Panasonic TX-L42WT50B review

Plasma is no longer Panasonic's only TV fruit

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  • Mostly excellent picture
  • Great online features
  • Multitasking works well
  • Sumptuous design


  • A bit expensive
  • So-so black levels
  • Trackpad remote isn't great
  • Average sound

As plasma TVs' most vocal advocate, with enormous plasma production facilities to back up its beliefs, it's no surprise that Panasonic has been slower than most - well, everyone, really - when it comes to fully embracing LCD as a worthwhile TV technology.

Sure, there have been LCD models in Panasonic's TV range for a few years now. But they've invariably been limited in size and scope, with plasmas making up the entirety of Panasonic's big screen, home cinema enthusiast offering.

This year, though, it's all change. Panasonic's 2012 LCD television range is not only as expansive in terms of numbers as its plasma one, but it also includes screen sizes all the way up to 55 inches, and some genuinely flagship-status offerings full of high-level features, design flourishes and picture technology.

The 42-inch Panasonic L42WT50 is one such flagship proposition - a status it wears right out there on its sleeve, thanks to a gorgeous glass and metal design and a bezel so slender it wouldn't look out of place on one of the LG or Samsung's high-fashion models.

This is a big aesthetic leap for a brand that as recently as last year generally resided in the 'slightly bland' category for its TV designs.

Inside the Panasonic TX-L42WT50, meanwhile, is a dual-core processor system used to both drive Panasonic's most powerful picture processing engine yet - complete with local dimming for the Edge LED lighting system - and deliver some extra convenience features, including some welcome multitasking when using the set's expansive multimedia features.

The L42WT50's UK price is £2,195 (around $3,460) and is partnered in Panasonic's range by bigger brothers the 47-inch L47WT50 and 55-inch L55WT50.

Just below the Panasonic WT50 TVs you can find the DT50 televisions - including the Panasonic L42DT50 and L47DT50 - available in the same sizes, but lacking the dual-core processing and thus getting neither Panasonic's top-level picture processing nor the L42WT50's multitasking features.

The WT50 TVs also ship with two pairs of 3D glasses included, while you don't get any with the DT50 series.

In terms of the Panasonic TX-L42WT50's competition, the obvious candidates are the Samsung ES8000 series and Sony HX853 series - both of which have already reviewed well, and so could present the Panasonic TX-L42WT50 with some pretty stiff competition.