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Panasonic TX-L42E6B review

John Archer

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6
  • Panasonic L42E6

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Excellent picture quality for the money
  • Lovely, space-saving design
  • My Home Screen interface works brilliantly

Cons

  • No LoveFilm or Blinkbox Apps
  • Minor resolution loss with motion
  • Text input system is a bit tedious

Key Features

  • 42in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • My Home Screen interface
  • Freeview HD built in
  • Multimedia playback via USB or LAN/wi-fi
  • Viera Connect online features
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £799.99

Introduction

The new TV season is here. And for the first time in years, the first big-brand ‘new wave’ TV to hit our test benches doesn’t sport a Samsung badge. For once the Korean giant has been beaten out of the traps by Panasonic – a minor point on the surface, perhaps, but to us a potentially significant statement of intent from a brand that's looking increasingly bold and bullish.

The Panasonic TV in question is the TX-L42E6B. This 42-inch LCD model isn’t one of Panasonic’s new flagship models; in fact, it sits just below the middle of the brand’s 2013 range. However, it still packs serious design and feature punch, showing that Panasonic’s aggressive intentions this year aren’t going to be restricted to its premium TVs.

Panasonic TX-L42E6 - Design

The L42E6 – as we’ll henceforth be calling it – really is quite the looker. For starters the frame is extraordinarily thin for a 42-inch TV costing under £800. We measured it at just 1cm, incorporating a couple of mm of black inner frame, and a silver outer frame. The combination of black and silver looks very stylish, too.

Panasonic L42E6

Also notable is how the bezel only widens a fraction along the bottom edge, where it’s joined by a centimetre or so of fetching see-through glass containing the power lights and a tiny Panasonic logo. Add in the fetching silver stand and it’s hard to believe that the stylish L42E6 sits more than halfway down Panasonic’s range.

Panasonic L42E6 - Connections

The back of the L42E6 continues with the strikingly slim theme, yet also manages to provide a decent suite of connections. Three HDMIs get the ball rolling, but also critical given the multimedia age we’re now living in are its built-in Wi-Fi, LAN port and two USBs. These jacks permit playback of video, photo and music files from both USB storage devices and connected DLNA devices, and in addition you can also take the TV online with Panasonic’s revamped Viera Connect service.

The only aggravating thing about the L42E6’s connections is that many of them face directly out from the TV rather than being designed for flush-fitting side access. This could present you with a few problems if you’re intending to wall-mount the TV.

Panasonic L42E6 - My Home Screen

Firing the L42E6 up for the first time immediately presents you with a pleasant surprise. The menus used to guide you through setup are much more graphics-rich and generally attractive than anything Panasonic has done before. They also make getting your new TV onto your network pretty much as easy as it could be. And most importantly of all, they end up with a tutorial for Panasonic’s new ‘My Home Screen’ interface.

This new smart interface is so far advanced over anything Panasonic has delivered before, and so important a part of this year’s TV battleground, that we will be devoting a standalone review to it in the next day or two.

Panasonic L42E6

By way of an introduction though, My Home Screen essentially provides a series of pre-designed home screens, each based around different themes and offering instant access to different types of content and information. You can easily move at will between both the content windows on each home screen and all the different home screen options.

You can even build your own home screens from a range of supplied templates, populating them with your preferred apps. Multiple personalised screens can be created too, potentially allowing different members of your family to set up their own personal content screens.

The My Home Screen system looks great, is remarkably slick and quick, and best of all is actually, honest-to-goodness useful, managing to genuinely streamline access to preferred content while remaining blindingly easy to use.

So effective is My Home Screen, in fact, that it wouldn’t be a stretch to describe it as revolutionary in the way it finally integrates Smart functionality into a TV in a way that anyone – even the most extreme technophobes – can get to grips with. Other brands are trying similar things to My Home Screen this year, but they’ll have to go some distance if they’re going to rival the Panasonic approach for sheer simplicity and practicality.

Panasonic L42E6

Another key part of the L42E6’s latest interface is its enhanced co-operation with tablet computers and smart phones. Using the new, improved iOS/Android Viera Remote App you can cast images from your TV to your smart device or vice versa, or you can browse the TV’s listings or the web on your smart device without interrupting the TV. You can even use your smart device's touch screen for easier surfing of the TV's built-in Web browser, and much more besides.

If you're using one of Panasonic's high-end new LCD TVs – the WT65 or DT65 series – you can even watch a different channel on your smart device to what’s been shown on the TV, thanks to those TVs having twin tuners built in. Also new is the ‘two fingered swipe’, which allows you to save content stored on your smart device to any USB memory you’ve got attached to your TV.

Billy

March 4, 2013, 11:35 pm

Great review, thank you!

Silly question time: Would you go with the new generation led L42E6 or the previous generation plasma 42gt50? (both now offered at £800)

Tom Osborne

March 5, 2013, 5:56 pm

Thanks for the review. It's not often that you find a product that matches exactly what you're looking for but this seems to!

Peter Nye

April 25, 2013, 1:59 pm

Great review, great tv but, being a perfectionist, I'm just struggling slightly to get the 'perfect picture'. Can anyone recommend or suggest what they feel are very best settings on the custom/advanced menu? I feel it needs a bit more tweaking but just can't get there.

Many thanks, Gaspin.

Panos

May 23, 2013, 4:38 am

Great review! Looks like a very good led.

I would love to get this TV for gaming and movies, but I've been troubled by the lack of game mode and 1080 pixel direct as stated here http://www.panasonic.co.uk/htm...

How do you get an average 36ms input lag? In which mode/settings?

matt

August 9, 2013, 10:31 am

Hi, what about gaming lag ? Can i Buy this tv for gaming ?

Welcome

September 23, 2013, 3:53 am

36ms - I've just purchased one of these to run an Xbox One in November.

Matthew Farrington

November 17, 2013, 6:27 pm

Hi, I am at the moment battling between this television and the sony kdl42w653 which also got a 9 star rating on this site. The television will be used primarily for films and gaming on an xbox 360 at the time being. I was just wondering if you could tell me which one is better for these functions!

chris

December 3, 2013, 11:49 am

Matthew Farrington the Sony has double the refresh rate of this Panasonic so will be a better choice for really smooth gaming. Although most games don't run at nearly 200 the Sony should be a more 'future proof option. Having said that this Panasionic does have an extra HDMI input but that could be overcome with a splitter

J Smith

December 16, 2013, 12:04 pm

I bought this TV in the sale based on this review; specifically the mention of 100hz as I use my TV with my PC for games etc.

This TV is 50hz - this leads to blur which was actually mentioned in the review (it would have been nice if they'd stated it is due to the 50hz panel!)

"Motion clarity remains the TX-L42E6B’s biggest weakness, despite being equipped with “100Hz Back light Blinking” which is Panasonic’s backlight scanning technology that attempts to reduce the sample-and-hold effect largely responsible for the motion blur we perceive on LCDs.

The underlying LCD panel is still 50Hz, which is borne out by a motion resolution of between 250 and 300 as determined via the scrolling test chart in the FPD Benchmark disc. Unfortunately the Panasonic E6 doesn’t feature any onboard motion-compensated frame interpolation (MCFI) system to help the TV out in this area."

The text reproduction on a desktop is terrible, much worse than my 4 year old Samsung 6 series it replaced.

Pros; looks amazing, great HD playback
Cons: Gaming/PC use is quite poor

Den

January 3, 2014, 11:24 am

Can trusted reviews print their calibration settings for the Panasonic TX-L42E6 so people at home can try them to see what they think?

andyvan

January 3, 2014, 12:42 pm

We've discussed this idea several ideas in the past, and we've always decided against it. Given the variability of LCD panels in each TVs, not to mention environmental factors (e.g. ambient light) we feel it's best not to as our settings may not provide anything like what's best for any given TV.

That said, we do generally make recommendations for certain settings (e.g. motion modes) in the setup section where we think it's appropriate.

aboauf

January 3, 2014, 1:47 pm

is this model the same as th-l42E6E?, and I really can't choose between this model or samsung EH6030 AND SAMSUNG F5300 which one would be a better choice neglecting the 3D and smart features?

Den

January 5, 2014, 5:05 pm

I do understand this point of view and see that you've recommended certain picture presets for day and night viewing but it would be good to try your settings be they for dark or light environments as a point to start from, as you know how to go into more depth then the average person, and if not happy with them would have ample time to try other settings myself.

Nick

January 28, 2014, 3:27 am

Just bought this last night..
1.Very nice sleek design.
2.Good colors.
3.But dont have a good sound quality.
4.Tested this tv using Playstation 3 and turned out great.
5.Lucky this tv has built in wifi. Can also connect using the lan cable.
6.Easily can be remote via Panasonic Remote App on Googlestore.
7.Overall im satisfied with the performance.

Jogi

March 14, 2014, 12:04 pm

Am about to buy one of these TVs and would like to know: is there anywhere those famous calibration settings to be found (on the net or elsewhere)???

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