Already reigning supreme in plasma, Panasonic wants to make the quality 32-inch LCD market its own. If elegantly turned out, well-featured and highly capable sets such as this 32-inch TX-L32G10B are anything to go by, that ambition might be closer to being realised than its competitors will like.

While not quite so jam-packed with gadgetry as some other new Viera LCDs, the TX-L32G10B is nonetheless one handsomely appointed piece of kit.

It's 1080p, for a start, which, despite having long superseded HD Ready as the must-have specification, is by no means guaranteed on a 32in set. The processing system looking after all those dots, meanwhile, is the company's own V-Real Pro 4, which is easily one of the most effective available today.

The socket count includes an SD card slot for playing back multimedia files from your PC or camera/camcorder, while the integrated tuners are able to receive digital and analogue terrestrial, as well as satellite broadcasts (including the high-definition Freesat service).

Panasonic tx-p32lg10

CONTROL: The Panasonic's remote has big, clear buttons where it counts

There's no Viera Cast internet connectivity, but our experience with what we are increasingly resigned to having to call 'widgets' leads us to consider this as a less than devastating omission.

Panasonic is sticking to a broadly textual user system when all others seem to be adopting an icon-based interface. The plain, blue, grey and yellow boxes and sensible, clear lettering might not look as exciting as other manufacturers' groovy graphics, but it is relatively foolproof and gets you up, running and tweaked to satisfaction briskly and without undue anxiety.

Picture

We were taken to task recently by a reader on our habitual slating of the grubbier outreaches of Freeview, so to redress the balance, we ignored the shopping channels and tuned straight into Wimbledon.

As the BBC's flagship sport event, we reasoned that it would be made and broadcast to the highest possible standards and the Panasonic absolutely lapped it up. Assisted by uncharacteristically gorgeous weather, the Centre and Number One courts looked like a tennis fan's rose-tinted memory of tournaments past.

The whites were so crisp, the grass so lush and the balls so new-looking it made one crave a glass of Pimm's and a punnet of strawberries. Movement was occasionally a bit suspect (more of that later) and the occasional digital artefact niggled around the edges, but the overall effect was clean, natural and hugely enjoyable.

DVDs and Blu-ray discs displayed the same impressive characteristics, only more so, with the additional detail (particularly of the former) filling in backgrounds to marvellous effect and adding to a sense of scope and scale that draws you right into the picture.

Panasonic l32g10b front

The weaknesses are straight out of the LCD textbook, with some occasionally uncertain motion and ultimately rather feeble black levels.

The latter, while not sufficient to ruin your enjoyment of what you're watching, does reveal itself during some material that shouldn't present too much of a challenge, such as camera pans or tracking shots. We'd be surprised, though, if you weren't sufficiently mesmerised by the colours to notice most of the time.

The blacks are fine, as far as they go, with a decent sense of gradation between varying shades of darkness, but the set does eventually bottom-out into a bit of a mess, just when a plasma from this manufacturer would really be getting into its stride.

The experience also suffers in near-blackout conditions, with a distinctly luminous panel providing all-too obvious evidence of backlighting. It's consistently lit, though, without any distracting concentrations of light leakage anywhere on the display.

Sound

Panasonic tellies tend to be blessed with better than average audio, which isn't really saying much in the flatscreen universe, but 'decent' trumps 'rubbish' in our book and the TX-L32G10B's sonics are up to the company's usual standard.

The performance is not massively loud or bassy, but its faithful enough and only starts conking out when working at full steam with more bombastic fare. The set will process Dolby Digital, though, and the optical output means you can send pristine binary audio to an amplifier should you find the built-in speakers aren't good enough.

Anything over half a grand is getting a bit steep for a 32in set these days, but then anything significantly better than this would deservedly command a high price. It's a flexible and competent set that should guarantee years of solid service and you can't ask for much more than that.

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