One last feature to mention before finding out how the Panasonic TX-P65VT50 performs is the second ‘touchpad’ remote control that ships with the TV as standard. Unfortunately, while this is a welcome idea, its execution lets it down. The small, round shape of its touchpad and that you have to tap the pad to ‘select’ something both make it a faff to use.
Mesmerising first performance impressions
Following our own advice earlier by running the P65VT50 initially in a darkened room, it’s fair to say we were nothing short of mesmerised by the picture quality it has to offer. Beginning, inevitably, with its truly sensational black level response.
We’re now well used, of course, to seeing inky black colours from Panasonic plasma TVs. But the P65VT50 reaches new black level heights - so much so that it finally challenges the almost mythical prowess of Pioneer’s final KURO generation in this most crucial of picture quality areas.
It’s not just the fact that black colours appear with none of the grey misting in evidence with almost all other flat TVs that makes them so wondrous, either. It’s also a huge relief to find no part of even the darkest scenes suffering with the backlight inconsistencies so common with LED TVs. The inky blacks possible on the P65VT50 look equally perfect no matter where they appear on the screen.
The world-beating black levels are given added emphasis, moreover, by the fact that Panasonic’s 2012 panel designs are able to produce so much more brightness than last year’s models without increasing power consumption. This enables the deep blacks to sit right alongside impressively rich colours and much crisper, brighter whites than we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Panasonic plasmas. In short, while the P65VT50’s pictures might not ultimately be as bright as those of the typical LCD TV, their sense of dynamism in a dark room setting is outstanding.
It’s not just the richness of the P65VT50’s colours that makes us happy either. As hoped, the set’s dual-core processing appears to help the screen deliver a vast gamut of colour shades that also, crucially, translates into much smoother, less stripey colour blends than we’ve tended to see before.
With so much flexibility to its palette, it’s no surprise to find the P65VT50 able to deliver impressively natural colours at pretty much all times.
Want some more good news? Then how about the phenomenal amount of detail HD pictures contain. Regardless of whether you’re watching a decent HD broadcast or a pristine Blu-ray movie, the textures, sharpness and clarity evident in the P65VT50’s pictures are just gorgeous. While you can appreciate the benefits of HD even on a TV as small as 19in, it’s when the format is writ as large as 65in that it really comes alive - provided a TV is good enough to make the most out of it, of course.
Light is might
Contributing to the clarity is plasma’s self-emissive nature. That every single pixel in the screen can generate its own level of luminosity means the P65VT50 produces amounts of shadow detail in dark areas and during dark scenes that you simply cannot get on any LCD TV.
The Panasonic TX-P65VT50’s clarity also benefits from the set’s exceptional motion handling. We’re accustomed, of course, to plasma TVs suffering far less with resolution loss over moving objects than the vast majority of LCD TVs. But with its latest flagship Panasonic has also managed to massively reduce the juddering issues that have long been one of the few significant issues we’ve had with the brand’s plasma TVs.