FLATSCREEN 4K TV PER­FOR­MANCE - PANA­SONIC VIERA AX800

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST -

The AX800 ex­hib­ited very good color ac­cu­racy out of the box, helped no doubt by its ex­cel­lent grayscale track­ing. Pana­sonic has ap­par­ently de­signed this TV for crit­i­cal watch­ing, which is not hard to de­duce from the pro-sound­ing pic­tures modes like Cinema, THX (Cinema and Bright Room), Pro­fes­sional 1, and Pro­fes­sional 2. The THX modes have a gamma re­sponse of about 2.2, the widely used stan­dard for TV and film. The two Pro­fes­sional modes went close to 2.4, and both are ex­cel­lent choices if you pre­fer a more con­trasty im­age. Ei­ther way, the AX800 has a good suite of color man­age­ment con­trols (in­clud­ing ISF con­trols), so it’s not hard for well-equipped users to get near ref­er­ence re­sults.

In terms of black level re­sponse, the AX800 per­for­mance was as good as the Sam­sung HU8500, es­pe­cially when the low­est Adap­tive Back­light Con­trol (which con­trols lo­cal dim­ming) was en­gaged. A let­ter­box dim­ming mode, akin to the Cinema Black set­ting we saw on Sam­sung’s flag­ship curved TV but not on the HU8500, dark­ened the top and black bars even fur­ther. All lit­tle de­tails that should de­light en­thu­si­asts who are buy­ing this TV for dark room view­ing.

All in all, im­age qual­ity-wise, the AX800 hardly fal­tered re­gard­less of the con­tent we threw at it. Su­per­man Re­turns still looked mighty good af­ter up­scal­ing, and the slight noise we ob­served in some dark scenes are in­her­ent of the movie rather than the fault of the TV. There was a bit of dirty screen ef­fect, though we think most peo­ple won’t no­tice it.

In­ter­est­ingly, the TV has a ‘1080p Pixel by 4pix­els’ mode for mak­ing 1080p images look good on a 4K dis­play, but we found dif­fer­ences (vs. up­scal­ing) to be mi­nor af­ter star­ing at the Blu-ray ver­sion of Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows: Part 2 for a good hour. Mo­tion res­o­lu­tion was also high, thanks to Pana­sonic’s well-im­ple­mented frame cre­ation tech; and 3D images looked vi­brant, and suf­fered slightly less crosstalk than the Sam­sung set.

Minute band­ing aside, the AX800 has ex­cel­lent up­scal­ing and black level re­sponse.

The tons of pro­fes­sional con­trols will de­light ad­vanced users.

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