Pana­sonic TX-50CS520 £500

FOR Great con­trast; great def­i­ni­tion; easy to use AGAINST More con­nec­tions wouldn’t hurt

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Televisions -

It’s good to see Pana­sonic back at the top of its game again. The Ja­panese com­pany has done ex­traor­di­nar­ily well in the re­cent past, scoop­ing nearly all our Awards in 2013 be­fore fal­ter­ing in the face of fierce Korean com­pe­ti­tion from Sam­sung and LG. More re­cently we’ve wit­nessed some­thing of a come­back though, and the Pana­sonic TX#50CS520 is fur­ther proof of this.

What you have here is a no-frills TV with a 1080p res­o­lu­tion. No 4K, no 3D. Just a big screen and a low price, pure and sim­ple. This TV just wants to do Full HD re­ally, re­ally well. That will sit just fine with any­one un­will­ing to fork out for lit­tle-used gim­micks, or who sim­ply don’t care about 4K.

A stun­ning pic­ture

The pic­ture is re­ally good. Stun­ning, even. This is clearly not some bud­get filler hastily pushed out – this is a qual­ity prod­uct. It breezes through the as­sault course set by Guardians Of The Galaxy on Blu-ray, tak­ing ev­ery­thing in its stride – the chal­leng­ing con­trast, a fren­zied pal­ette, plenty of tex­tures and a few mov­ing hur­dles thrown in for good mea­sure. Pana­sonic was the cham­pion of con­trast with its plasma screens, and while this doesn’t quite reach that level it is re­mark­ably good.

Dark scenes get deep, nat­u­rally black colours rarely en­joyed by LCD pan­els. The Pana­sonic does a great job jug­gling light and dark at the same time, with bril­liant whites that never wash out the rest of the pic­ture.

“This TV just wants to do Full HD re­ally well. That will sit fine with any­one un­will­ing to fork out for lit­tle-used gim­micks, or who don’t care about 4K”

Rich, vivid colours

We tend to as­so­ciate Pana­sonic with rich, vivid colours and that’s ex­actly what you get here. The pic­ture is lovely to be­hold – vi­brant enough to grab your at­ten­tion with­out hav­ing to ex­ag­ger­ate.

The level of clar­ity is as­ton­ish­ing, and we find our­selves check­ing the price tag. What you get for £500 is just about as de­tailed and tex­tured as you’ll get from a 1080p TV. It’s sharp and cleanly drawn with­out the ar­ti­fi­cial look of overly zeal­ous pro­cess­ing.

Mo­tion is ca­pa­bly han­dled too. The Pana­sonic is a smooth per­former and has lit­tle time for the ex­ag­ger­ated, glossy brand of mo­tion-pro­cess­ing.

We step down to stan­dard def­i­ni­tion with a DVD, and much of those laud­able traits re­main. It’s the same im­pres­sive con­trast and vi­brant pal­ette. Clar­ity takes a hit – al­though there is not nearly as much noise as there could be.

De­sign your own hub

We hes­i­tate to ac­cuse Pana­sonic of cut­ting any cor­ners, but if it has, it would be in the smart TV depart­ment. Here you’ll find the same ‘My Home Screen’ in­ter­face in­tro­duced in 2013.

The hub is not quite as slick as the sort you’ll find on the lat­est LG TVS, but My Home Screen has proved it­self to be an in­tu­itive and highly cus­tomis­able sys­tem. Be­sides, why change the in­ter­face of an Award-win­ning TV?

This is a hub that lets you de­sign the lay­out of pages. Want a news feed and a weather in­di­ca­tor next to your favourite pro­grammes? Knock your­self out.

Over­all, it’s a stun­ning pic­ture, and the sound is good too. We like the tonal bal­ance and the weight here, which never sounds overly harsh or com­pressed.

We love the Pana­sonic TX#50CS520. Its pic­ture and sound per­for­mance (and user-friendly in­ter­face) are at sig­nif­i­cant odds with that £500 price tag. If you’re af­ter a no-non­sense Full HD TV, you’d strug­gle to find bet­ter value else­where.

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