Its animated-PowerPoint video editing aside, Bosch does make a pretty good point. We’ve innovated in every part of the car, except the sin visor. The visor, although designed with good intent, is often obstructive, as it reduces your visibility in its effort to shade your eyes. The fact that you can’t wear heavily tinted sun-glasses while driving (in most parts of the world) just further aggravates the matter because you’re faced with one of two issues when you’re driving with the sun shining right at you. Either ignore the horrible glare, or cut your vision in half by holding an opaque flap against the sunlight. Bosch’s solution to the problem is pretty simple and just as effective.
The Virtual Visor is a transparent plate that sits in front of you, allowing you to see the road ahead right through it. The visor does, however, come with a facial-sensing RGB camera that sits on your dashboard, tracking your face as you drive. When it begins sensing glare or an excess of brightness on your face, a part of the visor goes dark, thanks to an LCD film integrated into it. This hexagonal matrix of dark pixels shifts around as your face moves, casting a shadow on your eyes to cut the glare, while the rest of the visor remains transparent for you to see through. Bosch demonstrated the Virtual Visor as a very basic prototype promising major improvements to it. For now, the idea itself seems pretty impressive, and the prototype does a pretty neat job of tracking your face and providing a dark visor only to your eyes while 90% of the visor remains clear and transparent.
My initial thought would be that Bosch should integrate this right into windshields, rather than having it as a separate visor, but the guys at Bosch rightfully point out that LCD panels tend to go dark if and when they fail or break, which would in turn compromise the driver’s full view were the windscreen to instantly turn black if gravel, hail, or even a rock slightly cracked the glass. The Virtual Visor, however, only cuts a portion of your view if it fails, and can always be folded right back up. Another issue with the Virtual Visor is its facial tracking, which at the moment seems like it needs better calibration. The camera can sometimes fail to detect your face if you turn it to look sideways or back, and the LCD pixels sometimes prove to be a bit of a distraction as they move around right in front of you.
Bosch is promising to develop this technology further to help it reach customers soon. Under development since 2016, the Virtual Visor hopes to be miniaturized further, with the ability to even swivel sideways to cut glare from the side of the driver. I guess all we need to do is wait and ‘watch’.
FTC Disclaimer: Technabob was provided with the hardware tested in this review by VIZIO at no cost. Our reviews are the unbiased opinions of our authors, and in no way represent the views of the manufacturer represented here.
If there’s one thing that Vizio has been known for over the years is their ability to deliver just the right mix of features and quality, while doing it at an outstanding price. I’ve spent some time living with one of their latest models, the 2019 M7-Series Quantum 65″ display, and I’m happy to report that quality and value mix continues to get better and better each year.
What’s notable about Vizio’s M-Series displays is how they sit in the sweet spot of delivering high-end features like 4K and HDR, while making them affordable. The M7 and M8 Quantum displays add another feature that puts them on par or above much more expensive televisions from Samsung and LG – quantum dot technology. This allows them to display a dramatically wider color gamut when compared traditional RGB LCD panels.
Vizio offers the M-Series Quantum 65″ television in two flavors – the M7 (reviewed here) offers 20 local dimming zones, and brightness up to 400 nits. The M8 has 90 local dimming zones, and brightness up to 600 nits. Both displays offer full support for HDR content in both Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats. Normally, the M7 costs $899.99 and the M8 costs $999.99, but at the time of writing, Vizio is offering either display for just $799.99, while you can grab the M7 from Costco or other retailers for as little as $699.99, at least through 8/20/19. There are also smaller M7 Quantum displays in 43″, 50″ and 55″ sizes, as well as an M8 55″ model.
The M7 has sleek and clean looks, offering up a slim and minimal profile, with a nice skinny bezel and sitting on a pair of sturdy Y-shaped legs. It’s got plenty of inputs, with four HDMI ports – two facing the side, and two facing downward. The first port offers ARC support for sending digital audio to your receiver or sound bar, and there’s also an SPDIF digital audio output if you need that too. Setting up the display for first use is easy, and Vizio offers a guided on-screen process which takes you through each step, and gets the display onto your network and does any firmware updates.
That’s all fine and good, but what really matters is image quality, and in that department, the M7 Quantum really shines. The images it displays are as crisp, bright, and colorful as any display I’ve seen. Even on standard dynamic range content, the colors are extremely vibrant and punchy. But load up some HDR content, and it really shines, showcasing this screen’s ability to display a whopping 1.07 BILLION colors. The overall picture quality on this sub-$800 display is dramatically better than the $2300 4K display I had in my room that I bought about 4 years ago.
The set’s full-array local dimming capability improves contrast in scenes by adjusting the illumination of the backlight in sections. For the most part, this worked very well in real world content like movies, video games, and TV shows. However, when viewing some menus or loading screens with highly contrasting flat areas of color or grey, the dimming zones become fairly well pronounced.
This is something I’ve noticed on other recent Vizio displays, and due to the M7’s rather limited 20 zones, it’s more noticeable here. I imagine it’s less pronounced on the M8 with its 90 zones. Regardless, I never noticed this artifact on anything but menu and loading screens, and in the closing credits of movies. In typical content, all I saw was a great picture with excellent contrast.
Vizio packs the M-Series Quantum with all kinds of smart TV functionality too. It’s got on-board apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Hulu, YouTube, iHeartRadio, Redbox, CBS All Access, and more. All of these are easy to access directly from the TV’s remote control, and the services I tried (Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu) all offered up exceptionally crisp and colorful 4K video delivery over my Wi-Fi network. Vizio also loads the TV with a free streaming service powered by PlutoTV, called “WatchFree,” which includes over 150 free channels, including movies, music, sports, lifestyle and other content. So theoretically, if you have a broadband Internet connection, you can watch lots of shows without paying a dime, and combined with a handful of the aforementioned paid services, it’s really easy to “cut the cord” with Vizio’s smart TVs.
The included remote control is pretty basic, but gets the job done, offering quick and easy access to six of the most popular streaming apps, as well as volume, channel, menu, and input controls. It’s not designed for controlling multiple devices, so I recommend picking up a proper universal remote if you need to control more than just the TV. I also wish it had backlighting, as I was fumbling around to figure out which button did what in a darkened room.
If the on-board apps aren’t enough, the M-Series also has built-in support for Chromecast, so you can use any app on your Android or iOS device that supports the tech to select and control video and audio from your phone or tablet, and then stream the content onto your TV. This worked seamlessly from my iPhone, and is great for things like quickly playing YouTube videos or other content you surfed to on your phone and want to share with others in the room. There’s also Apple Airplay 2 support, so you can stream music and videos from iOS apps that don’t support Chromecast. The TV also has support for controlling it via Siri, Google or Alexa voice assistants, but I didn’t have a chance to test this functionality.
The Vizio M7-Series Quantum 65″ display represents an exceptional value, offering up fantastically crisp, colorful, and bright 4K images, and is packed with great Smart TV features. If you’re looking for a 65″ display with all the latest and greatest features that won’t break the bank, you’ll definitely want to put the Vizio high on your consideration list.
Computer users with small desks often wish they had more desk space. However, workspace can be hard to come by thanks to big computer displays and keyboards. Samsung now has a slick display called the Space Monitor. Rather than having a regular stand, the Space Display comes with an arm that connects to your desk.
Simply clamp the display’s stand to the edge of your desk, and you can adjust the monitor’s angle and distance from right up against the wall, to a low profile similar to that of a laptop. It’s a really smart design that eliminates the need for a third-party monitor arm.
The 32-inch unit supports 4K resolution while the 27-inch supports WQHD resolution. The 27-inch Space Monitor sells for $399.99, and the 32-inch Space Monitor retails for $499.99. Both displays are available now over on Amazon.