Panasonic TX-L47ET60B review

This good-looking 47-inch TV ups the smart stakes and puts 3D back on easy street

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We get the impression that Panasonic's visual department is in a bit of a quandary at the moment. On the one hand, its excellent value plasmas are perhaps the best pound for pound screens available for anyone.

Unfortunately, such is the marketing power behind LED-backlit LCD TVs that this slightly inferior technology has become the de facto flat TV. For its part Panasonic has produced a fantastic attempt at the latter, but compared to its similarly sized plasma, the 47ET60 just looks too expensive.

However 'second-rung' it feels from a Panasonic perspective, you'll not find a better example of LED-backlighting anywhere in 2013. If you can't be tempted to buy its beloved plasmas, Panasonic now has the next best thing. It's just a shame it's not a tad cheaper.

We liked

Almost ready to rock out of the box, True Cinema lends the Panasonic TX-L47ET60B an immediate dose of accurate colour, detail, smoothness and awesome upscaling. 3D is much easier on the eye, digital media streaming/USB support is excellent, and the My Home Screen innovation makes Panasonic's Smart TV effort much more organised. We especially liked the transparent apps screen and the tweaked EPG that now includes a live TV thumbnail. Build quality, meanwhile, is peerless, and the design is light, super-slim and, for once, not gloss black.

We disliked

Sound is bad, black levels and contrast so-so, and the Panasonic TX-L47ET60B is too highly priced. If it's not as good as a plasma then why does it cost more? We're also not totally convinced by the additional layer of GUI that My Home Screen adds, especially since the latest app is full of bugs and just doesn't deliver on its promise. Contrast and black levels, meanwhile, are utterly average, though totally in line with what mid-range LED-backlit LCD panels usually muster.

Final verdict

The Panasonic TX-L47ET60B isn't as good as its plasmas. This LED-backlit LCD TV, however, is just as good as its real rivals - and probably better. The picture quality may not be up to the pace-setters that cost a good deal more, but this 47-inch TV has a decent enough balance between contrast, colour and black level to survive as a TV for casual use in a living room. It's impressive-looking, too, and just 35mm slim. Add to that a tinkering-free experience thanks to True Cinema (you can forget about calibrating and spend your time more wisely - choosing a movie!), a top-quality SD-HD upscaling experience, hassle-free 3D and some novel smart TV applications and - with a few quid knocked-off the asking price, perhaps - the Panasonic TX-L47ET60B appears a talented all-rounder.

Also consider

Though few of its rivals have unleashed their wares for 2013 at the time of writing, we'd judge the Panasonic TX-L47ET60B - which is an update (though with passive in place of active shutter 3D) on 2012's TX-L47ET50B - to take-on the LG 47LM760T, also a passive 3DTV. Two active shutter alternatives include the good value Toshiba 46TL968B and the pricier Sony KDL-46HX853.