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Since they both use all the same core picture technology, it would be very surprising if the 37PX600’s pictures differed substantially from those of the previously reviewed 42PX60. And indeed, the 37PX600’s pictures turn out to be every bit as sublime as those of its bigger sibling.
As always seems to be the case with Panny plasmas, if there’s one picture element that stands out above of all the rest, it’s black level response. We’ve never seen any other flat TV brand deliver blacks with the same killer combination of total darkness and subtle shadow detailing. This means that while playing, say, Prey on the Xbox 360, the game’s darkest corners look pitch black rather than a murky grey as they do on most flat TVs - yet you can still comfortably make out the sort of subtle shading and background details in dark areas that make the image more three-dimensional, believable and involving.
It’s a treat, too, to spot practically none of the grey dot crawl noise still often seen in black areas on plasmas. Talking of typical plasma troubles, there’s also seldom a trace of the technology’s fizzing over horizontal motion.
Another area in which the 37PX600 absolutely excels – and teaches LCD rivals a harsh lesson – is colours. We’ve seen more vibrant hues from some LCD TVs perhaps, but if like us you value natural tones and subtle shading over naked aggression, the 37PX600’s colour palette’s deft touch and extreme range is simply a joy to behold.
Another plus of the 37PX600 is its flexibility. Its V-Real processing and plasma technology together take the trip down from high to standard definition surprisingly in their stride, avoiding the colour tone, softness and noise issues that plague so many LCD TVs’ standard def performances.
The plus points described above ensure that the 37PX600 is never less than a complete joy to watch. Perfection seekers that we are, though, we do have a couple of itsy bitsy complaints. First, HD pictures don’t look quite so pin-sharp as those of the star LCDs out there. And second, colour blends can occasionally look stripy. Still, these are prices we’re definitely prepared to pay in return for all the good things the 37PX600 does.
The 37PX600’s new speaker design helps the set deliver an audio performance that’s nearly as impressive as its visuals, with stonking amounts of power, frequency range, bass rumble, vocal authenticity and treble accuracy.
Another effortlessly sublime TV from Panasonic – and one that proves without doubt that you write plasma off at your peril.
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