November 13, 2009
| by Dennis P. Barker
It also supports Adobe Flash, and future apps will be added via firmware updates.
The remote for the 552 will have embedded Bluetooth (for easy paring of Bluetooth devices) and a sliding QWERTY keyboard hidden beneath the primary keypad. It was pretty neat and easy to operate.
So how did the VF551XVT stand up to seemingly superior TVs? Pretty darned well. I had low expectations, as I normally review top-of-the-line models from Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Pioneer and the like. The black levels on the Vizio were good and provided better-than-average contrast for most filmed Blu-ray content such as The Dark Knight, and including the recently released Gladiator (Extended Version), The Deep, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Extended Version).
And thanks to the 240Hz SPS feature, film judder in fast-motion scenes was negligible, especially in the opening high-speed sequence in Quantum of Solace. DISH Network’s 1080i signals from HBO’s True Blood, Fox’s Fringe, and HD-NET’s InFocus travelogues looked clean, crisp and clear, offering very little video noise.
The sound quality of the integrated 30-watt soundbar was better than many sets, though a home theater audio system is always recommended.
Is the VF551XVT the best LCD HDTV I’ve reviewed? No, but it performs admirably and it is very reasonably priced, costing hundreds of dollars less than a comparable Toshiba or over a $1,000 less for a comparable Samsung. And the 552 model adds Wi-Fi network capability and Internet access, all for a little more than $2,000, to make it a winning combination.
Dennis has been involved with Consumer Electronics forever it seems. His 25+-year career includes a 12-year tour of duty at Consumer Reports magazine, as well as stints as a product reviewer, market analyst, technical editor, and consultant for the electronics industry. He lives in Ossining, NY with his two children, one demanding cat and piles of A/V equipment.