The 50PZ850 is also capable of a very likable 3D performance. The main reason for this is that - thankfully - the TV doesn’t suffer anywhere near as badly as LG’s cheaper 3D plasmas with crosstalk ghosting noise. There’s still a bit of it however, and more than you would see with LG’s passive TVs, in fact.
But overall it doesn’t stop the 50PZ850 from producing a very watchable active 3D performance, with decent depth, good sharpness, and acceptable amounts of shadow detail and colour dynamism. Which is quite ironic, really, given LG’s apparent hatred of the active 3D format.
While our overall impressions of the 50PZ850’s picture performance are good, the set does suffer a cluster of flaws. First, although its black level response is strong compared with many LCD TVs, compared with other equivalent plasma sets it’s a little wanting, suffering with slightly more greyness and allowing through less shadow detailing.
Colours, too, although reasonably punchy tend to exhibit a few uncomfortable tones at times. This is especially true when watching standard definition, and there was nothing we could achieve via the colour management system that completely sorted the tonal inaccuracies out.
Standard def images tend to look rather soft as well, suggesting the scaling engine in the 50PZ850 isn’t one of LG’s best.
Next to raise concern is the susceptibility of the 50PZ850 to image retention. If you leave a very bright image, such as a rich channel logo, onscreen for too long, you can see a ghostly echo of that feature hanging around over subsequent footage long after it should have disappeared. This was once a common problem with plasma technology, but we don’t see it nearly as often these days.
We didn’t suffer any retention that was in any way permanent during our tests. But we would certainly recommend that anyone who buys the 50PZ850 takes extreme care for at least 100 hours of use to avoid material that might cause image retention.
The last niggle is a measured input lag figure of around 80ms. This is an alarmingly high figure, and will almost certainly negatively effect your gaming performance - especially if you like playing against other ‘real people’ online.
The 50PZ850’s audio, finally, is solid. There’s a strong mid-range performance - perhaps aided by the extreme robustness of the TV’s chassis - that helps voices sound rich and believable, while also supporting at least a degree of soundstage expansion when you shift from normal TV fare into action scenes.
Although it’s far from perfect, the 50PZ850 is a credible 3D and HD performer - though it’s not so hot with standard definition 2D. However, it’s still hard to recommend this TV wholeheartedly to 3D and HD fans because of the simple fact that part of its price is used to buy LG’s new PenTouch functionality - a feature which is to our mind the most hare-brained thing we’ve seen added to a TV in many a long year.