Panasonic TX-42AS600: Sound Quality
Considering it’s not a massive TV and only sports a very slim bezel around it screen the 42AS600 does a fair job when it comes to audio. The scale of the soundstage immediately catches you by surprise, with a depth and width that spreads beyond the physical borders of the TV. The speakers attain some pretty prodigious volumes by cheap, skinny TV standards too, and its handling of vocals is especially commendable, with male and female voices alike both sounding strikingly well-rounded and ‘human’ rather than trapped and artificial.
The 42AS600 is capable of presenting above-average amounts of treble detail too, and it does so without sounding wince-inducingly harsh.
As we would expect, the 42AS600’s biggest audio weakness is its bass handling. Rumbles sound rather muffled and distorted, and there’s a generally slightly boxed-in feel to bass sounds that stands in sometimes distracting contrast to the clarity and openness of the mid-range.
Other things to consider
While we referred you to our separate Panasonic Smart Viera review earlier, it’s worth briefly stressing just how well Panasonic’s My HomeScreen interface liaises with the Freetime catch up TV service. We’d worried the two would just exist in separate planes of the operating system, creating a confusing ‘two-tier’ OS. But actually they integrate surprisingly well via the ‘Free Digital’ default HomeScreen layout.
If you’re up for a bit of console gaming on a 42AS600, we have good news. For our input lag measurements after we’d turned off as much picture processing as we could came in at below 30ms: an excellent result that shouldn’t damage your gaming performance in any significant way.
Should I buy a Panasonic TX-42AS600?
The 42AS600 gets a lot of things right for its money. Particularly attractive is its integrated Freetime catch up TV functionality, which truly finds its natural home built into a TV rather than a set-top box. Its pictures are also very good in many ways, with impressive contrast, rich colours and good backlight handling.
The only thing stopping the TV from earning an unbridled recommendation is noticeable resolution less over moving objects.
Overall the 42AS600 is a very strong and capable TV for its money, offering a high feature count and some excellent picture traits for its fairly puny cost. Resolution fans may baulk at the extent sharpness is lost with moving images, but for relatively casual users of the sort most likely to be looking at a sub-£500 42-inch TV, it’s certainly one of this year’s better options.
Next, see our pick of the Best TVs
Score in detail
Smart TV 9
2D Quality 8
Sound Quality 7