Panasonic ST50A plasma TV (preview)
Panasonic’s ST50 plasma may be the best value TV this year
- Astonishingly low street price
- Strong Panasonic picture quality heritage
- Good design
- Inferior Smart TV implementation may be a problem
Panasonic’s ST50A plasma should have great image quality, but a middling Smart TV implementation might hold it back from being a jack of all trades. We already know that it’s exceptionally good value.
Price$ 1,749.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic TH-P50ST50A, a 50-inch Full HD 3D-ready plasma, is the second best TV in Panasonic’s 2012 line-up. Although the company is slowly shifting away from plasma to LED (and eventually OLED) technology, the ST50A might prove to be the best value TV in Australia this year.
Panasonic ST50A: Design
Panasonic’s plasmas are getting thinner, lighter and better looking with each year that goes on. We’ve got a 50-inch Pioneer KURO as a benchmark, and while the ST50A doesn’t have the same tank-like build quality it’s a hell of a lot thinner and less imposing.
The dark grey surround and transparent bezel look nice, the TV can swivel on its stand, the screen is glossy without being a mirror: all of this adds up to a good-looking package.
Panasonic ST50A: Features
VIERA Connect has direct access to YouTube, Facebook, Quickflix, BigPond Movies, ABC iView, Skype, PLUS7 and the VIERA Market app store. From our initial testing the interface is a little slow and the app selection isn’t fantastic — but whether this second-rate service is a problem remains to be seen.
We’ve always given most importance to TV’s picture quality over any other feature, because for a mere $150 you can buy a Smart Blu-ray player (we’d pick a Samsung) for all the extra content you’d ever need. For what it’s worth, the Panasonic ST50A scores marks for including a built-in Wi-Fi b/g/n adapter and Bluetooth for trouble-free 3D glasses syncing.
Panasonic ST50A: Picture quality
From our half-hour sit-down with the ST50A so far, its True Cinema picture mode looks like one of the best all-round quality picture settings we’ve seen straight out of the box (short of the aforementioned Pioneer KURO’s Optimum mode).
ISF calibration options seem to be missing or at least well-hidden, so cinemaphiles might have to stump up for the more expensive DT50A.
The Panasonic ST50A is a Full HD 1080p panel that’s the 15th generation of plasmas produced by the company. Pioneer’s technicians defected to Panasonic in 2009, so the Japanese plasma manufacturer is at least the spiritual home of the world’s best plasma TVs.
We’ve always liked the 50-inch screen size — 1080p content looks great on that pixel size from a regular viewing distance, and it’s not imposingly large. We’re keen to give this Panasonic TH-P50ST50A more of a test run soon.
We already know the Panasonic ST50A is excellent value. Its $1749 RRP for the 50-inch is impressively low, but we've found it with a street price of $1249 — that kind of cost-cutting so soon after launch goes to show how competitive the TV market is at the moment.
Is there anything you’d like us to test when we review the Panasonic ST50A? Let us know in the comments below.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 3 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 4 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 5 MSI GS70 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Say goodbye to Apple's third-generation Apple TV
- Japan gears up for 8K TV broadcasting
- NHK's latest 8K display is large, thin and beautiful
- Japan starts 8K TV broadcasts in time for Rio Olympics
- Android TV's universal search feature finally works with Netflix
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- TV of the year award 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCIteration Manager / Scrum MasterOther
- FTSoftware DeveloperQLD
- CCSAP CRM Technical LeadACT
- CCMobile Application DeveloperQLD
- FTIT Business PartnerNSW
- FTProject Manager - Security Operations CentreVIC
- CCService Desk/Helpdesk ConsultantNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCCloud Solution Architect - Financial Services - Continuous IntegrationNSW
- CCPerformance Test AnalystACT
- FTChange or Project Manager- Electrical Network EngineeringNSW
- FTInfrastructure EngineerQLD
- CCService Desk Consultant - SYDNEY ROLE (baseline clearance)ACT
- CCSIEM SpecialistVIC
- FTNetwork Engineer / Systems Engineer (January 2017 Start)QLD
- FTNode Developer / ArchitectVIC
- CCVBA DeveloperNSW
- CCAutomated Test EngineerACT
- CCSenior Analyst ProgrammerACT
- CCJava API Developer - MediaVIC
- FTPractice AdvisorNSW
- CCIteration Manager / Scrum MasterNSW
- FTDevOps EngineerQLD
- FTSenior Project Manager / Program ManagerNSW
- CCMaster SchedulerVIC