VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 4K UHD HDR Display Review


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HDR 4K UHD Final Thoughts

For many, we’ve made good use of our High Definition televisions for at least ten years, and Blu-ray added 1080p detail that our HDTV’s could finally reveal. But once 4K UHD TVs arrived, the home theater market was disrupted. While some have some decided to wait it out and enjoy the vast media library already available, others jumped on cutting edge 4K display technology and pushed for 2160p content. Now 4K UHD displays with HDR are the leading tech, while Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming sources such as Netflix are presently delivering UHD content.

High Dynamic Range isn’t just a new boutique feature, it’s a revolutionary technology that further updated already cutting edge 4K UHD displays. The difference between images with and without HDR is incredible, as the color gamut truly adds ‘wow’ to the experience. Many brands, including VIZIO with their Xtreme Black Engine Plus feature, enhance the picture quality with extreme contrast between deep black and peak white brightness.

This means that if you’re shopping for a 4K UHD TV in today’s market, you had better make sure it’s of the HDR variety with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10. It’s a major difference in the viewing experience, with only a minor difference in price. Furthermore, the comparatively affordable cost of these panels have put 65″ and larger displays within reach for most consumers. in this regard, VIZIO is leading the revolution with their 2017 SmartCast M-series, which are among the least expensive of all 4K UHD home theater displays with high dynamic range.

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Apps

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please understand that every author perceives these factors differently. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes occur after publication which could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on this conclusion, as it represents our personal rating specifically for the item tested, which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

2017 VIZIO SmartCast M-series home theater displays are built around a 4K ultra high-definition resolution that display over a billion colors in high dynamic range. So in terms of performance, the VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 tested for this review offered an incredible experience. Although the 50″ panel is the smallest of their lineup, it’s also the sharpest, with 3840×2160 pixels crammed into it. My eyes detected individual pixels at 40″ or less from the screen, which yields a very close viewing distance. My experience with this model has been very positive, and I’ve been impressed by the deep 20,000,000:1 contrast between bright white and dark black colors. Beyond the picture, there is a seemingly endless supply of streaming media sources that are compatible with the Chromecast feature.

With regard to appearance, everybody leans toward their own personal preferences, but for most people the thin matte black outer bezel and low-gloss screen are desirable. I have mixed feelings on the metal support stands that come with the VIZIO SmartCast M-series as they seem less elegant, and contradictory to the overall design. For those mounting this panel on a wall, the stands are a moot point. Nevertheless, a matching center stand would have been more appealing in both appearance and functionality.

I’ve handled this VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 sample more than most people will handle their home theater television during its entire product lifetime. I’ve wall mounted it, and moved it to three different pedestal locations. I’ve turned it over several times, and handled it while going up and down stairs. This display is very rigid, and quite durable.

VIZIO provides a one-year warranty to the original purchaser against defect in materials and workmanship for non-commercial usage and ninety (90) days of commercial use. Limited technical support is provided for the life of this product. If a SmartCast M-series product covered by warranty is defective, VIZIO will either repair or replace the unit. Consumers may reach VIZIO technical support at [email protected], or by telephone at 877-698-4946.

VIZIO offers a large array of proprietary hardware features on the 2017 M-series displays: XLED Plus is VIZIO’s full-array local dimming backlight technology, which works together with VIZIO Xtreme Black Engine Plus that uses 32 local dimming zones to dynamically adapt brightness to the on-screen image for exceptionally deep black levels. An 8-core high performance processor pairs with VIZIO’s Ultra Color Spectrum feature to render over 1-billion colors and produce vivid details to deliver lifelike picture clarity with its native 4K Ultra HD 2160p resolution. VIZIO XHDR Plus extends the visual experience by enabling a wider range of contrast revealing details, and support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 content. The built-in Chromecast Ultra extends the M-series to thousands of media sources.

As of November 2017, the 50″ VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 4K UHD HDR home theater display was available online for as low as $548 (Amazon | Newegg). I personally found this to be the perfect size for a master bedroom, or small entertainment room. If you’re looking for larger display, I recommend the 65″ version, model M65-E0, which I later purchased for only $1063 (Amazon | Newegg). A thousand dollars for a 65-inch 4K UHD smart TV with high dynamic range represents an incredible value, and VIZIO is really winning this segment with the M-series.

In summary, I highly recommend the entire 2017 VIZIO SmartCast M-series home theater displays. You’re getting a 4K (2160p) display with High Dynamic Range that supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, and you’re getting it for far less than those same features sell for on other brands. Cord-cutters will love the 1000+ apps that ‘cast’ to this Chromecast smart display, although the 2017 M-series already includes the most popular streaming sources. I truly stand behind my recommendation, which is why I went out and bought a 65″ unit after testing this 50″ sample.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Outstanding value-priced HDR 4K UHD display
+ XHDR Plus feature adds Dolby Vision and HDR10 support
+ Xtreme Black Engine Plus utilizes 32 local dimming zones
+ Features integrated Google Chromecast Ultra
+ Over 1-thousand compatible apps to ‘cast’ media from
+ HDR yields incredible color vibrance and range


– TV tuner required to connect external antenna for over air broadcasts
– Lacks coaxial cable connection
– Wide stand profile limits installation locations


  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.25
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 9.25

Final Score: 9.2 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: What brand of 4K UHD TV do you trust most?



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