Panasonic TX-L32ET5B review

Panasonic's first passive 3D TV proves a surprising 32-inch hit

Panasonic TX-L32ET5B
Panasonic's 32-inch 3D TV produces great images

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Panasonic TX-L32ET5B

In most aspects, the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B offers incremental improvements over previous models. The panel it's built on has slightly better processing, while networking features are more user-friendly (including built-in Wi-Fi connectivity) and the set's Smart TV features continue to evolve.

But the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B breaks new ground for its manufacturer in offering passive 3D viewing rather than active 3D.

We liked

The Panasonic TX-L32ET5B does a sterling job with its passive 3D images. The overall experience is so superior to using active glasses and the reduction in resolution seems far less significant than we'd expected, possibly because the TV is just about as small as you can get for 3D viewing.

Its 2D pictures are consistently up there with the best, especially with HD sources, and the removal of adverts from the Freeview EPG gets a big thumbs up. Generally, the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B is a pleasure to use.

We disliked

Intelligent Field Creation in its maximum setting simply introduces too many artefacts. Even when reined in, it detrimentally affects images with haloing and the loss of filmic appearance when watching movies.

The Freeview EPG and tired old menu system could badly do with having a more contemporary feel. We struggled with logging in to Facebook, despite following instructions, and still feel that Viera Connect needs a broader selection of apps.

Final verdict

While 3D is unlikely to be the prime motivational factor for anyone buying a 32-inch TV, we think Panasonic has played a bit of a blinder on this one, making 3D much less of a faff, more affordable and perfectly enjoyable.

Sure it has one or two operating niggles, but these are pretty much minor concerns. This is a highly competent multimedia and connected TV, while from Blu-ray movies to daytime TV and HD sports, the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B consistently serves up first-rate images. And ultimately, that's what counts most when telly shopping.

Also consider

If 3D isn't really a deal-breaker, you could do a lot worse than the Toshiba 32RL858B. Its £400 price gets you Edge LED lighting and a Freeview HD tuner, plus more than decent performance.

Offering better value is Sony's KDL-32EX723, priced at just £500 and blessed with Active 3D rather than passive.

LG's 32LV550T sells for around £600, but isn't a 3D screen.

Finally, if 3D is not on your bag then the Panasonic TX-32LE5, due soon, may fit the bill, offering many of the same features as the TX-L32ET5B in a 2D-only package.