Despite being the latest poster adorning selling points, Smart TV features and 3D aren’t for everyone. Some people quite understandably just want a TV that simply shows pictures and doesn’t cost much. Especially if they’re looking for a TV to go into a second room.
Cue the Panasonic TX-L32X5B. This no-frills TV is designed with one intention: to give you 32-inches of hopefully decent pictures for just £319 - the sort of price that would once have been unthinkable from a big-name brand.
The concern, obviously, has to be that the Panasonic TX-L32X5B doesn’t deliver on the ‘decent pictures’ part of the deal. After all, Panasonic’s high-end LCD TVs haven’t all set the picture quality world alight, so why should a TV at the opposite extreme of Panasonic’s LCD range be any different?
Doing its best to get our hopes up is the Panasonic TX-L32X5B’s design. For while it doesn’t sport the sort of ultra-slim frame that’s so popular these days, its inch or so of bezel still looks quite stylish thanks to its glossy finish and minimalist, angular lines. It feels reasonably well built for a budget model too.
The Panasonic TX-L32X5B's connections aren’t as malnourished as might have been expected either. There are three HDMIs rather than two, while other highlights include both an SD card slot and a USB port for playback of multimedia files, as well as a LAN port. However, please note that this LAN doesn’t provide access to Panasonic’s Viera Connect online service, or let you stream files in from a networked PC. It’s there purely as mandatory support for the set’s built-in Freeview HD tuner.
Before anyone gets too upset by this, though, even getting a built-in HD tuner could reasonably be called a bonus on such a cheap 32-inch TV.
The multimedia files supported via SD card and USB stick are reasonably extensive, taking in AVCHD/SD-VIDEO/MotionJPEG (Lumix)/MP4/DivX HD/WMV/MKV/AVI, MP3/AAC/WMA, and JPEG.
This being a Panasonic LCD TV, meanwhile, the panel inside it is an IPS Alpha job, which means it can be watched from a slightly wider viewing angle than most without contrast and colour taking too heavy a hit. Also, the backlight features a wide transmission aperture that enhances contrast and improves motion response. These sort of features are on Panasonic’s higher-end LCD TVs as well.