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LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000: Comparing the two flagship OLEDs

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000: LG and Panasonic are both big supporters of OLED displays, and the GX and HZ2000 are their flagship models for 2020.

As far as we know LG is both a manufacturer and the supplier for all OLED TV displays. However, while Panasonic purchases OLED panels from LG, it does so at an earlier stage than others, early enough that it can apply custom changes.

You can buy the LG now, while the Panasonic is expected to arrive in July/August. How does LG and Panasonic’s flagship OLEDs match up?

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000 — Price

LG’s GX OLED has an RRP of £3299 for the 65-inch model, and £2299 for the 55-inch TV. LG also does a 77-inch version, though you’ll need a pretty big wallet – it costs £5999.

Panasonic only produces its HZ2000 in 55- and 65-inch guises. While the HZ2000 is still yet to go on sale (it’s available for pre-order), prices online indicate the 55-inch model costs £3299, and it’s £4295 for the 65-inch model.

The LG is considerably cheaper – £1000 less for each size – but as we’ll see, there’s a marked difference in approach.

Related: Panasonic TV – Every 4K HDR OLED and LCD TVs explained

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000 — Design

LG likes to differentiate its models in a number of ways. Usually the top range OLED has a more powerful audio system, which the GX does indeed have, but the GX OLED ships without a stand, packaged instead with a wall-bracket.

That’s because the OLED GX is primarily intended to be hung on a wall like a piece of art. There is a TV stand, but it’s available separately for £99. Otherwise, this is what we’ve come to expect from LG’s OLEDs. The design is unquestionably premium, the thin-bezel frame occupying minimal space and the TV is well-built, weighing around 30kg all told.

The connections are located on the rear, but LG has re-jigged the placement, with the USB connections side-facing and all four HDMI 2.1 ports facing downwards for easier access when wall-mounted. The GX’s HDMI connections support the go-to home cinema acronyms in VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and HFR (High Frame Rate), plus there’s eARC support for lossless audio formats such as Atmos.

The HZ2000 is similar in terms of dimensions, with a couple centimetres extra thickness the only significant difference. It comes with a central stand and can also be wall-mounted. The extra thickness can be attributed to the up-firing Atmos speakers positioned at the rear, which create a taller, wider sound. At the bottom of the screen are front-facing speakers tuned by Technics, and the overall sound system is similar to 2019 GZ2000.

HDMI connections tally at four: two on the side and two at the rear, with HDMI 2 supporting eARC. There’s also support for ALLM, but no so sign of VRR, which may make Panasonic’s panel less enticing for gamers. Other connections include the usual roster of USB, CI slots and digital optical inputs.

Related: What is HDMI 2.1?

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000 — Interface

LG’s webOS interface is slick, colourful and easily navigable, and home to an increasing number of on-demand apps. However, you won’t see any UK catch-up apps, at least for the time being, due to LG and Freeview failing to agree on terms. LG has been negotiating to get the individual apps onboard, but there’s no sign as to when that will happen. There’s LG Channels which is home to more niche programming such as Classic Cars and The Hollywood Reporter.

For navigation and interaction with the TV via voice, the GX has built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, alongside its own ThinQ AI.

Panasonic’s My Home Screen has reached version 5.0, and continues its relatively simple visual approach. Unlike LG, it does have access to Freeview Play and various catch-up apps, but it has curiously still not supported Disney Plus, four months after it launched. My Home Screen opts for big circular icons and has a launcher at the bottom of the screen that’s easily customisable.

The HZ2000 will work with Google Assistant and Alexa, but our understanding is that these are not built-in, and require an external device.

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000 — Features

LG’s latest TVs feature the Apple TV app, plus there’s Filmmaker Mode and Dolby Vision IQ. Other features include AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit and WiSA support for wireless connection speakers, subwoofers and AV kit. Bluetooth Surround Ready offers the chance to add two compatible Bluetooth speakers to expand the sound.

The HGiG optimises HDR performance during gameplay, while Nvidia G-Sync compatibility means less stutter and flicker when used as a PC gaming monitor. Recently announced was an update for AMD FreeSync. Similar to G-Sync, it introduces VRR for more stable frame-rates when used with compatible AMD graphics cards. We recorded latency of 13.2ms for the GX OLED in its Game Mode.

Panasonic bears no support for Apple TV, joining Disney+ on the sidelines. Panasonic does, however, support Filmmaker Mode (activated by a button on the remote), Dolby Vision IQ and Netflix Calibrated Mode. Also up its sleeve is Intelligent Sensing. It’s Panasonic’s version of IQ and adapts the picture to suit the room’s lighting conditions and from what we’ve seen it works well. It’s compatible across all HDR modes save for Dolby Vision, of course.

There’s no AirPlay 2 either, so users will have to make do with mirroring via an app such as AirBeam (iOS/Mac). The Panasonic’s focus is very much a home cinema one, so there’s little in the way of specific gaming features.

Related: LG TV 2020 – every 8K and 4K OLED explained

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000 — Performance

As we’ve only tested the GX, we can’t comment on performance between the two, but we’ll take a look at their approaches.

As both are OLEDs, we can expect rich contrast and perfect black levels, which are OLED’s defining qualities. LG is in the Dolby Vision/Atmos camp, with support for HDR10 and HLG for broadcast. Panasonic has the same HDR modes and includes HDR10+ and HLG Photo, which makes the HZ2000 the more comprehensive set in its support.

The GX OLED is powered by the α9 Gen 3 processor, which uses AI to improve picture and sound. AI Picture Pro removes noise to optimise contrast and colour saturation. Improvements have been made to upscaling, with faces enhanced for extra clarity, and on-screen text sharper and clearer.

AI Brightness Control adjusts brightness depending on the amount of light in a room. It also works in conjunction with Dolby Vision IQ. In fact, AI Brightness will switch on automatically when it senses a Dolby Vision signal.

AI Sound Pro corrects sound depending on the genre; Virtual 5.1 Up mix takes two-channel stereo and turns it into ‘5.1’ and Adaptive Sound Control analyses content and fine-tunes it for added clarity. The system is a 60W system, that sounds quite decent for a TV.

In the HZ200’s corner is the impressive HCX Pro Intelligent Processor, which powers the Master HDR OLED Professional Edition screen. This is the display we referred to in the opening, and one that Panasonic has made changes to extract a 20% brighter performance than other OLEDs are capable of. The HZ2000 can get close to 1000 nits of peak brightness, and that ought to give HDR content extra pop.

Black Frame Insertion (BFI) which, according to Panasonic, should result in better and smoother motion. The audio is provided by the built-in 140 watt system, made up of the upfiring Atmos and front firing speakers. The configuration of the front-firing speakers includes a centre, midrange/tweeter and woofer/passive radiator combo. If you need extra oomph, an external subwoofer can be added for more impact.

On the rear are the aforementioned upfiring speakers. They add to the bulk, but help disperse a wider, taller sound than most TVs are capable of. In conjunction with the front-firing speakers, it can fire out a powerful sound that might not need much in the way of an external audio system save for a subwoofer.

LG GX OLED vs Panasonic HZ2000 — Early Verdict

Each of these flagship OLEDs has its merits and as we’ve not yet reviewed the HZ2000, we can’t make a direct comparison. But, what has emerged is that the GX OLED is principally for aesthetics – the TV stand is an optional extra – and the LG is best suited for gaming with its Nvidia/AMD modes and the support for VRR.

It’s also smarter than the HZ2000, though the lack of catch-up apps continues to be a black mark against it for UK viewers.

Panasonic has taken a home cinema focus with the HZ2000 – there’s a reason why its tagline is ‘Hollywood to your home’. Smart features cover the bare minimum and there’s no support for Disney+ or the Apple TV app, which considering the tagline are odd omissions. It supports all forms of HDR, so no matter what you’re watching, you should be getting the best picture quality . It’s also capable of higher peak brightness levels, which will help it display HDR content with more verve.

While the LG is cheaper – although not exactly in the realm of affordable – judged on paper, the Panasonic is arguably better.  Be sure to come back to this page as we update it with our full review of the HZ2000.

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