32in Full HD TV with 100Hz mode.
One of the smaller TVs we've looked at in recent months, Panasonic's Viera TX-32LZD800A is a relatively good Full HD TV. It has a few image quality issues but the overall performance maintains Panasonic's tradition of providing high quality displays. Given that it is just 32in, it is the perfect size for a secondary unit in a bedroom or kitchen.
- Sharp images, well balanced colours, good motion handling
- Blacks could use improvement, a little image noise, a small screen can't take full advantage of 1080p
Panasonic's Viera TX-32LZD800A is a solid unit for users looking for a smaller display. It offers good image quality with a few niggling issues, and it has some nifty features like 100Hz playback, making it a relatively appealing package.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
As this is a Full HD panel it has a native resolution of 1920x1080. A lot of people will tell you 1080p is what you need to have these days for the best image quality. While that may be true in many cases, on a screen this size it's debatable; 32in is just not big enough to really expose the improvements over 720p. Unless you're particular about image quality it may not be worth the extra money.
That said, this unit did a solid job in all of our tests with just a few niggling issues preventing it from scoring higher. In our high-definition tests the image was crisp and clear, with excellent detail rendering and a great balance between smoothness and sharpness. There was a little more noise than we're used to, which resulted in a slight drop in clarity at times, but from a reasonable viewing distance it wasn't too noticeable.
Contrast performance was a mixed bag. On one hand, black levels were merely adequate, with a somewhat cloudy look. But detail in dark areas was excellent. We were able to see the individual folds in Neo's cloak during our Matrix test scenes, which is the sign of a good panel.
The colour balance was interesting. Most TVs tend towards slight over-saturation, but testing on the cinema default, as we tend to do, we found everything looked somewhat pale. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing and made for a refreshing change from other screens we've seen recently. Of course, as usual you can make some tweaks using the calibration options to alter things more to your taste.
Motion was well handled. There was no noticeable ghosting or trailing, so sports fans and gamers alike should be well served by this panel. It also has a 100Hz playback mode, which can a fairly good job of smoothing out motion without creating too many artefacts.
The unit delivered a fine performance in our standard-definition tests. The noise seen in our HD tests was present again, along with a smattering of aberrations caused by scaling the SD content up to a 1080p resolution. However, the colour balance and contrast performance was the same as in our HD tests. Due to the smaller screen size, a lot of the issues ordinarily resulting from up-scaling SD content to 1080p are less prevalent here, making this the ideal bedroom DVD TV.
The TX-32LZD800A comes with two HDMI ports, along with the usual array of component, composite, S-video and optical jacks. Two is a little on the minimal side, but given the TVs size and intended market it seems fine.
Aesthetically, we think the unit is a little behind the pack. It doesn't look terrible, with a thick, glossy black bezel around the display. However, it has a silver bar running underneath which looks a little cheap, and on the whole it isn't quite up to the standard set by some competing models, such as the Series 9 (LA46A950).
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