VIZIO M3D550KD Review
55" Edge-lit LED LCD 3D HDTV, $1149
(Editor's note: When this review was originally posted, I indicated that the model was the M3D550KDE. In fact, the TV that I had was an earlier version, the M3D550KD [notice there is no "E" on the end]. As readers have alertly noticed, the newer M3D550KDE does not offer smart dimming and there is no option to directly turn off the Smooth Motion Effect. While the M3D550KDE is still a very good TV, the lack of both these features makes this current model less desirable than the earlier M3D550KD. I regret the confusion.)
VIZIO seems to be phasing out their flagship XVT line of TVs and the newer M series is assuming the mantle as the feature-rich head of the VIZIO TV family. Though the E series is garnering a lot of attention with its recent wingspan stretching, low-priced 60" and 70" TVs.
Only the M series models, like the M3D550KD, offer you VIZIO's Theater 3D feature (with passive glasses). None of the new jumbo-sized E series TVs are 3D capable. If you like the M's look and functionality but are not a 3D fan, VIZIO does offer a non 3D 55" model, the M550VSE, for $200 less.
Considering their price, the M series provides all the bells and whistles that you could hope for in 2012. As a SmartTV, the VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA) include all the major names like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. And a Wi-Fi adapter is built-in.
The picture quality from this Edge-lit LED LCD TV may not be the very best that I've seen, but it's very good. And those higher performing TVs often cost twice as much. Depending upon the size of your pocketbook, the difference may not be worth it.
(Editor's Note: At the time of this review, VIZIO no longer sells the M3D550KD on its site. Though it does make two sizes of the newer 3D M series, the 47" M3D470KDE and the 55" M3D550KDE. Except where noted in the opening paragraph, both have similar specifications and this review of the M3D550KD can apply to these newer KDE models. In fact, the features and specs are almost the same for the non-3D capable 55" M550VSE, (and the massive 65" M650VSE and the $700 47" M470VSE). This review works for these TVs also.
Our Star Ratings
The VIZIO M3D550KD's Edge-lit LED technology (with local dimming) produces occasional blooming
on the corners and the passive 3D exhibits those telltale lines, but neither artifact really detracts from the consistently good picture quality.
As usual, the audio quality from the integrated speakers doesn't do justice to the big screen goodness. At the very least, you should consider supplementing the TV's audio with a soundbar.
With a boatload of Internet content providers, built-in Wi-Fi, a remote control with a QWERTY keyboard and even four 3D glasses thrown in, the feature package is overflowing.
Ease of Use: 4.5
The VIZIO M3D550KD is not that difficult to initially set up, but with all the features expect to take some time to familiarize yourself with what this SmartTV offers.
At the time of this review, you could purchase the M3D550KD on the VIZIO site for $1149 which is a great value for a full featured 3D 55" TV. But the market is particularly dog eat dog right now, even VIZIO is selling their E Series 60" SmartTV (non-3D) for under $1000.
Star Ratings Description
Ratings are relative to when the review was written. The obvious example is Value, what you could purchase for $2000 two years ago or even two months ago would seem like a bad value for that price now. We give very few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.