Vizio OLED TV review: Velvety blacks and effective HDR, but a wee bit lacking with fine detail

Known for delivering bang-for-the-buck home entertainment products, Vizio made news earlier this year when it announced it would join LG and Sony in offering a line of OLED TVs. Vizio sent its 65-inch-class model OLED65-H1 for us to evaluate.

Priced at $2,000 (on sale for $1,800 at the time of this writing), Vizio’s OLED costs a bit less than the least expensive 65-inch OLEDs from LG (model OLED65BXPUA, $1,997 as of this writing) and Sony (model XBR-65A8H, $2,498 as of this writing). But Vizio’s set falls a tad shy of Sony and a lot short of LG when it comes to processing fine details and complex patterns.

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

Design and specs

Vizio’s 65-inch class (64.5-inches diagonally) OLED TV is a 4K UHD model delivering resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels with 10-bit color at a 120Hz refresh rate. It weighs a hefty 61 pounds (add 10 pounds for the stand), but once the pain of installation is over, you have a real looker on your hands. The bezel is super thin, but still visible (my preference), and the mid-mount pedestal stand looks fantastic by my lights. It also makes it possible to set the TV on much narrower tables, supports, or a soundbase. There’s also a 300- x 200mm VESA standard mount point if you want to go the wall-mount route.

On the back of the unit, you’ll find four HDMI 2.1 ports. Ports 1 and 4 offer bandwidth of 18Gbps (Port 1 also supports eARC), while ports 2 and 3 support HDMI 2.1’s full 48Gbps for higher refresh rates, more color, and 8K signals. If you weren’t aware, vendors are free to implement HDMI 2.1’s features in any combination they see fit. Yup, that’s what they call a standard these days.

vizio oled ports Vizio

Vizio implements the full HDMI 2.1 speed on two of the four HDMI ports. That’s likely enough for all but a few prosumers.

Also on hand are composite in, a single USB port, coax for connecting cable/satellite or an antenna input, digital and analog audio outputs, and ethernet. There’s an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter onboard, there’s one big omission: Bluetooth. This might not be an issue for many users, but if you want to use wireless headphones, add $30 minimum for an outboard Bluetooth transceiver. You’ll also experience greater lag than some TVs with integrated Bluetooth and latency compensation. Consider that when comparing prices. 

Both Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast are supported, as well as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The TV will also decode Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range content. The HDR10+ support is a first for me on a non-Samsung TV. And of course, there’s a game mode to reduce latency when fighting dragons.

Interface and remote

I quite like Vizio’s SmartCast operating system/interface. It put things in logical places and it’s easy to navigate. One thing I do not like, however, is that if your broadband connection goes down for whatever reason, SmartCast just doesn’t show up. You can still watch broadcast or cable TV, and you can view content on any connected device (a Blu-ray player, for instance, or a USB stoarge device), but it’s a bit unnerving for your homepage to simply disappear.

vizio oled smartcast Vizio

Vizio’s first OLED supports all the standards you’d expect, plus Apple’s HomeKit smart home platform.

The remote control isn’t anything to write home about. Let’s say average for a mid-range TV. It’s on the long side, but efficiently laid out and it provides voice control for the supported assistants. But if you’re a phone-centric viewer, there’s also a SmartCast app that you can use in place of the remote and onscreen interface. This app can also be used to listen to the audio via headphones, but I’d rather have the Bluetooth.