Vizio D40f-J09 Review (Vizio D-Series)

$159.99 $229.99 SEE AT AMAZON

The Vizio offers a cheaper entry into small-screen TV smarts than you’d expect. In recent years, we’ve seen entertainment tech evolve massively, but TVs like the Vizio D40f-J09 have refused to be left behind. It’s surprising that a TV without the latest whistles and bells like OLED screen, Mini LEDs, or gaming features remains relevant, but once you look beyond the tech craze, you begin to appreciate the basics in some of these budget TVs.

In the case of the Vizio D40f-J09, you’re not getting 4K HDR capabilities, it doesn’t offer Amazon Fire, Google TV, or Android TV smarts, and it doesn’t get as bright as some of the best TVs around. Instead, you’re getting a 40-inch TV that packs Vizio’s proprietary SmartCast platform, Full HD picture at a price that is, without a doubt, very affordable.

Of course, in the Vizio D-Series, you’ll have to be careful about the model you choose as there’s a regular HD model, the Vizio D32h-J09, and two Full HD models: the Vizio D40f-J09 (our review model) and the Vizio D43f-J04. In this review, we’ll speak of the latter two models, but all of the above have the smarts of 1080p screens without the added pixels of HDR support.

For folks who don’t need or demand the extra clarity of 4K screens, the Vizio D40f-J09 makes a strong case for itself – it delivers decent black levels thanks to full array lighting and its above-par brightness will surprise you at this point.

There are downsides -however, its audio is nothing to write home about and we just wish it had better upscaling. And since it lacks the extra pixels, the basic IQ processor doesn’t get any closer to Vizio’s higher-end IQ Active and IQ Ultra processors used in the M-Series and P-Series models. The result is a picture that’s just fine for a kids’ room, but not the type of TV you’d want to have for your living room.

Vizio D40f-J09 Review

Design

The Vizio D40f-J09 is a pretty simple TV, sporting a thin, flat, matte plastic bezel and a low-profile look with a simple Vizio logo in the lower right corner. There’s a power button on the underside, near the left edge. The TV is supported by a pair of curved black plastic legs, but you can mount it on a stand or the wall.

Around the back of the TV, there’s a left-facing power cable that’s permanently attached. Available I/O ports include two HDMI, a USB port, and an optical audio port all facing the right. A composite video input and antenna/cable connector face downward. The Vizio D-Series doesn’t have an Ethernet port, so if you want to use the TV’s connected smart features, you just have to use Wi-Fi.

Finally, the D40f-J09 comes with a basic IR remote that has shortcuts for Netflix, prime Video, Disney Plus, Crackle, and others, as well as Vizio’s WatchFree service. Being a basic remote, it doesn’t have voice search built-in, but there’s a SmartCast app you can download if you need additional functionality.

Vizio D40f-J09 Review remote

Smart TV (SmartCast)

The Vizio D-Series TV runs Vizio’s proprietary SmartCast platform that offers a modest but useful selection of apps and services backed by the system’s excellent connectivity. It may not be as popular as, let’s say, Fire TV or Android TV, but it’s still a fascinating smart TV platform. Here you’ll find most major streaming services including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+ Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. However, if you’re a fan of HBO Max and Twitch, you might have to look elsewhere.

The similarly affordable 42-inch Insignia F20 Fire TV comes with Amazon’s Fire TV OS, while the TCL 43S435 4K TV runs on the Roku TV platform, so you have lots of alternatives at this price point. What makes SmartCast attractive, however, is the inclusion of both Apple AirPlay and GoogleCast; both systems allow you to send video to the TV from any Android or iOS smartphone, PC, or Mac. Beyond that, SmartCast is a very lightweight and simple smart TV platform, without smart home control, voice assistant, voice search, or any other advanced features available on other platforms.

Compared to other platforms like Google TV or Fire TV, the SmartCast on the Vizio D-Series tends to run a little bit slower, than even on Vizio’s higher-end models and the power-on sequence can take a while if you don’t enable a fast start and it leaves the TV in low-power mode when you’re not watching. It’s recommended to activate the latter even if it costs a bit more money in power costs, as it will save you minutes of your life just waiting for SmartCast to come on.

Vizio D40f-J09 Review kitchen

Picture Performance

The Vizio D40f-J09 offers a 1080p picture with a 60Hz refresh rate. As expected of a budget TV, it doesn’t support high dynamic range (HDR) content, but that’s not a deal-breaker at all. Picture performance is above average, and any available issues are only apparent if you’re used to watching some higher-end TV. But for those upgrading from an old CRT or first-gen screen, the D-Series doesn’t fail to impress.

The secret behind impressive picture performance at a low price is the TV’s high brightness and decent black levels thanks to the fill array lighting. With array lighting on the D-Series instead of side-lit LEDs, the TV can effectively black out some parts of the screen for better contrast while keeping some areas brightly lit. At a closer look, you’ll notice a bit of light leakage off to the side and a deeper grey tone instead of outright black, but to a larger extent, the brightness and black levels are quite good, especially at this price point.

Where the TV fails to impress is in color reproduction and saturation. Since it lacks any HDR built-in, it can’t produce as many colors as a 4K HDR screen such as the Samsung Q70C or the Hisense U7G; but those are top-tier models, and here we’re looking at a budget TV meant for the side room on kids bedroom. Without HDR, you’re getting images that are less vibrant than what you’d ordinarily find elsewhere.

Vizio D40f-J09 Review gym

Another issue has to be the narrow refresh rate, which isn’t equipped to remove grain from movies, and the 60Hz refresh rate can’t handle fast sports scenes. But none of that matters if you’re using this TV to watch basic shows, cartoons, or dramas – all of which look great here – but you’re limited on the content you can watch.

On the upside, gamers will find some value here. It has a dedicated Game Mode that offers less than 10ms input lag for smooth gameplay at 1080p resolution and works well with last-gen consoles such as the Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Audio is a bit of a mixed bag; it lacks a very wide soundstage; you might need to buy a soundbar for this TV if you need better audio. A value soundbar like the Vizio V-Series 5.1 Sound Bar will upgrade you to surround from basic stereo sound.

Vizio D40f-J09 Review: Verdict

There’s still a place for budget 1080p TVs. The Vizio D40f-J09 is simple, has a dim picture, and lacks HDR support, even compared with budget-priced 4K TVs, its color range still lags behind. If your budget isn’t very tight, we’d recommend the TCL 6-Series or the Hisense U8G for incredibly superior contrast and color However, that doesn’t dim the Vizio D40 if you’re on a tight budget or want a smaller screen.

With the D-Series, you’re getting Apple AirPlay and Chromecast built-in as well as Alexa compatibility and AMD FreeSync makes gaming on this TV a little bearable. At its sticker price, the D40f-J09 is less expensive than the TCL 43S435, and a third of the price of the TCL 55R635 (only available in 55 inches and above). It boasts a low input lag which means it’s good for gaming or use as a second monitor, and it could work well as a bedroom TV – just get in knowing you’re not getting the best picture.

VIZIO 40-inch D-Series Full HD 1080p Smart TV with AMD FreeSync, Apple AirPlay and Chromecast Built-in, Alexa Compatibility, D40f-J09, 2022 Model

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$159.99
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as of June 13, 2024 8:11 am
Vizio D40f-J09 Review (Vizio D-Series)
Vizio D40f-J09 Review (Vizio D-Series)
$159.99 $229.99
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