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Hands on: Panasonic HX800 LED TV review

One of 2019’s best mid-range LEDs gets an upgrade with the Panasonic HX800

What is a hands on review?
Panasonic HX800 LED TV
(Image: © Panasonic)

Early Verdict

Not much (if anything) is really new in the Panasonic HX800 that we can see, but it's still likely to be a go-to mid-range LED set when it launches in 2020.

For

  • Great HDR support
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Mid-range price

Against

  • Nearly identical to GX800
  • Only three HMDI ports

The Panasonic HX800 may be the cheapest television in the Panasonic TV 2020 range, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look. This mid-range LED set comes hot off the tail of last year’s GX800 set, which we gave five stars in our glowing review – so we’ll be paying close attention to whether its successor manages to match (or outdo) what came before.

There’s not much new to report: you’re getting essentially the same panel and HCX Processor (though not the HCX Pro Intelligent chip found on more premium sets in the range). However, the HX800 TV looks to have the same strengths as its 2019 counterpart, with a reiterated smart TV platform that won’t be coming to older sets.

Does that all make this a TV worth buying in 2020? We’ll be putting together a full Panasonic HX800 LED TV review in time – but for now, here are our thoughts so far.

Design

What to say about the HX800’s design? It cleaves pretty close to last year’s GX800, as another rectangular screen that shows pictures on it – but this time with two feet instead of a center TV stand.

Its fancier HX900 and HX940 siblings will get adjustable feet to optimize your set’s placement on whatever counter or table you’ll be keeping it on, but things are a bit more basic here.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The HX800 will be available in 40-inch, 50-inch, 58-inch, and 65-inch sizes – though as ever with cheaper sets it’s likely to be most at home in its smaller iterations.

In terms of ports, you can expect three HDMI 2.0 inputs, including HDMI ARC (arc return channel) for passing audio from the TV to a soundbar, as well as two USB inputs, Ethernet, CI (common interface), optical, and a headphone output.

As the lower-end of the Panasonic TV 2020 range, you shouldn’t expect incredible or overly flashy build quality, but it’s sleek and innocuous enough that it shouldn’t be an issue. The smart TV interface, too – Panasonic’s quite basic MyHomeScreen OS – will be entering its fifth iteration this year, with submenu thumbnails coming to the Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video streaming apps.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There’s no formal pricing yet, but the GX800 (2019) started at £649 (around AU$1,250) for the 40-inch model, going up to £1,399 (around AU$2,700) for the 65-inch. Panasonic doesn’t sell its sets in North America, but you’ll be able to get the HX800 in the UK, Europe and Canada.

Performance

We’ve only spent a short while with the HX800, so can’t comment too much on its picture quality so far. However, we praised last year’s GX800 for its local dimming, brilliant HD/SDR output, and incredibly broad HDR support.

The standout element of the Panasonic TV range is usually the HDR support. While many TV brand pick and choose between Dolby Vision and HDR10+, Panasonic’s format-agnostic position means viewers will always be able to play the most advanced version of a select movie or TV show – and be compatible with whatever 4K Blu-ray player you’ve plugged into it.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Aside from those two dynamic HDR formats, you’ll also get the HLG (hybrid log gamma) broadcast standard and HLG Photo mode (for hi-res camera photos) too. They should really have more distinct names, but what can you do?

The HX800 also supports Dolby Atmos audio, even if you’ll only get so much out of the surround sound format on the HX800’s built-in 20W speakers.

Early verdict

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Panasonic GX800 was one of the best mid-range televisions we reviewed last year, with brilliant picture quality and the broad HDR format support to make it a truly multi-purpose display.

The HX800 doesn’t look to be doing much different, so there’s likely no need to replace last year’s model – which is likely to be going for a bit cheaper in the coming months before its out of stock entirely. But we expect it will be worth a recommendation for those coming to Panasonic’s LED range for the first time.

Panasonic doesn’t release anywhere near as many televisions as some of its competitors, but even the cheapest 4K LCD in its range should be well worth a look – especially if its OLED TVs are a bit out of your price range.

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.