The Panasonic P50GT60’s 3D images retain noticeably more brightness than those of Panasonic plasmas of old (though donning Panasonic’s glasses still knocks out a bit more brightness than we’d ideally like). Also, the familiar plasma benefit of pretty much zero crosstalk ghosting noise holds blissfully true. This makes it much easier to become immersed in the lovely full HD 3D images the active shutter system was designed to deliver.
The need for the P50GT60 to drive its panel very hard for 3D viewing can lead to the occasional trace during dark scenes of the fizzing noise discussed earlier, and there’s a little more judder and colour striping with 3D images than we’d ideally like. But overall again – so long at any rate as you’re watching in a dark room to counter the reduction in image brightness and some flickering from the active shutter glasses – the P50GT60 is an extremely accomplished 3D performer.
The P50GT60’s audio is solid enough, but certainly isn’t in the same league as its pictures. It has a reasonable stab at underpinning the soundstage with a rumble of bass – more than you’d hear from your typical super-slim LCD-based TV chassis, at any rate. Vocals generally sound quite rich and clean too. The problem is that the speakers just don’t have enough power or breathing room to expand the soundstage as much as we’d like when action scenes or rich orchestral scores kick in, leaving such moments sounding a bit lifeless and ‘thick’.
The P50GT60’s contrast and motion clarity make it a potentially excellent gaming monitor. So it’s great to find this potential backed up by a measured input lag of just 34ms. This figure – obtained with every bit of image processing we could find turned off - is low enough to ensure that the screen should have minimal negative impact on your gaming abilities.
If you take picture quality seriously – especially film picture quality – then the Panasonic P50GT60 simply has to be on your radar. Its contrast is spectacular, its colours are exceptionally natural but also more vivid than we’re used to seeing with plasma TVs, its sharpness levels are outstanding, and its 3D pictures are crisp, clean and detailed.
A couple of issues – namely some double imaging and fizzing noise with 50Hz sources unless you use the IFC motion processing and some grey/green fizzing over shadow details in dark scenes if you’re trying to watch with the brightness set too high – have persuaded us to give the P50GT60 a final score of 9 rather than 10. But it’s still very much another top-line Panasonic plasma overall.
With its £1,200 price tag and strong performance standards in mind, good potential rivals for around the same money would be the Samsung UE55F6800, (an excellent LCD model with 5 inches more picture size and a superior smart engine but less rich black levels) and the Sony 46W905A (four inches smaller, but an excellent LCD performer with Triluminos colours and four pairs of 3D glasses included free).
Although Panasonic’s attempt with the P50GT60 to combine more brightness and punch with the brand’s familiar contrast prowess isn’t wholly without its issues, it’s still a very superior 50in TV. Especially if you’re a serious film fan.