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Move along, nothing to see here.

Look! It’s the stereotypical modern television.

Look! It’s the stereotypical modern television, featuring a thick black plastic bezel, a black plastic stand, a speaker bar at the bottom of the screen, and ports on the side and back of the display.

There is no flair to this TV: no brushed metal finish, no clear plastic bezel, no touch of color design, no fancy stand apparatus. The profile is thick due to CCFL backlighting, which—by today’s standards—is so 2002. The VIZIO E3D420VX is a function TV, not an expensive room accessory, and you would buy it for its list of features at the remarkably low price, not its aesthetics. Again, this is a display for those who are more conscious of their budgets than how the TV functions as a piece of furniture.

A full QWERTY keyboard remote and a visually pleasing menu hung up by interface issues.

The VIZIO E3D420VX comes with a solid menu system that is visually pleasing, but there are slight arrangement problems. For example, the picture size option is usually located in picture settings, but is in fact in its own location. The menus directly effect the picture on the E3D420VX by squishing it to the right, or up a little with the DLNA menu. Specifically the DLNA menu did not just change the aspect ratio, but added artifacts like extra signal noise and faint halos.

We got excited by the full keyboard on the remote. All that QWERTY made us assume that there would be a web browser to access the full internet. After searching, no such option was available. The keyboard will be helpful for some of the DLNA options, like Facebook, that come to you in the form of Yahoo! Widgets, similar to what you find on a few other DLNA televisions. We have to deduct some points because we had some problems with the interface. When we went in for a second look at the DLNA offerings, the “V” button did not work, nor did the Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu buttons. Bummer.

This low-end VIZIO sports some high-end color scores.

Full disclosure: We really weren't expecting these results. Granted, the VIZIO E32420VX isn't rocking flagship-level color accuracy or contrast width, but it's an impressive performer for a $729 smart, 3D LCD TV. We saw a very accurate color gamut, a finely detailed color spectrum, and a decent contrast ratio—in short, the picture looks great.

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It's an impressive performer for a $729 smart, 3D LCD TV.

We try to give our televisions every reasonable advantage when testing motion performance. For our tests, we turned the video processing feature “Smooth Motion Effect” on to “High,” something we tend to turn off when watching actual content. Motion smoothing processing can make film-based content smoother than it was intended to be viewed. The result is that shows and movies lose their filmic quality and look much more like a daytime soap opera. Smoothing is great for sports, however, and should always be considered on game day.

The only noticeable problems we found while testing motion performance were slight artifacts on moving subjects. There was some flickering at the edges of moving objects and a slight overall warping of the object when it reached either end of the screen. The VIZIO E3D420VX had the most artifacts with high frequency patterns in motion, showing increased flickering and minor color trailing, but all-around, the motion performance was really strong.

Crosstalk on the VIZIO E3D420VX is obvious and distracting when watching 3D with the passive glasses.

This VIZIO offers passive 3D imaging. Passive 3D takes a full 1080p image, doubles it up with a slight offset, cuts out every other line of pixels on both images at 45º and 135º angles respectively, and re-maps the image to a now 540p resolution. The glasses you wear are polarized such that your left eye blocks out one set of angles, and your right eye blocks out the other. To your brain, the result is you see two different images that have a slight perspective shift, creating a three dimensional effect.

The end result of this process, unfortunately, is a 3D image displayed at almost standard definition. Worse, tilting your head left and right destroys the 3D image because the glasses are no longer at the correct angle to block out the proper set of pixels. But passive 3D is cheap! The glasses can be bought for around $5 or $10. Watching 3D with family or friends is much more accessible to the average consumer when using passive polarized glasses.

The 3D capability is just an extra contrivance that adds little value to the equation.

We tested the 3D experience with the passive glasses that came with the VIZIO E3D420VX. It is necessary to have your head at or below the height of the center of the television—at least six feet away for the intended effect. The side-to-side viewing angle for maintaining 3D was very wide. We found that the depth was not as intense as some of the active 3D televisions we have tested, but it was also not as sickening when objects close to the screen passed by. In the end the 3D capability is just an extra contrivance that adds little value to the equation.

The VIZIO E3D420VX is a television that offers advanced features to the average consumer at an affordable price.

There's a reason why so many televisions these days come packed with 3D and a bunch of streaming features: it gives the TV companies an excuse to charge you more money. They are actually useful at times, but most people cannot afford to drop a couple thousand dollars on a television and thus are prevented from being able to experience these exciting frontier technologies. VIZIO makes these attributes affordable in more ways than one. The E3D420VX combines streaming features with passive 3D technology to provide great features at a nice value.

Features are not the only strong point of the VIZIO E3D420VX. Looking at performance alone, the E3D420VX competes with high-end models from strong brands in the categories of color accuracy and motion processing. It certainly outclasses its entry-level brethren with these pros, as well as a strong contrast ratio.

All together, the VIZIO E3D420VX is an affordable way to get into 3D and internet streaming video, without sacrificing strong visual quality. We have to applaud the work done by the company to keep cost down while providing what is, by all measures, a very solid value.

For less than $800, you can buy in on this VIZIO—it's smart and 3D ready, on top of being so affordable. That little caveat had us worried that it might not perform to our high standards, but we were mistaken. The VIZIO E3D420VX proved to be a staunch performer, showing off accurate color and decent contrast.

This VIZIO tested with excellent color curves.

Color curve charts visually represent the way a TV displays a full spectrum of red, green, and blue across its full input signal—basically, from black (0) to brightest white (255). Each color is displayed through this 256-step range, and the resulting curve is meant to inform as to how much detail the TV can allocate to each color.

The VIZIO E3D420VX did very well on this test—it displays a full, evenly lit and evenly represented range of reds, greens, and blues, and by admission, each of the colors those primary digital colors create (all of them). This is an excellent result, especially for a TV in this price range. More on how we test color performance.

The E3D420VX tested with no visible color temperature error.

Color temperature is a measure of the temperature of the light "within" a color—for example, a light red would have more light passing through it than a darker, more saturated red. Light's color (or lack thereof) is determined by the temperature, in kelvins, of the light passing through it. We run our color temperature consistency test to determine whether a TV displays a consistent color temperature across its luminosity spectrum.

In short, the VIZIO E3D420VX did a remarkable job at maintaining consistent color temperature—all of its light stayed within a single range. While there was some warming and cooling, none of it was drastic enough to even be visible to human eyes; this is the same, for consumer purposes, as having no error whatsoever. More on how we test color performance.

Meet the tester

Christian Sherden

Christian Sherden

Staff Writer


Christian Sherden is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

See all of Christian Sherden's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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