Overview -- Featuring quantum dot color, full array local dimming with 200 zones, Dolby Vision/HDR10 support, and 1,100 nits of peak brightness for just under $1,400, the 2019 VIZIO P659-G1 P-Series Quantum TV is a rather stunning display. Improving upon last year's P-Series in almost every way, this new set boasts deeper black levels, punchier highlights, and less noticeable blooming artifacts -- resulting in the best overall VIZIO TV I've seen so far. There are some more expensive LCD sets that offer higher brightness, and more expensive OLED sets that offer more precise contrast and viewing angles, but the price to performance ratio here is very hard to beat. Highly Recommended.
Bringing quantum dot color technology to the value-priced TV market, VIZIO's new 2019 P-Series Quantum TV offers a welcomed jump in performance over its 2018 counterpart. On that note, however, we should clear up some potential confusion right off the bat.
Despite the P-Series Quantum designation, this TV model does not actually serve as the successor to VIZIO's similarly titled 2018 P-Series Quantum TV. Instead, this model actually acts as the 2019 upgrade for last year's standard P-Series TV. Meanwhile, the flagship 2018 P-Series Quantum has now been succeeded by the new flagship 2019 P-Series Quantum X.
I know, it's a little confusing -- but the key takeaway is that the 2019 P-Series Quantum X is the company's new top-of-the-line flagship model and the P-Series Quantum TV model reviewed here is positioned as its second most premium model.
And with more local dimming zones, higher peak brightness, and wider color performance than basically any other TV in this price range – it seems to be living up to that goal.
The 2019 P659-G1 P-Series Quantum 4K HDR TV is currently available in 65-inch and 75-inch screen sizes, the former of which was received for this review. The display uses a VA LCD LED panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, an Ultra HD resolution of 3840x2160, and a 240Hz effective refresh rate. In addition, the panel features full array local dimming with 200 zones (240 on the 75-inch). Likewise, Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range playback capabilities are included as well, along with quantum dot technology and wide color gamut coverage.
Offering a very similar aesthetic to last year's standard P-Series model, the display uses a handsome industrial design with thin black borders around the top, left, and right of screen, along with a more prominent silver bezel on the bottom. The side of the panel border features a textured trim and the back of the panel features a black textured plastic construction. Meanwhile, the unit's profile measures about 2.5" at its thickest point. Detachable silver aluminum left and right feet stands are included as well.
With the feet attached, the TV measures 57.01" x 35.14" x 11.81", and weighs 55.12 Lbs. Three HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI 2.0b inputs (including one ARC), optical and analog audio outs, a cable/antenna input, and an Ethernet port are all located on the back toward the bottom right. In addition, a USB port, Component/Composite inputs, a additional HDMI 2.0b input, and one HDMI 1.4 port are located on the right side of the panel. Meanwhile, the power connection is housed on the bottom left side.
Under the hood, the display is powered by an Octa-Core Processor running the SmartCast 3.0 platform and supports 802.11ac Dual Band Wi-Fi connectivity. In addition, the package comes with a simple black click button remote, which is nearly identical to last year's. While still pretty solid, I do wish the remote's shortcut buttons for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon featured a more distinct shape and size compared to the closely positioned Menu button. I ended up accidently hitting the iHeart Radio shortcut instead of the Menu button quite frequently during dark room testing.
For those who prefer touch screen functionality, like previous SmartCast models, users can also control the display via the SmartCast mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Likewise, voice control for select commands can be conducted via a separate Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or, new for 2019, Apple Siri device
Finally, for those without a separate audio setup, the TV features integrated 10w x 2 speakers. Like most built-in audio solutions, the speakers get the job done for very casual viewing but most users will definitely want to pair this set with an external sound bar or full surround sound system.
After getting everything unpacked, initial setup is essentially the same as other modern smart TVs and previous VIZIO models. Once you've got the feet attached, all your external devices connected, and the display booted up, the TV will prompt users to select a language, choose home or store use, and configure a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.
With an internet connection established, the display will then download any applicable updates and restart. Some more general configuration options (TV location, local channels) are then presented before asking users to accept not one, not two, but a whopping 4 different terms of service and privacy policies from VIZIO and Google. Finally, customers are given the option to register an account with VIZIO.
During my evaluation, I hooked up an Onkyo TX-NR555 receiver to the display's HDMI ARC (audio return channel) input, allowing the receiver to pass-through full bandwidth 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10 content to the screen and the display to transmit audio from its apps to the receiver. In addition, I hooked up an LG UP970 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player to the receiver, and an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K directly to the TV's HDMI 4 input.
With ARC and CEC (consumer electronics control) enabled in the menu, the display automatically recognized that a receiver and Fire TV Stick were connected and used those corresponding labels for their HDMI inputs. Thanks to CEC, I could also use the TV's remote to adjust the receiver volume. Likewise, the display was capable of successfully sending Dolby Atmos audio from compatible SmartCast apps like VUDU and Amazon Prime Video to the receiver. In addition, Atmos was also correctly passed from the Fire TV Stick to the receiver using the TV as a go between.
Thankfully, unlike last year's P-Series and P-Series Quantum models, I did not run into any video signal issues with my receiver, Blu-ray player, or Fire TV Stick 4K when activating UHD Color on the corresponding HDMI port. Likewise, I did not encounter any major audio sync issues with any of my connected devices. With that said, audio would drop out for about two to three seconds when resuming playback after pausing or rewinding/fast-forwarding content through the Netflix SmartCast app. Apps like VUDU and Amazon Prime Video, however, did not present this issue.
When it comes to picture calibration, the P659-G1 offers an extensive assortment of adjustments and settings. In general, the Calibrated Dark preset with all unnecessary enhancement options deactivated and Local Dimming set to Medium will provide the most accurate out-of-box SDR and HDR10/Dolby Vision playback suitable for a home theater setting. Of course, if one desires to perform a full white balance and greyscale calibration, the TV offers more than enough control to fine tune things even more.
A few odd glitches did crop up during my early time with the set, including a pesky issue that kept resetting the TV to Vivid mode and repeated disconnects from the internet. For whatever reason, however, after about a day of use these glitches completely disappeared.
Serving as one of the 2019 P-Series Quantum's most attractive features, is the TV's Full Array Local Dimming backlight. This technology uses LED light sources positioned in multiple dimmable zones across the TV's panel, allowing the screen to brighten or darken in selected spots to coincide with the content being played. As a result, the display is able to achieve deeper black levels and more precise HDR highlights compared to edge-lit models or LCDs without any dimming.
The effectiveness of local dimming is based largely upon how many zones a manufacturer is able to implement in their panel (typically, the more the better) and the particular algorithm a company uses to tell those zones how to operate. Doubling the 100 zones found on the standard 2018 P-Series and even besting the 192 zones found on the 2018 P-Series Quantum, the new 2019 P-Series Quantum comes equipped with 200 zones (the 75-inch models offers 240).
And thankfully, those zones are put to very good use. In fact, this just might be one of the best overall implementations of local dimming I've seen so far, improving upon several limitations and quirks that hindered last year's VIZIO models.
(Note: above picture does not accurately represent the number of zones on the display)
First up, black level performance is noticeably improved over 2018 VIZIO TVs, allowing the TV's blacks to nearly disappear in a completely dark room with both SDR and HDR signals. When displaying an all-black screen, blacks are just ever-so-slightly lighter than those produced by some local dimming sets from TCL and Samsung, but the difference is essentially imperceptible during real-world content.
Likewise, dimming artifacts like blooming (a pesky issue on some content via the 2018 P-Series Quantum) and contrast fluctuations are also improved, offering only minor hints that the zones are at work. Brightness can subtly increase and decrease in certain sections of the screen during some content and some light does slightly bleed into black bars on widescreen titles, but by-and-large, the dimming algorithm does a surprisingly seamless job.
Blueish blooming around candles, torches, and characters set against dark or neutral backgrounds were quite noticeable on the 2018 P-Series Quantum, but scenes from movies like Sucker Punch and shows like Haunting of Hill House and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that caused problems on last year's models were almost completely free of halos here. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, in particularly, seems to be a very challenging title for many local dimming sets and causes rather annoying vignetting on the TCL 6-Series TV. The 2019 P-Series Quantum, however, was able to maintain deep blacks without crushing darker portions of the image.
With that said, some faint blueish halos could still creep up every now and then, particularly around logos, loading icons, and play/pause graphics -- but using the Medium local dimming setting generally offered a fantastic balance between maximizing black level performance and highlight brightness while also minimizing most blooming.
To demo the P659-G1's Dolby Vision and HDR10 picture performance, I sampled a variety of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming content from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and VUDU, including titles like The Matrix, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, The Lego Batman Movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Game of Thrones, Blade Runner 2049, Sucker Punch, Justice League, The Tick, Velvet Buzzsaw, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Our Planet, Love, Death & Robots, and more.
According to VIZIO's spec sheet, the P-Series Quantum is capable of a maximum peak brightness of 1,100 nits. With that said, that number is only possible in the Standard or Vivid picture modes. Using the Calibrated Dark mode (the best for an accurate image), however, the display was still able to achieve an impressive max of about 950 nits with the Medium local dimming setting, placing it right around the 1,000 nit range that most HDR material is graded for. And boasting its HDR capabilities even further, the display also uses quantum dot tech to provide close to 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage and about 80% BT 2020 coverage.
In practice, those impressive numbers ended up yielding a similarly impressive image, resulting in the best display I've seen from VIZIO to date, beating not only last year's standard P-Series, but also last year's flagship P-Series Quantum when it comes to overall picture.
Dolby Vision content like Kong: Skull Island simply stunned. The sequence where Sam Jackson takes on King Kong was especially impressive, as the TV was able to produce intense highlights in explosions while maintaining deep black levels and strong shadow details -- fully demonstrating the benefits that a greater range of contrast can provide. The intense orange glow of blazing fire also made great use of the set's wide color gamut, producing a bolder, deeper hue than its SDR counterpart.
Other DV titles like The Matrix, Wonder Woman, and The Lego Batman Movie shined as well, offering a versatile showcase for the display's strengths. That latter film, in particular, produced a dazzling array of colors, creating a sumptuous assortment of rich primaries that simply radiated from the screen.
Meanwhile, an action scene in Sucker Punch, where the gang attacks a castle overrun with orcs, also proved to be great demo material. Gun blasts and flaming arrows all produced punchy and precise specular highlights without distracting blooming. Likewise, the Casino fight scene from Blade Runner 2049 was a great showcase for the TV's black levels and contrast. I remember being a bit let down when watching this scene on the 2018 P-Series as the blacks appeared a tad milky, but on this new model shadows carried an inky quality that essentially disappeared into the dark of the room while balancing bursts of bright color as various holograms sputtered on and off during the sequence.
HDR10 content was also similarly impressive. The suitcase scene from Fantastic Beasts remains a demo staple for my testing and the P659-G1 handled it great, rendering the warm golden glow of Newt's Thunderbird with rich saturation and not a hint of color bleeding.
With that said, the HDR10 Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of La La Land appeared as if it was about two clicks too bright under the default Calibrated Dark setting here compared to other displays I've demoed it on, giving blacks a slightly washed out look while revealing some background artifacts that would otherwise be hidden. I'm not sure why this title in particular seemed a bit off, but thankfully it was the exception rather than the rule.
As a whole, Dolby Vision and HDR10 performance simply stunned. Though highlights may have wowed just a bit more on the flagship 2018 P-Series Quantum and 2018 Samsung Q9, and overall contrast never reached the pixel level precision of an LG or Sony OLED, the picture quality here really did prove to be fantastic for its class.
Beyond 4K HDR content, I also sampled several SDR Blu-rays and streaming shows, including titles like Glass, Arrested Development, Avengers: Infinity War, WALL-E, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Game of Thrones, along with a variety of YouTube clips and CNN's live stream.
As one might expect, HD SDR material came through without any notable issues, producing a nearly flawless 1080p image.
Like with HDR material, the full array local dimming produced deep and even black levels without major instances of blooming. With that said, I actually noticed brightness fluctuations as the zones dimmed and activated a bit more with some SDR content than HDR, particularly talk show clips.
Still, overall picture stability, detail, contrast, and Rec. 709 color accuracy were great throughout all the demo material I sampled. The infamously dim third episode of Game of Thrones: Season Eight even came through pretty good here, highlighting the display's contrast capabilities. Thanos' third act showdown with the Avengers from Infinity War was also a nice overall showcase, and though SDR playback lacked the extra punch of HDR material, the TV produced a natural and pleasing picture. Likewise, even lower resolution streaming clips from YouTube scaled quite nicely.
When it comes to screen uniformity, the P659-G1 provided fairly good performance for a value-priced set, offering a slight improvement over the panel's I reviewed last year. When sampling various full-screen grey and color patterns, some minor differences in brightness and hue were sometimes visible across the screen. Likewise, the very edges of each corner appeared darker than the rest of the panel, but this was only ever noticeable on test patterns.
Panning bright or neutral backgrounds (like hockey games) also produced some dirty screen effect with very faint vertical banding lines, but that's simply par for the course for most LCD TVs, and the degree of the effect was relatively minor.
Thankfully, clouding and other backlight uniformity issues were essentially nonexistent thanks to the full array local dimming feature.
Compared to last year's VIZIO TVs, viewing angles also seemed to be a bit improved. Colors still washed out when viewed from an off-angle position but this was less distracting on the 2019 panel. A few isolated shots, like scenes cast in deep red light in Ex Machina, also exhibited some color shifts toward the left and right edges of the screen even from a direct viewing position, causing the red palette to subtly drift into orange. But, again, this happened a lot less here than it did on the 2018 model. Likewise, black levels seemed to maintain their integrity fairly well from the side, though blooming did become more noticeable.
Finally, the screen did a decent job handling reflections, offering solid performance in brighter rooms. With that said, direct reflections caused by windows across from the TV in my living room could present issues when the curtains were pulled back, but I've yet to see any TV be able to fully mitigate this.
I've always found the SmartCast platform to be a bit of mix bag, and though some improvements have been made here, the interface continues to be a little sluggish. The system offers on-screen access to select apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, VUDU, FandangoNOW, iHeart Radio, VIZIO's WatchFree service powered by PlutoTV, and more. Likewise, Dolby Vision and HDR10 support are included for most applicable apps -- except for FandanoNOW and Google Play which were limited to SDR during my testing.
For whatever reason, however, YouTube has been removed from the on-screen selection (it was there on last year's model), and I found this omission to be a bit disappointing. Of course, that service and a host of other apps can still be viewed on the TV via Chromecast support from a separate mobile device or PC. And while that is a nice feature, I still would prefer to simply have access to a full app selection right on the TV's interface.
Beyond apps, the SmartCast screen also includes header sections for Movies and Shows, as well as a universal search function. Other updates and tweaks are also set for release soon, adding more rows of content and recommendations.
Actual playback, whether from the on-screen selection or via casting worked well with no major issues to report. My phone did stop detecting the display at one point, but restarting the device seemed to correct the issue.
Thankfully, overall stability appears to be improved compared to older versions of the OS, as I did not encounter any crashes, lock-ups, or forced system restarts during my testing. With that said, on-screen navigation remains a bit slow compared to some other smart TV interfaces -- though it's my understanding that an upcoming update will help to speed up navigation and responsiveness.
And in addition to on-screen apps and Chromecast, VIZIO is also set to add AirPlay 2 support later this year, allowing users to stream content from Apple devices and mobile apps like iTunes and Apple TV with Dolby Vision HDR support when applicable. A beta version of this feature is actually already available for some users. Unfortunately, the beta feature requires users to have a beta version of iOS 12.3 installed on their iPhone. And since Apple recently released the public version of iOS 12.3, the beta version is no longer available for download. But while I could not test this out myself during my evaluation, I did get to see the feature demoed during VIZIO's recent launch event.
For the demo, Bumblebee was streamed from a user's iTunes library via an iPhone with AirPlay 2. The movie played back in 4K Dolby Vision and looked about on par with other HDR streaming services I've seen on the TV. Sadly, however, Apple's current implementation of AirPlay 2 does not allow for the transmission of Dolby Atmos audio to the TV.
Beyond streaming video, the SmartCast OS also supports voice control via a separate Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device. Likewise, AirPlay 2 support also adds Siri voice control from a compatible device via Apple HomeKit functionality.
For this review, I was able to pair the TV with an Echo Dot. To do this, users need to create a VIZIO account and download the Alexa app on a mobile device. After that, customers can download the SmartCast skill through the app and then follow the instructions to link the devices. Once this relatively simple setup is complete, voice control gets enabled for simple functions like powering the TV on/off, adjusting volume, play/pause, and switching inputs. Alexa support for content searches will also be added via an upcoming update. With that said, more advanced commands -- like launching specific apps/programs -- are not supported through Alexa, though some of these functions can be done with Google Assistant and Siri.
Like last year's models, Alexa voice control worked very well here, adding hands-free convenience to power and volume commands with no major issues to report.
Besting last year's P-Series model through the addition of quantum dot color, more dimming zones, and higher peak brightness, the new 2019 P-Series Quantum is a real stunner in this price range.
With that said, I do wish the SmartCast platform included a larger on-screen app selection, and unlike some 2019 TVs from brands like LG and Samsung, VIZIO's displays do not include new HDMI 2.1 ports.
When it comes to other value-priced 4K HDR TVs set to hit the market this year, the P-Series Quantum's main competition is poised to be Hisense's new H9F TV. That model is also supposed to boast quantum dots and 1,000 nits for a cheaper MSRP of $1,000 -- but the H9F only offers 132 zones versus the P-Series Quantum's 200 zones.
At an MSRP of $1,399 for the P-Series Quantum, there really isn't a better TV in this price range. Likewise, VIZIO is also known for offering some great discounts as the year goes on, so it's possible that some good deals will be coming. As it stands, this is now the best 65-inch 4K HDR TV I've ever seen for a list price under $1,500. Highly Recommended.