Excellent contrast and overall brightness
Decent gaming TV
Very narrow viewing angle
Colors aren’t as good as the competition
Lackluster smart platform
The MQX is a decent option for just about everything: dark-room viewing, daytime viewing, movie nights, and gaming. However, if you were to spend just $100 to $200 more on a better mid-range TV, you’ll be getting around some of the MQX’s most glaring issues (e.g., a lackluster smart platform, incredibly narrow viewing angles, and funky out-of-the-box color). Depending on which TV you choose over the MQX, spending up could also net you more gaming flexibility and a brighter picture.
That said, $100 to $200 is substantial. And for the cost, the MQX absolutely delivers a fair amount of value. I suspect that most folks will be plenty happy with what they get for the price.
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About the Vizio M-Series Quantum X
The Vizio M-Series Quantum X is available in three sizes. Curiously, the ever-popular 55-inch model is not accounted for in this series. We received a 65-inch unit on loan from Vizio.
Here’s how the series shakes out in terms of pricing:
- 50-inch (Vizio M50QXM-K03), MSRP $629.99
- 65-inch (Vizio M65QXM-K03), MSRP $849.99
- 75-inch (Vizio M75QXM-K03), MSRP $1,199.99
While we don’t expect there to be major differences in performance between these sizes, it’s worth noting that, typically, each size variant of a full-array LED TV series features a different amount of dimming zones. The number of zones tends to increase proportionally to a TV’s size. A difference in zone count could spell slight differences in how a TV performs, particularly when it comes to contrast.
With sizing and pricing out of the way, let’s take a look at the MQX’s key specs:
- Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
- Display type: Full-array local dimming LED with quantum dots
- HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
- Dolby Atmos: Yes
- eARC support: Yes (HDMI 1)
- Native refresh rate: 120Hz
- Smart platform: SmartCast
- Color: DCI-P3 color space/10-bit chroma resolution
- Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): Yes
- Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): Yes
- Processor: IQ Ultra+ Processor
- Other features: AMD FreeSync Premium, G-Sync compatibility, Wi-Fi 6E, Apple AirPlay, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Google Chromecast
The MQX is equipped with enough connectivity options for most users, though gamers and A/V enthusiasts ought to be aware of some of the TV’s hardware limitations. Here’s what you’ll find in a small cutout on the back of the TV’s panel:
- 1x HDMI 2.1 (4K @ 120Hz)
- 3x HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz, 1x HDMI ARC/eARC)
- 1x USB 2.0
- RF connection (cable/antenna)
- Ethernet (LAN) input
- Digital audio output (optical)
- Analog audio output
Before testing each TV, we make sure the panel is on and receiving a continuous signal for at least 2 hours. Our 65-inch MQX received this standard warm-up time before any readings were taken. In addition, the TV received the latest firmware updates at the time of testing.
For both SDR and HDR tests, we’re using the MQX’s Calibrated picture mode. We’ve chosen this setting because of its accuracy, but performance may vary depending on which picture mode is enabled. For example, you might experience a brighter picture with a different mode enabled, but it may negatively affect color temperature and overall color accuracy.
For additional context, I also ran some tests in the TV’s Calibrated Dark picture mode, but those results are not reported below.
To get a sense of the TV’s average performance, we use a standard ANSI checkerboard pattern for most of our basic contrast tests. We also use white and black windows ranging from 2% to 90% to test how well the contrast holds up while displaying varying degrees of brightness.
Our peak brightness measurements are taken with sustained windows to represent the TV’s peak brightness over a sustained period of time. Specular highlights (like brief flashes of reflected light) might reach higher brightness levels, but not for sustained periods of time.
All of our tests are created with a Murideo Seven 8K signal generator and tabulated via Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software.
I'll expand on our test results throughout the review, but for now, here are some key takeaways:
- HDR contrast (brightness/black level): 528 nits/0.102 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
- SDR contrast (brightness/black level): 532.5 nits/0.087 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
- HDR peak brightness (sustained): 901.5 nits (20% white window)
- HDR color gamut coverage (DCI-P3/10-bit): 91%
- SDR color gamut coverage (Rec.709): 100%
For both SDR and HDR tests, the MQX’s Ambient Light Sensor was disabled and the Color Temperature was set to Warm. In addition, the following settings in the TV’s Advanced Picture submenu were disabled: Black Detail, Super Resolution, Edge Enhancement, Local Contrast, and Film Mode. For SDR tests, the Backlight was maxed out at 100 and the Gamma was set to 2.4.
In the Reduce Noise submenu, I disabled Signal Noise, Black Noise, and Contour Smoothing. For Motion Control settings, I turned off Clear Action and reduced both Judder Reduction and Motion Blur Reduction from 2 to 0.
Lastly, for all tests, the TV’s Active Full Array setting was increased from Low to High.
What we like
Excellent contrast and brightness
Its brightness isn’t limited to HDR content, either. Our tests even revealed that, with certain patterns on the screen, the MQX gets marginally brighter while receiving an SDR signal. A 10% white window, for example, produced a result of 963 nits in SDR and 891 nits in HDR.
What does this mean for the viewer? Well, for one thing, you can be confident that the MQX will hold up splendidly during daytime viewing, even if all you’re doing is watching sports or news broadcasts. (As always, just be sure your TV isn’t placed in direct sunlight.) If you’re settling in for a cinematic HDR experience, the MQX is capable of driving an impressive amount of brightness to small, high-intensity areas of the picture. Specular highlights (like dappled sunlight on water) shimmer appropriately.
It pairs these sensational highlights with decent black levels, too, thereby retaining an impressive amount of shadow detail during darker sequences. When there’s an even mix of bright and dark picture elements on screen at the same time (a night time skyline, for example), these black levels are somewhat lifted, but nowhere near as lifted as what you’ll see on the similarly priced Sony X80K.
One of the reasons the MQX is more affordable than TVs like the Hisense U8H and the TCL 6-Series is its lack of mini-LED backlighting. Instead, Vizio equipped the MQX with a traditional full-array backlight with a meager amount of dimming zones. From a contrast standpoint, the MQX’s display technology is at a disadvantage compared to mini-LED TVs, but I was nevertheless impressed by the TV’s ability to limit light bloom with its local dimming.
There’s some upside for next-gen gamers
While by no means a gaming powerhouse, the MQX delivers a fair amount of gaming-friendly features for those who own an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. It offers Variable Refresh Rate (including AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility) and Auto Low Latency Mode, and one of its four HDMI ports supports 4K gaming at 120Hz.
Fortunately, the TV’s dedicated eARC port is separate from the only HDMI port that supports these gaming-related features, so your eARC-enabled soundbar and your next-gen gaming console won’t have to fight it out for high-bandwidth port privileges.
You could secure yourself a TV with at least one more HDMI 2.1 port capable of 4K gaming at 120Hz, but you’ll probably find yourself spending more money in the process. For context, Sony’s closest competitor to the MQX, the X80K, doesn’t offer any inputs that support Variable Refresh Rate, and its performance is capped at 4K/60Hz.
What we don’t like
Very narrow viewing angle
The MQX’s most glaring issue is its narrow viewing angle. If you’re sitting even a couple feet away from a direct, head-on position, the TV’s picture quality drops significantly.
Like most LED TVs, the MQX’s contrast takes a hit when viewed off axis. Dark areas of the picture brighten and bright areas dim, shrouding the image in a haze. To a certain degree, this issue is expected, given the TV’s display hardware.
What was most surprising to me, however, was how dramatically off-axis viewing affected colors—it clobbers color more than any other TV I’ve seen this year. When seated off to the side, reds become orange and yellows shift into a sickly pale green. The issue isn’t limited to extreme off-axis viewing, either; unless you have a center seat, it’s quite pronounced.
While I noticed the color shifting across all content types, the issue is considerably worse during SDR content. Colors—especially reds and yellows—hold up better during HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. If you’re like most people, however, and you spend most of your time watching cable and over-the-air broadcasts, you’ll have to plan your seating accordingly.
Its colors aren’t as sharp as the competition
Although the TV’s quantum-dot display technology makes for an above-average color gamut, the MQX’s color production is not quite as impressive as some of the other mid-range TVs we’ve tested this year.
The Hisense U8H and the TCL 6-Series, both of which also feature quantum dots, cover more of the HDR color gamut (DCI-P3). In a side-by-side comparison, colors on the MQX are less punchy to the naked eye. Neither of these competitors (which, to be fair, are about $100 to $150 more than the MQX at the time of publishing) demonstrate severe off-axis color shifting, either.
The MQX isn’t quite as refined as those slightly more-expensive models when it comes to color accuracy. In its Calibrated and Calibrated Dark picture modes, the MQX overemphasizes blue. Neutral tones (like white, gray, and near-black) appear cooler than they ought to be, even with the Color Temperature set to Warm. In these picture modes, the TV’s yellow point is far too green, as well.
Here’s the good news: I suspect that most people won’t really notice the TV’s overemphasis of blue, nor its relative lack of color volume compared to slightly higher-end competitors. The MQX is bright and punchy enough that most content looks fine. Eagle-eyed A/V enthusiasts in search of a mid-range TV with more accurate performance, however, ought to take these shortcomings into consideration.
SmartCast still bums me out
Vizio’s smart platform, SmartCast, has seen considerable improvement in the last few years—at least when it comes to speed. To Vizio’s credit, the software feels faster than ever. Unfortunately, when compared to some of the software found in competitive TVs, SmartCast still lags behind.
For one thing, it’s simply not as zippy as Roku or Google TV. Navigating the smart platform’s home screen feels more fluid than it has in years past, but there are still occasional delays when cycling through apps and submenus.
The MQX comes with a wide selection of the most popular apps right out of the box, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV+, but it doesn’t provide users with a way to download apps. Any additional software will require future updates from Vizio. SmartCast supports Google Chromecast, which allows you to cast content from your mobile device. While not ideal (Chromecast isn’t without its own problems), it’s a decent workaround in a pinch.
You could always pair the MQX with a dedicated streaming device if you find that SmartCast isn’t cutting it, but if you’re hoping to free up an HDMI port by using your TV’s smart platform as a daily driver, the MQX will likely feel restrictive.
And while we can’t say for certain that every MQX owner will experience something similar, it’s worth noting that we had a very difficult time connecting the TV to the internet—even with a hardwired ethernet connection. The connection was eventually established, but it took several attempts. There was no obvious indication as to what finally made the connection successful.
Should you buy the Vizio M-Series Quantum X?
Maybe, but scope out other options first
If you’re comfortable leaving some features on the table (namely, a better smart platform and additional HDMI 2.1 ports), the Vizio M-Series Quantum X is a decent dark-room TV and an even better option for casual daytime viewing. Despite some color-related quirks, I’m confident that most people will be satisfied with the MQX’s picture quality in its most-accurate picture mode.
If you want a little extra gaming support, a brighter, more-colorful picture, or assurance that the picture will hold up during off-axis viewing, you’re probably going to have to spend a little bit more. The newest TCL 5-Series and the Hisense U7H are slightly more affordable than the MQX, while the U8H and the newest 6-Series are slightly more expensive. We’re in the process of reviewing the 5-Series and the U7H, so we’ll have a better idea of how they stack up in the coming weeks.
The Vizio MQX is a great TV for the price, but its most significant issues can be addressed by spending $100 to $200 more on an alternative. It’s up to you to decide if the upsell is worth it.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@Reviewed
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
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