Panasonic TX-50AX802 review

Size doesn't matter when it comes to this 4K TV

Panasonic TX-50AX802

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Initial setup stokes up Panasonic's voice assistant which guides you through the install. If you fluster the instructions, this robotic voice begins to sound increasingly frantic.

The Freetime UI proves an inspired way to view catch-up content. There's no longer a need to click your way through to individual apps, just browse back in time when a channel allows it and hit play, this automatically triggers the relevant channel's catch-up amp; the guide's earlier arrow backwards only appears when a channel supports catch-up.

When it comes to overall usability Panasonic's 'my home screen' layout impresses. It's easy to live with, reducing the number of clicks needed to get to preferred apps. However, while clever, the jury is out on the ithnfo bar. It's only real purpose seems to be to startle whoever walks into a room; the TV makes a triumphant toot, as if to say 'gotcha, and here's the weather…'

Panasonic TX-50AX802

Two remotes are supplied. The main IR controller is a weighty affair with a luxurious metallic finish, while the other is a lightweight silver Bluetooth Touch Pad with integrated microphone. The latter is ultimately frustrating to use, as the pad doesn't seem sensitive enough to consistently register confirmational taps. Thankfully the premium IR zapper is eminently usable, but annoyingly lacks a star button to fine tune the 'my stream' function.


Onboard TV audio has been a bit of an Achilles' ear for Panasonic in the recent past, and here it just passes muster. Secretive 2x 4w downward firing drivers are significantly helped by a rear-facing central 10w mid-range driver, which offers enough body and volume to postpone any need for a soundbar. Assorted processing is on hand supposedly to widen the soundstage, but it's not particularly effective. Audio performance is predominantly monophonic.


The Panasonic TX-50AX802 is a spectacular screen offering excellent connected catch-up functionality. In terms of image quality it really shines, albeit with niggling caveats – the backlight illumination is uneven and Full HD upscaling isn't indicative of the amazing resolution that the set can offer with native 4K content. That said, its £2K asking price seems something of a steal.


Sony KD-55X9005B - £2699

Adopting Sony's new wedge-shaped design with forward facing magnetic fluid speakers, the KD-55X9005B may be an acquired taste, but its picture performance and feature set is outstanding. 4K image quality is terrific, bolstered by excellent UHD upscaling. A wide range of streaming Internet services are also provided, including Netflix 4K.

Samsung UE55HU8500 - £2699

Poster boy for Samsung's curved UHD initiative, the UE55HU8500 will undoubtedly polarise opinions. Curvature regardless, it's a spectacular 4K screen, offering excellent UHD image quality and a raft of appy-based features and gesture/voice tomfoolery.

Steve May
Home entertainment AV specialist

Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.