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Panasonic Viera TX-P50X10 50in Plasma TV
At 50in across, the TX-P50X10 is comfortably the largest screen we've seen to date from Panasonic's massive new range of TVs. And as such, despite sitting relatively low down the new Panasonic pecking order, it should be well placed to give us the most accurate impression yet of just how Pioneer's plasma technology is moving forward this year.
Before we get into that, though, a surprise: the P50X10 really is quite attractive. Why is this surprising? Because I haven't been especially enamoured with the designs of Panasonic's smaller X10 models. Yet strangely, stretching the design to fit around a 50in TV screen seems to bring it to life, emphasising the glossy and robust build quality as well as bringing my attention to the slender nature of the bezel in a way the smaller models do not.
Not surprisingly, though, while the P50X10's bodywork might look more striking than that of its smaller siblings, in terms of features and connections it's more or less the same.
Connections, for instance, include the anticipated three HDMIs, D-Sub PC input and SD card slot for playing back digital stills (but not the AVCHD video files supported by the SD slots on higher-end Panasonic sets).
The set also shares the 100Hz processing found on the Panasonic P37X10 we looked at recently, and rather handily claims the same eye-poppingly high 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Plus there's still the handy new Viera Tools button on the remote, providing direct access to the TV's JPEG viewing and Viera Link enhanced HDMI functions; and an Eco mode that uses a light sensor on the TV's exterior to adjust the image's brightness in response to the light levels in your room.
As usual with a Panasonic TV, the P50X10 is extremely easy to use, thanks to a superbly designed remote control and no-nonsense onscreen menu system. In a perfect world Panasonic would avoid using such vague submenu descriptions as 'Other settings' and 'System Menu', but for the most part this is definitely a TV your dear old nan will have no problems getting to grips with.
Before getting into the P50X10's performance, there is one potentially key difference in its specification to run by you. For it provides a 1,366 x 768 resolution versus the 1,024 x 768 resolution sported by its smaller 37in and 42in brothers. This fact has the potential to leave images looking sharper than they do on the smaller screens.