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Vizio M-Series Quantum 4K UHD TV review: Same accurate color, now with upgraded ports

It didn’t take long to confirm what I suspected during my Vizio V5-Series review—the slightly more expensive M-Series Quantum offers a far better picture. It’s not perfect perfect by any means, but the color is more accurate, and the screen uniformity far outstrips that of the V-Series.

If you’re shopping mid-range Vizio, the M-Series Quantum is what you want. Skip a couple of lunches to save up the extra cash.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart TVs, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

Design and features

The M-Series, including the inch class model M55Q6 that I tested, are 60Hz, x (4K UHD), bit TVs. They offer array backlighting, but no zone dimming until you hit the MQ7 models (then you get up to 32 zones). Quantum dots are employed for accurate color, and there’s enough peak brightness to breathe life into HDR titles.

The M-Series aren’t the lightest TVs out there, but they do range towards that end of the spectrum. I had no difficulty wrangling the unit out of the box and it was easy to hold in place upside down while I screwed in the two legs. If you’re reasonably able, you’ll have no problem setting it up solo. At pounds, it’s also light enough for wall-mounting even without hitting a stud (if you’re careful and use the right hardware). My unit sported a mm x mm VESA mount point.

The M55Q6 offers a modest, but more than adequate selection of ports, including analog audio and component/composite video. There are three HDMI ports with eARC supported on HDMI 1 (older models offered only the slower ARC), as well as FreeSync and variable refresh rate. Optical S/PDIF, coax (for antenna or cable), and ethernet are also onboard. Wi-Fi is n, and there’s Bluetooth support.

 v j09 m65q6 j09 back ioVizio

Other features include voice-activated remote control and smart-home connectivity via Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. This TV understands all the major flavors of HDR, including HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG. 

The MQ6-series is available in ($) through inch ($1,) models. The inch model reviewed here was $ at the time of this writing. The MQ7-series is available in ($1,) and inch ($1,) versions. Those offer slightly more accurate color and higher brightness in addition to local dimming zones. FreeSync Premium (supporting low-latency standard dynamic range) is also a MQ7-series perquisite, although they are still only 60Hz TVs.

Interface and remote

Vizio’s SmartCast user interface is a major strength of Vizio’s TVs. It does an excellent job of organizing and delivering all types of content. Indeed, it’s also the only interface I’m aware of that folds all of said content into the channel guide—a feature normally reserved for OTA (over-the-air) and curated content. Speaking of which, Vizio, like other vendors, provides a lot of free material for viewing. 

vizio m series smartcastVizio

The minimalist (forgetting the advertising shortcut buttons) remote control marries very well with SmartCast. Nearly all settings are a mere two clicks away, and the rocker/enter button handily doubles as transport controls during playback. It’s very well thought out and along with Roku, the tandem I find most efficient. Like Roku’s better remotes, there’s an onboard mic for voice recognition.

vizio m series remoteVizio

If you’re looking for ease of use and easily searchable content, then Vizio should be at the top of your list. My only caveat is that it’s difficult to get through the setup process, let alone use the TV, without an internet connection. Don’t skip the connection setup, and don’t buy one if you want a standalone unit for OTA TV.

Note that there’s a companion SmartCast app for phones. I’ve always found it laggy, but it’s certainly handy if you lose the remote. Phone-centric users might even prefer it. Download it and give it a try.


I had a massive case of déjà vu when I looked at this most recent M-Series. If the picture has changed at all from the iteration, I couldn’t spot it. What that means in more granular terms is that the color is great, there’s an adequate amount of brightness for showing off HDR content, and the image processing is… meh.

vizio m series angledVizio

Where the M-Series has trouble is with motion compensation, and for some reason, over-saturated reds in HDR. In the case of the former, Vizio simply doesn’t implement it, and in the case of the latter, it’s likely a matter of processing horsepower. In our Rio video with a giant gold and red dragon in a parade, the gold and red tended to merge into an rather ugly mélange. It was better than the V-Series, but it’s something Vizio should work on. 

Shimmer and moiré are noticeable, too, but not overwhelmingly so; and in general, most material and movies are shown to good advantage on the M-Series. It’s not a great image, but it’s nice for the price.

Testing the DLNA/mass-media playback app revealed one Vizio foible I’d forgotten. It doesn’t read exFAT media, only NTFS. Beyond that, Vizio has vastly improved the app over the last couple of years. The interface is still primitive (i.e., DOS-like), but it played all my test videos with nary a hiccup. That’s something Sony’s A90J failed to do in long-term testing.

Having just reviewed the Vizio V5-Series, I can unequivocally recommend that you buy the M-Series instead. Not only is the color much better, but the screen uniformity is vastly superior. Where the V-Series had clouding issues and very narrow off-axis viewing angles, the M-Series had almost no clouding and a decently wide optimal viewing angle.  


If you’re looking Vizio, skip the V-Series and go with the M-Series. The difference in picture quality is staggering and the M’s are priced only a little higher ($50 to $). Beyond that, if you’re not interested in eARC (for uncompressed surround) or FreeSync (for gaming), the picture is identical to the last iteration, which you might find deals on.

This article was edited on August 9th, to correct typos and improve grammar.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

  • Vizio M-series 4K UHD TV (inch class, model M55Q6)

    With quantum dot color, the Vizio M-Series outstrips the only slightly cheaper V-Series by a large margin in picture quality. Though little changed since the last iteration, new is eARC and FreeSync is available on select models.


    • Accurate quantum-dot color
    • Excellent SmartCast interface
    • Simple remote works well with the onscreen interface
    • eARC and FreeSync support


    • Unexceptional video processing
    • No motion compensation

Jon is a Juilliard-trained musician, former x86/ programmer, and long-time (late 70s) computer enthusiast living in the San Francisco bay area. [email protected]


Even as suppliersstruggle to keep up with demand, it’s a great time to buy a new TV. The mid-tier market is more competitive than ever. You can get a lot these days for well under $1,, and prices keep plummeting while our eyes reap the rewards. 

The Vizio M-Series is among the best of a very closely matched bunch. It has quantum dots for brighter colors, local dimming for deeper blacks, a variable refresh rate for gaming, and a current price—at 55 inches—under $ A TV that ticks all of those boxes is rarely this affordable. If you're in the market for a new flatscreen, then that's very good news for your wallet.

The Black Box

When you're shopping in person, it can be tough to pick between good mid-range TVs because they all tend to look the same. Unfortunately, the M-Series is no different. Like various mid-priced models from TCL, Samsung, and LG, it's about an inch and a half thick with relatively thin bezels. It comes with a rather generic-looking plastic remote that has a few hot keys for streaming services.

You’ll want to wall-mount this one unless you have a big TV stand. It has legs out near the ends, rather than a center pedestal, which means you’ll need a stand that’s about as long as the TV itself. That's not going to work in every living room. 

All of this is because Vizio’s entire business model is to take top-tier technology and put it into something affordable. That means compromises in aesthetics. So you're not getting razor-thin looks here, but you do get Vizio’s excellent backlighting technology and iQ processing engine.

The company's local dimming backlighting tech can turn off or dim based on the content that's playing. In super dark scenes, some of the 32 zones of the backlighting are able to hit different brightnesses, so you get less gray and something closer to black.

Local dimming isn’t as good as with organic LED, or “OLED” technology, where each pixel is its own backlight, but it definitely still improves contrast quality. Vizio’s expertise with the tech is fully on display with this new M-Series. Watching darker shows like Stranger Things and The Mandolorian, I noticed that everything still manages to look crisp and clean, with just a touch of light bloom (where you get a halo around bright objects on dark backgrounds).

I should note that this model has HDMI ports—an earlier M-Series model came with HDMI ports, but that's been remedied here. This upgraded port supports the eArc standard for easy soundbar setup that immediately integrates with the TV remote. And you should use a soundbar or a set of speakers, because the TV's audio is pretty tinny, though it does sound better than thinner TVs.

That HDMI port also helps with gaming. Plugging in my gaming PC to mid-tier TVs used to be annoying, because most models had slow input response (the time it takes joystick and mouse movements to appear on screen). Not so much here. The port and support for AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) help match frames with AMD graphics cards so you won't deal with any screen tearing. 

It’s not a top-performance gaming model like the LG C1 or Samsung QN90A, because it's a Hz panel, but it's more than good enough for all but the most competitive gamers. It looked great when I was playing Fifa , Formula 1 , and various games on my Nintendo Switch. 

Easy to Use

Most house-made smart TV interfaces are clunky, but I actually love Vizio’s SmartCast OS. It has every app you’ll want, plus support for both Google's Chromecast and Apple's AirPlay 2, so you can cast anything you want instantly from phones and computers, as long as you’re on the same Wi-Fi network.

It's amazing for quick “Have you seen this video?” moments with friends and family. I use the YouTube app on my phone to cast 4K background videos for when my band is practicing. You’d be surprised how cool that can be to quickly set a vibe—say for a social gathering. Rather than just a black screen on the wall, put that thing to use!

Want to quickly search for a film or TV show? You can use the remote's voice search functionality to pull it up. It works pretty well; just make sure to speak clearly.

All-Around Pick

Most of us don’t own home theaters, don’t need insane performance, and don’t want to spend more than $1, We just want to watch our favorite sports team, check our island on Animal Crossing, or stream the latest episode of Selling Sunset.

There are a lot of TVs that can scratch that itch, but there aren't many that are as well rounded as the new M-Series. The only thing I really don't like? Those pesky legs.

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The Vizio MG1 has great peak brightness, but it isn't quite as bright as the M Series There's some variation in brightness with different content (ABL), but it shouldn't cause any issues for most people.

We measured the peak brightness after calibration, with the 'Calibrated Dark' Picture Mode, and the Color Temperature set to 'Normal'.

The local dimming feature affects the TV's peak brightness, and higher settings result in a higher peak brightness. We measured the peak brightness with the Active Full Array setting on 'Medium'. Lower settings result in a lower peak brightness, so you may need to adjust this setting depending on your viewing conditions. The 'High' setting resulted in a dimmer image with some real content.

If you prefer a brighter image, or a colder color temperature over an accurate one, with the 'Vivid' Picture Mode and the 'Cool' Color Temperature, we measured a peak brightness of cd/m² for a short period of time, as measured on the 10% test window.

The M7 Series Quantum variants have a slightly lower peak brightness.

Vizio 2021 M-Series (M70Q7-J03) Review - Is The Value Back?

Vizio M-Series Quantum review: Balancing brightness, black level and budget

In my side-by-side tests, the M7 couldn't match the picture quality of my favorite TV for the money, TCL's 6-Series, but it also costs a lot less. It's bright enough to bring out highlights in HDR and still put out relatively deep black levels, resulting in an image with plenty of punch and contrast for the price. And it's the cheapest TV on the market with Variable Refresh Rate, a gaming feature found on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S (and some video cards) designed to reduce tearing and other artifacts. The M-Series also comes in a wallet-friendly inch size, while most good-performing TVs start at 55 inches. Add it all up and you have an appealing package for anyone who doesn't want to spend up for the TCL.


Externally there's not much to differentiate the M-Series from other TVs on the market. Its color is all matte black, with a slim plastic border on the top and a thicker, metallic bottom edge above spindly stand legs. The look is decidedly middlebrow.

Vizio's basic remote got a facelift this year, with more rounded keys and a prominent "WatchFree" button to join more recognizable streaming service shortcuts such as Netflix, Hulu and, uh, Redbox at the top. Otherwise it's pedestrian-looking with too many buttons, and I prefer the simpler, more focused clickers of Roku or Samsung. 

The company has made more changes to its SmartCast system but again it falls short of Roku or Android TV, or even LG or Samsung's proprietary systems. The main home page is packed with TV show, movie and channel suggestions you probably don't care about, and the stuff you'll probably use most -- the streaming apps themselves -- are denigrated to a single row.

Although the platform now has 64 apps, including most major names, it's still missing heavy hitters like HBO and HBO Max, Sling TV and ESPN. And finding new apps is a pain: Instead of a simple channel or app store that lets you search for, add and delete apps, you have to scroll the row through to find what you want. You can arrange app tiles to taste but I was also annoyed that none of them can be deleted. 

The search function in the upper left of the home page only finds TV shows, movies and videos, not apps themselves -- I searched "HBO," for example, and the most relevant results were YouTube videos. In its favor, search results do span different apps including Apple TV, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime, but they don't include Netflix. Roku's search is much better in general.

To watch any of the hundreds of apps that aren't part of Vizio's on-screen system you can use the cast function on your phone to connect to the TV. The TV supports both Google's Chromecast function and Apple's AirPlay. The M-Series doesn't have any voice capability built into its remote but the TV will work with Amazon Alexa and Google Home speakers.

Key TV features

Display technologyLED LCD
LED backlightFull-array with local dimming
HDR compatibleHDR10 and Dolby Vision
Smart TVSmartCast

The M-Series Quantum is one of the cheapest TVs with full-array local dimming -- my favorite addition for LCD picture quality because it improves all-important contrast and black levels -- but different models in the M-Series have different specs. In short, the M7 I reviewed is less impressive on paper than the M8.

The number of dimmable zones is an important specification because it controls how precise the dimming can be. More zones doesn't necessarily mean better picture quality, but it usually helps. The M8 is also brighter than the M7, at and nits respectively. I didn't review the M8 but based on these specs I'm guessing it performs a bit better than the M7, but not as good as something like the TCL 6-Series.

The rest of the M-Series specifications are the same on all models. Quantum dots allow the TV to achieve better HDR color, which was borne out in my measurements. 

The M-Series has a 60Hz refresh rate panel -- Vizio's " Dynamic Motion Rate" is bunk. It lacks a setting to engage motion estimation and motion compensation (also known as MEMC or the Soap Opera Effect) as found on the more expensive Vizio P- and PX-Series, as well as TCL's 6 series. Vizio supports both major types of HDR, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, in the M-Series. So does every other major TV maker except Samsung, which lacks Dolby Vision support.

Here are the M-Series' other specs:

  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • 1 analog composite video input
  • 1 USB port
  • RF antenna tuner input
  • Ethernet port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • Stereo analog audio output

New for , the M-Series supports eARC (on HDMI 3) as well as new gaming-centric features, namely Auto Game Mode/ALLM and Variable Refresh Rate. This is one the least expensive TVs we know about that can handle VRR, a graphics feature found on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S (and some video cards) and designed to reduce tearing and other artifacts. It won't be as effective as TVs with true Hz input capability like Vizio's P series (the M-Series maxes out at 60Hz input), but it might be better than not having VRR. We'll know more when we have the chance to test this TV with the new consoles.

Picture quality comparisons

While certainly not at the same level as the TCL 6-Series or Sony XH, both of which scored an 8 in my tests, the Vizio M-Series' image quality earned a solid 7. That's the same score I gave the Hisense R8 Roku TV, which is in the same price ballpark as the M7, but if I had to choose I'd take the Vizio's superior contrast, processing and black levels over the R8's brighter picture.

I spent most of my side-by-side time comparing it to the TCL and the Hisense H9G, both of which are more expensive. The Vizio fell short of the contrast and brightness of those two sets but in its favor showed an even-keeled, balanced image with good shadow detail and color accuracy. 

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

Dim lighting: In late OctoberThe Invisible Man seems like an appropriate comparison movie, so I fired up the Blu-ray in my dark basement and tried to be brave. In dark scenes the Vizio was good but it couldn't match the inky blackness, or overall contrast, of the more-expensive Hisense and TCL. Throughout Chapter 1, as Cecilia Kass (played by Elizabeth Moss) pads around and ultimately flees her darkened house, the shadows, letterbox bars and night sky appeared markedly lighter on the Vizio than the other two, leading to a less realistic picture. 

Details in shadows were very good on the Vizio, however, matching the TCL -- I could make out more of the art and furniture in her bedroom () on both sets than on the Hisense. Blooming and stray illumination, for example in the pause icon and progress bar from my Blu-ray player, as well as the white-on-black "Two Weeks Later" lettering at the end of the chapter, was also minimal. 

Bright lighting: The M-Series was a decent if not spectacular performer in a bright room. With LCD TVs light output is one of the major things you pay extra for, so it's not surprising that the affordable M-Series is dimmer than many of the more-expensive TVs I've tested. It's still brighter than budget models like Vizio's V-Series, but at least one like-priced TV I reviewed, the Hisense R8, is brighter than the M-Series.

Light output in nits

TVBrightest (SDR)Accurate color (SDR)Brightest (HDR)Accurate color (HDR)
Hisense H9G1,1,1,1,
TCL 65R1,1,1,
Hisense 65R8F
Vizio M65Q7-H1
Vizio VG3

Vizio's Calibrated picture mode delivered the most-accurate bright-room picture, which is well worth the loss of nits compared to Vivid in my opinion. The M's semi-matte screen finish reduced reflections better than the TCL albeit not as well as the Hisense, and was worse than either one at preserving black-level fidelity.
Color accuracy: In its best picture modes, namely Calibrated and Calibrated Dark, the Vizio was exceedingly accurate according to my measurements even before calibration. In the The Invisible Man its image did appear just a bit duller and less saturated than the TCL, however, an issue that could be due more to a black level disparity than anything. As Cecelia sits at the dinner table for example (), her skin tone looked a bit paler than the TCL, and the wood and plants of the kitchen looked less rich. Again the Hisense trailed a bit in color accuracy. In the end all three were quite accurate with SDR and it would be tough to point out differences outside a side-by-side comparison.
Video processing: The Vizio M-Series behaved like I'd expect from a 60Hz TV in my motion tests, meaning it didn't reduce blur as well as higher-end sets with a Hz refresh rate. I'm not particularly sensitive to motion blur, but if you are, a true Hz TV like the TCL 6-Series or Vizio's P-Series might be worth a look.

The M registered proper p/24 cadence but exhibited motion resolution of just lines. Vizio does offer a Clear Action control that improves that number to a respectable , but as usual it introduced flicker and dimmed the image, so most viewers will want to avoid it (note that if you have VRR turned on, Clear Action can't be activated). Unlike some 60Hz TVs there's no option to turn on smoothing, aka the Soap Opera Effect.

Input lag for gaming was good in both p and 4K HDR, with a result of about 27ms in the Game picture mode -- that's a bit worse than the TCL 6-Series at 19ms but still perfectly acceptable. As usual with Vizio I appreciated being able to reduce lag in other picture modes too, such as Calibrated Dark, by turning on the separate Gaming Low Latency toggle. That yielded the same 27ms result, a big improvement over the 52ms (in p) and 68ms (in 4K HDR) of lag I measured without GLL engaged. 

Uniformity: The M-Series had no major issues in this category, with a nicely uniform image across the screen and little or no variation at different light levels with full-field test patterns. In mid-bright full-field test patterns it showed a bit more variation than the other two, but in program material differences were tough to discern. From off-angle -- seats to either side of the sweet spot in front of the screen -- the Vizio didn't maintain black level fidelity quite as well as the other two, although it was roughly good at maintaining color.

HDR and 4K video: As usual the biggest differences between displays emerged when I fed them the highest-quality HDR video, first from the Spears and Munsil HDR Benchmark Blu-ray. The Vizio looked very good with the montage of footage but the TCL and Hisense performed better. Both displays beat the Vizio for contrast -- with deeper, truer black areas and brighter whites. In the snowclad mountains, for example, the fields of white and cloudy skies were brighter on both, leading to better impact and pop, while in the night cityscapes and amusement park the TCL and Hisense delivered blacker shadows compared to the grayer Vizio.

In its favor the M-Series kept blooming in check, with minimal stray illumination in dark areas around the honey dripper for example (). Color was also good, with saturation and vividness a tick higher than then TCL especially in reds like the flower () and significantly more accurate overall than the Hisense, which appeared too garish and unrealistic in comparison.

Turning back to The Invisible Man, this time on 4K Blu-ray, the Vizio again lagged the other two although as usual the differences weren't as drastic with a standard movie as they were with test material. Dark areas in Chapter 1, for example the depths of the walk-in closet and the go-bag cozy, were again inkier on the TCL and Hisense, leading to better realism. The Vizio did preserve shadow details best but the others were still solid and more impressive overall. 

The biggest difference, however, was in the brilliance of highlights, for example the strip lighting and fluorescents in the tech lab () -- compared to the other two, the Vizio looked much duller, without that characteristic HDR pop. In more balanced scenes, like the kitchen in Chapter 7 (), the Vizio again seemed slightly duller than the others, with more muted highlights and washed-out dark areas like the cabinetry and shelving.

Geek Box

Black luminance (0%)Good
Peak white luminance (SDR)Good
Avg. gamma (%)Good
Avg. grayscale error (%)Good
Dark gray error (30%)Good
Bright gray error (80%)Good
Avg. color checker errorGood
Avg. saturation sweeps errorGood
Avg. color errorGood
Red errorGood
Green errorGood
Blue errorGood
Cyan errorGood
Magenta errorGood
Yellow errorGood
p/24 Cadence (IAL)PassGood
Motion resolution (max)Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off)Poor
Input lag (Game mode)Good


Black luminance (0%)Good
Peak white luminance (10% win)Poor
Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE )Good
ColorMatch HDR errorAverage
Avg. color checker errorGood
Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR)Good

M series vizio

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Vizio M-Series Quantum (M55Q6-J01): 4K gaming at a great price!

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