Panasonic TX-40AS640 Review

Sections

Pros

  • Great price
  • Good 2D picture quality
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • 3D is terrible
  • Inconsistent lag may affect gaming slightly
  • Pictures aren't very bright

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £399.00
  • 40-inch LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Freetime catch-up TV interface
  • Active 3D playback (2 pairs of glasses included)
  • Full HD resolution
  • Multimedia playback via USB or network

What is the Panasonic TX-40AS640?

The 40AS640 is a 40-inch full

HD TV from roughly the middle of Panasonic’s range. It’s got Panasonic’s

latest Smart TV features, including the excellent Freetime catch-up TV

system, but without doubt its most attractive feature is its current

£399 price, which is frankly a steal for what’s on offer.

SEE ALSO: Best TVs Round-up

Panasonic TX-40AS640 – Design and Features

The

40AS640 is unusually attractive for a sub-£400 40-inch TV. Its bezel’s

exceptionally thin – barely more than a centimetre across on three

of the edges – and its combination of a gleaming silvery metallic finish on the

top and bottom edges and glossy black for the sides gives it a

premium look. The set’s build quality is nothing to write home about,

but the design does an effective job of disguising that.

Panasonic 40AS640

Connections

on the 40AS640 get the job done well enough. Three HDMIs do digital

video duties, there are two USBs for playback of photo, music and video

multimedia files from USB storage devices, and the set supports network

connection via Wi-Fi or LAN port.

The HDMIs are built to the v1.3

standard, reflecting the fact that the 40AS640 supports 3D playback.

This 3D playback is of the active rather than passive variety, with two

pairs of glasses included free with the TV.

The fact that it’s

an active 3D set reveals that, unlike numerous other Panasonic TVs this

year, it isn’t using an IPS-type LCD panel at its heart. This is good

news, as we’re finding it increasingly difficult to tolerate the lack

of black-level response associated with IPS panels.

The 40AS640

is one of the ‘smarter’ sets around thanks to its combination of a

highly intuitive and personalisable on-screen menu system and the

Freetime TV platform. Freetime makes using catch-up TV a doddle by

integrating it into an electronic programme guide that scrolls back

through time as well as forwards.
Panasonic 40AS640
The

40AS640 lacks a few other video streaming services found on rival smart

platforms, but Freetime is a pretty big draw for mainstream services. Read our dedicated review for more details on the current Panasonic Smart platform.

For

such a budget set, the 40AS640 is

pretty well equipped with picture technology. Motion should benefit from

a ‘1200Hz’ system created through a combination of a native 100Hz

panel, frame interpolation processing and a scanning backlight, while

video processing is driven by Panasonic’s powerful Hexa engine, fuelled

by a Dual-Core Plus processor. And as already noted, the use of a

non-IPS panel should result in a superior black-level response versus

many mid-range rivals this year.

Panasonic TX-40AS640 – Setup

The

40AS640 doesn’t get the colour and white balance management tools found further up Panasonic’s TV range, which means it doesn’t enjoy

the endorsement of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF). Due to the

set’s innately good picture quality, low price and decent specification, though, it seems churlish to moan about limited calibration tools.

Panasonic 40AS640

Our

main tips would be that you should heavily reduce the backlight setting

to around 45 when you’re watching in a dark room, and that you should

leave all noise reduction turned off when watching HD. We also mostly

preferred leaving the IFC motion processing turned off, though

activating it on its lowest setting did prove occasionally effective at

reducing judder during 3D viewing.

Don’t leave the contrast set

to the maximum level preferred by some of the set’s picture presets

either, as this can elevate noise levels and leave peak whites and

bright colours looking a touch strained.