First, the bad news. While the P55VT65’s 2D pictures benefit if you dim your lights, near darkness is borderline essential for viewing 3D on Panasonic’s high-end set.
There are two reasons for this. First, Panasonic’s active shutter 3D glasses (two of which come free with the TV) continue to take more brightness out of pictures than any rival active 3D glasses. But there’s also obvious flicker if there’s a lot of light in your room.
Provided you’ve got the curtains drawn, though, the Panasonic P55VT65’s 3D images are more or less exemplary. For starters they deliver impressively on active 3D’s promise of genuinely full HD 3D images when watching 3D Blu-rays. And they underline this sense of 3D detail and sharpness by suffering with practically no crosstalk ghosting noise.
The enormous contrast range the panel can produce also plays its part with 3D, as it helps the screen paint an unusually deep and accurate sense of space, with enormous luminance definition to help define the visual cues that help build a sense of 3D depth.
Motion looks crisp in 3D mode too, though there’s enough judder around to make the Intelligent Frame Creation processing more worthy of consideration with 3D than it is with 2D.
The soundstage is reasonably wide and clean, and mid-range clarity is helped by the use of a bass speaker to take some pressure of the main speakers.
There’s still a slightly tepid feel to action scenes, though, thanks to a lack of raw ‘attack’ from the integrated speakers.
Sound is also damaged by a some rather obvious cooling fan noise from the set, which is clearly discernible during quite movie moments if you’re sat anywhere near the screen.
With the Panasoni P55VT65 not seeming to be especially prone to plasma’s once-common image retention problem (though we still urge a little caution with this during the TV’s first 100 hours of use), it makes a potentially excellent gaming monitor. So it’s great to find this potential backed up by an impressively low input lag measurement of around 33ms when using the TV’s Game mode setting. This should mean the screen doesn’t have a significant negative effect on your twitch gaming skills.
Also worth mentioning here is the touch-pad second remote control you get with the P55VT65. Unfortunately, though, this remote doesn’t prove very helpful, on account of the counter-intuitive circular shape and small surface area of the touchpad section. Using your tablet computer or smart phone to control the TV is a far better option.
If you’re a serious movie fan willing to dim the lights when you’re properly watching a film, the Panasonic P55VT65 gives you the most cinematic and natural pictures the 55-inch TV world currently has to offer.
The fan noise undermines these movie magic credentials a touch, and we wish Panasonic would get on with adding more video streaming services to its online platform. But it’s pretty much impossible not to love a TV with picture quality this darned lovely.
In terms of rival options, if you want superior brightness, a sleeker design and a more content-rich smart TV system, the Samsung UE55F8000 is worth checking out. The Sony 55W905A is also a worthy alternative, thanks to its outstanding colours and audio, but the Panasonic is class act.
The Panasonic P55VT65‘s blistering picture quality makes it worth every penny of its price to serious film fans. It still lacks the quality of smart features seen on some rivals, but it's a small complaint in such a good TV.
SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best TV round-up