My Hands-On Experience with the VIZIO P659-G1 Smart TV

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When I was asked recently if I wanted to do a hands-on review of a VIZIO Quantum Dot LED TV, I didn’t want to appear too eager. I am, after all, a professional… but it’s certainly not an everyday occurrence to be asked to take home such a lavish piece of equipment. VIZIO decided to let me try the P659-G1, and I was excited for the opportunity to upgrade from my plasma, at least temporarily. Going into my review process, I wanted to focus primarily on the TV’s smart functionality and voice control via Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant; to do so, I decided to finally connect my Sonos One and Google Home Mini. Of course, the first step is unboxing the TV.

VIZIO P-Series Quantum P659-G1 65" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart Quantum Dot LED TV

Setup

Upon opening the box and setting aside the accessories box and two legs that serve as the TV stand, I found the TV inside what was essentially a giant plastic bag, whose opening was at the top, with a pair of handles on the left and right side. Per the instructions all over this plastic bag, my wife and I (please note that this is always a two-person job; no famous last words of “Nah, I got this” for me!) used the handles on the bag to lift the TV out of the box and set it on the floor. Ideally, we would’ve put it on a table or bed to attach the legs, but for our layout, the living room floor was much more practical. Also, I was happy to see that the screen was well protected by a big sheet of cardboard padded with a sheet of foam on the screen side and Styrofoam blocks on the other side.

After opening the accessories box, I consulted the directions (which weren’t incredibly detailed, but didn’t need to be) and attached the legs. I disconnected the Xbox One and cable box from my plasma—our only sources, at the moment—and connected them to the TV via HDMI, along with the power cord. One thing I noticed is that the downward-facing ports are located at the top part of what I’d describe as a cutout in the back of the TV. My cable box is connected with a pretty thick HDMI cable, and as near as the bottom part of this cutout was to the ports, it was causing strain on the connector, so I had to plug the cable box into the side instead to avoid damaging either the port or the cable.

Next, I powered the TV on. This is always the most exciting part for me about getting new equipment. The TV immediately found my Wi-Fi network. I input the password, and it automatically connected and started its update process. The display told me it could take up to 10 minutes, which was an accurate estimate. Once it was done, the TV’s smart menu came up, which was preloaded with Netflix, CBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and various other apps and services, but these were the main ones my family and I would be using.

Performance and Image Quality

I’m not going to go into too much detail on the resolution. This TV is 4K UHD. It was a noticeable step up from Full HD, and it was certainly a step up from my 720p plasma. Mathematically, it had to look good. What I will mention is the TV’s octa-core processor. I didn’t have to do anything but switch to the HDMI input my cable box was into, and it was upscaling to near-4K, and it did this job wonderfully. I’m dreading going back to watching my TV shows in 720.

Now that I had given the TV a quick test run, it was time to make some adjustments. It’s a well-known fact that TV manufacturers all set their TVs to look amazing on a showroom floor, under the brightest of lights and next to dozens of competitors. To achieve this, they have to max out the brightness and up the hue/tint. Fortunately, since it’s 2019, all I had to do was take the TV off of “Vivid Mode” and put it into “Standard Mode” to fix the issue, rather than changing each setting manually. I went through the rest of the settings anyway, such as gamma, backlight level, overall brightness, contrast, and a few others, but after making minor tweaks, I put them all back their Standard Mode defaults.

With that done, the wife and I sat down to watch a movie. She picked Jupiter Ascending, on Netflix. Everything else about the movie aside, I was happy to test the TV with a recent sci-fi release. We upgraded our Netflix account to stream 4K, and the visuals really popped. Colors were vivid, action was smooth (thanks to Clear Action 960 technology and the TV’s 240 Hz effective refresh rate), and people looked lifelike. All this held true when we watched Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access, when I watched The Boys on Amazon Prime Video, and when my stepson watched videos on YouTube.

Speaking of various apps we used, I felt like switching between the apps was overall quicker than with our Xbox One. The big “V” button in the middle of the remote served as a “home” button, bringing you to the TV’s smart interface, where all the apps were located, and scrolling through them was easy and intuitive. They all seemed to load faster, and the arrow keys and center “play/pause/ok” button was simpler than using the Xbox controller.

I have to also mention the TV’s speakers. They’re rated at 20W total, and despite being positioned on the rear bottom, I found them certainly loud enough. At no point did we have to put the TV above half its maximum volume, even when the nearby air conditioner kicked on.

Voice Interaction

I’ll admit that I don’t use either of the voice assistants built into my phone very often. I’ll generally only use one if I need to look something up that I don’t want to type. I experimented with the Alexa built into my Sonos One and the Google Assistant built into my Google Home Mini for a bit before the TV came so I’d know what to expect, because there’s quite a learning curve between pressing buttons or typing something into a search engine and asking a virtual assistant to do something. There’s an inherent pause as the assistant processes what you asked, so something like “Alexa, pause the movie” isn’t quite as quick as grabbing the remote and pressing the button, but if your hands are full, or if you can’t find the remote, it can definitely be handy.

It’s important to note that, aside from the VIZIO SmartCast skill, other skills might have to be installed via your Alexa interface, depending on what you want the TV to do. By default, the Google Home Mini was able to control YouTube playback and power the TV on and off after adding the device to my Google Home account.

It comes down to the fact that virtual assistants take some getting used to. If you’re already accustomed to using one (or more), then it’ll be very intuitive. If you’re like me and are more comfortable pressing buttons, the buttons are right on the remote, and you can talk to Alexa or the Google Assistant as you wish, and acclimate yourself to them as you go.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, I really like the VIZIO P659-G1. Images are clear, whether you’re upscaling, watching a 4K stream, or playing Fortnite. The TV’s processing power is impressive, which helped enhance the image clarity, color vibrancy, and responsiveness. Voice control worked well, but it’s just not for me yet. The sound quality was good and surprisingly louder than I expected. Overall, I think this TV really holds its own in VIZIO’s high-performance P-series.

Remember, if you need help deciding which TV is right for you, the salespeople at B&H will be happy to help via phone at 800-606-6969, chat, email, or check out what we have on display in the SuperStore.

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