The TX-26LXD70 owes its compact design to the speakers placed below the screen and Panasonic's sleek Viera styling make it very easy on the eye.

Setup is a fuss-free affair, since the sockets are easily accessible, and there's a single power button clearly positioned on top of the set.

Connections are pretty much as you'd expect at this price point and include a brace of HDMI inputs, a pair of Scarts, S-video, component and composite video options and a PC input.

The set boasts an impressive claimed contrast ratio of 8500:1, and also features the maker's V-Real 2 image processing technology, promising some fantastic quality images. The spec sheet claims the set also has a wide viewing angle of 178 degrees and this looks pretty much spot on.

The onscreen menus are well designed and exceptionally easy to use, and also include Panasonic's handy Viera Link, which lets you control a host of AV components connected to the TV, such as DVD players and set-top boxes, a single controller and the onscreen menu. The remote itself has a clear and well labelled button layout and feels just weighty enough to hold and operate comfortably.

No doubt thanks to that V-Real 2 processor, the pictures are very good. Colour reproduction is vibrant and warm, with natural looking skin tones, which only turn an unnatural tone of orange when the colour balance is switched to 'warm'.

There is also a marked improvement with motion; images have far cleaner edges and only a tiny amount of blurring occurs on very fast moving images. The fight sequence from Batman Begins is far clearer and easier to follow.

The black levels are also superior, with far more detail visible in particularly dark scenes.

Pictures from standard-def DVDs are also excellent. The opening scene of Casino Royale looks almost as textured as it did at the cinema, and the fast-paced action sequences look vibrant with only minimal blurring on faster moving images.

As far as the sonics go, we could have hoped for a tad meatier sound, but that said, the sleek 26LXD70 definitely does the business.