Panasonic TX-42AS520 – Sound quality
Perhaps because it has a relatively deep chassis to work with, the 42AS520’s audio system doesn’t sound bad for such a cheap television. It reaches pretty potent volumes without suffering badly from distortions or speaker drop-out, and even more surprisingly the mid-range is dynamic enough to open up a little to meet the demands of action scenes. It doesn’t tend to sound cramped or mushy and retains clear dialogue even under duress.
Bass is in pretty short supply, as per usual with flat TVs, but at least the set manages to deliver clean treble detailing without the soundstage starting to sound excessively treble-biased or harsh.
Other things to consider
Budget mid-sized TVs like the 42AS520 clearly have great appeal as gaming monitors. As long as you turn off all this TV’s picture processing options, you can get input lag down to just 33ms – a low enough figure not to have a seriously negative impact on a typical gamer’s skills.
One less positive consideration is that, because this TV only uses a dual-core processing engine rather than the quad-core systems found higher up Panasonic’s range, the Smart TV system can feel slightly sluggish at times.
Should you buy a Panasonic TX-42AS520?
Although the 42AS520 is a fairly basic performer by Panasonic standards, it’s actually better overall than we’d have expected at the price. Especially once you’ve taken its Freetime and other Smart TV features into account.
There is, though, a bit of a problem for the 42AS520. Namely that the Sony 40W605B can now be had for under £350 – and this set delivers markedly superior picture quality. Although the Sony is two inches smaller and doesn’t have nearly as comprehensive Smart TV functionality, which might give the Panasonic the edge again, especially if you’re looking for a content-rich set for a second room.
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Provided you’re able and willing to adjust your room conditions to counter its inherent picture weaknesses, the 42AS520 offers very decent value – especially once its impressive Smart TV features have been taken into account.
Score in detail
Smart TV 8
Image Quality 7
Sound Quality 7