Earlier in the week we got the chance to check out the first of Panasonic's new plasma TVs, the P37X10, and came away mostly impressed. Now we've got our hands on the first of Panasonic's new LCD TVs. And our final feelings about it are broadly similar, if not quite so enthusiastic.
The similarities begin with the 32in TX-L32X10's design - not a particularly great thing, actually, as I find the current Panasonic design approach a little on the bland side. Probably the best thing you can say about the black rectangular design, with its somehow rather clumsy angled-forward section along the bottom edge, is that it's understated.
The L32X10's connections are identical to those of the P37X10 too. Which is really as I would have expected given that, as the X10 part of their names suggests, both TVs are from the same, relatively low-end series within the latest - huge - Panasonic hierarchy.
To save you having to revisit last week's plasma review, the highlights of the connections are three HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, and an SD card slot via which the TV can play JPEG stills, but not the AVCHD video format supported by the SD card readers on some of Panasonic's higher-spec new models.
The relatively low level of the L32X10 is also reflected in its native resolution, as we find an HD Ready 1,366 x 768 rather than the Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 that's starting to appear increasingly commonly at the 32in level. What's more, the set doesn't manage any major motion-enhancement processing, be it Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation or a 100Hz system. Hopefully this won't cause major issues with the L32X10's performance.
A typically excellent Panasonic remote control and some clear if not particularly stylish onscreen menus continue the rather stripped down theme, presenting precious little for me to get excited about. Probably the single most notable thing, as with the P37X10, is the addition of a new Viera Tools button on the remote that calls up four icon shortcuts to the set's Viera Link and photo-viewing capabilities.
Viera Link, in case you're not familiar with it, is Panasonic's name for its system of enhanced communication between Panasonic devices connected via HDMI cables. For instance, thanks to Viera Link, if you've got a Panasonic digital recorder hooked up to the L32X10 you can instantly record anything you're watching just by pressing a single button on the remote control.
Otherwise the only notable features are an Eco mode that adjusts the image's brightness in response to the amount of light measured in your room; an optimistically named ‘Colour Management' option that actually just makes pictures look more vivid; and a basic noise reduction tool.