The question posed by a TV like Vizio's Series M is simple: Do you want to pay hundreds of dollars more for a slightly better image quality, a more attractive style or a different brand? If your answer is no, this TV is for you. Like the 2016 model, this M Series TV is the cheapest I've tested with an 8 out of 10 rating on performance. You will not confuse it with an OLED TV, which costs twice as much, but the image is excellent for an LCD.
This series is in the attractive intermediate place between 4K televisions of economic price, like the Vizio Series E and the TCL S405, and models of the upper segment of the midrange like the Sony X900E, the Samsung MU9000 and the P Series of Vizio. So if you want the best image quality at the best price, the M Series should be the first on your list.
Vizio has improved the HDR image quality compared to last year and has maintained an excellent image with Dolby Vision sources, and the M Series correctly handles standard high definition sources. The key to all this is local attenuation, a technology that significantly improves the image quality of LCD devices, especially in demanding home theater lighting environments, where it matters most.
So things, what would take you do not want a Vizio of the M Series? The most significant reason is probably the reputation of the brand: some prefer to pay more for a Sony or a Samsung with similar image quality, or a TV of those brand with worse image quality at the same price as the M Series. Another reason is the design: we must recognize that the M Series is not going to win any design contest, and if you spend a fortune on interior decoration you probably want to have a TV with a more attractive style.
Those two factors also apply to the second television that is not the best-ranked OLED on the 2017 CNET list, the TCL P series Roku TV. If you want a 55-inch model and you value the superior Smart TV experience of the Roku, then you better buy that instead of the Vizio. But it comes in one size.
For the rest, I recommend taking into account the M Series, which is still my favorite recommendation for smart consumers who want excellent image quality at an affordable price.
No More tablet, and weak menus
Last year, Vizio played a lot in the media by including a tablet-type remote control with the M and P series, while discarding the built-in menus. This year there is no tablet, but a general authority and the Smart TV menus return. Disappoints, but not enough given the excellent alternatives like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, or if you want Dolby Vision, an Apple TV 4K.
The Vizio Smart TV feature takes a long time to load after pressing the "V" button on the remote control, and once it arrives, there is not much to see. At the bottom appear only ten apps, and although it includes four heavyweights (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Vudu) the rest is lower level, and has no other frontline apps like YouTube, HBO and Watch ESPN. You can not remove or reorder apps, or otherwise customize them in the Discover section, which takes up most of the screen with movies and shows that are probably not interesting to you.
Netflix and Vudu are compatible with both 4K and HDR (Dolby Vision in the case of Vudu), but I was amazed to find that the Amazon app does not support HDR. The only way to see YouTube is through the phone, and even then only in 4K, not HDR.
When I say 'over the phone,' I mean the 'Built-in Chromecast' function. If you go to any app supported on the phone and touch the Cast button, it shows you the viziotvreview.com as an option; then you select it, and the video of the app appears on the television. The system is compatible with thousands of apps and works well in general, but I still prefer a real menu on the screen, not just Vizio's. But if you prefer to use the phone, then you can get hold of Vizio's SmartCast app to control the TV.
A good trick with a TV that connected to a Chromecast is to control it with a Google Home speaker. It worked very well in my tests with the M, although, for example, does not support the function of turning on and off, as with orders through Alexa on Sony TVs.
At this moment, Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV, HBO Now, CBS All Access and CW apps all work with the voice at Home. As a YouTube TV user, I appreciate being able to say "Google, put NBC" or "Google put the Knicks" and have the Vizio tune into the live channel or my recording of the basketball game last night on ESPN, for example.