VIZIO PQ65-F1 LCD UL­TRA HDTV

Sound & Vision - - CONTENTS - By Thomas J. Nor­ton

FOUNDED IN 2002, Vizio is an Amer­i­can com­pany head­quar­tered in Cal­i­for­nia that aims to of­fer topqual­ity TVS at prices that will ap­peal to a wide range of con­sumers. Vizio came close to be­ing bought out by Chi­nese com­pany Leeco in 2017, but that pur­chase fell through for a num­ber of rea­sons and the com­pany re­mains Amer­i­can-owned. HDTVS and UHDTVS are its pri­mary fo­cus, but Vizio also sells a com­pet­i­tively-priced lineup of sound­bars.

OUT OF THE BOX

Vizio’s new PQ65-F1 P-se­ries Quan­tum set is the com­pany’s premier 2018 of­fer­ing. Avail­able only in a 65-inch size, it shouldn’t be con­fused with the Quan­tum­less P-se­ries, which comes in 55-, 65-, and 75-inch screen sizes and is spec’d for a wide color gamut that of­fers about 93% of P3 color space. P-se­ries Quan­tum ex­pands that range closer to 100% of P3 through the use of Quan­tum Dot back­light tech­nol­ogy. The reg­u­lar P-se­ries mod­els also of­fer less bright­ness (1,000 nits claimed max­i­mum vs. the 2,000 nits peak claimed for the PQ65-F1) and fewer lo­cal dim­ming zones (up to 120 for the P-se­ries vs. 192 for the PQ65-F1). As with most Vizio sets, the PQ65-F1 has full-ar­ray lo­cal dim­ming or, as Vizio calls it, Ac­tive Full Ar­ray Max.

The PQ65-F1’S sleek de­sign fea­tures an in­con­spic­u­ous, wafernar­row black bezel. Since its feet are lo­cated near the far sides, your TV stand needs to be a min­i­mum of at least 56-inches wide for a ta­ble mount.

The PQ65-F1 is com­pat­i­ble with the three most com­mon HDR (high dy­namic range) formats: HDR10, Dolby Vi­sion, and HLG (Hy­brid Log Gamma). It can’t do HDR10+, a for­mat that may end up be­ing sig­nif­i­cant in the fu­ture but cur­rently is va­por­ware.

The Vizio’s HDMI 2.0a in­puts (num­bered 1 through 4) of­fer up­scal­ing of non-4k sources to fill the panel’s 4K res­o­lu­tion. HDMI in­put 5, lim­ited to HDMI 1.4, is op­ti­mized for gam­ing but of­fers no scal­ing or HDR ca­pa­bil­ity. HDMI ARC is avail­able on in­put 1. Since the set’s HDMI in­puts in

their de­fault mode will not fully ac­com­mo­date all the fea­tures of Ul­tra HD sources (4K, 60p, 4:2:2 sub­sam­pling, 10-bit color, HDR), you’ll need to go to Menu>in­put Set­tings>in­puts and en­able Full UHD Color.

The Vizio of­fers all of the smart fea­tures you could want from a mod­ern UHDTV. These can all be con­trolled via the pro­vided re­mote, Vizio’s SmartCast Mo­bile app, or by voice us­ing ei­ther a Google Home or Ama­zon Echo (not in­cluded), both of which are com­pat­i­ble with the PQ65-F1. I used only the pro­vided re­mote, which was non-il­lu­mi­nated and so thin that it was prone to make a dash for gaps in my seat cush­ions. Even so, it was easy to use by feel alone in to­tal dark­ness— at least for fre­quently used func­tions.

SETUP

There are six se­lectable pic­ture modes on the PQ65-F1, all of which can be in­di­vid­u­ally ad­justed—sort of. Cal­i­brated and Cal­i­brated Dark ap­pear to be linked via their Color Tuner set­tings, which of­fer 2-point and 11-point white bal­ance plus full color man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS) ad­just­ments. In other words, color can’t be cal­i­brated sep­a­rately for those modes. The Stan­dard pic­ture mode’s Color Tuner can be set sep­a­rately from Cal­i­brated and Cal­i­brated Dark, but its set­tings are linked with the Vivid mode. Ditto for an­other pair of modes: Game and Com­puter. Pic­ture mode set­tings can be ad­justed sep­a­rately for HDR and SDR (stan­dard dy­namic range), how­ever, so if you use the same mode for both the set will then au­to­mat­i­cally switch set­tings when it senses whether the source is HDR or SDR. The one vari­able is Gamma, which you’ll need to go into the menu and switch man­u­ally if your pre­ferred gamma set­ting is dif­fer­ent for HDR and SDR view­ing (it was for me).

Got all of that? I imag­ine not. But the menu of­fers six pic­ture mem­o­ries in which you can save your de­sired set­tings. I rec­om­mend us­ing these, and also avoid­ing all of the pic­ture modes apart from Cal­i­brated and Cal­i­brated Dark (plus

Game for gam­ing). How­ever, the Vizio’s pic­ture mem­o­ries aren’t sep­a­rately con­fig­urable for each in­put un­der the same name: If you set one up for HDMI 1, then select it for In­put 2 and make a change, that change will re­flect back on the In­put 1 set­tings as well. The set does have a lock fea­ture, but en­abling it didn’t ap­pear to pre­vent this.

I used the PQ65-F1’S Cal­i­brated Dark pic­ture mode for both HDR and SDR, ad­justed from their de­fault set­tings as needed. Most of the con­trol set­tings are self-ex­plana­tory, with the no­table ex­cep­tion of Xtreme Black En­gine Pro, which ad­justs the full ar­ray lo­cal dim­ming. Black De­tail is said to af­fect shadow de­tail, while the Nor­mal color tem­per­a­ture set­ting is claimed to be clos­est to D6500 (see Test Bench). Mo­tion Con­trol of­fers sev­eral op­tions. Clear Ac­tion adds black frame in­ser­tion to smooth mo­tion, but sig­nif­i­cantly low­ers pic­ture bright­ness. There are sep­a­rate blur and jud­der con­trols as well, but I left them both off to avoid any trace of “soap-opera” ef­fect on film­based sources. The Vizio pro­duced con­sid­er­able bloom­ing when dis­play­ing bright white ob­jects against a full black back­ground. But that sit­u­a­tion is rel­a­tively com­mon with LCD TVS and bloom­ing only rarely in­truded on real pro­gram ma­te­rial (in­clud­ing the black bars on widescreen films). Screen uni­for­mity was fair to good. Sub­tle ver­ti­cal bars could be seen on full-field gray test pat­terns, but were hard to spot on ac­tual pro­gram ma­te­rial. The right side of the screen was also a hair brighter than the cen­ter and left side, but again this was not an is­sue in nor­mal use (such is­sues can also vary from sam­ple to sam­ple). Off-axis view­ing was typ­i­cal for most LCD dis­plays, mean­ing that you’ll want a cen­ter seat for the best pic­ture. An En­hanced View­ing An­gle con­trol in the Vizio’s menu made no vis­i­ble im­prove­ment.

The set’s sound is ad­e­quate for ca­sual view­ing but unin­spir­ing. The Toslink dig­i­tal au­dio out­put will pass mul­ti­chan­nel Dolby Dig­i­tal to an op­ti­cal dig­i­tal in­put on your AVR. Dolby TRUHD, or any form of DTS, can only be passed as 2.1-chan­nel stereo, how­ever.

Be­fore cal­i­bra­tion in the Cal­i­brated Dark mode, the set’s

The PQ65-F1 fea­tures an HDMI in­put op­ti­mized for gam­ing with less than 15 mil­lisec­onds la­tency.

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