The VIZIO M401i is yet again another great product by Vizio to hit the market. Just like its predecessors, the VIZIO M401i is a very good big-screen HDTV for a reasonable price. While the VIZIO M471i proved that you can get a solid 40-inch screen for under a grand, the VIZIO M401i proves that you can have great home entertainment without stretching your pockets.

As always, Amazon.com has the best stock of this HDTVs, and you get value for your money with every purchase. If you have always wanted to transform your living room and watching experience, now you have no excuse to miss out on this. For locations in the US, Amazon.com offers free shipping with every purchase.

Main features

For its relatively low price, the VIZIO M401i looks very stylish. A super-thin, quarter-inch black plastic bezel frames, give it a nearly bezel-free look except for a small protrusion in the lower-right hand corner holding the Vizio logo. The skeletal rectangular base is brought to live by a matching silver band that wraps around the edges of the screen.

On the back of the HDTV, an HDMI port, two USB ports and a component video input face left, while three additional HDMI ports, optical and RCA stereo audio outputs, an antenna connector, and an Ethernet port face down. On the back of the screen, just next to the lower left is a tiny button that acts as both the Power and Input button. If you need additional options, other than turn the HDTV on or cycle through inputs, the remote comes handy.

Other features

Pros:
  • Solid performance
  • Generous feature set
Cons:
  • Dark scenes may not come out clear

The VIZIO M401i features built-in Wi-Fi and Vizio's Vizio Internet Apps Plus (VIA Plus) service. This offers access to many streaming media services and online apps. With VIA Plus, you can access Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and M-Go streaming services. This is made possible through dedicated buttons on the remote, and the VIA Plus button loads a toolbar on the bottom of the screen, with a list of services like Hulu Plus and Yahoo.

The VIZIO M401i has strong black levels and accurate colors that make it look very good when watching movies. The colors look bright, crisp, and colorful without looking cartoonish and over saturated. The M401i consumes an average of 97 watts, and this is fairly standard for an HDTV this size. Although it falls back due to lack of energy-saving mode like many other HDTVs, it is still a reasonable consumer as compared to other similarly sized plasma screens.

The VIZIO M401i's remote is another asset worth looking at. The remote has a flat, glossy black face framed by a silver band around it. It features standard large square navigational pads, with playback and dedicated online service above it, while the Volume/Channel UP/Down and VIA Plus button below it. Although the buttons aren't backlit, they are distinct enough to identify even without looking at them.

Summary

If you want a relatively cheap HDTV, the LED-backlit VIZIO M401i is hard to beat. Its price tag puts it at the low end HDTVs in its size class, and its generous feature set should satisfy your connectivity needs. The VIZIO M401i's price and performance make it a midrange favorite worth checking out.

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