Panasonic TX-50CX700 review

This metallic mid-ranger with Firefox and blade-like feet puts 4K at the forefront

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Our Verdict

With Firefox OS on board and an all-new LED panel, the TX-50CX700 – complete with razor-sharp design – comes across as a good value 4K telly, which makes the most of its pixels and upscales well.

For

  • Slick design
  • 4K detail
  • Black levels
  • Colours
  • Firefox OS

Against

  • Only three HDMI inputs
  • DVDs not upscaled well
  • Some motion blur
  • Freeview Play delayed

This 50-inch edge LED-backlight LCD TV is all about the three 'F's'; Firefox, Freeview Play and 4K.

Selling for around £1,200 at the time of writing the TX-50CX700 is comfortably in the mid-range of Panasonic's line-up for 2015, though expect major discounts down the line.

Unlike most Panasonic TVs further down the food chain, the TX-50CX700 looks great.

A dark grey metallic bezel measuring just 7mm on three sides and 11mm at the bottom gives it a razor-sharp appearance, while the panel itself is only 46mm slim. Meanwhile, the two feet that grip the TV from the extreme edges are barely there at all, which helps create a super-slim, floating look.

Happily, there's no use of the transparent plastic or light-up logos that other TV brands seems to love. The TX-50CX700 looks so big on those two tiny feet that it ought to be unsteady, though in practice it's no less solidly held than any large TV.

It's an awesome effect, but, no, there is no pointless curve. Get over it.

Features

4K isn't just about pixels. That's clearly the message from Panasonic on the TX-50CX700 and beyond.

Aside from its 3840x2160 resolution, probably the most significant innovation on the TX-50CX700 is its Super Bright LED panel, which isn't used further down the Panasonic TV ranges for 2015. As the name suggest, these are all about producing more brightness, but without using any more energy.

Other image improvers onboard include 4K Studio Master Drive processing and the 800Hz motion-suppressing tech used, though it's a backlight-blinking technology (i.e. an illusion) rather than a natively super-fast panel.

Panasonic TX 50CX700

However, probably just as big a reason to buy the TX-50CX700 as 4K and picture boosters is the presence of Freeview Play.

Well, it would be, but that particular innovation hadn't quite gone live at the time of writing, so I was unable to test it. It promises to be something special, with the Firefox OS on the TX-50CX700 already studded with a Freeview Play Catch-Up TV app in its core menu structure, though sadly there's no sign of Freetime, which would have made a nice stop-gap feature.

Apps

Although Firefox OS is all about streamlining and customisation, there is a fairly deep well of apps to choose from.

The Firefox OS user interface contains the likes of Netflix, Amazon Instant, YouTube, AccuWeather and the BBC iPlayer by default, while Panasonic's online shop contains dozens more including Twitter, Facebook, Dailymotion, BIGFlix, TuneIn, Deezer, Eurosport Player, Picasa, BharatMatrimony, Al Jazeera, CNBC Real-Time, Meteonews TV, Withings, Bild, CineTrailer, Rovi Guide and HappyTrips.

Panasonic TX 50CX700

Where's ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five?

It's irrelevant; the TX-50CX700 will soon have Freeview Play, which integrates all catch-up TV apps available in the UK into the core Firefox OS experience by default. Consequently, they'll all soon become an app accessed by the remote's main Home button.

Ins and outs

You'll not want for much on the TX-50CX700, though its ins and outs aren't 100% generous.

Positioned on the TVs left hand side as you look directly at the screen, a side panel includes an impressive three USB slots alongside a HDMI input, a headphones jack, a Common Interface slot and an SD card slot.

Panasonic TX 50CX700

The latter has fallen out of fashion of late, with Panasonic itself dropping this feature a couple of years ago on all of its TVs, but photographers will love it.

There are also some outward facing inputs on the back of the TX-50CX700 (namely a RGB Scart and a set of component video inputs), though the most important are reserved for underneath; pointing downwards are two HDMI inputs, a RF input for the Freeview HD tuner, an Ethernet LAN slot (though the TX-50CX700 also has Wi-Fi), and an optical digital audio output.

It's good to have the SD Card slot back, but we'd swap it in an instant for a fourth HDMI input. For a main living room TV like the TX-50CX700, a fourth HDMI input is a must.

Also available

Also in CX700 Series is the 40-inch Panasonic TX-40CX700B and larger 55-inch TX-55CX700B and 65-inch TX-65CX700B models.

Note that while most of these models are Edge LED TVs, the TX-55CX700B has a Direct LED panel, so can indulge in a bit of local dimming. That's not an inconsequential upgrade; if you spot the TX-55CX700B for a price close to the TX-50CX700B, go for it.