vizio PQ65-F1 SDR Analysis
Vizio has done a good job the past few years of offering Calibrated and Calibrated Dark modes that make it easy to get an accurate image with no extra work. With the two you have it set up ideally for both light and dark rooms, and hopefully, most people select this mode. For our evaluation, we are using CalMAN 2018 with an i1Pro2 spectrometer and a Klein K-10A meter with a Murideo Six-G pattern generator.
We started out in the Calibrated mode, using a target gamma of 2.2 for a living room environment. We are able to adjust this from 2.1 to 2.2 and it tracks well. When aiming for 150 nits of light output with an 18% APL window, we had to reduce the brightness down to 8 out of 100 to get that low. The default was close to 800 nits, as the Vizio PQ is a monster when it comes to light output. Straight out of the box, things look quite good, with the only adjustment being a lowering of the contrast from 50 to 49 to reduce some color clipping. The error levels are quite low for colors, and the grayscale and gamma track very well. The dynamic backlight was set to low, giving us a contrast ratio over 44,000:1.
Post-calibration the errors in the grayscale have vanished. I only needed to use the gain and bias controls but didn’t need to adjust the 11-point ones at all. As you see the grayscale average dE2000 is only 0.52 and the highest value is 0.96 at 60%. This makes the grayscale effectively perfect. The luminances chart shows the only issues, with Blue having some values above 3.0, but that’s a very minor complaint. The color checker scores perfectly, with nothing above 3.0 at all.
The Vizio offers black frame insertion that works quite well without causing noticeable flickering in SDR. With so much brightness to spare I see very little reason not to enable this unless the minimal flicker is visible to you. I’ve grown more sensitive to these as I test more displays, but the Vizio was good enough that I could enable it without a problem. The 120Hz panel has no issues with motion, as panning shots were nice and clear without visible judder. Football looked great (hooray for football season!) on the Vizio, and with the backlight pumped up, it had no issues in my bright living room.
The dynamic backlight is set to low, as Vizio believes that offers almost no visible artifacts, but you can adjust it to high or medium. Moving to medium I find makes a big impact, as the overall screen brightness is improved and so are contrast ratios. Watching Gravity, moving to medium made the stars stand out more, but didn’t significantly increase the overall black level making for starfields that are wonderful. Where I can always notice the backlight is during the Amazon app, as there is a circle in the center that rotates while things load and the dimming zones clearly fire as it spins around. I also notice the backlight when I veer around 20 degrees off-axis, as you see it in action with halos around objects, but straight on or sitting just outside the edges it was not something I saw.
Vizio PQ65-F1 HDR Analysis
The PQ65-F1 offers separate memories for SDR and HDR, but they’re all saved under a single memory. So if you use Calibrated, then Calibrated will have separate settings for SDR and HDR. I started with Calibrated for HDR and eventually saved my settings under a preset named ISF, so I could then select it on any input.
Since HDR and SDR have separate memories, you can see a red push in the grayscale in the calibrated mode. More noticeable is that the EOTF tracks dark, which is surprising. Most people complain that HDR is too dark, so most companies tend to make it brighter than darker in their preset settings. As you can see in the chart, we are seeing a crazy peak of 2200 nits on the PQ, way ahead of any other TV I’ve ever used. This is in a calibrated mode, so Vizio isn’t cheating by making the image inaccurate to get this result. We also see very good DCI gamut coverage, and low errors when you don’t include luminance. Since we’re targeting 1000 nits and not relative nits, the error levels above 50% start to rise quite fast as the light output is so high.
For calibration, I left the gamma alone but increased the backlight setting to 55, which increases the brightness at the bottom end of the EOTF. This makes the error levels lower but not by a significant amount. We see that the grayscale has been improved with far tighter RGB balances compared to before calibration. Color errors are also quite good, though the EOTF does not track perfectly. If the EOTF was more accurate, and I wish it was than these color errors could be close to 1 as they are for the charts that don’t include luminance.
The table below has color volume data for 1000 nits targets, making it equivalent to the other TVs we’ve tested in the past. As we see, the color volumes that the Vizio PQ65-F1 can produce are far ahead of the other TVs we have measured, especially when cost is considered. We also see that we still get 2159 nits after calibration, so the PQ is the brightest TV I’ve ever used. Even better, it maintains that brightness with HDR content and doesn’t look to excessively dim the screen when tone mapping as the Q8 I tested earlier did.
|Display||MDC 1000 nits||DCI 1000 Nits||Rec.2020 1000 nits|
|Sony A1E OLED||346.40||—||—|
|LG C8 OLED||358.114||76.95%||51.59%|
How do 2000+ nits look? The first thing I threw on quickly was Chef’s Table: France on Netflix and it was stunning. Just a single headlight against a dark nighttime background was incredibly bright, much as it is in real life. Things just pop off the screen in a way that no other TV I’ve ever reviewed can say. While OLED displays still have the edge in overall contrast ratios and black levels, they can’t do the bright highlights that the PQ is capable of, or approach the vivid saturated colors that the PQ does. Watching The Greatest Showman, the way that the bright colors, spotlights, and flames jump off the screen was something else. I love my OLED display, but in many ways, I felt that the PQ was either an equal or superior when watching HDR content.
I did run into a single issue on my PQ where there was one scene in Pan that I could see artifacts around the brightest (> 2000 nits) highlights. Other content that didn’t get as bright didn’t have this, or I could only see it with the screen paused. However, I talked to other reviewers that have the same display and the same content, as well as Vizio, and no one else was able to replicate this, so it might be something only in my sample. It also is something that I only noticed for a second and most people would likely never notice in regular viewing.
I didn’t calibrate Dolby Vision as the PQ uses the Golden Reference method, and the Six-G can’t do one of the necessary test patterns for it still. I do wish that Vizio would offer an EOTF that tracked better, or at least an option to enable an exact reference EOTF for HDR10, but you can get close after calibration. Right now, that’s the only thing holding back the performance of the PQ when it comes to HDR.
Vizio PQ65-F1 Image Analysis Conclusions
At the end of the day, the Vizio PQ65-F1 has an image that is untouched for the price. The only LCD TV that is close in performance is the Sony Z9 series, and those are 3x the price right now. They might be superior in off-axis performance, but I haven’t seen them yet in person and no one knows the nits they can produce yet. Against everything else that has come through my testing environment the past few years, it isn’t close for an LCD.
I love OLED, but the Vizio PQ65-F1 is a display that can swing me to the LCD side. It offers blacks that are fantastic with local dimming engaged and HDR colors that are brighter and more vivid than anything you’ve seen. Motion quality is very high for an LCD display, with black frame insertion that does a great job without artifacts. The incredible light output makes it easy to watch sports and other content during the day with open windows and sunshine, which can sometimes make an LCD unwatchable in my room.
Right now, if I was buying a TV for my space, the PQ is at the top of the list with the LG C8 OLED. I would rank the PQ higher for my living room as it’s brighter and as an LCD I have no worry about burn-in if my kids decide to leave something paused on the screen for a day while I’m not around. Pairing the PQ for that room with the OLED in my dark theater room gives me the best of both worlds. I highly recommend looking into the Vizio PQ65-F1 as it is the best image quality you can get in the price range by far.