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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Vizio 7-inch LED TV is a great choice at a new, lower price



Recently I was shopping for some portable TVs for our news teams to use for monitoring local broadcasts at news scenes and for hurricane coverage. A colleague told me about one at Radio Shack made by Auvio (their house brand) so I went to check it out. prs1-6910541w345.jpgIt's a 3.5-inch LCD TV that runs on AA batteries and receives over-the-air digital and analog broadcasts. The picture was really stunning and at a sale price of $69 it seemed like a great deal. I couldn't get it to tune in very many stations, however, even when I was standing outside on a clear day. Not a good sign.

Vizio released a really nice 7-inch LED LCD TV a few months back but I remembered it was pretty pricey. I decided to take another look and was pleasantly surprised to find it had dropped from $159 to under $100 at many places online. So I went to a local Wal Mart store to see it and was impressed.


The Vizio VMB070 Edge Lit Razor LED LCD portable TV weighs only one pound and is just one-inch thick. It has a sharp and bright 800X480 widescreen display with onscreen, touch-sensitive controls. The integrated fold-away antenna becomes part of the case when folded and acts as a cover for switches and connection ports on the right side. Connection ports include composite video out, rf antenna (with adapter), headphone and USB. Also included are a carrying case and wireless remote.

The USB port allows the TV to be used as a digital picture frame. Just plug in a USB stick loaded with jpegs and you have an instant slide show. This really ads value to an already feature-packed unit.

The TV can receive digital HD and analog broadcasts over the air and using the included antenna adapter also can be connected to cable or satellite receivers as well as game consoles and external antennas. I first tried it inside using the integrated antenna and it only picked up four digital stations and 2 analog. Using it outside made a big difference, as it then found 18 digital stations and 4 analog. Using it inside with an external antenna produced the same results as outside.

vizio-vmb070-leftside1.jpgThe picture is very crisp and sharp and even in sunlight viewing was easy. The audio, however, is pretty weak and at full volume began to distort a bit. An integrated kickstand can hold the unit upright on a counter top for viewing. The rechargeable battery is rated for 3.5 hours of use. I didn't test it but experience says you can expect the battery to last for less time that claimed.

This TV is made for stationary viewing and even the slightest movement caused the picture to break up when it was tuned to digital stations. So it wouldn't be a good choice for use in a moving car. It could be used, however, as a monitor connected to gaming units or an iPod for viewing movies on a larger screen.

Overall this Vizio unit is a great portable TV with lots of great features. The sound isn't great and the rated battery life is pretty low, but at this new reduced price it's one of the best deals out there.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 11:26am]


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