The Freeview HD tuner is itself a great find on a small TV though, and joins with the edge LED lighting in helping explain why the L24E3B sits at the higher end of the small TV cost scale. The only pity is that the EPG the set uses for organising the channels uses Gemstar, meaning there are adverts on it. Not really what you want when you’re trying to read and navigate so much information on a single small screen.
The L24E3B’s feature count largely runs out after this. There’s no access to Panasonic’s Viera Connect online service, and picture adjustments are restricted to a handful of presets (including a Game mode), a Vivid Colour feature, a noise reduction system, and Panasonic’s C.A.T.S system – which is in reality just a fancy name for the now pretty much standard eco-friendly feature whereby a TV can adjust its brightness output in relation to the amount of light detected in the room.
In most ways, the L24E3B’s picture quality is very good. Particularly startling right away is the at-times spectacular amount of fine detail visible in HD pictures, especially if your viewing distance brings you quite close to the screen (as is the case with us when gaming). This quickly gives the lie to the notion held by some that you can’t really appreciate the benefits of a full HD panel when you’re talking about a screen that’s only 24in across.
The detailing extends to the presentation of colours too, which appear exceptionally finely-nuanced for a set of this size, avoiding the striping and blotching issues common with small-screen TVs. This same subtlety also ensures that the L24E3B avoids the plasticky look to skin tones commonly witnessed on second-room TVs.
A further common area of failure for small TVs is contrast. But the L24E3B really isn’t bad at all here, as it seemingly has no problem combining impressively deep blacks with punchy whites and vibrant colours – even within a single frame.
Actually, its black levels look more or less on a par with those of the larger models in the E3 range, countering the usual situation where small models in a range typically take a pretty heavy contrast cut. It’s important to stress here, too, that dark scenes on the L24E3B are not badly affected at all by backlight ‘pooling’ and inconsistencies.