Picture quality cont'd
Panasonic’s motion processing works brilliantly in 3D too, smoothing away potentially distracting judder without - crucially - making the picture look at all over-processed.
The Panasonic L42WT50 also excels in 3D mode because the inevitable dimming impact of Panasonic’s latest active shutter 3D glasses hides the set’s slight difficulties with black level - difficulties we’ll get into in a moment.
Although it was the L42WT50’s 3D pictures that most caused our mouths to hang open in admiration, it is an extremely talented 2D performer too. Without the 3D glasses on it’s easier to fully appreciate just how punchy and dynamic its colours are, for instance. Yet as with all the best LED TVs, this vibrancy is accompanied by an extremely wide colour gamut and so much accuracy and subtlety when it comes to colour blends that we never once saw a single ugly colour ‘stripe’ - unless it was there in a source.
The Panasnonic L42WT50’s motion handling looks just as good in 2D mode as it did with 3D too, with seemingly next to no resolution getting lost as objects cross the screen - especially if you plump for using the Intelligent Frame Creation system (albeit only on its lowest setting if you don’t want a few artefacts to crop up).
HD pictures in 2D mode are detailed and sharp, meanwhile - and as we’ve just noted, this clarity is not seriously reduced by motion.
With the L42WT50’s pictures also proving watchable from a slightly wider angle than those of most LCD TVs; standard definition sources upscaling to the full HD screen really well; and input lag measuring a gamer-pleasing 32ms, the only chink we managed to find in the L42WT50’s picture armour concerns its black level response.
Black level points
Firstly, without the Area Dimmer Control on, the set’s black level response is really pretty average, leaving dark scenes looking distinctly grey - especially compared with what the latest top-end LED TVs from Samsung can do.
Thankfully, activating the Area Dimmer Control has a profound and instant impact on the screen’s black level performance. However, this improvement comes at a marginally annoying cost, in the shape of the occasional light ‘block’ around very bright objects if they appear against very dark backgrounds.
Not surprisingly this phenomenon can be distracting when it appears, making us think it might have been sensible for Panasonic to have allowed you to adjust the intensity at which the area dimming feature worked. However - and this is a pretty big "however" - it must be said that the light blocking phenomenon really does only crop up on extremely rare occasions.
At no point, though, did this minor flaw, or a rather run of the mill audio performance, ever make us consider not giving the L42WT50 a well-earned Recommended badge.
The Panasonic L42WT50 really is a frighteningly good LED TV from Panasonic, combining frequently gorgeous pictures with a hugely fashionable design and a long and effective feature list. Black level obsessives will still prefer one of Panasonic’s also brilliant new plasma TVs, but we can also readily imagine some previously die-hard plasma fans having their heads well and truly turned by the L42WT50’s dazzling charms.