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Panasonic TX-L42E6 - Specifications and Performance

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic L42E6

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Panasonic TX-L42E6 - Specifications

Turning to other key specs of the L42E6, its Full HD pictures are driven by a native 100Hz edge LED-lit panel with back-light blinking. It’s 'A' rated for power consumption by EnerG, and carries a Freeview HD tuner. There’s no local dimming technology (that’s reserved for the new DT65 and WT65 ranges), but you do get a dynamic contrast system. We were also relieved to find that Panasonic has righted a pretty serious wrong from its 2012 LCD TV range by including a backlight adjustment among the picture set-up tools.

Panasonic L42E6 - Extensive picture settings

Better still, if you select the Custom picture preset, you can then access an Advanced Settings menu that includes such helpful fine tuning tools as an automatic gamma control system (which you can tweak or deactivate), a black expander, a white level booster, as well as startlingly detailed and flexible white balance, colour and gamma management systems. These are all great tools to have on such an affordable 42-inch TV.

There are a couple of notable feature omissions though. The biggest of these is the lack of any 3D support; this is saved for Panasonic models with a 'T' in their name, the nearest example of which would be the new ET65 range.

Also frustrating is the continued and increasingly inexplicable absence of LoveFilm (and, to a lesser degree, Blinkbox) from the Viera Connect video platforms. We were also slightly disappointed that the impressive catalogue of Gameloft online games that proved such a hit with us on last year’s Panasonic online TVs have been left out too. We’ve asked Panasonic for clarification of why these games aren’t there any more, but we’ve not heard back yet. We’ll update this review when we do.

Panasonic L42E6

Panasonic L42E6 - Picture Performance

With Panasonic’s hit and miss 2012 LCD performances still rather fresh in our minds, we unleashed the L42E6 on a selection of TV and Blu-ray material with a degree of trepidation. But right away two positives become abundantly clear. First, the usefulness of the new backlight adjustment in optimising pictures, and second, the fact that Panasonic has clearly been working hard on improving its LCD pictures, even on screens that sit in the lower half of its range. Typical HD TV footage from both the built-in tuner and a connected Sky HD receiver all looks more or less great.

Particularly impressive is the set’s colour response, which delivers plenty of punch and vibrancy while also, crucially, maintaining a level of tonal subtlety and balance that is rare indeed at the relatively affordable end of the LCD market. You don’t have to work very hard to achieve these great colours either; just turn off the Vivid colour option, and avoid the Dynamic preset, and you’ll be fine.

If you’re watching films in a dark room and can’t be bothered to fine tune things via the excellent tools we mentioned earlier, we’d recommend the Cinema or True Cinema presets. Though for viewing normal daytime TV fare in a bright room, the Normal mode will likely satisfy you more.

Panasonic L42E6

Panasonic L42E6 - Sharpness

We were also happy for the most part with the sharpness of the L42E6’s HD pictures, which never leaves you in any doubt that you’re watching and enjoying the added detail that only an HD source can provide. You should, it must be said, turn off all the noise reduction processing to keep detail levels high, and there’s a trace of resolution loss when the L42E6 is presented with fast-moving objects that we’d expect to see reduced by some of the more expensive sets in the range.

Overall though, we found ourselves never less than very satisfied with the L42E6’s HD clarity – especially given its price.

Panasonic L42E6

While it’s possible these days to lead an almost exclusively HD TV life, it’s nonetheless reassuring to find that the L42E6 is exceptionally capable when it comes to the upscaling of standard def sources. The upscaling processing does a great job of adding more pixels of image data without making the picture look fizzy or soft. Nor does it tend to exaggerate any noise that might be present in a standard def source.

Panasonic L42E6 - Contrast

The L42E6 offers better contrast performance than we’d expected, at least compared to last year’s equivalent Panasonic models. This is borne out when we switch to more demanding content like the final Harry Potter film and Skyfall on Blu-ray. Dark scenes in these movies display markedly deeper blacks on the L42E6 than we saw from the mid-range models in Panasonic’s 2012 range. This immediately makes dark scenes look vastly more convincing – as does the fact that the L42E6 is able to produce its new black level credibility without having to remove so much brightness from pictures that large amounts of shadow detailing get crushed out of the image.

In fact, even during tricky high-contrast shots like the sequence in the final Harry Potter film where Harry tries to get a Horcrux from a treasure room rapidly filling with magically ‘reproducing’ treasure, the L42E6 retains an exemplary amount of shadow detail for a set at this level of the market. It’s worth stressing that this shadow detail talent works wonders with giving dark scenes the same sense of depth and scale you get with bright ones.

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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