Panasonic has got seriously aggressive on pricing for its 2016 TV range, a move epitomised by the relatively measly £850 price tag attached to the 55-inch UHD-resolution TX-55DX650. The set's shelf appeal is enhanced, moreover, by an attractive design and one of the best smart TV systems around. It's even got direct LED lighting – another unexpectedly premium feature for such an affordable TV.
Getting a 55-inch 4K TV from a respected brand for just £850 looks like a great deal on paper, despite the lack of any HDR support. Unfortunately, though, while there are some redeeming features, and the Firefox OS continues to impress, the 55DX650's sub-par picture quality ultimately means it's much less of a bargain than it first appears.
The 55DX650's design is pretty, airy and even supports a degree of customisation in the way it lets you decide which way round you attach its legs. It sounds good for such a slim TV too, and its Firefox operating system is excellent, as its HD upscaling processing. It's also aggressively priced for a 55-inch 4K TV.
Panasonic's decision to use an IPS type of panel inside the 55DX650 proves predictably unhelpful, leading to pictures that really lack contrast compared with the sort of images we've now come to expect from LCD TVs. You have to take a lot of brightness out of images to counter the contrast issues too, while the adaptive backlight system can cause noticeable brightness instability when running at the high level you really need to use it at.
Despite an eye-catching design, aggressive price, some decent picture processing and an excellent smart TV system, the 55DX650 is ultimately a disappointment. The bottom line is that no amount of peripheral features and attractions – not even the use of a direct backlight array – can disguise the inherent weaknesses of the IPS panel at the 55DX650's core.