On paper, Panasonic’s new TH-42PZ70 looks a sure-fire hit: it’s a 42in flat panel TV, offers ‘Full HD’ 1920×1080 resolution, has an SD card input and, in most regards, plenty of video inputs. In short, it’s the stuff of gadget-lovers’ dreams.
So you should all rush out and buy one, yes? Maybe. First, there’s the thorny issue of pricing: at £1400, this isn’t cheap by modern 42in TV standards. It’s easy to find a set this size that looks every bit as smart without the ‘Full HD’ and costs less – Panasonic’s own £1000 TH-42PX70, for example.
Resolution isn’t everything, but it helps
That said, while the TH-42PX70 pushes its rival very, very close on most aspects of performance – the two sets are very similar for contrast performance, black depth, colour accuracy and motion stability – the premium ‘PZ70 is the model to buy if your viewing diet revolves exclusively around hi-def content.
It’s a little sharper, a little more defined, and its ability to display 1080p and 24fps content on a dot-by-dot basis is a boon for purists, even if access to this option is rather unhelpfully buried in the set-up menus. With day-to-day TV and DVD viewing, the gap is a lot closer, largely because both sets perform so well.
Weaknesses? Sonically, it’s decent without being especially muscular, and the twin-HDMI socket fit seems mean in a class where three is increasingly becoming the norm. As with the ‘42PX70, Panasonic offers a pricier ‘700 series version of this set, dubbed TH-42PZ700, which has three HDMIs and better sound. Good to know.