Review Price £1,315.01
People who insist on watching the P50GT30 in a brightly let room might be upset by the flickering effect of the shuttering glasses, but this doesn't bother everyone. And in any case it's easily avoided by doing the right thing and dimming the lights when going to the effort of watching a 3D film or programme.
The only real irritation with the P50GT30's 3D playback so far as we're concerned is Panasonic's glasses, which are too narrow and sit too high up your nose, meaning some people will have to constantly tilt their head to line the glasses up with the screen.
One rather handy thing about TV innovations ushered in for 3D is that they also tend to improve 2D. And there's proof of this in abundance on the P50GT30. Particularly mesmerising with 2D sources is the new-found intensity of colour Panasonic has managed to deliver. Colours across the board look richer, more vibrant and more dynamic than ever before on a consumer Panasonic plasma screen, helping them look even more natural than usual. Even better, the new-found colour vitality stands proud against a gorgeously uniform black level response that beats the already impressive effort of the GT20 series hands down, making the set a real movie fan's dream.
HD images look at least as sharp as they did in 3D mode too, and motion is better than it was on last year's Panasonic models. There's still a little judder and even occasional double imaging during camera pans with 50Hz PAL broadcasts, but this can be largely tackled by judicial use of Panasonic's more polished Intelligent Frame Creation system. As usual, plasma's innately super-fast response time means there's no sign of the blurring problems that routinely afflict LCD TVs. Plasma's self-emissive nature means you can watch the P50GT30 from wider angles than LCD TVs too before the picture quality deteriorates.
With some reasonably if not spectacularly clear, loud and open audio keeping the barnstorming pictures company, the only thing that really troubles us at all about the P50GT30 is that it seems more susceptible to temporary image retention than recent previous Panasonic plasma generations - perhaps because of the extra intensity Panasonic has managed to eke out of its phosphors this time out.
This doesn't lead to distracting moment-to-moment retention like that seen on some LG plasmas recently, but prolonged exposure of the screen to a heavy channel logo or video game health bar can see a ghost of that image element hanging around for quite a few minutes - or until you call in the handy 'screen wipe' tool Panasonic has provided especially for dealing with the retention issue.
Where we'd frankly expected the GT30 to nudge forward from last year's already accomplished GT20 sets, instead it delivers a real leap ahead that finds the P50GT30 delivering a performance that's nothing short of superlative with both 3D and 2D.
LCD may have closed the gap a bit, and hard commercialism seems set to rock the once-cosy active 3D world. But if you're motivated first and foremost by sheer picture quality, the P50GT30 is going to be hard to beat.
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