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Panasonic Viera TX-32LXD85 32in LCD TV - Panasonic TX-32LXD85

The 32LXD85's black level response is very good indeed by 32in standards. The black Mafia cars in The Italian Job and a night-time helicopter ride around Liberty City in the Xbox 360's Grand Theft Auto IV both enjoy equally solid, deep blacks - a talent that in the latter case is key to making you realise just how ground-breakingly large and detailed Liberty City really is.

What's more, these impressively deep black levels aren't troubled by the sort of overt brightness ‘jumping' that we sometimes see with TVs that employ dynamic backlight systems.

The 32LXD85's colours are also exemplary, helping the set do a great job of delivering The Italian Job's joyously rich, bright cinematography, yet also ensuring that hardly a hue looks out of place or unnatural. In fact, in some ways - certainly where rich reds are concerned - I'd say this LCD model's colours are actually more natural than those of Panny's plasmas, and that's saying something.
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Panasonic's 100Hz engine, meanwhile, earns its corn in no uncertain terms with the superb way it handles everything from the Mini Cooper chase in The Italian Job through to my desperate efforts to shake off the cops in a car after hitting a four-star wanted level in GTA IV. Moving objects lose surprisingly little resolution as they cross the screen, yet also, critically, there are practically none of the common nasty side effects - MPEG blocking, haloing around moving objects, image lag - from the 100Hz processing engine.

In fact, video noise in general is incredibly hard to see, leaving only some minor complaints about the 32LXD85's picture (other than the aforementioned slight lack of detail versus a full HD set with long-distance shots). These small issues include the occasional very high brightness edge that can flicker a little during really rapid movement or a camera pan, and the motion during 24fps playback, which could be slightly - but only slightly - smoother.

Previously, sets towards the bottom of Panasonic's ranges have tended to have rather feeble audio. But while not perfect - or as good as Panasonic's flagship flat TVs with their Advanced Smart Sound systems - the 32LXD85's sonics are perfectly powerful and dynamic enough to pass muster with pretty much any TV programme, and even the majority of films.

Verdict

If you want the very best picture quality on offer from Panasonic's latest LCD range, then you need to stump up the extra cash for one of the brand's LZD full HD models. But if you'd rather save over £150, take it from me that the HD Ready 32LXD85 is still a sensational picture performer that actually makes the full HD efforts of a few rival brands look positively impoverished.

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