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The bottom line is that the 85VX200’s 3D talents are surely good enough to make believers out of even the most die-hard 3D haters. Or at least, they would be were it not for two irritating issues.
The first is Panasonic’s 3D glasses, which are, frankly, horrible. Their lenses are simply too narrow, meaning that pretty much anyone wearing them will either have to incline their head permanently to align the glasses properly with the screen, or else perch the glasses right at the end of their nose. As well as being uncomfortable, the latter option means you get lots of ambient light sneaking in between your eyes and the images received through the shuttering lenses.
The second problem, naturally, is the 85VX200’s terrifying price tag. For obviously it leaves the door open for people to say ‘so 3D can only look truly brilliant if you spend £42,000 on it, then?’...
Not surprisingly given its screen technology and Panasonic plasma heritage, the 85VX200 is also pretty wondrous with 2D material. Its contrast, in particular, is out of this world, as deep, rich, detailed blacks reside right alongside extremely bright - if marginally yellow-tinged - peak whites.
The screen’s colour performance is outstanding too, combining the most potent saturations yet seen from a Panasonic plasma TV with some extraordinarily precise blends and wonderfully subtle detailing.
HD 2D images are outstandingly detailed and sharp, with the exceptional contrast seemingly enhancing the sense of definition versus Panasonic’s consumer TVs. Motion looks slightly more natural on the 85VX200 too - and that’s without needing to use Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) system to reduce judder. Though to be fair, on its lowest setting at least, IFC delivers more watchable and natural results than many rival motion processing systems.
Even standard definition pictures are surprisingly watchable, given that the 85VX200‘s 85in screen would leave any rescaling errors with absolutely nowhere to hide. There’s a slightly soft look to standard def proceedings, for sure, but this is vastly preferable to a picture that looks sharp but distractingly noisy.
Shorn of the usual price-based limitations associated with making plasma TVs for the mass consumer marketplace, Panasonic has produced a true AV masterpiece in the 85VX200. Clearly its crazy price means that precious few people will be able to seriously think about buying one, and will turn to the much cheaper big-screen route of a front projection system instead.
But if you can afford to punt 42 grand on a home cinema screen and don’t want or can’t accommodate the room set up issues associated with projector systems, then at least you can console your bank account with the thought that the hefty hole that’s suddenly appeared in it has bought a screen that truly sets new standards.