Moving on to the L32E30’s picture quality, the news is a little more mixed than we’d ideally like. Starting with the bad news, we weren’t blown away by the set’s motion handling. For despite the set apparently having 200Hz (100Hz plus a blinking backlight), there’s some fairly obvious motion blur. Standard definition pictures, in particular, definitely look slightly laggy. There’s also some pretty serious softening of moving objects if you don’t have the IFC processing turned on - so much so that whether image purists like it or not, if you end up with an L32E30 we’d say you should really leave IFC switched on all the time..
With this in mind, though, we would have appreciated being given more control over the L32E30’s motion processing than the simple off, Mid and Max settings provided.
Our other chief point for concern is the L32E30’s black level response. For while this marginally improves on the black level response of previous Panasonic LCD TVs at this level of the market, there’s still pretty clear evidence of the dreaded ‘grey mist’ clouding parts of the picture that should look black. As usual, this leaves dark scenes feeling a little flat, as subtle shadow details get ‘crushed’ out of the image.
Thankfully, the amount of greyness is, at least, consistent right across the screen; there’s practically no sign of the backlight inconsistency that plagues so many edge LED TVs to some extent. But that only makes the general greyness a little less noticeable.
Finally, the L32E30’s post-calibration picture feels a touch less bright and dynamic than those of some rival sets, which might be an issue if you’re wanting to install one in a very bright room.
In most other ways the picture is good. Colours show a likeable preference for subtlety and realism over the often hyper-saturated tones found on many other affordable LCD TVs.
HD pictures look detailed and reasonably crisp too, except for when the motion issues get in the way, and noise concerns such as dot crawl, detail moire and colour bleed aren’t an issue.
Also likeable is the L32E30’s upscaling of standard definition material, especially if you set the Resolution Enhancer system to its Mid level, and we appreciated the subtlety it can deliver with colour blends and tones. Only reds and purples seem to lack a little finesse in their very upper-most registers, but these seldom crop up anyway with normal video viewing.
Finally where pictures are concerned, the L32E30’s use of one of Panasonic’s IPS Alpha LCD panels means its pictures retain contrast and colour response from noticeably wider viewing angles than you tend to get with standard LCD panels.
The sound accompanying the L32E30’s pictures is also respectable without setting the world on fire. There’s no great extension at either the bass or treble ends of the spectrum, but the mid-range is just about powerful and open enough to stop things becoming painfully crowded when the going gets tough. Trebles aren’t as over-dominant as they often can be on very slim TVs, either.
As a sub-£600 32in TV with a reasonably exotic suite of online and multimedia functionality, the L32E30 is a perfectly respectable effort. If looked at in the context of the opening salvo in Panasonic’s 2011 TV assault, though, we have to say it’s just a little disappointing. From what we’ve seen at various press events and product previews in recent months, we’re confident that the brand has some way more exciting products up its sleeves. Watch this space...