}

3/19/2013

Vizio E422AR 42 inch LCD HDTV review

Vizio E422AR 42 inch LCD HDTV

I've spent a few months with the Vizio E422AR LCD HDTV, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts on this budget Smart TV.

What is it?
The Vizio E422AR is a 42 inch 1080p LCD HDTV, featuring internet apps and Wifi connectivity.

Price
We bought the Vizio E422AR at Sam's Club for $394 USD before tax.  Other TV's in this size/class were anywhere from 30-100 dollars more at the same store.  A nice bright screen, internet apps and a low price sealed the deal and we brought it to the checkout.

Picture
The picture looked bright and vivid on the showroom floor.  When I got it home, it looked a little cold and over-saturated.  After 10 minutes in the menu, I warmed the white balance, lowered the saturation and adjusted the contrast to achieve what I consider to be a very pleasing picture.  I'm not an audio-visual expert by any means, but the picture looks very sharp and the colors look good to me.  HD content from CATV, Netflix and YouTube looks very good in my opinion - no complaints.

Sound
I have a hard time discerning higher frequency ranges on this television.  The treble range sounds muffled, and I find I have to turn the volume up pretty loud before I can accurately hear dialog.  In this class of TV, I'm not expecting great sound, and the Vizio E422AR has sub-par sound unfortunately.  I'm no audiophile, but I think most of you are going to need to connect this thing up to a Soundbar or a stereo system.  Not a major knock on the TV, as almost all flat panel TV's share this deficiency, especially in this price class.

Remote
The remote for the Vizio E422AR is absolutely horrible.  It feels cheap and flimsy in your hand.  The remote is too small, and the buttons are almost impossible to use in the dark, save for the volume control, which is a nice, easily discernible rocker switch.  The cursor keys and ok button I can find without seeing the remote too.  Other buttons, like fast-forward, play, back, exit, etc. I find I need to hold the remote up to light to read before using.  

The second day I had the E422AR, I thought the remote was broken.  I could turn the TV on and off and use the controls on the TV itself, but the remote would do nothing, even after a battery change.  After fiddling around with it for awhile, I discovered the "Menu" button had gotten stuck in the depressed position the last time I used it.  This effectively locked every other key on the remote out.  Once I released the stuck "Menu" button, the remote operated normally again.  This remote is a real piece of shit, which sucks being that you tend to use the remote a lot on a TV with internet apps.

Inputs/Outputs
No complaints here.  The Vizio E422AR has 3 HDMI, 1 VGA, 1 component and 1 coax input.  This should be more than sufficient for just about anyone.  There is even a PC audio miniplug input so you can play your PC audio over the TV's speakers - that's a nice touch that my last TV did not have.  There are also miniplug, RCA and optical Audio outputs.  A TV having audio output is not something I'm usually concerned with, but if you use the Apps on the TV, you will need them to get the audio signal to your sound system.

Networking
You can connect the Vizio E422AR to the internet via either a RJ45 Ethernet jack on the back of the TV or via the integrated Wifi receiver.  I've found the Wifi reception of the TV to be good.  The only caveat is that I've noticed it is usually necessary to cycle the power on the TV if I switch from wired to wireless.  The Wifi feature is really nice, and a surprising feature at this price.

Apps
The centerpiece of the Vizio E422AR's feature set is the inclusion of internet apps.  There are actually Amazon, Netflix and Vudu buttons on the remote that you can use to access these apps.  You can also install apps from the Yahoo! connected TV store.   Once installed, these apps are accessible by hitting the big "V" button on the remote, then scrolling left and right to select from the icons on the bottom of the screen.  

There are quite a few apps available for download.  To give you an idea, these are the ones I have installed:
Pandora, YouTube, iHeartRadio, Netflix, flickr, and Yahoo weather.  

You can also choose to install things like Yahoo weather, finance, news, etc.  To be honest, the low power cpu this dumbed down version of Android is running on makes interacting with most of these apps pretty much unbearable.

I've played around with a few of the other apps, but I've spent most of my time in the Netflix and YouTube apps.  The Netflix app is really good.  The navigation is snappy and I can get to what I want to watch quickly.  In the YouTube app, I can easily watch videos I'm subscribed to on my YouTube account.  It's a fairly simple matter to pair your Google account with the Vizio E422AR.  Video quality looks really good in both apps.  Navigation in the YouTube app is sluggish and quirky, but passable.

CPU Performance
Because this is a Smart TV, with internet apps, there is a computer running some flavor of water down  Android on-board the TV.  While there is no problem with video playback, it is usually a chore to navigate the apps on the sluggish processor.

Here's an example.  Once I hit the power button on the TV, it takes 30 seconds for the TV to display a picture - from CATV or otherwise.  That's a pretty long time.  I'm assuming most of the delay is from the CPU booting up.

Now the TV is up and running.  I hit the "Netflix" button on the remote control.  The E422AR does nothing at all for 10 seconds, it doesn't acknowledge that I hit a button or anything.  Just when I think it didn't get the command, a window on the left pops up that says "Launch Netflix" - press OK.  

So you hit OK, and then for 7 seconds....nothing happens.  Then the screen goes black for 5 seconds and you think the OS has crashed.  But lo and behold, the standard Netflix loading screen pops up.  26 seconds after you hit OK, you get a menu to select your Netflix experience - regular Netflix or Netflix Just for Kids.  

I hit OK again. and I'm immediately looking at my Netflix control panel.  Once you get into the Netflix app, everything is nice and responsive.  I'd actually be ok with waiting for the slow CPU to load the apps, it'd just be nice if the TV would at least immediately acknowledge my button press.

Summary
Nice 1080p picture
Blah sound
Web apps!
Sluggish interface :(
Crappy remote
Cheap!

I've included quite a bit of negative information in this review, but the Vizio E422AR is really a fantastic TV for the price.  The truth is, I expected to spend about $400 on a  Vizio 42 inch TV, then another 80 bucks on a Roku to pipe Netflix into the TV.  That would have been another box, more wires, more money, and another remote.  I ended up spending just under 400 and came home with a 42 inch 1080p set with internet apps, WIFI and a really nice picture.  Overall, a big win.  If I had it to do over again, I'd buy this set at $394 everytime and live with the minor deficiencies.



VIZIO E422AR 42-Inch 60Hz Class LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Apps (Black)