Review Price £799.95
Panasonic Viera TX-L42D25B - Black Level Concerns and Verdict
You can, of course, turn the IFC system off completely when watching films if you find that having it active makes proceedings look a bit too smooth and video-like for comfort. But actually, with 1080p/24 Blu-rays, we personally felt the judder on the L42D25B without IFC in play was at times a little too extreme to create a truly cinematic experience. But that’s the beauty of having the choice to go with what suits your tastes the best.
The L42D25B’s flare for colour and brightness helps typical images look impressively dynamic, by which we mean there seems to be a really wide visible luminance range between the brightest and darkest parts of a single image.
Switch to a predominantly dark scene with just a few lighter elements, though, and the L42D25B doesn’t fare quite so well. The deepest black colour the screen is able to reach looks slightly milky compared with the best edge LED and especially direct LED and plasma TVs we’ve seen.
The screen also has to sacrifice a little more brightness with the lighter parts of predominantly dark scenes than we’d like, and there’s some slight inconsistency in the brightness level across the screen during dark shots.
Before anyone gets too upset about this latter point, though, the brightness inconsistencies are much more subtle than recent examples of the problem witnessed on Toshiba’s 40SL753 and LG’s 37LE5900. So much so that you’ll only occasionally be even slightly aware of them, in our opinion.
So that we can finish our assessment of the L42D25B’s pictures on the high note they overall deserve, let’s conclude by pointing out that its Game mode appears to limit input lag to a very acceptable level, while the L42D25B’s use of an IPS (In-Plane Switching) screen means that its images hold up in colour and contrast terms much better than most rivals when viewed from wide angles.
The L42D25B’s sound is fair enough. As with most slim TVs it lacks the bass bite to really do the business with action movies, but it handles trebles with confidence and without sibilance, and the mid-range seldom feels compressed even when pushed hard. The soundstage the set produces is slightly wider than we get with many slender TVs too.
However painful a decision it might have been for Panasonic to turn to LCD technology for a 42in TV, the fact remains that the L42D25B is a very accomplished 42in LCD debut. There are times, indeed, when its pictures look spectacularly good, with only some gentle weaknesses with dark scenes preventing it from sneaking up into whole-hearted recommendation territory.