Review Price £1,175.00
As we so often find, a contrast range as profound and dynamic as that of the P50GT50 also reaps huge dividends when it comes to colour reproduction. The palette exhibited by the P50GT50 with everything from Tangled through to Prometheus and the recently released Dark Knight Rises is nothing short of exquisite; expansive in range, impressive (though not quite flawless) in the subtlety with which it portrays blends and tonal shifts; and gorgeously natural.
It's particularly brilliant to note how the slight green undertones to black colours and marginally orangey skin tones evident on previous Panasonic plasmas have now all but vanished.
Joining the amazing colours and black levels on our 'dream come true' list is the P50GT50’s sharpness with HD sources. Blu-rays look pixel perfect, and best of all, the immense clarity on show remains almost totally intact when there's motion in the frame, thanks to plasma's near immunity to the sort of motion blur and resolution loss associated with LCD TVs.
More good news concerns the image's freedom from most kinds of noise. You can scarcely see a trace of plasma's old green dotting noise in very dark picture areas unless you've left the image way too bright and are sat too close to the screen, and dot and colour noise are both at an absolute premium.
The P50GT50's freedom from motion blur and exceptional contrast make it a pretty spectacular gaming monitor. So it's a relief to find its input lag measuring around 38ms, which should be low enough to leave your gaming abilities unaffected.
While the P50GT50's pictures can certainly be described as outstanding, though, they're not perfect. The worst issue is that horizontal motion - especially camera pans - can cause a rasterising effect, where you can see fizzing noise over skin tones, and colour banding or double reproduction effect over lines and edges. This issue is greatly reduced, though, if you use the IFC processing, even on its lowest setting. So even people generally not in favour of such processing would be advised to at least give it a try. Plus, it's definitely the least of most image quality evils.
Another noticeable issue is that images lose brightness and contrast if you're watching the screen in a light room; more so than on the VT50 models, presumably because of the latter's extra filter system.
Finally, while 3D pictures are generally impressive thanks to their resolution, sense of depth and freedom from crosstalk ghosting noise, they do look rather short of brightness versus those of most 3D LCD TVs. This is definitely the compromise we'd rather have though.
The sound the P50GT50 produces to accompany its mostly adorable pictures is fair. The extreme robustness and relative bulk of its chassis had got us hoping that it might be able to deliver exceptional amounts of power and range, but the reality is that the soundstage is only slightly more robust than the flat TV average, chiefly thanks to a bit more openness in the mid range and a touch more bass extension. Quality dedicated speakers will, as ever, be a must for movie buffs.
The P50GT50 is a timely reminder as we approach the end of 2012 of just how brilliant plasma technology can be as a video display. In fact, if you're a movie fan it really is hard to think of a better way to spend the best part of £1200.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network