When comparing VIZIO M-Series 50" (M50-E1) vs TCL S517 49" (49S517), the Slant community recommends VIZIO M-Series 50" (M50-E1) for most people. In the question“What are the best TVs?” VIZIO M-Series 50" (M50-E1) is ranked 6th while TCL S517 49" (49S517) is ranked 96th. The most important reason people chose VIZIO M-Series 50" (M50-E1) is:
The M-Series is the best pick for HDR content in this price bracket. Compared to its direct competitors, it offers the best HDR experience because it has all the essentials for true HDR playback that its competitors lack: local dimming, fairly high peak brightness level, and a wide color gamut. Its deep black levels are further improved with local dimming, which can make parts of the screen darker when the image calls for it. This results in a slight increase in overall picture quality - the black levels become deeper by a small margin, so highlights will stand out further. Colors look vibrant in both dark and bright scenes, and the panel can reproduce the wide range of colors required for true HDR playback. In addition, it can also get bright enough to light up these colors sufficiently for HDR details to stand out, thanks to the peak brightness level of ~400 nits.
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Pro Great for HDR content
The M-Series is the best pick for HDR content in this price bracket. Compared to its direct competitors, it offers the best HDR experience because it has all the essentials for true HDR playback that its competitors lack: local dimming, fairly high peak brightness level, and a wide color gamut.
Its deep black levels are further improved with local dimming, which can make parts of the screen darker when the image calls for it. This results in a slight increase in overall picture quality - the black levels become deeper by a small margin, so highlights will stand out further.
Colors look vibrant in both dark and bright scenes, and the panel can reproduce the wide range of colors required for true HDR playback. In addition, it can also get bright enough to light up these colors sufficiently for HDR details to stand out, thanks to the peak brightness level of ~400 nits.
Pro Supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision
The M-Series can play all HDR content because it supports both HDR10 & Dolby Vision formats.
Pro Great picture quality
The M-Series looks great with vivid colors.
Dark scenes look amazing with great details, thanks to the panel’s contrast ratio of roughly 5500:1, which means it’s capable of producing blacks that are 5500 times darker than the brightest white pixel the screen can produce. This can be pushed slightly further to about 5800 with local dimming, which results in a slight increase in overall picture quality.
The colors are quite lifelike and accurate even without any calibration. They will look vibrant even in bright scenes because of the panel's high peak brightness levels of ~300 nits for SDR & ~400 nits for HDR.
Even in a decently-lit environment, the picture quality of the M-Series won't deteriorate by much. The panel is good at handling reflections and it can get adequately bright to fight off glare.
Pro Decent at handling glare
The M-Series is decent in bright environments.
The colors won't look dull thanks to the panel's high peak brightness levels and good handling of reflections. It's bright enough to fight off glare with peak brightness levels of ~300 nits for SDR & ~400 nits for HDR, and the intensity of reflections are reduced by panel's semi-gloss finish.
Pro Comes with Chromecast built-in
You can stream content to the M-Series from smart devices or apps that support streaming media to Chromecast.
Pro Has a remote app for iOS & Android
The M-Series runs on VIZIO's SmartCast OS which has a brilliant, well-integrated phone and tablet app for iOS & Android. It can turn your smart device into a fully-functional remote, which makes it easy and convenient for you to control the TV without the physical remote. It's also particularly handy for text input, especially when it comes to searching for content from streaming services.
Pro Interface is ads-free
The M-Series has no ads on its interface.
Pro A well-rounded option
The TCL S517 is a decent option for pretty much everything, be it gaming, movies, sports, or HDR content. It has noteworthy picture quality, good all-around responsiveness, decent smart features, nice motion handling, and, most importantly, a great price.
Pro Functional mobile app
The mobile remote app for both iOS or Android can fully and comfortably substitute the real remote – launch apps, input text in apps, control most TV settings, etc.
Also, colors can easily be adjusted close to perfection thanks to the app’s calibration menu.
Pro Great smart features
The S517 comes with the Roku TV smart platform, which provides a comfortable interface and a big app selection.
The interface is quite basic and easy to overlook. It’s smooth and simple to swap to your favorite apps.
Roku TV offers a vast app store with all the most popular apps – Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Vudu and much more. Some apps are even absent from other TV manufacturers Smart TV platforms and unique to Roku.
Pro Suitable for gaming
The S517 is fit for all gamers because it offers a clear, lag-free experience. The TV is very responsive - it has struck a good balance between decent refresh rate, solid input lag, and good response time.
The TV is an ideal choice for console gaming in terms of its native refresh rate. It caps at 60Hz, which is perfect since most games won't benefit from anything higher than this.
The S517 is fast. An action shows on the screen in around 18 milliseconds, which can make the difference between managing to get a frag or waiting for a respawn. The time doesn't substantially increase when gaming in HDR or 4K either - it goes up to roughly 20.5 milliseconds. The only thing to remember is to keep "Game" mode enabled for the lowest possible input lag.
The TCL S517 also handles motion and fast-paced content quite well, it has a good response time. This makes sure you can keep up with fast-moving objects and a lot of action without it all appearing blurry. A full pixel color transition takes only 15.8 milliseconds.
Pro Well calibrated out-of-the-box
The picture quality when you first open the TV up is quite decent. The only settings that could potentially require tweaking are grey inaccuracy and color inaccuracy. Either way, these are things that most people won't even notice.
Pro Decent for use as a PC monitor
The S517 offers a pleasant PC monitor experience not only due to the good responsiveness but also because of the video signal's compression.
The TV won't make text appear blurry while connected to a PC because the signal has no compression and transports color data and luminance fully. This is also known as chroma 4:4:4, and the “Computer” and “Game” modes display it properly at 60Hz.
Pro Accessible inputs
All of the inputs are conveniently placed on the side of the S517, so you won't have to worry about leaving space between a wall and the TV.
Pro Optional video smoothing feature
The S517 offers the possibility to represent motion in videos smoother, also known as the "soap opera effect". This is done by making the TV take two frames and try to guess what would a frame in between of those look like, also known as motion interpolation. The frame rate can interpolate up to 60 frames per second.
Pro Handles 4K scaling well
The S517 does a reasonably good job with upscaling most content to 4K quality, be it 480p DVDs, HDTV or full HD Blu-rays.
Pro Good HDR playback
The S517 is a much better fit for HDR content and HDR gaming than its competitors due to the wide color gamut, decent color depth, and high contrast.
The TV can display a lot more colors than its similarly-priced counterparts. The coverage of the Digital Cinema P3 color space is very good - 90%.
The color depth is on par with competing options. The S517 has 10-bit color depth, which means that it can display approximately 1.07 billion colors in total. This is important for HDR content because HDR media takes advantage of 10-bit.
The S517 can display deep blacks in the HDR mode because of its high native contrast ratio of 6000:1, which is easily one of the best in the given price range.
The TV can also play all HDR content because it supports both standard formats of HDR - HDR10 and Dolby Vision. They enhance the viewing experience by editing the metadata, that is, the extra information that tells the TV how to display HDR. The formats differ in the way they deal with it, however - Dolby Vision edits the picture on a per scene basis, whereas HDR10 edits everything at the start of the video.
Pro Impressive picture quality
In terms of picture quality, the S517 is comparable to high-end TVs. It displays remarkably deep blacks due to its great contrast and reproduces details in color very well due to its good color gradient.
The 6000:1 native contrast ratio allows the TV to reproduce dark scenes particularly well. It is easily one of the best in this price range – it’s often compared to high-end counterparts.
The S517 has superb black uniformity and contrast that create pleasant, deep blacks. They are much better than those of the similarly-priced competitors. The maximum deviation sits at around 1.02% .
The TV is good at capturing small differences in color such as skin tones, green colors in nature, details in shadows, etc. This is because of the color gradient, which is on par with other options of the same price. There is almost no banding and the standard deviation of color doesn't go past 0,11%.
Con Local dimming could be better
Unless you're in a really dark room and the brightness is set to really high, the effects of local dimming on the M-Series isn't very noticeable. You'll be able to see some differences in dark scenes, but it's not enough to improve the picture quality by much. The contrast ratio with local dimming enabled increases from roughly 5500:1 to 5800:1, a difference that has little impact on the overall experience.
Con Interface can be sluggish and slow
The interface of VIZIO's SmartCast OS can sometimes be sluggish. Some users have reported experiencing choppy animations, frame drops when browsing through the menu, and slow response to input/selection.
Con Mediocre sound quality
The M-Series sounds too bassy and some details will be drowned out because of that. There is also noticeable distortion at high volumes.
Con Not suitable for group watching
The M-Series has a narrow viewing angle that makes it unsuitable for group watching.
Its picture quality gets worse when viewed from off-center angles. At just ≥20° off from the center, the colors start looking dull and blacks turns into grey.
Con Lacks TV tuner
The M-Series, along with several of VIZIO's latest TV lineups, does not have a TV tuner built-in. If you plan to watch local over-the-air broadcasts, you will need to purchase a TV tuner separately.
Con Not the best value choice for gaming
The M-Series is not the best choice for gaming in this price bracket due to its relatively high input lag of ~40ms. Gaming TVs requires low input lag so the player won't feel out of sync, which is why most of the TVs suitable for gaming have a low input lag of ≤20ms.
This may be negligible to some, but input lag can make a world of difference to demanding or competitive gamers.
Con Runs ads
The main interface page contains big advertisements that can’t be disabled.
There’s also a “Featured” tab that promotes all kinds of apps and channels.
Con Some dirty screen effect is present
This might cause some discomfort to sports fans because the playing surface might look darker at points. The S517's gray uniformity is decent at best, which, unfortunately, is often the case for lower-end TVs. The image is a little darker around the edges and the middle of the TV. The standard deviation of sits at around 3.1%.
Con Inconvenient calibration access
The only way to access the calibration menu is via the mobile app. This might be uncomfortable for people without smartphones or for people who prefer all control on the real remote.
Con HDR content lacks brightness
Small bright details in dark scenes won’t stand out. Unfortunately, this is usually the case with TVs in this price range. The TV's brightness for HDR media peaks at only 273 nits. Moreover, the TV doesn't support local dimming, which is also a big drawback for HDR content.
Con Struggles with reflections
While the S517 is okay for dimmer environments, the weakness shows in bright rooms and especially rooms with the light source facing the TV. The reflection handling of the TV is a bit worse than that of its competitors. It reflects approximately 6% of light off the screen.
Con Bad viewing angle
The S517 is a bad choice for a wide room because colors and blacks shift when viewed even slightly off center.
Leaning sideward just a little bit will drastically alter what you see. Colors shift at 18 degrees, brightness shifts at 28 degrees, but the blacks shift at the incredibly tiny angle of 9 degrees.
Con Can't overcome glare
The S517 is a better fit for dim environments or dark room viewing since the brightness can’t peak very high, only at 277 nits. This is common for TVs in this price range.