Panasonic TX-58DX902B review

This Ultra HD Premium TV has to be seen to be believed

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Editor's Choice

Our Verdict

This is a brilliant TV, and the first to meet the requirements for an Ultra HD Premium badge. The only catch is the price.

For

  • Incredible HDR pictures
  • Firefox smart TV is super
  • 4K Netflix + Amazon on board
  • HDCP 2.2 compatibility

Against

  • Backlight occasionally misfires
  • SD television looks bad
  • No 3D specs

After the death of the plasma TV industry it dominated for so long, Panasonic took a while to find its feet again in the TV market. But found its feet it now certainly has.

The DX902 is Panasonic's new flagship TV range, featuring this 58-inch model as well as the 65-inch Panasonic TX-65DX902B which techradar reviewed back in March. It is truly extraordinary.

It's the world's first TV range to be certified under the new Ultra HD Premium moniker. What that means is that it has a super bright screen, with a gigantic colour range and super-dark blacks when viewing HDR (high dynamic range) movies and TV shows.

To hit those heights and achieve the Ultra HD Premium seal of approval, the DX902 range features a new Panasonic technology called Local Dimming Ultra. It doesn't use edge-mounted LEDs to illuminate the screen, it uses over 500 LEDs across the whole rear of the panel in a honeycomb structure.

When it works, it works so well you won't even believe content can look this good. Though there are times when the tech produces a bit of a halo effect around bright objects – that's long been an issue of TVs featuring rear-mounted LEDs. But in most instances it works so well we can forgive the odd misfire.

Amazing pictures

The TV supports 10-bit HDR which means it's fully compatible with Ultra HD Blu-ray and other HDR sources and my goodness it looks good. Once you've had a flavour of HDR you won't ever want to go back, which is unfortunate because there is currently zero HDR content on broadcast TV in the UK.

The only way to get it is to buy Ultra HD Blu-ray discs or subscribe to Amazon Prime Instant Video or the top Netflix tier.

Unlike Samsung's KS9000 series, the Panasonic TX-58DX902B can display 3D content. It uses active shutter tech, which means you get the maximum resolution from your 3D movies but you also have to keep your 3D glasses charged up… if indeed you even have any because despite the £2799 price tag, this TV doesn't come with any as standard.

Sound quality

The sound quality of this TV is so-so. The downward firing speakers do a good enough job, but the presumption is with TVs like this is that if you can afford it, you can also afford a decent sound system or at least a soundbar.

Smart features are provided, as has become standard for Panasonic, by Mozilla's FirefoxOS which is deliciously simple to use and highly effective at getting the right content in front of you at the right time with minimal hassle. All the expected streaming apps are there as standard, and you can pin any app to your homescreen for even more rapid access.

Verdict

The Panasonic TX-58DX902B, along with its stablemate, is the world's first Ultra HD Premium TV and thus it is both stunningly beautiful and expensive. HD content looks fantastic when upscaled but this TV really sings when you feed it 4K HDR pictures.

Disclaimer: This article is based on the Panasonic TX-65DX902B review that techradar published in March 2016.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Reviews Editor

James (Twitter, ) oversees the reviews we publish on the site and also edits the TV, AV, Gaming, Car Tech and Gadgets channels. He's been in the field for 13 years, and travels all over the world to attend tech shows, product launches and cult gatherings. James' opinions have been inflicted on audiences of BBC TV, Radio 5 Live, The Guardian, local radio and various magazines and he's a grizzled veteran of most tech shows but will never again to return to CeBIT (no means no).