Hands on: Panasonic TX-L60ET5B

The king of Active Shutter 3D plasma issues... a 60-inch Polarised 3D LED TV?

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It's almost conservatively sized at this year's IFA, but with almost every brand obsessing about 70-inch+ tellies it's no surprise to come across Panasonic's first 60-inch LED TV on the floor of IFA 2012. It's the brand's biggest ever LCD TV.

However, this is the entry-level - if that can ever be said about a TV costing £1,999 - for Panasonic and the real shock is that it's chosen to grace its existing ET5 Series with a bigscreen that uses Polarised 3D tech. Cue four pairs of 3D specs alongside the realisation that what's under the hood of the TX-L60ET5 in front of us is, in fact, a Cinema 3D LED panel from LG's factories.

Still, we've previously been impressed by Panasonic's ET5 line-up; its 32-inch TX-L32ET5, 37-inch TX-L37ET5 and 42-inch TX-L42ET5 have done well despite using 3D tech that, deep down, Panasonic doesn't really like.

Panasonic TX-L60ET5

Looks-wise the TX-L60ET5 succeeds, with a no-nonsense metallic bezel lending a business-like look, though it's a departure from the gloss black, wider bezels of the smaller TVs in the ET5 Series. The LED backlighting appears consistent, with black levels just about deep enough and colours appearing vivid and well saturated. Best of all, both black and strong colour retains its lustre when watched from a tight viewing angle.

We watched part of the London 2012 opening ceremony, with the intense reds impressing as well as contrast during mixed brightness scenes of fireworks after dark.

We didn't notice much in the way of motion blur either; its 500Hz backlight scanning feature - of massive importance on a screen this size - appears to work well though it's actually only producing 100 frames per second.

Panasonic TX-L60ET5

Also on-board the TX-L60ET5 is Panasonic's ever-improving Viera Connect smart TV hub, which received a refresh while we were in Berlin. Fuelled by Wi-Fi and including a HTML5-compatible browser app, Viera Connect now sports the National Geographic Channel's new World Heritage Special app (cue documentaries on UNESCO World Heritage sites), kids' apps like the awesome sounding Match The Animal, and video service WOOMI.

From a price point of view the use of a LG panel and that Polarised 3D system does make sense since, at a shade under £2,000 this is a decent value TV for such a big screen. It uses cheap, easily replaceable 3D specs, too.

However, the bigger the screen real estate the more important, and more noticeable, the native quality of the panel. Although the TX-L60ET5 does well with Full HD quality sources, even during our peek we noticed some picture noise and a slight softness.

Panasonic TX-L60ET5

Not quite refined enough for dedicated home cinema use, we'd judge the TX-L60ET5 as ripe for a family room with a thirst for a monster 3DTV.

So do the appearance of giant LED screens like the TX-L60ET5 mean Panasonic is falling out of love with plasma?

Early verdict

On the back of its biggest ever range of LED TVs in 2012, this behemoth would suggest so, but plasma fans need only peer into the pitch black recesses of the Panasonic stand's 'Picture Quality' area for sustenance; back there we found a 145-inch plasma sporting an 8K resolution and Super Hi-Vision video alongside a 103-inch 3D plasma labelled 'glassless'. Glasses-less, surely?

The 60-inch TX-L60ET5 is on sale now for £1,999.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.