Despite what 2017’s run of televisual lookers might suggest, TVs don’t need to be drop dead gorgeous to do a good job.

Sure, tellies such as the LG B7 and the Sony Bravia A1 throw in stunning design as part of the package, but not everyone is bothered by showroom-worthy stylings and bezels you need a magnifying glass to make out.

The Panasonic TX-55EZ952B is a TV aimed at that very person – someone who can see past its rather ordinary design and instead focus on the picture quality. The only trouble with that, is that the picture quality here isn't the absolute best either. 

Operating system: a Fire(fox) in its belly

There was a time when a TV’s operating system was just a nice way to get around from menu to menu – now we rely on it for a large chunk of our telly watching.

The EZ952, like the rest of Panasonic’s 2017 TV range, runs on Firefox’s OS, a bright, clean and easy-to-use system that’s bolted on top of Panasonic’s more run-of-the-mill menus.

It’s got pretty much every catch-up and on-demand service you could want, apart from – at the time of testing – Amazon Video. Worry not if that’s your service of choice though, as Panasonic has promised us it’ll be ready to go by the time the telly is on the shelves. Which is about now, actually.

As for navigating your way around, you’ll have a choice of two remotes – a larger standard clicker, and a smaller option complete with touchpad and ergonomic styling.

Call us old school, but we like the regular remote for making our way around with the fewest hiccups. The touchpad isn’t always the most reliable or accurate with our swipes, and that’s just annoying. 

Sound: you’re going to want a soundbar

Prepare your surprised faces - the sound from the EZ952 isn’t much to write home about. It’s not terrible, and is actually a little more direct than the sound on the LG B7, but you’ll also find it a touch harsh on the ears in busy scenes and sibilant with speech. A soundbar would help out in both respects.

If you decide to stick with it, though, there are a few modes that are worth investigating. We’d suggest sticking to Standard for your day-to-day telly watching, but the surround modes are worth playing around with for movies.

You’ll get more bass (but also unfortunately more treble) for those action movies, and more space to boot. It can sound a little artificial if you’re listening with a critical ear, but it’s worth trying out to see if you like it.

Stuff says... 

Panasonic TX-55EZ952B review

HDR niggles and a tricky setup process keeps the EZ952 just behind the very best at this price 
Good Stuff 
Detailed, natural picture
OLED ensures the deepest blacks
Strong HD performace
Firefox OS is easy-to-use and well specified
Bad Stuff 
Complicated to set up
HDR content struggles with punch and contrast
Boring design