Usability

There's definitely room for improvement here. For starters, Panasonic has stuck to more or less the same remote control design that it's been using for the past few years - a slightly lazy decision, if you ask us, which leaves the remote feeling poorly organised, with no real flow to the button layout.

There are also some cases where the weighting/emphasis given to certain buttons seems out of kilter with their usefulness. Overall the feeling you get is that Panasonic has just shoe-horned all of its latest features on to a remote that wasn't designed for it, rather than investing time in making a remote properly suited to a TV fan's 2012 needs.

The Panasonic P50ST50 also feels a bit out of date with its menu system. There's no Smart Hub home screen like you get with LG and Samsung's latest TVs, meaning you have to manage three separate (and separately accessed) menu systems - one for picture adjustments, one for your own multimedia playback, and one more for the Viera Connect online service.

Panasonic TX-P50ST50 review

The presentation of the set up and multimedia menus is pretty drab too, compared with what we're used to from other brands - although things are much better in this respect when it comes to the Viera Connect online service.

The marketplace, where you can download extra apps or buy hardware accessories, is particularly well organised and presented, and it's also handy that you can choose your own running order for where your apps appear on the main Connect services menu.

We still feel, however, that this main Connect menu needs to start handling more services on a single screen, to reduce the amount of burrowing down through different tiers that you currently have to struggle with.

Panasonic TX-P50ST50 review

Please note that the Panasonic P50ST50 does not ship with the touchpad remote that's included with Panasonic's flagship TVs, and nor can this remote be bought as an option. You can, though, control the TV via Panasonic's mostly good iOS and Android Viera remote apps.

Sound

The Panasonic P50ST50 is a very robustly built TV, as well as not being as skinny as most LCD TVs. So you can't help but hope that it will be able to use bigger and therefore better speakers.

However, it joins most skinny TVs in sounding rather low on bass and slightly narrow with its middle range. While these issues can be heard during raucous action scenes, though, the set's audio is perfectly acceptable for normal TV fodder.

Panasonic TX-P50ST50 review

Value

In a year where some of its rivals - most notably the Korean ones - seem to be going more expensive with their TVs, the £1,200/$1,400 or so you'll need to bag a Panasonic P50ST50 really doesn't seem much at all, given its 50-inch screen size and the amount of picture quality and features it has to offer.

It also looks a steal when you consider that it performs pretty much as well as last year's flagship - and thus much more expensive - VT30 Panasonic plasma TVs.