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I took receipt of Panasonic's P50S10 with slightly mixed feelings, truth be told. Putting a smile on my face is the TV's price; under £1,150 is a mighty aggressive figure for a 50in TV with the dependable Panasonic name attached. Slightly denting my excitement, though, is the fact that the S10 part of the P50S10's name reveals that it sits - as you might guess from its price - quite low down in Panasonic's current plasma hierarchy. Which means that it's not built around one of Panasonic's new and impressive NeoPDP plasma panel designs, with their enhanced brightness and operating efficiency.
This effectively means that how much I end up liking the P50S10 will depend on whether the value factor outweighs the potential performance compromises of not having a NeoPDP panel.
Helping the value argument, to some extent, is the fact that you're getting plenty of TV for your buck. For the frame around the 50in screen is solidly built to say the least, and the chunky stand supports the TV's hefty weight with ease.
I've said in numerous reviews of recent Panasonic TVs, though, that I'm no great fan of the brand's current design ethos, finding the black sculpting a little bland compared with what many rivals are now putting together. The arced bottom edge and metallic strip just above it add a modicum of flare to proceedings, I guess, but there's no doubt that Panasonic's Korean rivals in particular are a few steps ahead aesthetically.
Turning to the TV's connections, there's a small sign of the P50S10's relatively entry-level status in its carriage of three rather than four HDMIs. But on the upside, it's nice to find the set not only sporting an SD card slot, but also allowing you to play AVCHD video files as well as the more predictable JPEG fodder via this interface.
There's quite a bit of other promising stuff in the TV's specifications, too. It's a Full HD screen, for a start, and one promising a huge claimed dynamic contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1, which is high enough to make your average LCD rival cry into its pint.
Also worthy of note is the screen's 400Hz Sub-Field Drive processing system, where the TV calculates enough new extra frames of image data (to reduce judder and enhance motion clarity) that it effectively produces a 400 field-per-second refresh rate.
The mechanism used to achieve this is the latest version of Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation system, with more processing support coming from Panasonic's reliable, multi-facetted V-Real Pro 3 engine. Which is all great, so long as the processing doesn't partner its benefits with nasty side effects.
One thing the P50S10 does not have is a built-in Freesat tuner to accompany its Freeview and analogue TV tuners. The lowest models in Panasonic's range to offer those are the G10s.
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