Pioneer PDP-435FDE review

Pioneer's best plasma yet

TechRadar Verdict

A combination of price and excellent high-definition makes this the most desirable screen of Pioneer's latest range


  • +

    Picture with high quality sources



    HDMI input


  • -

    Little short of contrast

    No PC input

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.

Pioneer's latest range of high-end plasma TVs maintain the company's impressive record of innovation and features, and the PDP-435FDE shaves almost a grand off the usual Pioneer prices. But has the stripping down gone too far?

Although not exactly unique these days, there's an extra bit of polish to the PDP-435FDE's combination of a glossy black screen surround and silver trims that makes it a gorgeous presence in your living room. There's some design flexibility on hand too, with the speakers positionable either flush to the screen or free-floating for a more designer impact.

While the PDP-435FDE thankfully keeps the HDMI input of Pioneer's more expensive XDE models (making it fully compatible with Sky's forthcoming high-definition TV service), it sadly doesn't share its sibling's subwoofer line output, digital TV connections (for the simple reason that it doesn't have a digital tuner!), PCMCIA card slot for digital picture viewing, or, perhaps worst of all, any sort of PC input...

The PDP-435FDE's radical Direct Colour Filter screen technology does a striking job of almost entirely eliminating onscreen reflections by replacing the customary glass front panel with a plastic one. This also helps the set weigh less than normal plasmas - a boon for would-be wall-hangers.

Also worthy of note are PureCinema processing for enhanced prog scanning, a contrast booster, colour transient improvement, and above-par high-def facilities in the form of a native 1,024 x 768 resolution screen and HD-friendly digital scaling

There are many good things about the PDP-435FDE's pictures, but absolute contrast isn't one of them. Picture areas that should be black, once correctly calibrated, exhibit that tell-tale greyness in shadows - even with the contrast expander activated.

To be fair to the PDP-435FDE, its amazing freedom from screen reflections regains some of the ground lost by the contrast, as does an impressively subtle touch with colour gradations and greyscales. Other factors making a positive contribution are exceptional brightness levels, vibrant and natural colour tones, and exceptional fine detail levels - particularly with high-definition or prog scan sources.

That said, while not troubled with 'easy' sources like HDTV or prog scan, with analogue tuner programming issues of dot crawl are evident.

The PDP-43FDE's audio benefits from a strikingly rich soundstage created by a lovingly crafted balance between wellrounded trebles, smooth but full bass, and an open mid-range.

The combination of price and excellent high-definition capabilities makes the PDP-435FDE the most desirable screen of Pioneer's latest range. Picture clarity is exceptional. In all, an excellent panel. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.