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Vizio M801D-A3

For all practical purposes, the M-series is VIZIO’s flagship model for 2013, save the appearance of their UHD/4K XVT series. VIZIO is looking to make some waves retaining its low cost TV position but also providing a decent design and picture and motion performance. The VIZIO M801D-A3 is the mammoth 80-inch panel in this nine model series and it cuts a handsome figure.

The VIZIO M801D-A3 is a Full HD 1080p passive 3D TV with Smart TV. It is VIZIO’s Razor LED edgelit panel with local dimming (16 zones) and smooth motion technology for better motion performance. This 120Hz panel uses backlight scanning to bump the refresh rate up to 240Hz.

With the near edge to edge design, a thin black bezel discreetly frames the 80” diagonal screen. A silver strip frames the 2.62” deep panel that is matched with a silver stand reinforced with metal to hold this 135-lb beauty. The base is designed with an uninspired single stock sitting on a cut out rectangular base, this panel pleads to be mounted on the wall.

Connections for external AV devices are adequate, but not abundant. There are four HDMI, two USB and one each of an analog and digital audio out, a shared component/composite input, an Ethernet and antenna.

In consumer ratings, picture and motion quality, color reproduction and 3D effects all received excellent rates. People found that after adjusting the picture settings they were able to diminish backlight bleed through and really make the colors pop.

Fast action, sports and 3D all benefited from the motion smoothing, though regular programming and some movies did better with this feature turned off. Black levels are usually very light on LED TVs; however, on the VIZIO M801D-A3 people are noticing deep black levels and like the improvement.

The Smart TV feature is modest at best. The VIZIO M801D-A3 doesn’t have a Web browser. While VIZIO does have an app store, many people just yawned at the content. Premium apps are abundant and should cover most favorites for streaming music, video and movies, social media apps and news and sports apps. I’ve always liked the shortcut app ribbon for quick app selection of favorites – the VIZIO M801D-A3 still has this feature and has added full screen app search.

Information on the Web leads one (me) to believe that the remote included with the VIZIO M801D-A3 is a Wi-Fi enabled universal remote, but consumer reviews are suggesting it is neither. A problem that was noticed in 2012 has been poor tactile response from the VIZIO remote control buttons and for some M-series models this still seems to be true.


VIZIO is keeping its competitive pricing while improving their TVs. The VIZIO M801D-A3 has excellent picture quality; motion performance is high and even a few WOOTS were given for improved black levels. Though the VIZIO M801D-A3 isn’t loaded with technology, it has what is needed for a good TV at a good price.