The Panasonic FX740 sits at the bottom end of the high-end range being offered in 2018. What this means is that it looks from the outside like the OLED range, but inside the 740 would struggle to keep up with even its closest sibling, the FX750.
Improved brightness on last year’s models
Relatively low refresh rate
No HCX processor
Less sophisticated local dimming
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Panasonic celebrated its 100th birthday in style, by releasing a whole host of new products, including the very stylish FX740.
Unveiled at the annual Panacon convention, the FX740 is the lower-spec model of Panasonic’s flagship FX750 LED TV.
Both the FX740 and its bigger sibling the FX750 follow the design language set up by Panasonic’s 2018 OLED range. They look almost identical, but once you start digging into the specs, you realise they are very different TVs.
We imagine that the FX740 is going to be significantly cheaper than the FX750, but the question is, when you’re getting a new 4K HDR TV, should you really be trying to skimp on cost at the expense of quality?
The Panasonic FX740 is a beautiful thing to look at. Mirroring the design language of the flagship FX750 and the OLED range, it sits on a pane of glass, with thin black bezels around the screen.
And just like the the other models, it’s incredibly thin. So thin, in fact, that looking at it from the side it almost completely disappears.
Unlike the FX750, however, the FX740 only comes in 65-inch, 55-inch, and 49-inch variants.
Also unlike its more advanced sibling, the FX740 uses IPS panels on all the different sizes. This means that they’re not quite as bright as the 75-inch FX750, but we were assured by Panasonic that there is a 20% increase in terms of brightness on the previous year’s models.
When you’re looking at a high-end HDR set, which format is supported is an important consideration, and Panasonic has squarely sided with the HDR10+ format over Dolby Vision.
This means that the entire range is tailored towards content formatted in the open-source HDR10+, thankfully you won’t be short of content with Netflix, Amazon and Youtube (among others) all supporting HDR10+.
This higher quality of HDR means that the color reproduction on the FX740 is very impressive, and even without the HCX processor chip of the higher-end models, the contrast, with deep blacks and vibrant colours are what you’d expect from a serious HDR TV.
The 'same but slightly less impressive’ comparisons between the FX750 and FX740 don’t stop with processing, as the localised dimming options on the 740 aren’t quite as advanced as the more deluxe model, with the 740 favoring a software solution over the 750’s hardware one.
This means that the side-lit panel on the FX740 isn’t quite as robustly supported by ancillary features, but as the FX750 is clearly trying to bridge the gap between LED and OLED, it’s perhaps a little unfair to be drawing constant comparisons.
One area where the processing power is going to make a noticeable difference is in terms of the refresh rate: The FX740 runs at 1600Hz which translates to 50 frames per second (FPS).
For movie fans, this will mean fast motion isn’t totally smooth, but for gamers this could be a deal-breaker, with high end games consoles like the Xbox One X running 4K games at 60 or even 90 FPS.
The FX740 is a seriously good-looking TV, and given the intermediate specs, it’s clearly going for a very different target user than its sibling the FX750, and if it stood on its own as a unit we think we’d probably like it a lot.
It’s certainly a very high quality display, and although we’ve only had time with it watching a demo video with no sound, we’re impressed with what we’ve seen so far. The main problem that we have with it is that sat side by side with the 750, it does get left in the dust.
Obviously, you’re unlikely to have the two sat next to each other in your living room so you won’t have the same problem, but we’re eager to see what the price difference is between the two models. If it isn’t a great deal, it seems like a no brainer to make the investment in the better model.
The FX740 is going to be a Curry’s exclusive, hitting shelves later in 2018.
Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.
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