• Editor Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
$649.99
  • 80%

  • VIZIO E500I 50" LED Smart-HDTV
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: June 23, 2016
  • Cosmetic Appeal
    Editor: 80%
  • Design & Build Quality
    Editor: 80%
  • Features
    Editor: 80%
  • Function
    Editor: 80%
  • Value For The Price
    Editor: 90%

The VIZIO E500I is a feature-packed LED HDTV with built-in Smart features.

VIZIO came onto the tech scene back in 2002, but it wasn't until 2007 that they made a name for themselves in the HDTV market. As their growth continued, VIZIO models became of a higher quality and packed more features than most competing models in the same price range thus giving the company a serious advantage in terms of value on the dollar.

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In this review, we are going to be taking an in-depth look at VIZIO's 50′ E500I LED HDTV model which has Smart capabilities. Being affordably priced under $650, The E500I gives you a real bang for your buck and harnesses many advanced features. I have used this HDTV daily for the past month and a half so this review will be based solely off my personal experience with the E500I during this time period.

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The VIZIO E500I harnesses an attractive design which utilizes a gloss black finish, small profile, and a thin bezel surrounding the 50″ LED panel. The appeal factor was one of the factors that drew me in initially and it really stood out while browsing through competing models in this price range. The design is very clean and most people are surprised to hear it being associated with such a low price tag as they would have guessed it costs hundreds more.

_H3A9927It is not uncommon to see an sleek flat-panel HDTV that is plagued by an oversized manufacturer logo integrated into the design. VIZIO did the right thing, by choosing a subtle branding approach that consists of a small logo on the bottom right bezel which gives off a real classy look. This keeps in line with the model's sleek design without having an obvious branding element taking away from its beauty.

The base is rather large and bulky with the same gloss black finish that is on the rest of exterior. Usually this can be a negative factor in terms of visual appeal, but it doesn't look as bad as you might think and it helps the keep the panel ultra-stable so it is a compromise worth dealing with. If you're not looking to use the base and want to wall-mount the E500I then this can be made possible via a 400mm x 400mm VESA bracket.

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VIZIO didn't skimp on the materials used within this model and it is built to last. One issue that I did notice with the gloss black finish is that it attracts dust very easily so you'll want to have a Swiffer Duster (or a microfiber cloth) on hand to keep it looking new. Since I have an Australian Shepherd (who sheds terribly) it didn't take long for the base and bezel to become covered in dust and pet hair which is obnoxious, but simple to deal with if you stay on top of it.

As I stated earlier, you get a lot of features for the price of the VIZIO E500I and its technical specifications will outmatch most of the 50″ competitors in this price range. As you'd expect, the LED panel is a full 1080P (1920 x 1080px) resolution and harnesses a 120Hz refresh rate, ideal for watching fast-paced sports and playing video games.

When buying a HDTV, you'll typically want to choose a model that has a variety of inputs and I'm happy to report the E500I fulfills this request nicely. It is suitable for consumers who want to be able to hook up multiple external devices such as cable boxes, a TiVo, various game consoles, or a Chromecast without the need to continually plug/unplug each of them when it is time for use.

Scattered throughout the rear and left side of the TV, you'll find the following:

  • 4 HDMI Ports
  • 1 Component Video Input
  • 1 Composite Input
  • 1 USB Port
  • 2 Audio Outputs
  • 1 RF Antenna Input
  • 1 Ethernet Port

One of the biggest selling points for this model is the built in WiFi and Smart TV capabilities. It is typically tough to find a solid 50″ model in this price range that has Internet features so it was refreshing to see this in the E500I. Having said that, it is important to remember that the price will still have a hindering effect on the amount of Smart features and you won't find some of the advanced components such as an Internet browser like you would in the Samsung UN46D7000. However, it does include the majority of the core functions you'd want out of a Smart TV and I'm happy with what it has to offer.

Integrated apps include:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu Plus
  • Amazon Instant Video
  • MGO – Movies & TV
  • Rhapsody
  • Skype
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Vudu
  • Yahoo! News
  • Yahoo! Finance
  • Yahoo! Sports
  • Yahoo! Weather
  • Yahoo Connected TV Store (allows you to download/buy additional games and apps)
  • Web Videos (random web video application)

On many retail websites, they state this model ships with Pandora and Skype apps. I can confirm that these features were not present on our test unit however I was able to download Pandora via the Yahoo Connected TV Store for free. After doing some searching, I was unable to find any way to get access to a Skype app so I wouldn't expect it to be present on any future units.

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The included remote doesn't feature a convenient QWERTY design like some of the higher priced HDTVs that we have reviewed in the past, but I didn't expect it given the price-point. There are dedicated buttons at the top for Amazon Instant Video, MGO, & Netflix as well as the large “V” button in the middle of the remote which brings up the Smart TV menu.

I ran it through the paces and my testing including watching traditional TV, streaming movies, video gaming, and I even used it as a computer monitor for a brief period to fully test its capabilities.  After using this model for the past month and half, I was thoroughly impressed with its performance and it surpassed my expectations. There were a few small negative aspects I encountered, but overall it very positive experience and I'll briefly get into the good and bad performance aspects.

_H3A9919First off, the picture is stellar with the 50″ LED panel outputting a sharp HD picture when coupled with the slim black bezel really helps you get immersed in the content. The color quality is stellar and matches near perfectly out of the box. The black level is also exceptional thanks to the 2,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio which makes it ideal for dark movie scenes.

Another aspect that surpassed my expectations was the sound quality of the built-in speakers. Let's face it, most built-in HDTV speakers are terrible and require the third-party audio system to really enjoy your movies or gaming. However, the E500I's audio performance is exceptionally good especially for a lower-priced model that should generally fall within the bad to mediocre category. The audio is rich and the output volume is loud enough for any size room. Will it impress a diehard audiophile? No, probably not although it should suit the casual gamer or movie enthusiast just fine.

Gaming on the VIZIO E500I is stellar with no frame rate issues and the ability to enjoy crisp HD gameplay. I did need to do a bit of tweaking with the color settings to brighten up the LED panel for Call Of Duty Ghosts as I had some trouble seeing enemies in dark corners. Once the settings were configured properly, my gaming experience was enjoyable and I did not experience any of the issues that often plague these larger panel HDTV models in this price bracket.

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As for the negative aspects, the remote is a bit glitchy at times. It has a tendency to freeze up every one in awhile and take a good minute or two before the buttons will actually work properly. This mainly happens while your in the Smart TV menu and I think it has to do more with the HDTV needing time to process a task rather than the remote being the culprit. Nonetheless, it is annoying and something you likely wouldn't see in higher-priced models.

I ran some tests looking for defective pixels and after carefully scanning the panel, to my surprise I unable to find any. On the other hand, the backlight test was relatively disappointing as the backlight was proven to be darker in each of the four corners and was not even throughout the panel as you'd expect (see example photos below). However, chances are you won't even notice this while watching regular TV, movies, or playing video games and I hadn't noticed until I ran the backlight tests.

In the end, the VIZIO E500I 50″ LED Smart-HDTV surpassed my expectations and offers a great deal of value on the dollar. The price is low enough to fit into most consumer's budgets and the size factor is large enough to satisfy most household living rooms. This model is feature packed and the Smart TV capabilities comes in handy if you're looking to stream Netflix or watch YouTube video. It does have a few minor setbacks, but overall the performance and technical specs will outmatch the majority of 50″ competitors at this price-point and for that I cannot complain. If you're looking to pick up a 50″ LED HDTV with Smart capabilities and don't have a large budget then I'd highly recommend the VIZIO E500I.