Skip to main content

LG 50PZ850T review

Ever wanted to draw pictures on your telly? Thanks to LG's PenTouch TV you can

LG 50PZ850T
The PenTouch system is more of a solution looking for a problem than a revolutionary TV input device


  • It's a nicely designed TV
  • Pictures with HD sources are mostly good
  • Multimedia support is solid


  • The PenTouch feature is a total waste of time
  • Standard def playback is uninspiring
  • Contrast isn't as good as with some rival plasma screens
  • Colours don't look quite right at times

LG is never short of an idea or two, that's for sure.

For instance, not content with introducing passive 3D TVs to the world this year, the Korean brand has now also hit the street with PenTouch technology, as sported by the 60-inch 60PZ850T and the 50-inch 50PZ850T under scrutiny here.

As its name suggests, PenTouch uses a 'touch-screen' technology in conjunction with a special 'pen' to allow you to interact directly - as in, physically - with the 50PZ850's screen.

You just move the pen around on the screen or tap it to produce freehand drawings or navigate and access various function buttons or browser icons.

With its key PenTouch system not necessarily God's gift to TV tech, then, it's just as well that the 50PZ850 has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve. Namely active 3D playback (one pair of active shutter glasses is included) and a reasonably potent video engine. Though it should be made clear right away that the PZ850 TVs unexpectedly do not carry LG's Smart TV system.


On paper, this possibly sounds like fun. Certainly LG's promotional materials for the PZ850TVs make extravagant use of photos of cute, excited kids playing with their new TV/best friend. However, the reality of the feature is rather less credible - more on this later.

If you'd happily ditch the PenTouch system in favour of a more powerful picture engine and Smart TV functionality, you could step up to LG's PZ950T plasma series without spending a fortune more. Or if you're happy to again do without PenTouch and settle for a few picture quality compromises, you could step down to LG's PZ570T plasma series, which still carries 3D despite its relative affordability.

With LG's 2011 having being notoriously inconsistent where TVs are concerned, though, the key question for now is whether the 50PZ850T is one of the brand's hits or misses.

John Archer

AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.