Panasonic TX-50DX700B review

Despite 4K and HDR, Firefox OS is the big hitter on this 50-incher

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Our Verdict

This is a great 4K TV if you want to go for a midrange option with HDR features - just don't expect the same HDR experience as you'd get from a more expensive model. Smart TV features are superb and as usual from Panasonic the TV itself looks fantastic.

For

  • Firefox OS
  • 4K detail
  • HD & SD sources
  • File handling
  • Freeview Play app

Against

  • HDR lacks sparkle
  • Tight viewing angle
  • Some light leakage

The DX700 is Panasonic's brand new entry level series of HDR-compatible 4K TVs and offers the cheapest way to get your hands on an HDR 4K TV from a premium brand.

The speed with which HDR (high dynamic range) features have perpetuated down into the lower echelon price ranges has been quite impressive - the 40-inch 40DX700 that we reviewed last month is available for just £649 - and that can only be a good thing for consumers looking for futureproofed TVs without spending large sums of money.

The TV we discuss here is the 50-inch model in this series. It's available at closer to £800 on launch, and thus you might consider this model the more sensible purchase of the two. After all, 4K looks fantastic on a 40-inch screen but to make best use of all that extra detail you'd have to say the sweet spot between price and pixels is usually found at closer to 50-inches than 40.

If 50-inches is still not big enough, though, you can get the even larger 58-inch TX-58DX700 for around £1000 at the time of writing.

One of the key reasons to choose Panasonic over a Sony or Samsung right now is the excellent FirefoxOS smart TV system. Yes it's the same Firefox as the web browser and yes there's all manner of integration available if you're a keen Firefox user.

All of the expected smart features are available to you and it's all wrapped up in a beautiful interface that just works in ways that Android TV often does not.

Picture quality

Picture quality on the DX700 is about what you'd expect really. It's an entry level series when it comes to HDR but it's more like midrange when you consider that the cheaper DX600 series is more or less exactly the same without HDR compatibility.

So you could argue that a recommendation to buy the DX700 hinges on its HDR performance and sadly this is where this series starts to come unhinged. As Jamie Carter noted in his extensive 40DX700 test, HDR footage streamed from Netflix - specifically Marco Polo season one - failed to really impress as it perhaps should.

While the TV can technically display a higher dynamic range compared to the cheaper DX600 series, it lacks the ability to really allow the extra picture information to do its mesmerising. Yes it's better than non-HDR but is it worth the extra cash? It's a hard call to make but we'd say maybe not.

This all being said, general 4K pictures look great and so does standard definition which is often where cheap 4K TVs come unstuck. 4K, HD and SD images are all handled competently with even fast-moving pictures rendered nicely by Panasonic's long-impressive Intelligent Frame Creation motion smoothing.

Verdict

Honestly the DX700 series from Panasonic is a good range of TVs and this 50-inch model is probably the one to choose if you want to spend just enough to get HDR features without going overboard. But really this TV is caught in something of a no man's land - probably a bit too expensive over the similar-but-not-HDR DX600 without adding sufficient performance, and not even close to a match in HDR terms compared to the TV's that live slightly higher up the pricing tree. In conclusion though, if you buy this TV you are unlikely to be disappointed, particularly if you can get it for less than £800.

This article is based on the Panasonic TX-40DX700 review that techradar published in May 2016