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If awards were handed out for sheer abundance, Panasonic would be sweeping the board right now. For it seems as if a new one lands on our test benches every other day.
Today's model is a little different to the others we've received lately, though, in that at just 26in across, it's the first set we've seen from Panasonic's new range that's more likely to serve as a second-room TV than a main living room set. So without further ado, let's find out if the Panasonic Viera TX-L26X10 is worthy of a place in your study/bedroom/conservatory/potting shed/wherever.
As usual with Panasonic TVs of late I have to start by slightly bemoaning the TX-L26X10's design. Its reasonably glossy black framework with a gentle arch along the bottom edge is not actually ugly, or anything, but, well, neither is it very inspired or different from the pack. I can't help but think that Panasonic could do much better if it really put its mind to it - and probably improve its sales figures in the process.
The set's connectivity is perfectly satisfactory for a TV likely to find second rather than main room use. Three HDMIs get things moving, with highlight support coming from an SD card slot enabled for JPEG photo viewing, and a D-Sub PC port.
As I'd expected from my experience with this TV's 32in sibling, the Panasonic TX-L32X10, the TX-L26X10 isn't exactly overwhelmed with features. There's neither 100Hz processing for reducing potential motion blur, nor Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation system for interpolating new 'intermediate' image frames to help motion look fluid and judder-free. And unlike models further up Panasonic's range, the SD card slot can't handle AVCHD movie files, there's no Freesat tuner built in, and there are no Internet connectivity tools.
The set's resolution, meanwhile, is predictably (given the set's size) fixed at an HD Ready 1,366 x 768. But before we write the set off as completely devoid of interesting features, it's worth noting that it has a dynamic contrast system for automatically adjusting the set's backlight depending on the brightness level of the source image (not a given at the 26in level). Plus there's the increasingly inevitable Eco mode that adjusts the picture's brightness depending on how light or dark your room is at any given time; a couple of fairly straightforward noise reduction systems; and finally a colour management tool.
Before you start dreaming of hours spent with a test-signal disc twiddling around with the hue, saturation, brightness, etc of all the TV's individual colour elements, I'm afraid I've got bad news. For the colour management system here is purely automatic; it's either set on, doing its thing behind the scenes, or it's off. That's it.
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