Panasonic TX-L42WT50B review

Plasma is no longer Panasonic's only TV fruit

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The Panasonic TX-L42WT50 isn't quite as easy to use as we'd hoped. Particularly disappointing is the touchpad remote provided alongside the normal one. For starters, the trackpad area is too small for comfort, requiring you to lift and reset your finger too often while scrolling around the screen.

The circular shape of the trackpad isn't helpful either, since it doesn't bear any relation to the shape of the screen you're working within, making your finger movements feel counter-intuitive.

Then there's the way you have to tap the trackpad to select an on-screen option. The amount and type (tap or more sustained press) of pressure required to make this work seemed aggravatingly inconsistent during our tests. Also, as with the similar approach taken by the second remote supplied with Samsung's latest high-end TVs, it's all too easy to accidentally slide off your desired selection while attempting to press the pad to select it.

Remote controls

The normal remote, meanwhile, is solid but certainly not spectacular. It provides one-button access to most of the TV's key features, but the layout isn't especially thoughtful, leaving you with a sense that Panasonic is clinging on to an outdated remote control design rather than going back to the drawing board to come up with something that reflects the latest TV usage patterns.

The Panasonic TX-L42WT50 is best controlled, in fact, with the latest Viera Control App. Once you've learned your way around the shortcut icons at the bottom of this app's screen (it's a pity no tutorial is provided), it proves a very pleasant way of controlling the cursor and navigating the television's features. Plus, of course, it provides a brilliantly simple means of sharing multimedia content with the TV.

Please note, though, that you can't share music stored on your iOS device with the TV. Nor does the iPhone/iPod/iPad version of the app support voice control/recognition, while the Android version does.

Interface

The Panasonic TX-L42WT50's main on-screen functionality menus, meanwhile, aren't especially attractive. They do get the job done in a reasonably logical and succinct style, despite having quite a lot of options to handle courtesy of all the calibration tools the TV had to supply to earn the endorsement of the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF).

Panasonic's Viera Connect platform works great in some places but not so well in others. Where it's particularly effective is in its Marketplace area. This is probably the most friendly, attractive and easy to search shop we've yet seen on a TV, and is something other brands should flat-out copy as soon as possible.

Less helpful is the main menu for getting at all your apps - pre-installed and otherwise. This uses page after page of large icons, showing only eight apps per page, meaning that you'll often find yourself delving down through multiple pages to try to rustle up the particular app you're after.

It must be stressed, though, that the system does at least enable you to move apps up and down through the pages, so you can make sure you get all your favourite apps as near the top of the menu pile as possible.

Sound

The Panasonic TX-L42WT50's skinny frame, measuring 956 x 569 x 27mm, doesn't raise any great hopes for its audio performance. And indeed, it does sound pretty much like the majority of other super-skinny TVs out there, thanks to a pretty obvious shortage of bass and a slightly congested mid-range. Still, it can hit some decent volumes, and the treble end of the spectrum is decently clean without sounding too harsh or hissy.

Value

Considering how much the Panasonic TX-L42WT50 has got going on in terms of its features and performance, its £2,195 (around $3,460) price - discounted to just £1,700 (around $2,680) in some places - isn't as out there as it might look at first glance. Certainly it's roughly in line with the sort of pricing being applied to other dual core TVs this year from the likes of LG and Samsung.

It rather helps the Panasonic TX-L42WT50 in this section, too, that Sony doesn't do a 42-inch version of its HX853 series. However, at the same time you can't ignore the fact that while it's not got dual-core processing and lacks a few feature bells and whistles, the 46-inch Sony 46HX853 can be had for around £1,450 (around $2,290) - that's less money for four more inches of screen.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-S2
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyViera WT50
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelA+
Smart TVYes
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
BluetoothYes
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Analog TunerPAL
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)13.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating Power Consumption119 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand647 mm
Width with Stand956 mm
Depth with Stand312 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports3
3D TechnologyShutter
3D ConversionYes
Energy Consumption per Year78 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Enhanced Refresh Rate1.60 kHz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height569 mm
Width956 mm
Depth27 mm
ColourBlack
Sound SystemVirtual Surround, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS
Product SeriesWT50
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesTeletext, Web Browser, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology, Picture in Picture, Picture and Text (PAT), Picture and Picture (PAP)
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-L42WT50B
Product NameTX-L42WT50B 42" Smart Viera LED TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-L42WT50B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

42" Smart VIERA LED TV - State-of-the-Art Design, Full HD 3D Neo Black LED Panel and Wi-Fi Built-in (Energy Efficiency Class A+)

The display alternately shows images for the left and right eyes. The left and right lenses of the eyewear open and close in sync with this display timing to show separate images to the left and right eyes. By repeating this action at high speed, the brain perceives 3D images. And because this method displays FULL HD 3D images just as they are, both eyes receive 3D images in high, full-HD quality.

In addition to increasing the generated frames from 50 to 200 frames per second, backlight control has evolved through area splitting. The backlight's fine blinking reduces afterimages, to produce smooth, fast movements without blurring. Sports scenes, action scenes and other fast-motion images are crisp and clear.

Package Contents
  • TX-L42WT50B 42" Smart Viera LED TV
  • 2 x 3D Glasses
  • Remote Control
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty5 Year
Weight (Approximate)11 kg