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Vizio E390i-A1

Est. $420
Reviewed
September 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Vizio E390i-A1

Best cheap LED TV

Pros
  • Great black levels
  • Non-reflective screen
  • Good streaming features
Cons
  • Local dimming causes some black crush
  • Mediocre color performance
  • Refresh rate only 60 Hz
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Bottom line

Vizio's E0i-A1 sets provide excellent value for those who need a competent set at an attractive price. Picture quality is very good, better than even some more expensive TVs, but isn't without a few bobbles. The streaming content lineup is so broad that most reviewers don't mind that the user interface looks a little dated compared to what competing sets offer. Available models include the 39-inchVizio E390i-A1 (Est. $420) , 42-inchVizio E420i-A1 (Est. $500) and 50-inch Vizio E500i-A1 (Est. $650) . Other Vizio E-series sets have different specifications and features.

Performance

You won't find a better picture on any budget set. Picture quality may not be perfect, but as CNET notes, Vizio's E0i-A1 series outperforms most TVs in this price class as well as a number of more expensive LED TVs. A firmware update helps minimize a problem with black crush, but it isn't completely eliminated. Using local dimming -- an ambitious picture feature in sets priced this low -- results in very deep black levels and decent shadow detail. Although color accuracy isn't a strength, some experts find more to like than others and no one docks the TV too much over that. Forget the claim of an "enhanced refresh rate" of 120 Hz; the set's native refresh rate is 60 Hz and it acts like it, so some minor motion blurring can be seen. Off-axis viewing is average and bright-room performance is good thanks to the matte screen.

Features

Lots of smart content. Vizio is in the process of updating its user interface, and has already rolled that out to its more upscale M-series sets like theVizio M551D-A2R (Est. $1,100) . While the interface in these E-series sets might be rough around the edges for now, it doesn't get too much in the way of a robust streaming platform that draws compliments from DigitalTrends.com, CNET and others. Wi-Fi is built in, which is par for the course in nearly all streaming-enabled TVs. However, the set can't stream content from a computer or other DLNA device on the same network.

Design

Hey, good lookin'. Cheap LED TVs generally look the part, which is why it's refreshing to see some nice design touches on Vizio's E0i-A1 sets. No one will confuse them with flagship models from Samsung, Sony, LG or even Vizio itself, but the bezel has been trimmed back compared to other budget sets, giving the series a sleeker look. Connectivity varies by screen size; most models offer three HDMI inputs, but that increases to four on the 50-inch E500i-A1. The included remote is pretty uninspired, just a couple of dedicated buttons for smart features to set it apart from a generic clicker.

Value

It's the bottom line that counts. For consumers who are concerned as much with cost as with performance, it's tough to do better than the Vizio E0i-A1. This competent performer is a near-stellar choice when compared to LED TVs in its price class.

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VIZIO E390i-A1 39-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $419.99 $327.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
VIZIO E420i-A1 42-inch 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $499.99   
Average Customer Review:  
Where To Buy
VIZIO E390i-A1 39-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV

 (2,383 reviews)
Buy new: $419.99 $348.99   13 Used & new from $289.99

In Stock.

 

Our Sources

1. CNET

This update of a February 2013 review includes coverage of a firmware upgrade that mostly fixes an issue with the Vizio E0i-A1's local dimming feature. Both 42- and 50-inch sets are subjected to hands-on testing. Value is judged to be excellent thanks to picture quality that's as good as or better than other TVs in this price category, plus nice styling and strong streaming features.

Review: Vizio E0i-A1 Series Review: Cheap Local Dimming, Excellent Value, David Katzmaier, Ty Pendlebury, July 30, 2013

2. ConsumerReports.org

The 50-inch Vizio E500i-A1 is among the many LED TVs rated by ConsumerReports.org. Testing is hands-on, but discussion -- although broader than in the past -- is still somewhat brief.

Review: Vizio E500i-A1, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated

3. DigitalTrends.com

DigitalTrends.com gives the Vizio E390i-A1 a Recommended award based on its evaluation of a similar but not identical Vizio E-series model. Still, Scott Younker says "those looking to move into the 1080p Smart TV arena without breaking the bank will find the Vizio E390i-A1 a formidable contender."

Review: Vizio E390i-A1 Review, Scott Younker, Aug. 15, 2012

4. BestBuy.com

More than 450 owners post reviews of the 50-inch Vizio E500i-A1 here. The set earns a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and 95 percent of users say they'd recommend the TV to a friend.

Review: VIZIO - E-Series - 50" Class (50" Diag.) - LED - 1080p - 120Hz - Smart - HDTV, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of September 2013

5. Amazon.com

Amazon.com shares feedback of Vizio's E-series LED TVs from more than 1,750 users, although that includes many models with different features and specifications than the E0i-A1. Owners give Vizio's entry-level offerings an overall rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.

Review: VIZIO E390i-A1 39-Inch 1080p 120Hz Smart LED HDTV, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013

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