In the last few years Panasonic flatscreens have consistently delivered above average audio and the TX-L42E30B upholds this tradition with a pair of 10W speakers that pack a surprisingly bassy punch and can reach a decent volume. Perhaps by not slimming the TV down to within a millimetre of its life Panasonic has given its drivers room to breathe.
As with the picture tweaks, though, there aren't many sonic options to play with. Of the two presets, Music and Speech, you're best off sticking with the former, as the latter robs the soundstage of low-frequency grunt.
Other than that you're limited to the V-Audio and V-Audio Surround modes, which don't really add much in the way of separation or depth. Thankfully, the optical digital output, and the presence of an HDMI input with support for the Audio Return Channel (ARC), means hooking up the TX-L42E30B to a dedicated surround system or soundbar is simple; a screen of this size and quality really deserves an appropriately refined audio partner.
In value for money terms the Panasonic perhaps falls a little short. With an approximate launch price of £900 it feels expensive, especially when you consider that it lacks 3D support; some future-gazers who would consider it almost obsolete in this respect.
Quality never comes cheap, though and the performance and feature set of the TX-L42E30B almost justify its price. Find a retailer offering it at £800 and you can't have any complaints.
Ease of use
The TX-L42E30B puts many of its competitors to shame when it comes to usability, starting from the moment you unbox it. Although we're certain Panasonic would recommend that you got a buddy to help lift the TV from its cardboard coffin, you can easily do it yourself. Attaching it to the desktop stand is a doddle, too, involving no more than four screws and a minimal amount of faff.
Moving onto everyday use and this air of simplicity remains. The remote control, while not in danger of winning any RIBA awards, is well laid out and responsive.
This combines with Panasonic's lightning-fast GUI to make browsing its menus and sub-menus a Luddite-friendly process. It helps, of course, that the TX-L42E30B isn't overladen with user adjustments and tweaks, but what it does offer is easily findable.