Panasonic TX-L50E6B review

It's got the looks, is almost as smart as any other Panasonic TV and it's a bargain

Panasonic TX-L50E6B review
Great Value
The Panasonic TX-L50E6B is an affordable 50-inch TV

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Like any LED-lit screen, there's no shortage of brightness, making this a more natural partner for daytime viewing than one of the bargain priced 50-inch plasmas it competes against.

And while Freeview HD pictures reveal an inherent lack of sharpness, in other aspects the Panasonic TX-L50E6B shows real improvement over previous models such as a backlight that is wonderfully even, with no evidence of clouding at the edges of the screen.

Watching a letterboxed 21:9 movie reveals that the black bars top and bottom are genuinely black rather than greyish or black with misty patches of whiteness. With such an effective black level, the rest of the image benefits in terms of its contrast and colour palette. There is some crushing though, so shadow detail is not the best.

Panasonic TX-L50E6B

Tinkering with the set's Black Expander feature raises the exposure of dark areas, such as an estate agent's amorphous suit in Homes Under the Hammer on BBC One HD, but introduces greyness as much as improving detail.

Rich, intense colours such as red have an authenticity about them, while skin tones also seem realistic. Some material seems better suited to the slightly soft nature of the screen - for example, scenes of rutting deer and the grassy sand dunes of Denmark in Coast on BBC 2 HD have a rustic graininess that seems entirely suitable.

The cheeks of newsreaders and presenters of studio shows such as David Dimbleby on Question Time and James Martin on Saturday Kitchen, however, are notably a touch less defined than they should be. It's not a fatal flaw, just something that we've seen done a lot better.

Standard definition pictures

Panasonic TX-L50E6B

Switching to standard definition we expect to see a loss of clarity, but with Homes Under the Hammer on BBC One there is a significant increase in the amount of noise and, most unusually, artefacts on people's faces when they're in long shot.

When watching movies in standard definition it's worth engaging the set's Film Cadence Mode, which avoids de-interlacing in order to preserve vertical resolution.

Although the Panasonic TX-L50E6B's stand doesn't swivel (unlike the step-up Panasonic TX-L50ET60B) and the non-IPS panel only has a viewing angle of 176 degrees, the good news is that contrast and colour intensity only tail off marginally as you move to the side.

Panasonic TX-L50E6B

However, when it comes to blur and judder the screen's 100Hz processing combined with backlight blinking isn't exactly a blinking triumph. Watch any live sport played on a green pitch and as soon as the camera moves the grass appears soft.

Close-ups of players, zoomed in from a distance, are reasonably well defined but as the camera pans the grass goes mushy.

Blur such as this is subtle, and not as distracting as judder, which creeps in far too easily. Even when Gaby Logan looks down then up again in Final Score you see her chin move jerkily down and up. It's an effect that happens with any static object that suddenly moves, even briefly, and is one of those traits that once you've seen it, is hard to ignore.

Blu-ray pictures

Panasonic TX-L50E6B

The TV seems a lot happier dealing with Blu-rays than other HD sources. It doesn't have a 1080/24p mode but does have 1080p pixel direct, which bypasses all video processing when watching content via HDMI (with options to define your source as being photos, graphics, as well as an auto setting).

All in all, the Panasonic TX-L50E6B at least preserves every last drop of the native image, with obvious benefits to clarity and chroma detail.

The desert scenes in No Country For Old Men have real punch, and the noise of the cloudy skies is nicely suppressed. The close-up pan of Josh Brolin carrying his rifle towards the shoot-out is not silky smooth, but nor is the judder as obvious as expected.

Panasonic TX-L50E6B

Static, well-lit shots in Argo and Super 8 are terrifically engaging, with a slight graininess that's becoming of movies and an effortlessly natural colour palette. It's the crushed blacks that render the night-time train wreck scene in Super 8 a little unsatisfying.

When watching upscaled DVDs it's again the softness that may need addressing, with the classic The Long Good Friday requiring a hefty boost to the sharpness.