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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Vibrant, colorful image
Crisp 4K resolution
Lots of streaming options
Missing some key streaming apps
Non-uniform space around screen
Amidst Vizio’s very broad lineup, the M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV (M507-G1) finds the right balance between quality and value.
Vizio has carved out its place as the leading budget TV brand in the United States, and while companies such as Hisense and TCL are trying to steal its thunder, Vizio consistently offers some of the best entry-level and mid-range sets around. Part of that comes from the fact that Vizio has so many different models that there’s bound to be something for everyone—even if sorting through the various model numbers and advantages to each can be confusing at times.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV (M507-G1) seems to hit a sweet spot for a reasonably priced 4K TV set: it’s large and super sharp, sporting some of the features you’d find on pricier, higher-end rivals, but to a lesser degree in some respects. And while the minimal design is certainly solid, it doesn’t attempt to look flashy or expensive. It’s just a great TV at an even better price, and should meet the needs of most 4K buyers today. I tested the M507-G1 for more than 80 hours across games, movies, and streaming media.
Given the modest price, it’s no surprise that the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV’s design doesn’t really stand out or look overly fussed over. That’s fine, though: it strikes a pretty minimal silhouette overall. The matte black frame has a fairly sizable Vizio logo in the lower right, but otherwise, it’s straightforward and simplistic. The included legs are thin and wide, although you can always wall-mount the TV instead of using them.
Looking closely at the TV, however, it’s a bit odd that the screen has a small amount of unused space along the top. It’s not uniform across the board, and while you won’t notice it from afar (it just fades into the frame above), it does look a bit strange up-close.
Given the modest price, it’s no surprise that the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV’s design doesn’t really stand out or look overly fussed over.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV is fully loaded on ports, with four HDMI inputs, composite and USB inputs, an optical audio output, a coaxial input, and an Ethernet port for wired internet access. You also get a remote control with quick-access buttons for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, VUDU, Xumo, and Redbox, along with all of the usual buttons.
The feet are interchangeable and can go in either side, with a couple of included screws needed to secure each to the set. Alternatively, wall-mounting the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV requires separate VESA 200x200 mount hardware.After connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable during the guided setup process, you’re likely to encounter some software updates before you can begin using the set. In my case, the TV spent more than 20 minutes downloading and applying updates before it was completely up to date.
Despite the budget branding, Vizio’s modern sets match up well to pricier competition—and that’s definitely true with the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV. This LED-backlit LCD screen is crisp and clear at 3840x2160 (4K Ultra HD) resolution, with a rating of 400 nits delivering solid brightness.It also supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 flavors of High Dynamic Range (HDR), which boosts the contrast by delivering a wider disparity between white and black parts of the image. The colors are especially vivid thanks to Quantum Color technology, the same kind seen in many higher-end Samsung sets, which really amplifies the effect. The end result is rich and vibrant across all kinds of media, whether it’s movies, games, or streaming TV shows.
If you’re upgrading from a few-year-old 1080p set without HDR, then the result is sure to impress in a big way. That said, there are pricier sets with a bit more punch and finesse to their image quality. The 16 local dimming zones in the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV help deliver strong contrast, but with some rival televisions offering several times that many zones, they’re able to deliver deeper black levels. There are also much brighter TVs out there than this one.
Viewing angles do suffer a little if you’re off to either side a fair bit, but not enough to be troublesome… unless you’re regularly packing big crowds into a small space. Overall, I’m very happy with what this mid-range Vizio can do—any limitations and deficiencies are minor.
With a pair of 10W stereo speakers onboard, the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV produces solidly clear sound that can ably fill a room. Flat screens often fall short on this front, but the M-Series’ speakers ought to do the trick for most. Still, you’ll surely get an upgrade by attaching a soundbar—even a basic 2.0-channel stereo one, like Vizio offers for cheap.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV runs the Vizio SmartCast 3.0 platform, which implements streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi, and Disney+. Although dozens of apps are already built into the interface, SmartCast has the frustrating deficiency of not offering any sort of app store for downloading additional services such as Sling TV or Twitch.
If you’re upgrading from a few-year-old 1080p set without HDR, then the result is sure to impress in a big way.
That’s disappointing for a Smart TV in 2020, especially since Android TV and Roku TV-powered sets let you download and add further services/channels. The alternative here is the titular SmartCast feature, which lets you stream from video services on your smartphone or tablet via Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast functionality. That works well, but I’d rather have a native app on the TV than rely on my phone to fling over video—even if the quality is about the same.
The SmartCast platform also has a WatchFree feature with 100+ free, ad-supported streaming channels powered by streaming service Pluto. All of the streaming services I tried worked well on the Vizio, although the SmartCast menu interface is a little sluggish overall.
At a retail price of $400, the Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV feels well-priced for its capabilities. As mentioned, it delivers a great 4K HDR picture and solid sound, and comes with many top streaming video apps already installed.
Vizio’s product line is immense, however, and you can scale up or down in price and features with mostly minute differences between sets. That said, the 55-inch M-Series model does take a significant step up in picture quality nuance, with 50 percent higher max brightness at 600 nits and a dramatic increase in local dimming zones to 90. However, it’s $550. If you have the money to spend, it might be worth it—but don’t feel like you’re skimping with this 50-inch model.
We reviewed the TCL 50S425 50-inch Roku TV (see on Amazon) late last year and came away very impressed by a 4K HDR set that punches well above its price tag. These TVs both pack 50-inch displays and have smart TV functionality, with Roku TV powering the TCL set as opposed to Vizio’s bespoke platform here.
The remote felt a bit sluggish on the TCL model and the sound quality wasn’t as strong, plus the peak brightness can’t match Vizio’s and TCL’s set also lacks local dimming functionality. However, there’s a clear disparity in price point: the TCL TV currently sells for $269.99 as of this writing, and may even be found for less. TCL’s 50S425 model may not hit all of the same peaks, but at that price, it may be worth the trade-offs.
An excellent buy.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K Smart TV is a well-rounded, budget-friendly television, delivering a crisp and colorful picture, good-quality sound, and a solid selection of built-in streaming video apps. No doubt, you can get a brighter, punchier picture from a pricier set, along with a more striking design—but at the price, Vizio’s M-Series is an ideal 4K pick.