Panasonic TX-55AX902 – 3D Picture Quality
For the most part the 55AX902’s excellence continues in the third dimension. For starters, since it uses the passive 3D format its 3D images are almost entirely free of crosstalk ghosting noise. Edges thus look clean and clear-cut, helping images look sharper and more detailed.
There’s a nice sense of depth, too, since the sort of highly contrast areas that can cause crosstalk are also helpful when handled cleanly at delivering depth ‘markers’ to enhance the sense of 3D space.
Pictures look bright and colourful in 3D mode, too, and the tone of those colours is also strikingly natural and rich.
The only problem with the 55AX902’s mostly immaculate 3D efforts is that the use of the passive format does mean you don’t get a full 4K 3D experience, and the reduction in resolution as you switch from native 4K to full HD 3D is palpable. We also noticed some very small areas of detail, like the lines of the Golden Gate Bridge at the start of Pacific Rim, glitching in and out of the image slightly, and sometimes areas of the background can look a touch soft.
Overall, though, if you’re a 3D fan the 55AX902 is a more than satisfying option.
Panasonic TX-55AX902 – Sound Quality
Although the 55AX902 isn’t up there with the very best TV audio performers we’ve heard – sets such as the Sony 65X9005B, Sony 65S9005B and LG 65UB980V – it’s still very accomplished. Its speakers are powerful and open enough to go loud and proud without the speakers or chassis succumbing to rattle or distortion, there’s a surprisingly healthy depth of bass to underpin action scenes and round out male vocals, and treble detailing is reasonably plentiful without causing harshness.
The soundstage can sound a little narrow and muddy under extreme circumstances, and there’s not quite the same punch you’d get from a front-firing speaker system. But still, you may be surprised by how little you feel the need to add an external audio system to the set.
Other Things to consider
If you’re thinking of using the 55AX902 as a gaming monitor, we’ve got some rare bad news for you. Even using the dedicated Game mode with every bit of picture processing we could find turned off we still couldn’t get an input lag measurement of less than 68ms – and some measurements came it at nearer the 100ms level. This is more than enough delay in the TV producing its pictures to negatively affect your gaming performance.
Should I buy a Panasonic TX-55AX902?
If you’re still in mourning about the passing of plasma TVs and don’t consider yourself a competitive gamer, then the 55AX902 is a dream come true. It’s an LCD TV that genuinely and uniquely picks up the baton from plasma and runs with it. So if this sounds good to you and you’re feeling reasonably flush, the 55AX902 is the perfect Christmas present.
Just bear in mind, though, that the 55AX902 only delivers its key thrills if run in a fairly subdued way. So if you’re looking for a TV for a bright room or your tastes favour dynamism over subtlety then you may prefer a Sony 65X9005B or Samsung UE65HU8500.
It’s also possible, of course, that the AX902s may have their thunder stolen in just weeks by the arrival of LG’s first 4K OLED TVs. Though, of course, the cheapest of these will be setting you back almost twice as much money as the 55AX902.
The 55AX902 is a considerable achievement by Panasonic. It’s not the first truly brilliant LCD TV we’ve seen, but it’s unique in the way it targets the needs of the dedicated cinephile. That means it’s a better bet for a cinema room than a living room, but we suspect there are many film fans out there who won’t be upset to hear that at all.
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Score in detail
3D Quality 9
Smart TV 9
2D Quality 10
Sound Quality 9
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