An almost perfect gaming TV – review nerd

Evaluation:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolutely hot garbage
  • 2 – Black lukewarm garbage
  • 3 – Highly flawed design
  • 4 – Some advantages, lots of disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not the best in the class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute design Nirvana

Price: $ 1,299.99

A Vizio TV with 'Elite Dangerous' on the screen
Josh Hendrickson

The Xbox Series X and PS5 are here, and honestly, your TV is not up to the task of handling the next generation of consoles. So what can you do? Upgrade, of course. And if you’re looking for the best gaming TV for a reasonable amount of money, check out the latest Vizio P-Series boxes.

Here’s what we like

  • Great Display
  • Dark black
  • SmartCast is pretty good

And what we do not do

  • Something expensive
  • Occasional issues with PS5

And you know what, even if you do not care about games, but really want a TV that is ridiculously beautiful without using OLED prices, the latest Vizio P series is worth a look. You have a few choices, though most are down to size. We test the $ 1,299.99 65-inch P65Q9-J model. If you need a larger screen, you can spend an additional $ 700 to go up to 75-inches with no other differences. Vizio also sells a $ 3,099 85-inch PQX model, but the feature set is different enough that it can not be compared to the smaller siblings.

So what do you get with the 65- and 75-inch models? A seriously powerful TV!

Specifications (as reviewed)

  • Screen size: 65-inch (64.5 “diagonal)
  • Solution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • HDMI ports: 4x HDMI 2.1, eARC
  • Local attenuation: Yes, up to 210 zones
  • Update speed: 120Hz
  • Pro-Gaming Engine with AMD Freesync
  • Wireless Internet: 802.11n
  • Smart Home Integration: Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit
  • Start TV OS: SmartCast with voice remote control
  • Casting: Apple AirPlay 2, Google Cast
  • VESA mounting: 400 × 400
  • Weight: 54.67 lbs. with tripod; 53.31 without

Design and remote control, just like the other visions

A Vizio remote control towards the back of a TV
Josh Hendrickson

To be honest, I’m half tempted to just insert our entire “Design and Remote Control” section from our Vizio M Series Quantum (2022) review. At first glance, you might think that the two TVs looked alike. Do you happen a little and you will see that the P-series places its feet close together, which can be beneficial for anyone using a narrow TV stand. However, I wall mount my TVs so it makes no difference.

But speaking of the feet and the stand, like other Vizio TVs this year, the P-Series stand comes with a handy trick. If you buy a compatible Vizio soundbar, it can be inserted into the stand. The stand even has two height settings so you can make sure the soundbar does not block the screen. And if you wall mount like me, you can also use the stand to “wall mount” the soundbar.

Of course, that means you need Vizio’s soundbar if you want to take advantage of it. If you do not already have a soundbar or surround system, you may want to consider it. Like all other flat screens these days, Vizio’s speakers are nothing to write home about.

It does make sense, though, as TVs these days do not leave much room for hooting speakers that make superior sound. The P-Series is no exception. It also follows the “three-bezel-less” design introduced in this year’s Vizio series. The top and side frames are incredibly thin, and the bottom frame is “thicker”. And by “thicker” I still mean, “thinner than the frame was five or ten years ago”, but noticeably thicker than the other three. Does it look nice? At this point, when turned on, good TVs like Vizio do not attract attention with what is off-screen – they please your eyes with the screen itself. And when turned off, it’s a giant black rectangle. That does not need to be changed.

A side view of a TV showing HDMI ports, coax and ethernet.
Josh Hendrickson

I know this well – more TV manufacturers should follow Vizio’s clue and place HDMI ports in easily accessible places. In this case, you will find all four HDMI 2.1 ports (one with eARC capability) on the page. Even mounted on my wall, it is good enough to get to without the big effort. No HDMI ports on the back is a big win. As for buttons, the TV has only one – for power. You need the remote control for everything else.

Like the other Vizios, the new Smartcast remote is more than usable. You can talk to it if you want, and surprisingly, my wife did it more often than I expected. She usually does not embrace voice commands because they are more cumbersome than just using the remote. But Vizio’s voice command capabilities worked well enough.

Everything else about it is pretty okay. You get a few buttons for services you might not subscribe to, along with the usual choices of input and volume control. It’s longer than a Roku remote, and I still tend to forget where the home button is when the light is off. But it does the job.

SmartCast is also pretty good

A Vizio TV with the smartcast interface open
Josh Hendrickson

I’m not going to spend too much time on SmartCast, because once again, everything we said in the M-Series review holds. SmartCast TV OS is pretty decent and it does the job. Much like the remote really. It has almost everything you could want and it seems to add more all the time.

You will not find an app store for SmartCast. Instead, all available apps – from Apple TV to HBO Max – are pre-installed. And when Vizio adds a new app, it also downloads automatically. On the one hand, it means you do not have to dig into an app store to find the apps you want. On the other hand, it gives you a huge array of apps filled with endless possibilities that you do not need and cannot delete.

Fortunately, you can at least rearrange the row. I set the services I subscribe to in advance and everything is fine. What you unfortunately can not avoid are ads. Sometimes when you turn on the TV or switch to the SmartCast input, you get a full screen advertisement for a new service or show. It’s not immediately obvious how to close the ad, and a wrong click on the button can start the show or channel. It’s pretty annoying. Roku at least puts its ads out to the page where you can ignore them.

But other than that, Smartcast does what it has to. It shows you the apps you want and you can launch them. It still lacks some apps and services, like Twitch, but most of the common apps are there from Netflix to Amazon Prime. When I first received the review device, Vizio did not have the HBO Max, and now it has. So it’s clear that Vizio is working on closing the few gaps it has.

It helps that it can work for both Google Cast and Apple AirPlay 2. And in the worst case, you can always use something else instead of as a Roku stick for Google Chromecast.

Oh my god, this screen

An episode of 'Star Trek: TNG' showing Enterprise-D on a TV
Enterprise does not look so good. Josh Hendrickson

So let’s get to the TV part of this TV review. How does it look? In a few words? Holy Freaking Cow. See, this is not an OLED screen. But it also does not cost much money on the OLED screen. OLED TVs with 120 Hz screens cost $ 2,000 to boot. Vizio brought the price down by going with QLED (here called Quantum Dot).

And sure, the black levels do not quite reach OLED’s black, but it’s still pretty dark. A very close second place. I’ve seen again Star Trek: The Next Generation recently and when Enterprise popped up for a hero shot my jaw dropped. The place has never looked so good and one of my favorite sci-fi ships looked glorious.

In my living room, I have a 4K UltraShort Throw projector paired with a 150-inch ALR screen. And of course, when I want the “big screen” experience, I turn to it. However, projectors cannot produce the same levels of darkness on this screen; actually not even close. So when I want the most vibrant colors I can get, and dark ink blacks, I “settle” with this 65-inch screen. It gives a superior image.

'Spider-Man' jumps from a building as shown on a Vizio TV
Josh Hendrickson

Considering it can handle both 4K and 120 FPS, you know I had to plug in my Xbox Series X and PS5, and it did not disappoint. Granted, I spent more time playing Xbox games on TV, but that’s down to how complicated Sony did to get PS5 games with full next-generation console support. Rocket League on Xbox looks great. Rocket League on PS5 “just” looks pretty good as it is not upgraded to next generation consoles on the Sony side.

But hop into one of the few games on the PS5 or many games on the Xbox Series X that support 120 FPS, and Vizio is really starting to shine. When you’re in one of those titles, everything just moves more smoothly. It’s like watching someone slide across the kitchen floor in their socks for the first time when all your life you’ve only seen it tried on concrete. If you’ve never seen how it could be, you may not know the difference. But once you do, that’s all you want to see.

But bad news for PS5

Vizio TV with Forza Horizon 4 on.
Josh Hendrickson

I almost got into this review ready to call the P65Q9-J the perfect gaming TV. After all, it’s far more affordable than an OLED equivalent, while still hosting impressive features like 120FPS support and AMD Freesync. It’s sleek, the ports are in the right place, and even the included feet have a use if you wall mount your TV.

So why can I not call it perfect? Because there is something about the TV that does not quite play kindly with the Sony PS5. Three or four times during the review period, I have turned on the console and the TV only to be greeted by a green screen. I could hear my PS5, but I could not see any pictures other than the color green. When that happens, the only solution seems to be to unplug the TV and try again.

These three or four times have only happened after months of testing, so luckily it is not a constant battle. But still often enough to be annoying. And a quick Google suggests that this is not an isolated problem, but it is not clear if the problem is with Vizios or Sony. Unfortunately, the problems with the PS5 do not end there.

Once every other week, when I turn on the console, I can see everything fine, but I can not hear anything. The solution in that scenario is to switch over to the SmartCast interface, select a video on Netflix and play it for a few seconds; from there I can switch back to the PS5 input and I have sound. It happens more often, but it is easier to solve.

I do not consider these deal breakers, but it is certainly unfortunate. And to be clear, this never happens with my Xbox or my Chromecast. Vizio seems to be working on fixing issues as though and often issues firmware updates to improve its TVs.

A great TV for the money

For $ 1,299.99, you can not really call this a budget TV. You can definitely buy a 4K TV for less money. But can you buy a QLED 4K 120 Hz TV for less? That’s a harder question. You get a lot of TV for the money, and while it may benefit the players the most, the P65Q9-J is also great for watching content only.

Vizio managed to pack a lot of features and a nice screen for something that does not cost several thousand dollars. You would probably spend $ 2,000 or more to get something noticeably better. And I keep going back to the moment when Enterprise hit the screen in full screen. We are talking about a program from the 90s that has nothing to look good on a modern TV. But my jaw dropped.

That’s really what amazing television should be about in the end – even in “budget territory”. You want maximum “eye candy” for your dollar, and I can safely say that is what you get here. Thanks to spending more dollars, you get more eye candy. And it’s a party for days. If you want a TV that can handle the next generation of consoles, gives you beautiful black colors and great picture quality without costing two arms and a leg, this is it.

Evaluation: 8/10

Price: $ 1,299.99

Here’s what we like

  • Great Display
  • Dark black
  • SmartCast is pretty good

And what we do not do

  • Something expensive
  • Occasional issues with PS5

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