Vizio D Series (2016) TV Review
Maximum value with minimum frills: Vizio's D Series is a quality, budget-friendly TV
About the Vizio D43-D1
There are three 43-inch models in Vizio’s 2016 D Series lineup, the D43-D1, the D43-D2, and the D43-C1. The D43-C1 is a 2015 model that lacks smart features, while the D43-D2 and the D43-D1 are nearly identical 2016 models that have full array local dimming, built-in smart apps, and 1080p resolution. The only difference between the two is that the D43-D1 has just two HDMI ports while the D43-D2 has three.
About the Vizio D28h-D1
The Vizio D28h-D1 is one of two 28-inch models in Vizio’s 2016 D series, along with the D28hn-D1. The main difference: the D28h-D1 has built-in WiFi and smart features like Netflix, while the D28hn-D1 has none. The D28h-d1 also has an updated design with two caltrop-like feet, while the D28hn-D1 is a little less stylish.
About the Vizio D32h-D1
The Vizio D32h-D1 is one of three 32-inch models in Vizio’s D Series. It looks just like the D65u-D2 that we tested, but it is much smaller and just 720p, so we expect performance to be slightly different. It also does not have local dimming and it gets by with just 2 HDMI ports. Unlike the similar Vizio D32hn-D0 and D32hn-D1, this model does have smart features like built-in Netflix. It has both built-in WiFi and a wired Ethernet port.
About the Vizio D50u-D1
The Vizio D50u-D1 is one of two 50-inch variants of Vizio’s 2016 D Series. Other than being a 50-inch TV, the D50u-D1 is near-identical to the model that we tested in our labs and as such as expect the same performance from both models. One notable difference is that the D50u-D1 includes built-in 802.11ac WiFi, while the D65u-D2 doesn’t have WiFi at all. It is also nearly identical to the D50-D1, except the D50u-D1 has a 4K panel while the D50-D1 is just a 1080p set.
About the Vizio D65u-D2
The D65u-D2 is one of two 65-inch models in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It has 4K resolution, Vizio’s smart platform, and the same two-footed design as the rest of the D series. We tested this exact model for this review, so all the conclusions below apply to this exact model. Note the “u” in the model name; the Vizio D65-D2, without the u, is a 1080p model.
About the Vizio D24hn-D1
The Vizio D24hn-D1 is the smallest TV in Vizio’s 2016 D Series lineup. It’s quite different from the 65-inch model that we had in our labs, as the D24hn-D1 only offers a 720p resolution, doesn’t have any smart features, has a different stand design, and is an edge-lit panel rather than a full-array LED. It also has just a single HDMI port, though it does have a TV tuner.
About the Vizio D55u-D1
The Vizio D55u-D1 is the 55-inch version of Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It offers 4K resolution, Vizio’s smart platform, and the same no-nonsense design we saw in the model we reviewed. It is essentially identical to the model we tested in our labs, besides the obvious differences of size and price. Like the D65u-D2, note that the D55u-D1 does not have built-in WiFi.
About the Vizio D40u-D1
The D40u-D1 is one of two 40-inch models in Vizio’s 2016 D Series lineup. It is a big step up from the other 40-inch model in this series, the D40-D1, with a 120Hz refresh rate, 5 HDMI ports (compared to two), local dimming, and a 4K panel. All that adds up to a much better all-around TV, and one of the best values in this series.
About the Vizio D32hn-D0
The Vizio D32hn-D0 is one of the 32-inch models in Vizio’s D Series. It is similar in design to the 65-inch D65u-D2 that we tested in our labs, but has a much smaller 32-inch panel, only offers a 720p resolution, has just two HDMI ports, and it lacks an Ethernet port or smart features like built-in Netflix. It has a full-array LED panel, but it doesn’t have local dimming. It is identical to the Vizio D32hn-D1, except it has more powerful 10 watt speakers.
About the Vizio D39h-D0
The Vizio D39h-D0 is the 39-inch model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series lineup. Unlike the D65u-D2 that we tested in our labs, this model has a smaller panel that tops out at just 720p and lacks local dimming. It also has just 2 HDMI ports and no Ethernet port, though it does offer built-in WiFi and smart features like Netflix.
About the Vizio D40-D1
The Vizio D40-D1 is one of two 40-inch variants of the 2016 Vizio D Series, with the D40u-D1 being the other. The main difference between the two is that the D40-D1 is a 60Hz 1080p model, while the D40u-D1 has local dimming and a 120Hz 4K panel–hence the “u” in the model name. The D40-D1 is cheaper as a result, but it also has just 2 HDMI ports (compared to 5). It’s still a great value, but you may want to consider stepping up to the D40u-D1 if you want better performance and features.
About the Vizio D39hn-D0
The Vizio D39h-D0 is the 39-inch model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series lineup. Unlike the D65u-D2 that we tested in our labs, this model has a smaller panel that tops out at just 720p and lacks local dimming. It also has just 2 HDMI ports. Compared to the near-identical D39h-D0, the D39hn-D0 lacks smart features like Netflix and built-in WiFi.
About the Vizio D43-C1
The Vizio D43-C1 is one of three 43-inch models in Vizio’s current D Series. Unlike the D43-D1 and D43-D2, however, the D43-C1 is a holdover from 2015. Despite being a bit older, the main difference is that the D43-C1 doesn’t have built-in smart features like Netflix and it lacks local dimming. Otherwise it’s a solid 43-inch, 1080p TV with a design and performance that should match the other 2016 D Series TVs.
About the Vizio D48-D0
The D48-D0 is the 48-inch model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It is nearly identical to the 65-inch model we tested in our labs, except that it has a 1080p panel instead of 4K. It is still a 120Hz panel, however, and it offers full array with local dimming. The only other notable difference is the D48-D0 has just three HDMI ports (compared to five) and built-in WiFi, which the D65u-D2 lacks. It is similar in most other respects.
About the Vizio D43-D2
The Vizio D43-D2 is one of three 43-inch models in Vizio’s D Series, and one of two 2016 entries. It is basically identical to the D43-D1, except that it has three HDMI ports instead of two. It is a big step up from the D43-C1, which is a 2015 model that lacks built-in connected features like Netflix.
About the Vizio D65-D2
The Vizio D65-D2 is the other 65-inch model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It is practically identical to the D65u-D2 that we tested in our labs, except that it has a 1080p panel instead of 4K. With a TV this large you will notice the bump to 4K quite a bit, but the D65-D2 starts at just $899, so if you want the most bang for your buck the 1080p model is a solid choice.
About the Vizio D24-D1
The Vizio D24-D1 is one of two 24-inch models in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It’s much smaller than the 65-inch we tested, though the aesthetic design is similar. Unlike most of the other small TVs in this series it’s a 60Hz 1080p panel, though it’s edge-lit and as a result doesn’t offer local dimming. It has one HDMI port, WiFi, Ethernet, and smart features like built-in Netflix.
About the Vizio D28hn-D1
The Vizio D28hn-D1 is a 28-inch model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. Like the other D-series models with “hn” in the model name, this one lacks internet connectivity or smart features like built-in Netflix. It is a full-array panel, but it lacks local dimming, has a resolution of just 720p, and has just one HDMI port. It is significantly different from the 65-inch model we tested in our labs, with a basic design that’s better suited to a desk or bedroom.
About the Vizio D50-D1
The Vizio D50-D1 is one of two 50-inch models in Vizio’s 2016 D Series, along with the D50u-D1. The main difference is that the D50-D1 is a 1080p TV, while the D50u-D1 has a 4K panel. They’re otherwise identical, and both are pretty close to the D65u-D2 that we tested in our labs. As a result we expect nearly identical performance to what we saw in our labs, though the 50-inch models are obviously smaller.
About the Vizio D55-D2
The Vizio D55-D2 is a 55-inch 1080p model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It is very similar to the D65u-D2 that we tested in our labs for this review, except that it doesn’t have 4K resolution and it is a smaller TV. At 55 inches you will notice the difference between a 4K and 1080p TV, but the D55-D2 is still fully featured, sells for under $500, and should offer near-identical performance to the D65u-D2 in most respects.
About the Vizio D70-D3
The Vizio D70-D3 is the biggest model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series, weighing in at a whopping 70 inches. It’s very similar to the 65-inch D65u-D2 that we tested for this review, except that it is larger, has just three HDMI ports (compared to five), and has a 1080p screen instead of 4K. It’s worth noting that the D70-D3 only has 12 local dimming zones, compared to 16 with the D65u-D2, so you may notice some haloing with bright objects on a dark background. It’s near-identical in all other respects.
About the Vizio D60-D3
The Vizio D60-D3 is the 60-inch model in Vizio’s 2016 D Series. It is very similar to the 65-inch D65u-D2 that we tested for this review, except that it has a 1080p panel and built-in WiFi, while the D65u-D2 is a 4K set that lacks WiFi. The D60-D3 also only has three HDMI ports (compared to five), but given that it’s several hundred dollars cheaper than the D65u-D2, it’s one of the best big-screen bargains around.
If you're hunting for flat-screen bargains, the buck stops at the Vizio D Series (2016). While the high-end is filled out by the Reference Series and recently confirmed 2016 P Series, the D Series is Vizio's pure value category once again this year.
As it stands, the D Series is highly affordable and ubiquitous, with a whopping 25 different models of all sizes to choose from. They're all aggressively priced to move, but curiously they run the gamut from 720p sets (on the small end) to 4K when you get up to the bigger sizes. This isn't to be confused with Vizio's E Series TVs, which have an "E" in the model name and are primarily in 1080p, and Vizio's nicer M Series TVs that have an "M" in the model name and all come in 4K.
As a result, you need to pay careful attention to what size and resolution you're looking at. The 65-inch D Series we reviewed has 4K resolution and costs just $999, but if you're looking for a smaller TV you may get more for your money with an E- or M-series model.
About the Vizio D Series
The 2016 Vizio D Series continues the 2015 D Series' tradition of low price points and availability across a wide range of frills-free sizes. You'll find the 65-inch D Series we reviewed in bold:
• 24-inch edge-lit 720p/HD LED TV (Vizio D24hn-D1), MSRP: $139
• 24-inch edge-lit 720p/HD Smart TV (Vizio D24-D1), MSRP: $169
• 28-inch full-array 720p/HD LED TV (Vizio D28hn-D1), MSRP: $169
• 28-inch full-array 720p/HD Smart TV (Vizio D28-D1), MSRP: $189
• 32-inch full-array 720p/HD LED TV (Vizio D32hn-D0), MSRP: $179
• 32-inch full-array 720p/HD LED TV (Vizio D32hn-D1), coming soon
• 32-inch full-array 720p/HD Smart TV (Vizio D32h-D1), MSRP: $209
• 32-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D32x-D1), MSRP: $229
• 32-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D32-D1), MSRP: $229
• 39-inch full-array 720p/HD LED TV (Vizio D39hn-D0), MSRP: $229
• 39-inch full-array 720p/HD Smart TV (Vizio D39h-D0), MSRP: $259
• 40-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D40-D1), MSRP: $329
• 40-inch full-array 4K/Ultra HD Smart TV (Vizio D40u-D1), coming soon
• 43-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D43-D1), coming soon
• 43-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D43-D2), MSRP: $349
• 48-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D48-D0), MSRP: $399
• 50-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D50-D1), MSRP: $449
• 50-inch full-array 4K/Ultra HD Smart TV (Vizio D50u-D1), MSRP: $599
• 55-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D55-D2), MSRP: $559
• 55-inch full-array 4K/Ultra HD Smart TV (Vizio D55u-D1), MSRP: $699
• 58-inch full-array 4K/Ultra HD Smart TV (Vizio D58u-D3), MSRP: $749
• 60-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D60-D3), MSRP: $699
• 65-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D65-D2), MSRP: $899
• 65-inch full-array 4K/Ultra HD Smart TV (Vizio D65u-D2), MSRP: $1,199
• 70-inch full-array 1080p/Full HD Smart TV (Vizio D70-D3), MSRP: $1,199
As you can see, there's a whole slew of D Series TVs (and keep in mind those are just the new 2016 models), but the breakdown isn't as complicated as it looks upon first glance.
The two little 24-inch options are "edge lit," meaning they don't use the same full-array backlight setup as the other million D Series models. This means they won't look as good on paper, but also they're such small TVs you likely won't notice much of a difference.
The same can be said for resolution. Though the D Series is mostly 720p (1366 x 768) up through the 40-inch mark, at those smaller screen sizes you won't notice the difference when watching regular content like DVDs and cable broadcasts. If you're looking to double as a computer monitor though, I strongly recommend you grab one of the 32-inch D's that's got 1080p resolution.
Finally, there's a good mix of non-Smart and Smart options in the smaller sizes, but above 39 inches they're all smart. As you get into 40 inches and larger, you begin to get a few 4K/UHD options like the D65u-D2 that we reviewed. Pay careful attention to the model name/number when you're shopping around in case you do/don't want 4K or smart features, and keep in mind all new 2016 Vizio D Series TVs will end with some variation of "D number." If it ends in a "C," it's a 2015 model.
What We Like
The Vizio D Series delivers just enough resolution.
Resolution is only as important as the size of the screen. Really big TVs (about 65 inches and up) need 4K/Ultra HD resolution to look their best, while smaller TVs (about 32 inches and smaller) can get away with 720p/HD (a step down from the standard 1080p/Full HD) without earning too many complaints. Mid-size TVs (everything in between) are usually best at 1080p/Full HD.
By this logic, the D Series does a great job matching resolution to screen size. Take the D65u-D2, for example. The 4K resolution here makes for a crisp, detailed picture. Additionally, you'd have to sit super close to the smaller 24-, 28-, and 32-inch D Series sets to notice their lesser 720p resolution.
This conservative approach to pixel count generally makes for better prices, but there are a few outliers. The 70-inch D Series is only 1080p/Full HD resolution, while both 39-inch D Series options are capped at 720p/HD. In all three cases, you're going to see pixels at typical viewing distances.
The Vizio D Series looks pretty good right out of the box.
Back in the day, we used to have to excessively calibrate every flat-panel TV we got—but not the D Series, which looks pretty good right out of the box. Grayscale (neutral) elements are mostly clean and color-free, and colors—like reds, greens, oranges, cyans, and magentas—are balanced and accurate.
That's not to say it's perfect. A little calibration can go a long way towards making the D Series look like a proper home theater TV. But for most users, the pre-set modes—especially Calibrated and Calibrated Dark—are going to be fine.
The Vizio D Series offers up a useful, simple collection of apps.
Like most of Vizio's TV offerings (except the brand new 2016 P Series), most of the D Series TVs ship with the "Vizio Internet Apps" smart platform (20 of the 25 TVs in the series, in fact). The platform is useful enough, giving you access to 4K-capable apps like Netflix, VUDU, and YouTube, as well as favorites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pandora.
That said, if you already have a streaming solution like a Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or video game console, the smart features here probably won't be a selling point for you.
The Vizio D Series delivers solid black levels.
While it can't stand up to the latest batch of super-bright HDR TVs, the D65 is bright enough to look good in most normal room lighting. But its real claim to fame is in black level and overall contrast performance.
Black level refers to the least amount of light a TV can emit, or how dark it's shadows are. Black level is widely considered the most important aspect of video quality, since it's the major determinant for contrast and low-light color accuracy.
Like most Vizio TVs, most of the D Series sets have a full screen (or "array") of lights behind the screen. The D65 has 16 "zones" of local dimming, which is a very small amount—consider that Vizio's 65-inch Reference Series has 384 zones. To that end, while the Vizio D Series performs well by way of maximum/minimum luminance, the lower zone count can make for some ugly transitions during tricky scenes—more on that in the next section.
What We Don't Like
The Vizio D Series isn't going to win any "best dressed" awards.
This is a TV series focused on value, and it shows. The D Series wears a basic black plastic suit with zero filigree or finery. It isn't even that thin, as its full-array backlight ads quite a bit of weight and thickness. But unless you're just a stickler for design and pretty things, this is a minor complaint.
The Vizio D Series doesn't have a great horizontal viewing angle.
Like most of Vizio's TV lineup, the D65 uses a "VA" (Vertical Alignment) style LCD panel. These panels are known for having higher contrast, but more narrow viewing angles, than other LCD panel types like IPS and TN. This was the case here, as well. The trade off for good contrast is somewhat poor off-angle viewing, so take care if you're thinking of wall-mounting.
The Vizio D Series needs more local dimming zones to be great.
With a full-array TV, the more zones you have, the pricier the TV. One way Vizio keeps the D Series cheap is by basically cutting back on the amount of local dimming zones in each set. To that end, the 65-inch D Series has only 16 local dimming zones in a 4 x 4 grid behind the screen, or one zone for every four square inches.
As you can imagine, this doesn't always make for the smoothest picture, and can occasionally mean a coarse presentation during scenes with complex mixtures of light and dark. This is occasionally more distracting than if the TV didn't have local dimming at all.
Should You Buy It?
Videophiles will have plenty to complain about when it comes to the Vizio D Series. The colors and grayscale tones, while accurate, would benefit from professional calibration. The number of local dimming zones is too low regardless of screen size, and the viewing angle is narrow. It's a series whose picture quality is fraught with numerous little blemishes, and doesn't have much going for it by way of design and aesthetics.
But you know what? At these prices, 90% of people aren't going to care. Getting a massive 65-inch 4K for $999, a 50-inch 1080p for $449, or a tidy 32-inch for less than $200—all of them smart and capable of great contrast—is straight-up amazing no matter how you slice it.
In 2016—where bigger, brighter 4K HDR sets are the feather in every manufacturer's cap—the D Series is a welcome solution for the budget-conscious shopper who's more concerned with practicality than pristine picture quality.
If you and the D aren't meant to be, fret not. Maybe you've decided you want better picture quality, a better price, or you just intended to buy it but the store ran out. Here are some other options:
Do you want a similar price and slightly better picture quality?
Check out the 2015 Vizio M Series. It's still readily available and the overall dimming performance and out-of-box color accuracy is better than the lower-end D Series. You'll get 4K resolution and the same software and smart features, too.
It also may be worth taking a look at Vizio's 2016 P Series. If my first impressions are anything to go by, it could end up a vastly superior option if you're willing to spend a little more.
Related Models Other products in this series
- Vizio D43-D1
- Vizio D28h-D1
- Vizio D32h-D1
- Vizio D50u-D1
- Vizio D65u-D2
- Vizio D24hn-D1
- Vizio D55u-D1
- Vizio D40u-D1
- Vizio D32hn-D0
- Vizio D39h-D0
- Vizio D40-D1
- Vizio D39hn-D0
- Vizio D43-C1
- Vizio D48-D0
- Vizio D43-D2
- Vizio D65-D2
- Vizio D24-D1
- Vizio D28hn-D1
- Vizio D50-D1
- Vizio D55-D2
- Vizio D70-D3
- Vizio D60-D3
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