Panasonic's entry level 55-inch 3D TV for 2013 cuts a mighty handsome figure. What there is of the L55ET60's unfeasibly skinny bezel looks a shimmering vision in its silvery metal finish with glass accents.

The L55ET60 also sets a brilliant early tone with its superb My Home Screen interface, which has to be the most friendly and well-designed Smart TV 'hub' system we've seen to date.

Even the TV's picture quality strikes a good early note thanks to its high brightness, bold approach to colours, and excellent motion performance.

The L55ET60 is ultimately just fetched up short of an unbridled recommendation, though, by a combination of its rather short list of online video streaming services, and its underwhelming contrast performance.

We liked

There are precious few prettier 55-inch TVs around this year, and nor does any other TV offer a more user-friendly operating system. The set's multimedia and smart device support is mostly excellent too, and its 3D pictures are great fun.

We disliked

Dark scenes reveal a rather average black level performance, and it would be handy if Panasonic could get round to adding a few more online video services at some point. Gamers should take note of the L55ET60's rather high input lag, too.

Final Verdict

The L55ET60's premium looks provide a beautiful disguise for its mid-range status, and if there's a friendlier Smart TV in town right now, we haven't met it. It caters well for your multimedia needs too, and there's much to admire about its picture quality - especially its bold colours, excellent motion clarity, and brilliantly relaxing, engaging 3D images.

In the end we can only award it a final score of four on account, mainly, of its merely solid contrast performance. But Panasonic's TV is still worth at least an audition by all but the most serious of film fans.

Also Consider

With no comparative new 2013 models available at the time of writing, the rival sets that currently most warrant your attention are actually 2012 models - especially now these are being fairly heavily discounted in some online stores.

One example would be Samsung's UE55ES7000. This offers an equally lovely design, and outguns the L55ET60 in the picture quality department thanks to its excellent post-calibration contrast performance. It also delivers a considerably wider range of video streaming services - though its viewing angle is more limited, and Panasonic's online/multimedia interface is much better.

Sony's 55HX753 would be our other worthwhile rival. This set doesn't deliver quite the same level of picture quality as Sony's exemplary HX853s, but its black levels are slightly deeper than the L55ET60's and it offers a more video-rich online platform. Its interface falls far short of Panasonic's, though, and the Panasonic's passive 3D playback is ultimately more rewarding than the active system on the Sony.