Panasonic's latest LCD TV range has been a somewhat mixed bag so far. For while we've unexpectedly taken to the brand's debut passive 3D TVs and been reasonably pleased with many of the company's relatively small screen sizes, its 'big boys' have been a bit of a let down thanks to some fairly alarming backlight issues. Which brings us neatly to Panasonic TX-L47WT50.
This flagship set is interesting because while Panasonic's 55-inch TVs have struggled, its 42-inch models have generally been much easier to live with. So we're genuinely intrigued to see what we make of the Panasonic TX-L47WT50 with its mid-sized 47-inch screen.
Panasonic TX-L47WT50 Design
The Panasonic TX-L47WT50 gets off to a great start, at least, thanks to its seriously tasteful design. Its barely-there bezel is finished in a strikingly robust-looking black with a tasteful outer silver trim, and its stand is chic and futuristic. Also eye-catching is how slender the Panasonic TX-L47WT50's metallic rear is. Basically it's hard to reconcile this wonderfully trim and elegant set with the sort of chunky style-free TVs that have made up so much of Panasonic's previous TV ranges.
Panasonic TX-L47WT50 Connectivity
The Panasonic TX-L47WT50 is bristling with connections. Four HDMIs lead the way, all built to the v1.4 standard, while today's multimedia needs are met by a trio of USBs, an SD card slot, a D-Sub PC port, and the increasingly inevitable LAN/built-in Wi-Fi ports for both accessing multimedia files on a DLNA PC or taking the TV online with Panasonic's Viera Connect platform.
The video, photo and music file support is strong too, and you can record from the set's built in Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners to both USB HDDs and SD cards.
Pansonic TX-L47WT50 Smart TV
Panasonic Viera Connect continues to be one of the most interesting online platforms. It's not as sophisticated with some aspects of its interface as some rival online TV services, and nor does it carry as much content. However, its online 'marketplace' section where you can download more apps and even buy accessories like wireless keyboards, 3D glasses and Skype cameras is superbly organised and intuitive to use - as well as being unusually sophisticated in terms of the way it lets you hand over your cash for the accessories and apps on offer.
In terms of Viera Connect's content, video streaming services include Netflix, AceTrax, the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, EuroSport, and YouTube - though there's still no LoveFilm support for some reason. Also notable is the quality of some of the games on Panasonic's servers, with Let's Golf 2 and Asphalt 5 both offering startlingly sophisticated and graphically rich experiences complete with the facility to join other players online. This goes way beyond the ultra-basic single-screen games found cluttering up so many rival online platforms.
Panasonic TX-L47WT50 Specs
The Panasonic TX-L47WT50 uses a dual-core processing system, which proves very handy when using all the TV's multimedia tools as it allows you to 'multitask'. In other words, you can have up to six different apps running simultaneously, with you able to switch between them all simply by 'lifting up' the corner of the Viera Connect screen to reveal 'go-to' icons for all the apps you've got open at any given time. This really does make the set's multimedia tools much easier to use.
Another potentially cool aid in making all the multimedia fodder easier to access and use is the second, trackpad-equipped remote control Panasonic ships for free with the TX-L47WT50. However, in reality this turns out to be more of a hindrance than a help, as the trackpad doesn't respond as accurately as we'd like to our finger movements. The trackpad also tends to accidentally move the control cursor when you press it in a bid to select a highlighted option, and most annoyingly of all, the trackpad is a very small, circular design, which doesn't tally at all well with the large, rectangular screen where the cursor you're tying to control sits. Back to the drawing board with this one, then.