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Home / Reviews / TVs / Panasonic TX-65MX950 review: bright and vibrant with a footprint like a Yeti

Panasonic TX-65MX950 review: bright and vibrant with a footprint like a Yeti

Panasonic's latest MiniLED flagship is big. Like, really big. But also hard to find fault with. Here's our Panasonic TX-65MX950 review

Panasonic TX-65MX950

Stuff Verdict

If you’ve got the surface width, Panasonic has got the TV.

Pros

  • Detailed, bright and vibrant pictures
  • Surprisingly listenable sound
  • Every HDR standard is a specification highlight

Cons

  • Only two HDMI inputs
  • No fan of dark rooms
  • Not good to watch from off-axis

Introduction

It’s always been easy to admire Panasonic televisions, but it hasn’t always been as easy to love them. The company knows precisely what’s what when it comes to the ‘pro’ side of the film and television industries – but the fact that there isn’t a film studio in the world that doesn’t have a load of Panasonic equipment in its set-up hasn’t automatically translated into consumer sales. Here’s our Panasonic TX-65MX950 review — is it one of the best 4K TVs around?

The MX950 range is Panasonic’s latest attempt to correct the situation. It’s the company’s flagship MiniLED range – and on paper, it’s got everything it needs to compete and compete hard.

But like you, I’m not really bothered about what the paper says. What does the TX-65MX950 look like?

Panasonic TX-65MX950

Design and build: got that ‘wide stance’

First things first: the TX-65MX950 is put together to the standard everyone expects from Panasonic, and it’s built from the grade of materials everyone expects too. Which means it’s very difficult indeed to find meaningful fault with. There’s nothing spectacular about the design here – why would there be? But from its tidy 71mm depth to the minimal gunmetal-grey bezels surrounding the screen itself, this is a discreet and actually mildly sophisticated looker.

Or, at least, it will be if you hang it on the wall. If, like me, you’d rather keep your new TV on a surface, you’ll need a wide one. The TX-65MX950 stands on two ‘boomerang’ feet, and they are pointlessly wide apart – so far apart, in fact, the Panasonic won’t stand on my 110c, double-width AV rack. So if it’s got to sit on a surface, make sure you’ve a lot of surface on which it can sit.

Panasonic TX-65MX950

Features

The MX950 range is Panasonic’s very first foray into the world of MiniLED-backlit LCD TVs – and it’s safe to say the company has gone to town where overall specification is concerned. As well as MiniLED backlighting with 128 individually dimmable zones, the MX950 also features a layer of quantum dots – and the whole arrangement is controlled by its flagship HCX PRO AI picture processing engine that’s undergone a few tweaks for this implementation.

Because this is a Panasonic TV, and because Panasonic doesn’t mess about, the TX-65MX950 is compatible with every HDR standard worth having – up to and including HDR10+ Adaptive, Dolby Vision and Dolby Vision IQ. The usual picture modes are available, including ‘Filmmaker’ (presumably for those viewers with keen night-vision) – and there’s a new ‘True Game’ mode which, in conjunction with the pop up game control board, is intended to make the Panasonic as appealing to gamers as possible.

Connectivity

I think it would be more appealing still if more than two of its four HDMI inputs were at full-on HDMI 2.1 40Gbps standard, mind you. Covering Dolby Vision gaming to 4K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz with HDR10, G-SYNC and FreeSync Premium VRR, HGIG and ALLM is great, of course – but when one of the two HDMI sockets capable of doing so is also in charge of eARC connectivity, it’s easy to see how the committed gamer might think this arrangement is, you know… suboptimal. And when you consider the rapidity of the MX950’s response times, and the pop-up game control board, it seems even more of a missed opportunity.

Panasonic TX-65MX950

In addition to the HDMI sockets, there are three USB inputs, binding posts for the integrated twin tuners, a composite video input and an Ethernet socket. Outputs extend to a digital optical socket and a 3.5mm analogue output that can either be a headphone socket or a pre-out to a subwoofer. Wireless connectivity is covered by Bluetooth and dual-band wi-fi.

The Panasonic serves up sound from a 2.1-channel array driven by a total of 50 watts of power. A mono woofer takes 20 of these watts, and the remaining 30 are divided between a couple of mid/treble drivers.

Interface: speak your piece

The Panasonic TX-65MX950 features an easily accessible ‘mic’ button in the middle of its remote control handset, and interactions with your preferred voice assistant are swift and reliable. Alexa is built in, and the Panasonic works with Google Assistant too.

Panasonic TX-65MX950 remote

The remote handset itself is big in the traditional Panasonic manner – which means its buttons are all of decent size and it’s useful in a fight. The layout is logical, as are the direct-access buttons. It allows you to navigate some set-up menus that can be pretty in-depth if you’re one of those tweaky types, but also give you easy access to the headline adjustments the rest of us are happy making.

It also lets you make your way around the My Home Screen 8.0 smart TV interface. It’s only taken eight attempts, but finally Panasonic has a smart TV offering that’s a match for the best around – it’s fully stocked with catch-up and streaming service apps, it doesn’t cover much of the screen when you summon it, and it’s simple to navigate. Job done.

Performance

You didn’t spend a significant amount of money on a big new TV in order to watch antique content, did you? Of course you didn’t. And that’s just as well – because although the TX-65MX950 is a very accomplished upscaler of older, less information-rich content (up to a point), it looks its best when displaying some native 4K content, ideally with an HDR element to it. Which is why a UHD 4K Blu-ray disc of The Suicide Squad (HDR10+), a Netflix stream of Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Dolby Vision) and a PlayStation 5 copy of Rainbow Six Siege look so very agreeable.

The Panasonic is a bright, vibrant watch. Colours are extensive and expansive, and the MX950 seems able to differentiate between even very small variations in tone and shade. Detail levels are high across the board, and white tones fairly pop from the screen when the content demands it. There’s similar insight into black shades – although it’s worth noting that ‘black’ itself is in pretty short supply here. The Panasonic can muster some extremely dark grey, which will have to do – happily the whites are so vivid that contrasts are strong regardless.

Panasonic TX-65MX950

It’s good for those people who sit right in front of the screen, too. The MX950 is a VA panel, and its off-axis performance is just as ‘meh’ here as it is everywhere else. Sit at an angle and you lose a fair bit of colour fidelity, and contrasts take a hit too. If you’re watching in a dark room, not only does the Panasonic’s lack of true black become more apparent, but it also reveals the fact that the backlighting here isn’t as even as it might be.

Upscaling, motion and sound

Even the most testing on-screen motion is handled deftly, and the MX950 creates smooth and well-defined edges even in the most complex scenes. There’s appreciable depth of field in those scenes that demand it, too. Overall, the Panasonic looks like a great bet for those customers who do most of their viewing in brightly lit rooms – or, at least, in less than pitch darkness.

It’s a good upscaler, though, the MX950 – or, at least, it is as long as you don’t take the mickey. 1080p stuff and even 720p content holds up well, with only a minor drop-off in detail levels and some coarsening of edges really giving the game away. Dip any lower than these resolutions and the Panasonic chucks the towel in – but to be honest I don’t blame it. You can’t expect your new TV to work miracles with daytime TV broadcasts, after all.

Panasonic TX-65MX950

Sound isn’t too bad at all by prevailing standards. The Panasonic will happily accept a Dolby Atmos soundtrack and downscale it to fit its 2.1-channel layout – and from there you get decent clarity, a reasonable amount of detail and even a suggestion of bass presence. All of which puts it ahead of quite a few price-comparable alternatives. It’s no fan of big volumes mind you – and you wouldn’t have to spend too much on a soundbar to upgrade the audio quality here. It’s perfectly listenable, though.

Panasonic TX-65MX950 verdict

Don’t watch it in a very dark room, don’t watch it from much less than dead-ahead – and then the Panasonic TX-65MX950 has plenty going for it. It’s bright, the colours are spirited and it’s very good indeed where motion is concerned. There’s even a decent smart TV interface, and that’s not something I’ve said about Panasonic TVs very often. It’s well worth checking out.

Stuff Says…

Score: 4/5

If you’ve got the surface width, Panasonic has got the TV.

Pros

Detailed, bright and vibrant pictures

Surprisingly listenable sound

Every HDR standard is a specification highlight

Cons

Only two HDMI inputs

No fan of dark rooms

Not good to watch from off-axis

Panasonic TX-65MX950 tech specs

Screen size and rsolution6in, 3840 x 2160 pixels
TunerFreeview Play
HDRDolby Vision
AudioDolby Atmos; Dolby Theatre Surround
Dimensions83.3 x 144.8 x 7.1cm
Weight25kg
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Luxury content of the audio/video variety. Adept at going on and on. European.

Areas of expertise

AV

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