The PenTouch system that's the headline feature of the 50PZ850 is unfortunately a classic example of a piece of technology designed to solve a problem that never actually existed. Did you ever feel the urge to walk over to your big TV, pick up a pen and start scrawling on the screen? Nope, didn't think so.
The only people who might get any use at all out of PenTouch are young kids, but it's hard to see how having young kids standing extremely close to and touching a 50-inch plasma screen is ever likely to be a great idea.
Once you write PenTouch off in your mind, though, the 50PZ850T certainly has its attractions. It's got solid USB and PC-based multimedia support for instance, and its HD picture quality isn't bad at all so long as you don't mind the post-calibration image not being particularly bright. It's good to see that 3D doesn't suffer too badly with crosstalk noise either.
A list of niggles that includes an uninspiring standard definition performance, some colour tone concerns, rather average black levels by plasma standards and excessive input lag make it impossible for us to wholeheartedly recommend the 50PZ850T. But for all its foibles and mad features, it's still ultimately a respectable 3D plasma TV; you just need to be fully aware of the pros and cons before you part with any cash.
The metallic design is eye-catching if you like that sort of thing, and provided you can make your room reasonably dark and don't mind putting in a bit of time to adjust colour balances, the TV can also produce some good HD and decent 3D images. The operating system is good too.
Some colour tones never look quite right, black levels aren't great by plasma standards, you initially need to be careful about image retention, standard definition pictures don't look particularly brilliant, there's no Smart TV functionality, the input lag is too high for gamers, and the PenTouch feature is a waste of space.
There are things to like about the 50PZ850. Its picture performance with HD is in many ways very good, and it's a relief to find that its 3D pictures are far less troubled by crosstalk than those of some of LG's cheaper active 3D TV plasma models. It's a very easy TV to use, too.
Ultimately, though, a series of seemingly rather careless flaws, a lack of LG's Smart TV service and a headline feature that's no use to man nor beast mean the 50PZ850T can ultimately only earn a very cautious rather than whole-hearted recommendation.
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