Hands on: Panasonic GX800 LED TV review

All the formats, half the cost

What is a hands on review?
Panasonic GX800
Image Credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

The Panasonic GX800 offers a surprising roster of premium features and HDR formats for its mid-range price.

For

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • Mid-range price

Against

  • Can't recreate high-end HDR
  • Old HCX processor

Panasonic has been leaning heavily into its OLED sets in recent years, but for those after a more accessible price point – without ditching all the features of a premium television – the Panasonic GX800 LED TV may have you sorted.

Even the cheapest Panasonic OLEDs can cost as much as £2,499 at launch; with the GX800 starting at just £820 for its 40-inch model, even those with the cash to spare should think long and hard about whether the GX800's 4K HDR panel will satisfy your viewing needs – you could even get two for different rooms for the starting price of an OLED TV.

Having seen it in action, here are our first impressions of the Panasonic GX800 LED TV.

Price and availability

The Panasonic GX800 starts at £820 for the 40-inch, going up to £923 for the 50-inch, £1,025 for the 59-inch, and £1,538 for the 65-inch model. Panasonic doesn’t sell its sets in North America, but you’ll be able to get the GX800 in the UK, Europe and Canada.

Image Credit: Panasonic

Image Credit: Panasonic

Design and features

The GX800 sits just below the GX920 / GX940 in Panasonic’s 2019 TV range, and is available in four sizes (40, 50, 59, 65 inches) instead of the GX920’s single 75-inch model. Unless you have a lot of living room space, this is going to be your first port of call for a Panasonic LED this year.

It features a flat stand with two short supports up to the panel, with the space to slip in a streaming box, games console or soundbar between the display and the counter. The set has three 4K-ready HDMI inputs, and Audio Return Channel for funneling hi-res audio from the television to an external speaker.

Panasonic is also making a lot of its “format agonistic” televisions, bundling in HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG (hybrid log gamma) even for a mid-range set like the GX800.

Image Credit: Panasonic

Image Credit: Panasonic

Premium HDR formats like Dolby Vision and HDR10+ both offer an enhanced viewing experience over regular video formats, with an expanded color gamut and richer visuals, but most television sets will only have one of these formats, if any – Samsung only supports HDR10+, and Panasonic turned heads when it decided to support both going forward. 

Dolby Vision is also usually saved for high-end televisions, for users expected to be interested in the highest viewing quality possible. It’s impressive that the GX800 bundles in both formats for a sub-£1,000 model, giving mid-range buyers a chance to try out top-tier HDR.

The GX800 also supports the Dolby Atmos audio format, which is able to mimic something of surround sound even on the set’s built-in 20W speakers.

The Panasonic GX800's built-in speakers can't compete with a dedicated soundbar, but they can recreate some level of Dolby Atmos surround sound (Image Credit: TechRadar)

The Panasonic GX800's built-in speakers can't compete with a dedicated soundbar, but they can recreate some level of Dolby Atmos surround sound (Image Credit: TechRadar)

Picture quality

For all its formats, though, the GX800 sticks with last year’s HCX processor instead of the newer HCX Pro. It won’t achieve quite the HDR performance of the GX920 / GX940, and certainly not of the superior OLED panel displays in the GZ950 / GZ1000 or flagship GZ2000.

We only got a few minutes of footage displayed on the GX800 – and in a controlled environment – but were generally impressed with the smooth motion and color accuracy. Panasonic makes much of its ties to Hollywood, with colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld (Watchmen, Star Trek) having worked on the picture processing for Panasonic’s 2019 TV range – and the GX800’s visuals show the care gone into this aspect, even if this will be more obvious on the higher-end sets in the range.

Early verdict

The Panasonic GX800 offers a surprising roster of premium features and HDR formats for its mid-range price. While it misses out on the improved HCX Pro processor of Panasonic’s OLEDs, it gives those after a sub-£1,000 television a taste of the visual quality starting to trickle down into affordable sets. 

We’ll be updating this review after more in-depth testing, but the Panasonic GX800 looks like a decent proposition for those not quite ready for OLED prices.

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.