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Usability

Thanks to its new My Home Screen interface, the Panasonic TX-L42E6B is the easiest-to-use smart TV we've tested to date. The multiple home screen approach provides a highly visual and straightforward way to find and access the huge range of content sources supported. Plus Panasonic has clearly worked hard with focus groups to ensure that its new interface never becomes overwhelming or confusing.

There are clear sign posts to help you figure out where to go next, the home screen layout is simple and uncluttered, and the provision of a verbal tutorial when you first install the TV - and which you can play again whenever you wish - is a great touch.

Panasonic TX-L42E6B review

Also brilliant compared with the efforts of most rivals is the latest Panasonic Viera app for Android and iOS smart devices. As well as enabling you to control your TV via your smartphone or tablet, this app enables you to use your smart device as a second screen, or to share the media on your smart device with the TV.

Samsung's smart device support, on the other hand, requires you to use two different apps for second screen and multimedia sharing.

Panasonic TX-L42E6B review

Panasonic's simple finger-swiping mechanism for moving content between your devices is a work of genius too.

Panasonic's normal picture/sound/network adjustment menus and remote control are rather more standard in their presentation. But while they're not especially glamorous or innovative, they get the job done well enough for the most part.

Panasonic TX-L42E6B review

The only aggravation is that inputting text - into search engines or the built-in web browser - via the standard remote control is a real chore.

Overall, though, the Panasonic TX-L42E6B is a triumph of usability considering how many features and content sources it's putting at your fingertips.

Sound quality

Panasonic TX-L42E6B review

We know what you're thinking: a TV as reasonably priced and super-slim as the Panasonic TX-L42E6B can't possibly produce any sound worthy of the name. But actually, even if you feed it a full-tilt action scene, the Panasonic TX-L42E6B has a decent stab at reproducing it, courtesy of a surprisingly open-sounding mid-range and some well-rounded trebles that don't get too harsh when the going gets tough.

Predictably there's no great amount of bass to provide a counterpoint to the treble detailing, but the mid-range is just about powerful and expansive enough to create at least the illusion of bass while also avoiding distortion.

Value

Panasonic TX-L42E6B review

There are two sides to the Panasonic TX-L42E6B's value story. On the one hand, the amount of picture quality the TV produces makes the £800 (around US$1,227/AU$1,182) asking price look attractive.

On the other hand, it can't be ignored that Samsung and LG both offer respectably-performing 40-42-inch TVs for the same money or even slightly less that also give you 3D playback.