Vizio V-series 4K UHD TV review: Even entry-level TVs are good these days

This TV offers better processing than the recently reviewed Konka, though it lacks its rival's Bluetooth capabilities. It also shows how better technology has drifted down the chain.

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Vizio

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At a Glance

Vizio’s V-series smart TV (the $300, 50-inch model V505-H19 is reviewed here) is the second 50-inch TV I’ve evaluated recently, the other being the slightly cheaper ($280) Konka U50.

Both are infinitely superior to anything you could’ve found in this price range five years ago. That said, the Vizio provides a bit better processing, backlighting, overall image and experience. But it lacks the Konka’s handy Bluetooth connectivity. 

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.

Specs and design

The V505-H19 is a thin-bezel unit whose staid, but classy appearance belies its low price. The 50-inch-class panel delivers 10-bit color, a 60Hz refresh rate, and 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) resolution. It has a full-array LED backlight, so it is not zone dimmable. That means it’s lit from behind with multiple lights, but the lights aren’t dimmed or shut off to decrease light bleed.

The V505-H19 is very light for a 50-inch TV at a mere 21.5 pounds. I had no issues slinging the TV around to put the feet on, sliding it around to reach the cable connections, and so on.  That also means there will be little strain on the 200mm x 200mm VESA mount point, the mount, or your wall. 

Vizio knows that there’s lots of legacy equipment in this market segment, so the port selection includes composite video input and RCA analog audio input/output. There’s also optical digital (Toslink), coax for cable/satellite TV or an over-the-air antenna, as well as three HDMI 2.1 ports (2160p @ 60Hz, with one supporting ARC output). A USB port is on hand for playback from mass media (thumb drives, etc.).

v505 port detail Vizio

Vizio likes to take care of customers with legacy equipment by providing composite video and RCA audio inputs

There’s no Bluetooth, but the Wi-Fi is dual-band 802.11n, which is easily fast enough for streaming most content. If it isn’t, there’s also an ethernet port. 

Props to Vizio for including support for HDR10+ in addition to Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG. Not all TVs do that, and not just TVs at this price. The TV also handles DTS surround and Dolby Atmos, offers a low-latency game mode, and supports both Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. The TV is also compliant with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice control. 

Interface and remote

Content-wise, Vizio’s SmartCast Home is as complete as TV user interfaces come, with all the usual streaming providers, as well as curated free content. SmartCast is also easy to use, and can be controlled using the SmartCast app on your smartphone or tablet if you so desire. My only complaint, a distinctly minor one in this day and age, is that it’s completely reliant upon an internet connection and does not when if your broadband connection is down. You can still use the TV, but with limited functionality.

On the other hand, a repeat quick shoutout (I also noted this in the Vizio OLED review) to the company for fixing the Media Player app. It’s still a plain DOS-like file browser, but now it’s responsive, plays all the media I throw at it, and doesn’t crash. 

v505 remote Vizio

The Vizio V505-H19’s remote is simple, if not always the easiest to use.

The remote is simple and easy to use, though I would’ve appreciated dedicated transport controls to make media playback a bit easier. Still, it fits in the hand nicely and is large enough to not disappear forever between the couch cushions. I don’t talk to TVs outside of testing, but the remote’s lack of a mic might bother some. Hey, what can I say? It’s entry-level, and you can use the SmartCast phone app for that purpose, as well as the other supported protocols (Siri, etc.). 

Performance

As I said in the intro, the V505-H19 reminds me quite a bit of the 50-inch Konka U5-series I just reviewed. It’s a dead ringer as far as the slight blue color skew and backlighting are concerned; however, it suffers a bit less moiré, shimmer, and other artifacts when processing detailed areas in motion.

The V505-H19 offers a bit more color saturation, but because of the heavy blue content of the backlight/filter technology, reds skew slightly orange; greens, slightly lime. Very slightly, I should say. Many users might not even notice. Again, same as the Konka.

Also, forget the advertising about Dynamic Motion Rate 120. If you read the description carefully, nowhere does it say smooth action or no judder. There’s no motion compensation of any kind—same as with the Konka. That said, within its 60Hz/no compensation limits, it’s better than some I’ve seen. And scenes that produce the judder effect, fast pans and large items moving rapidly across screen, are relatively rare.

v505 front Vizio

Vizio’s V505-H19 delivers a good picture for an entry-level TV. Please note that entry-level is vastly improved over the entry-level of just a few years ago.

While the V505-H19 supports the most popular HDR formats, it doesn’t really have the contrast to do a lot with them. Blacks are slightly better than with the Konka, but it’s still array backlighting with no local dimming. We’re talking charcoal gray more than black. Basically, it handles HDR, but doesn’t lend it the drama that technology can convey with higher-contrast—and more expensive—TVs. 

When it comes to sound, the V505-H19 is okay for casual, occasional, listening, but I found it annoyingly muddy. If I were you, I’d hook up something more sonorous in short order. Note that after a firmware update, the sound disappeared and didn’t reappear until I switched to the free curated content. If you experience the same phenomenon, that’s the trick. 

The omission of Bluetooth isn’t unexpected at this price point, as it was with the company’s far more expensive OLED, the absence of Bluetooth support does slightly aggravate the weak sound issue. If you want to listen privately on headphones, you’ll need to purchase a separate Bluetooth transmitter ($30 and up) or make other arrangements, although you can use your phone and the SmartCast app to listen using headphones. That’s not an ideal solution in my book. 

Conclusion

The V505-H19 is an excellent entry-level TV with a slightly better overall image than the Konka I’ve been comparing it to. If you’re comparing it to higher-end 50-inchers, revise excellent to decent.

Still, entry-level is the not the painful, bereft-of-color viewing experience it was just a few short years ago. Indeed, the $300 V505-H19 compares favorably with $1,500 sets in our first roundup in 2015.

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At a Glance
  • You won't go far wrong with this budget TV from Vizio. For the price the picture is very good, although the colors aren't particularly accurate and there's no motion compensation. With most material, you won't have any complaints.

    Pros

    • Very good picture for the price
    • Super affordable for aa 50-inch-class TV
    • Excellent content and streaming features

    Cons

    • No motion compensation
    • Color isn't as accurate as next-tier TVs
  
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