Excellent contrast and color
Next-gen gaming features
Smart platform isn't very flexible
Sub-par off-angle viewing
Aside from a couple of blemishes—namely, a lackluster smart platform and limited viewing angles—the P-Series Quantum is a fantastic, versatile TV for gamers, cinephiles, and anyone who wants to spend more (but not too much more) for a high-quality experience. It’s the best Vizio TV we’ve seen in 2021.
About the Vizio P-Series
The Vizio P-Series Quantum is available in just two sizes: 65 inches and 75 inches. Our review unit—which was received on loan from Vizio—is a 65-inch model.
Here’s how the series shakes out in terms of pricing:
- 65-inch (Vizio P65Q9-J01), MSRP $1,299.99
- 75-inch (Vizio P75Q9-J01), MSRP $1,999.99
While different sizes belonging to the same series tend to perform similarly, it’s worth noting that, while the 75-inch P-Series features 210 local dimming zones, the 65-inch model is limited to 144. Since more dimming zones typically spell better contrast, the 75-inch model may feature slightly better contrast control than its 65-inch counterpart. Bear in mind, however, that the added screen size will likely make this a minor difference rather than a major one.
Here’s a rundown of the hardware and software features shared by both sizes in the series:
- Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
- Display type: LED with [quantum dots]
- Dimming technology: Full-array with local dimming
- HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
- Dolby Atmos: Yes (via eARC)
- eARC support: Yes
- 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
- Other features: ProGaming Engine, FreeSync Premium, Google Chromecast, Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit
The Vizio P-Series ships with the newest version of Vizio’s remote control, which offers dedicated app buttons and a built-in microphone for voice recognition.
Before testing each TV, we make sure the panel is on and receiving a continuous signal for at least 24 hours, allowing the pixels plenty of time to warm up. Our 65-inch Vizio P-Series received this standard warm-up time before any readings were taken.
For both SDR and HDR tests, we used Vizio’s “Calibrated” picture mode. We’ve chosen this mode because of its accuracy, but performance may vary depending on which picture mode is enabled. For example, you’re likely to experience a brighter picture with different settings enabled, but it may interfere with color temperature and overall color accuracy.
To get a sense for 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 a sustained period of time.
All of our tests are created with a Murideo Seven signal generator and tabulated via Portrait Displays' Calman Ultimate software. I'll expand on our test results throughout the review, but for now, here are some key takeaways:
• HDR contrast (brightness/black level): 556 nits/0.076 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
• SDR contrast (brightness/black level): 324.1 nits/0.055 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
• HDR peak brightness (sustained): 965.1 nits (10% white window)
• HDR color gamut coverage (DCI-P3/10-bit): 95.13%
• SDR color gamut coverage (Rec.709): 100%
During testing, the TV's ambient light sensor was turned off. In addition, "Edge Enhancement" was set to "Low," "Active Full Array" was set to "High," and "Film Mode," "Local Contrast," and all remaining motion enhancements were disabled.
The Vizio P-Series is outfitted with plenty of connectivity options for casual users and A/V enthusiasts alike. There are two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 120fps at 4K, Auto Low Latency Mode, and Variable Refresh Rate.
Here’s what you’ll find in a small, rectangular cutout in the back of the P-Series’ panel:
- 2x HDMI 2.1
- 2x HDMI 2.0 (1x eARC)
- 1x USB 2.0
- RF connection (cable/antenna)
- Ethernet (LAN) input
- Digital audio output (optical)
- 3.5mm headphone jack
What we like
Stellar contrast and color make for a superb picture
The P-Series sports a seriously impressive picture across all types of content, and it owes most of its success to its excellent contrast and color production, both of which are bolstered by the TV’s use of quantum dots.
If you’re planning on putting your TV in a room that gets a good deal of sunlight or artificial light, the P-Series is an excellent candidate. While it doesn’t get quite as bright as the Samsung QN90A or the Hisense U8G, it’s nevertheless bright enough to deliver a terrific viewing experience regardless of the time of day or lighting conditions.
While receiving an HDR signal in its “Calibrated” picture mode, I routinely clocked the P-Series in the 700- to 1,000-nit range. During SDR contrast tests, the P-Series averaged around 350 to 400 nits and peaked at 585 nits. It marries these impressive highlights with steady, workmanlike black levels: 0.055 to 0.076 nits, depending on content. Crucially, the P-Series’ black levels aren’t dramatically lifted by particularly bright highlights. The presence of brighter picture elements in HDR, for instance, won’t crush details in darker swaths of the picture.
What does this mean for you? Essentially, you can expect the P-Series Quantum to deliver excellent contrast in both SDR (like cable TV) and HDR (like newer streaming content and some 4K Blu-rays). It owes this success to its blend of bright highlights and consistently deep black levels.
Another reason the P-Series Quantum manages to shine across all types of content is its excellent color production. I watched several episodes of Our Planet on Netflix (a 4K program mastered for HDR), and the picture was consistently eye-popping. The TV's vibrant, true-to-life colors lept of the screen, particularly during sequences with lush, green vegetation. On the SDR side of things, colors are expectedly more subdued, but nevertheless accurate while tuned to Vizio’s “Calibrated” picture mode.
Restrained, classy design
The P-Series Quantum isn’t the type of TV that will turn heads while it’s turned off, but its unassuming design will fit into just about every room, whether you’ve got a modest living room or a carefully curated home theater.
The panel itself is about as svelte as a TV can be with a full-array LED backlight—not nearly as thin as an OLED TV but certainly not chunky, either. The TV is wrapped in a charcoal-colored plastic with a texture that invokes brushed metal.
Unlike this year’s Vizio V-Series and Vizio M-Series, which use boomerang-shaped feet to prop up their panels, the P-Series Quantum's stand consists of two flat feet that keep the panel relatively low to whatever surface it’s sitting on. The lower profile prioritizes the TV's picture, and it’s always refreshing to see a contemporary display steer away from the ubiquitous choice of employing wide-set, angular feet.
Reliably smooth motion handling
A TV’s ability to produce smooth, judder- and artifact-free motion is critical for immersion, and the P-Series Quantum is quite adept at this very thing. Its native refresh rate of 120Hz is the best spec you can get on a TV, and it’s the main reason why this TV's motion handling is so dependable.
I did notice a hint of stuttering and trailing during fast camera pans, but not so much as to be distracting. Playing the same programming back-to-back on a 60Hz TV only served to illustrate how better-equipped the P-Series Quantum is to handle fast-paced content.
If you deem it necessary, the TV’s motion enhancement options—sliders for “Judder Reduction” and “Motion Blur Reduction” work effectively at their respective “1” and “2” settings, but cranking these settings all the way up will introduce what I find to be artificial-seeming motion effects. Alternatively, when toggled on, the TV’s “Film Mode” setting does a decent job of limiting judder during film content at 24fps.
Future-facing features for next-gen gamers and A/V enthusiasts
As mentioned, the P-Series Quantum features a native refresh rate of 120Hz, and of the TV’s four total HDMI ports, two of them are of the HDMI 2.1 variety, supporting 4K content at 120fps. In addition, HDMI 2.1 allows for Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate, two sought-after, gaming-related features that allow the P-Series to optimize its performance when an input is used by a console like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.
Thankfully, the P-Series’ eARC-enabled HDMI port is not one of the TV’s HDMI 2.1 ports, which means it can be used for a soundbar while still leaving two ports free for newer devices that are optimized for the HDMI 2.1 spec. It's also worth noting that with eARC, the P-Series Quantum can pass advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos from a source device (like a Blu-ray player) to a compatible soundbar without compression.
This array of hardware support—together with the TV's ability to meet the Dolby Vision HDR standard—will ensure that the P-Series Quantum stays fresh for years to come.
What we don’t like
Viewing angles are limited
Like most TVs on the market right now, the P-Series Quantum features a VA-style panel rather than an IPS-style panel. Without getting too much into the weeds, this means that the P-Series delivers deeper black levels at the expense of wider viewing angles. IPS-style panels, on the other hand, typically offer better off-angle viewing, but do so at the expense of their ability to produce black levels as deep as those produced by VA panels.
Unfortunately, this means that the P-Series Quantum's picture quality begins to drop the further away you get from a direct, head-on viewing position. If you happen to be sitting off to the side, the picture’s contrast begins to dip, washing out detail and producing a “cloudier” image. Eventually, colors begin to shift, taking on a desaturated look.
Another phenomenon that you’ll likely encounter while viewing the P-Series Quantum at an off-angle is something called light bloom. This can be seen when a bright picture element clashes with an otherwise dark scene (white subtitles on a black background, for example). Light bloom is sometimes present while also viewing the TV at an ideal vantage point (the modest amount of LED zones can only do so much), but the halo of light around certain picture elements is far more distracting if you don’t have the best seat in the house.
To be fair, this is not an uncommon problem. The vast majority of TVs available today have also made a similar tradeoff—deeper black levels and better overall contrast at the expense of more accommodating viewing angles. Nevertheless, it’s something worthy of consideration, particularly if you’re eyeing the 75-inch P-Series Quantum with the hopes of entertaining guests.
If you’re beginning to suspect that you might be in the market for a new TV with an IPS-style panel, the Samsung Q80A is a similarly priced TV with better viewing angles than the Vizio P-Series Quantum (though its black levels are much shallower).
SmartCast is still a letdown
The Vizio SmartCast platform has seen some tweaks and quality-of-life improvements over the last several years. Navigation is, for the most part, more responsive than it was in years past, and several Vizio TVs (the P-Series included) now offer voice control by way of Vizio’s microphone-equipped remote control. That said, the platform does not offer users much in the way of customization—namely, the ability to add apps to the software itself.
The good news is that, for most folks, this might not be an issue. After all, the heavy-hitters—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and YouTube—are all accounted for. Additionally, Vizio recently added HBO Max to the SmartCast app library.
The company is also quick to remind its clientele that SmartCast’s support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast create alternative avenues for streaming content on its TVs. That said, if you’re expecting the SmartCast experience to offer as much flexibility as, say, Android TV, Google TV, or Roku, you’ll probably be let down. While these software suites allow for in-depth app customization, SmartCast does not. You can certainly watch more content than is presented on the TV’s home screen, but it will require casting said content from an external device.
Should you buy it?
Yes—this is a fantastic, versatile TV at a fair price
In the time I’ve spent with the Vizio P-Series Quantum, I’ve found very little to complain about—least of all its price. While $1,300 for a 65-inch TV certainly isn’t cheap, it’s important to place the P-Series in the context of the current marketplace. In terms of hardware and performance, its closest competitors are the Samsung QN90A and the Hisense U8G, two LED TVs that are also equipped with quantum dots and local dimming capabilities.
The Samsung QN90A is significantly more expensive than the P-Series, thanks in part to its mini-LED backlighting, which greatly improves its contrast control. The Hisense U8G, however, is in the P-Series’ price ballpark; the 65-inch P-Series is $1,300 and, at the time of publication, the 65-inch U8G can be found for as low as $1,249.
For this level of performance and for these types of future-facing features, you’d be hard-pressed to find more affordable options outside of the Hisense U8G. If you simply must go one price bracket lower, your best bet is the 4K TCL 6-Series. The 6-Series is not as strong a gaming companion, but you will be getting a superior smart platform in the form of Roku.
The Vizio P-Series Quantum has its drawbacks: a smart platform that feels like it has one hand tied behind its back and limited viewing angles. But if you pair the TV with a dedicated streaming device and come to terms with the fact that most contemporary TVs tend to carry limited viewing angles, you’re getting a great deal on a great TV with superb picture quality.
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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