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Review: VIZIO’s M80-C3 80-inch affordable 4K Ultra HD Smart TV

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We do love being one of the first to privately sit down in front of a new TV to review it, as it sometimes causes a lot of drama as we bicker about how “we should have waited for this to come out before buying a TV”. Given, this doesn’t always happen, but it has in the case of Buy Vizio’s M80-C3 80-inch 4K screen on Amazon! The new M80-C3 takes the stages as Vizio’s new monster and boy does it make a stand.

Vizio has always awed us at a low price as it continuously pushes to take the prize of most affordable HD picture at any size of screen you could be looking for. The fact that they have always come in as one of the lowest priced 80-inch models on the market without a major sacrifice in quality has really given them a name, and once again they have made that name even bigger by giving that massive sized screen, a 4K touch.

Over the last few years, Vizio has pushed hard against Sharp causing the “top affordable picture” to bounce between the two each year. Last year Sharp took the prize with the 80-inch LC-80UQ17U, but 2015 is going to have to go to Vizio until Sharp can hit back with something equally fun–or better–to gawk at. Vizio’s new monster provides an image of true clarity that goes well with all forms of entertainment, let it be movies, games or whatever else pulls you to the couch.

Picture

Let’s start with the image quality! Before any calibration is done to it, the TV looks great when you initially turn it on. Assuming you have some HD content to send to it right off the bat of course. We had a pile of both Blu-rays and sample 4K content standing by just to get a feel for a before and after (tweak-phase). The results immediately turned out good as the image was sharp with great skin tones and near natural colors. In fact, when we popped in the calibration disc, we only went through the basic test patterns while tweaking the settings, spending no more than 10 minutes on it.

We found after minimal tweaking, that the colors were very natural causing you to immediately see the difference between 1080p and the new 4k format. From grass to timid scenes of running bodies of water, each of them displayed with an outstanding quality that made us want to get a double-take on the price tag once more.

Nature scenes captured our eyes the most as the detail is impeccable. The kind of detail that causes you to want to put one of these on every wall of your home.

Blacks were solid creating great detail in shadows and transition between lower-light levels in the image. There was no noticeable blur or juddering edges during scenes of heavy motion and no particles outside of games (which we will cover in a second). Text displayed crisp with clean edges and we didn’t see any bleeding around the edges since it is a backlit model.

Local dimming offers 32 active zones providing an even balance of light across the screen which helps deliver the black levels and transitions mentioned. The previous model (1080p version) only sported 16, and the difference is quite noticeable.

active-zones

The fact that it took very little tweaking with the calibration disc to catch out eye is a big one for us, which will heavily affect its score. Some of the lower priced TVs sometimes require some heavy adjustment to get the best picture out of them, but Vizio did a wonderful job of taking that challenge into their own hands–or so it seems.

We stuck to HDMI port 5 for most video and game tests, since it is the only one of the five that support 4K at 60Hz (all other HDMI inputs feature 4K at 30Hz).

The refresh rate itself is a true 120Hz, which is nice since most TVs are actually only 60Hz that achieve the higher numbers from there using upscaling techniques (like Clear Action does). This set is true 120Hz, enhanced to 240Hz and achieves up to 720Hz via Clear Action. This provides a very detailed image and smooth moving graphics (outside of gaming, which is coming up next). Of course, if you are not a fan of the “Soap Opera Effect” that we commonly talk about, then you will want to turn Clear Action off, to dumb it down a little.

Animations were a blast to watch as we sped through a number of movies including some Japanese animations as well. The latter of which we don’t normally think to test with, and should consider for the future as it looks great on this TV. 4K anime, yum.

Upscaling on this model really does a good job as it only fails on some of the worst TV content sources, which is due to the content and not the TV itself. When it comes DVDs and HD streaming channels, the upscaling is exactly where you would want to see it in a 4K set.

Ad – Buy Vizio’s M80-C3 80-inch 4K screen on Amazon

Gaming

We typically wait to talk about gaming until further in the review, but since we hinted to it, I’ll cover it immediately.

This TV is GREAT for gaming. Lag time was very low and unnoticeable to us as we tested things out. It did require some tweaking for it though. Response time was heavily influenced by disabling “clear action” in the menu, as well as other picture enhancements meant to give you an enhanced (but simulated) refresh rate. Without making these adjustments, we found there to be a slight lag as well as occasional judder and noticeable particles in scenes of heavy motion (while playing games). Once the adjustments have been made, these concerns were eliminated.

This is typical in most TVs now, especially ones that promise higher refresh rates and resolution.

Gaming was quite entertaining both on and offline as we tested out a number of first-person shooters and action genre titles. Picture quality truly does add to the game and we wouldn’t mind catching some of the upcoming titles on this set (ie, Deus Ex) to see how well it adds to those.

Audio

The audio coming out of this TV is average. The speakers are rear-firing, so they depend on being somewhat close to a nearby wall so that the sound can reflect back to the viewer. Like most TVs, you cannot expect a theatrical experience from the stock speakers, but it does provide the typical “TV sound” that you see in any good flat set. If you require more than say, Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune volume, then you want to make sure to get your hands on a good speaker system (if you don’t already own one).

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Any good “Smart TV” depends on having a solid selection of all of the apps you would expect to find when visiting the apps menu. Vizio offers all of these as well as others, including Amazon and Netflix with 4K content. We actually used Netflix for half of the 4K testing we accomplished.

Surprisingly, we could not get YouTube to display any 4K videos at their full resolution. This of course can be solved with something as simple as a firmware upgrade, so we weren’t too concerned about it. You should probably expect to see such within the next month or two. We have also reached out to Vizio to see if they want to comment on this.

There is no noticeable lag in the app menu, and apps open and interact at a pleasant speed. No frustration was taken out on this TV due to laggy menus and frozen apps. This is mostly due to its six-core processor (Quad-core GPU + Dual-core CPU)! Also, having a qwerty keyboard on the back of the remote ALWAYS lights our smiles. Nothing makes browsing apps easier than a qwerty keyboard–outside of buying a wireless keyboard with larger buttons of course; but then of course you have to worry about a keyboard kicking around the room, where a qwerty remote doesn’t get in the way.

3D

Nope. Zero. Nothing. This is NOT a 3D TV, so don’t forget to keep that in mind. Due to most screens of this size including 3D now-a-days, we docked a small portion of the score. The decrease in score isn’t too bad as the picture quality is so nice, you seem to forget that 3D is even a market option (and some scenes truly feel like there is a little 3D happening in there somewhere, just because of the detail in layers is so great).

Design

The design of the TV is nice. It is boxy vs curved mostly, but still manages to stand out quite well. What really pops is the fact that it is still less than 3″ deep, keeping it a thin TV for its size. It is really difficult to produce a TV as large as this while also not warping or falling apart when you pick it up. Think of a large room without any columns in the middle to support the roof, but turned on its side. You need a little extra depth in order to give t the support it needs to keep a flat image and sturdy transport.

It stands via two feet on the sides which seems to hold its weight just fine, without any wobble or other undesirable troubles.

It does weigh about 100lbs, with or without the stand. So you are going to want help when moving it around or attempting to hang it on the wall. You should be very careful in picking a mount for it if it does end up on the wall, since you want one that can withstand the weight.

Inputs/Outputs

There are a total of five HDMI ports on the back of the set, four of which support 4K at 30Hz and one (the 5th) that supports 4K at 60Hz. Two of the four support HDCP 2.2 while the other two support 2.0 (and the 5th support 2.2).

There is one shared composite/component input on the back (meaning the green input also doubles as your yellow RCA if using RCA).

There is also an ethernet port for internet, a coaxial port for TV/tuner and one USB port. We we’re a little surprised that there was only one USB port vs two. Most TVs offer two so that you have one for a device that remains connected (ie, Roku) and one for random USB media like thumb drives. Since it does have most or all of the apps you are most likely looking for, there is little to no need for something like a Roku, so it’s somewhat understandable.

In the world of outputs, it offers RCA and optical for sound. It also supports ARC (audio return channel) via the first HDMI input.

Remote

xrt-500_3Awesome as always thanks to the built-in qwerty keyboard. It does not provide any universal functionality though, so you will still need a separate remote for your other devices (or add this one to a universal solution you already have, like a Logitech Harmony remote). For the price of the TV, you would think it would come with a crazy awesome remote, but Vizio always keeps the remote simple (so nothing has changed here).

Additional Notes

Connectivity via WiFi is strong without any noticeable dropouts from within 50ft (including distance through walls) from the signal source. We didn’t experience any lag in streaming media when testing via WiFi and it offers built-in support for AC routers/connectivity.

The new 2015 M-Series also come in a total of 8 other sizes:

M70-C3 70-inch: $1,999
M65-C1 65-inch: $1,699
M60-C3 60-inch: $1,299
M55-C2 55-inch: $949
M50-C1 50-inch: $799
M49-C1 49-inch: $769
M43-C1 43-inch: $599

 

Our Conclusion

This is wonderful addition to the Vizio family that really stands out in both quality and price. The TV is huge, but the price isn’t (at least comparing it to all the other TVs in its size range). Movies, games, TV and streaming content all look amazing and there is a ton of room for improvement via software updates (which run automatically when available). Very little tinkering is required and it blows all other Vizio and Sharp 80″ screens away. It could use 3D, but still packs an entertainment experience that almost any consumer (or commercial) shopper could ask for at such a low price (4K for $4K). We see this hitting many living rooms as well as convention spaces as exhibit and meeting room solutions. Our decided score was 8.5/10. A solid score.

8.5 / 10 stars           

Amazon-Buy-Now

Video: 

Additional Images:

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Specifications:

Video

  • Screen Size: 80″ Class
  • Screen Size (Diag.): 80.00”
  • Processor: V6 Six-core processor: Quad-core GPU + Dual-core CPU
  • HD to UHD Upscale Engine: Spatial Scaling Engine
  • Backlight Type: Full-Array LED
  • Local Dimming: Yes, Active LED Zones x32
  • Resolution: Ultra HD – 3840×2160
  • Effective Refresh Rate: 240Hz
  • Clear Action: 720
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 20 million to 1
  • Viewable Angle (H/V): 176°/176°
  • Number of Colors: 1.07B
  • OSD Language: English, Spanish, French

Audio

  • Speakers/Power Output: 10W x 2
  • DTS StudioSound™: Yes

Smart TV

  • VIA (VIZIO Internet Apps): Yes, VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® with Ultra HD video streaming support
  • Built-in Wi-Fi: Yes, 802.11 ac Dual Band
  • Second Screen Interactivity: Yes

Inputs

  • HDMI Ports: 5 (3 down; 2 side)
  • · HDMI Port 1 Spec: UHD Video @30Hz, HDCP 2.2 support
  • · HDMI Port 2 Spec: UHD Video @30Hz, HDCP 2.2 support
  • · HDMI Port 3 Spec: UHD Video @30Hz, HDCP 2.0 support
  • · HDMI Port 4 Spec: UHD Video @30Hz, HDCP 2.0 support
  • · HDMI Port 5 Spec: UHD Video @60Hz, HDCP 2.2 support
  • Component: 1 (side)
  • Composite: 1 (side)
  • Tuner: 1 (down)
  • Ethernet: 1 (down)
  • USB Ports: 1 (side)

Outputs

  • Analog Audio Out: 1 (down)
  • Digital Audio Out (SPDIF): 1 (down)

Additional Features

  • Remote Control: XRT500
  • USB Music: Yes
  • USB Photo: Yes
  • USB Video: Yes

Energy SavingsVIZIO's M80-C3 80-inch affordable 4K Ultra HD Smart TVj

  • Standby Power Consumption: <0.5W
  • Ambient Light Sensor: Yes

Wall Mount Specifications

  • Mount Pattern: 600mm x 400mm
  • Screw Size: M6
  • Screw Length: 10mm

Size and Weight

  • Product with Stand Dimensions: 71.33”W x 43.90”H x 12.13”D
  • Product with Stand Weight: 100.60 lbs.
  • Product without Stand Dimensions: 71.33”W x 40.96”H x 2.91”D
  • Product without Stand Weight: 99.03 lbs.
  • Product Packaging Dimensions: 75.51”W x 45.51”H x 9.25”D
  • Product Packaging Weight: 121.01 lbs.

VIZIO Warranty

  • Warranty: One Year Parts & Labor. Free Lifetime Technical Support.

 

Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.

8.5 Super Awesome
  • Final Score 8.5
  • User Ratings (36 Votes) 5.3
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About Author

Designer, Editor and Product Reviewer Poc Network Ryan is an avid gamer that spends most of his time either commanding teams on the Xbox One or out on the grass kicking the soccer ball around when others are willing to take the challenge. He comes with a bachelors in electrical engineering and a hobby in the installation of advanced audio-video environments.

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