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Panasonic TX-58HX800 Review

As an all-round performer, Panasonic's new mid-range effort takes some beating

Verdict

This feature-rich mid-range LED LCD is fine tuned for film night, thanks to multi-HDR support and a Hollywood-inspired image processor. But its appeal isn’t just popcorn deep, thanks to a snappy gaming performance and intuitive smart platform

Pros

  • Multi-HDR support with Dolby Vision and HLG
  • Versatile Panasonic smart TV platform
  • Low input lag

Cons

  • Limited deep black performance
  • No Disney+

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £999
  • Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+
  • Panasonic My Home Screen v5.0 smart platform
  • Dolby Atmos audio
  • Dimensions: 1297 x 759 x 65mm (whd)

The divinely slim Panasonic HX800 series provides a jumping on point for multi-HDR support in Japanese brand’s 2020 edge-lit LED TV range.

With both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ compatibility, coupled to the brand’s HCX (Home Cinema eXperience) image processor, it’s aimed squarely at switch-on movie fans.

It’s also a good deal slicker than many mid-rangers, thanks to a smart edge-lit design (carried over from last year’s GX800 model).

Could this be the 4K LED TV upgrade you’ve been waiting for? We heaved the 58-inch model onto our test bench to learn more. Not your size? It’s also available in 40-, 50- and 65-inch versions (TX-40HX800, TX-50HX800, TX-65HX800 respectively).

Related: Panasonic TV 2020 – Every 4K HDR OLED and LCD TVs explained

Panasonic HX800 design — Enviably thin thanks to edge-lighting, but HDMI quota low

This 58-incher may have a slight reach advantage over rival 55-inch models, but that doesn’t mean a significantly bigger footprint. The panel is edge-lit, and for the most part enviably thin. The glass sits on top of the bezel, rather than inside it, which is a welcome design touch.

The supplied remote control is a good deal less fancy – it’s a big pointy wand with dedicated buttons for Netflix and Freeview Play.

Panasonic HX800

In Panasonic’s TV hierarchy, the HX800 sits beneath the HX900 and HX940. The former is apparently a tad brighter, while the latter offers Local Dimming Intelligent Pro, which claims to approximate thousands of local dimming zones. If you search around, you’ll also find an HX820 on the streets. This is a retail exclusive, but for all intents and purposes is the same as the model reviewed here.

The HX800 proves an easy to live with. There’s no widely placed feet to worry about, as the screen sits on a central pedestal stand.

Its mid-range nature is evidenced by its connectivity. We only get three HDMI inputs, one of which supports HDMI ARC. There’s also an optical digital audio output, two USBs and component AV inputs for legacy kit.

The HDMI spec is unapologetically v2.0, but we do benefit from ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), which automatically switches in the Game preset when a console is detected.

Wi-Fi is given moral support by Ethernet, and there’s Bluetooth too, with headphone pairing for personal listening, handy for a late night gaming sesh.

Panasonic HX800 features — Intuitive, easy to use smart TV platform has all your catch-up covered (just don’t ask for Disney+)

Panasonic’s connected platform, My Home Screen, often referred to just as Home, is now in its fifth iteration. If you’re looking for a smart OS that does little more than make it easy to stream stuff and connect your gear, it’ll hold plenty of appeal.

The Home screen is easily customised, so you can add a favourite streaming service to the default button trio of Apps, Devices and Live TV, or put a connected physical device front and centre. This fuss-free approach can easily be enjoyed by family members simply looking for an easy life.

The Freeview Play tuner comes with all the main TV catch-up services built-in, and most of the key streaming giants are on-board, including Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten, YouTube and Britbox. The only obvious heavy hitter not at the table is Disney+.

The set is actually an excellent gaming display. We measured input lag at a lowly 10.2ms (1080/60), which means joystick jockeys will not find their campaigns jeopardised.

Panasonic HX800 performance — This cinematic screen ticks all the right HDR boxes

Picture wise, the HX800 has a lot to live up to. Last year’s GX800 was a brilliant performer for the price. As it happens, little has changed. There’s the same sophistication to the HX800’s imagery, which belies its edge-lit LED specification.

Indeed, at times it looks more like OLED than LCD – red and blue primaries are deep and lush. Leading Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld has handled the final tuning for the set, undoubtedly contributing to the filmic solidity to its images.

Related: Best TV 

The set’s HCX image processor may not come with any AI-enhanced picture processing, but it remains an accomplished image engine. Native 4K generally looks excellent, with blistering levels of detail and texture, and it does a competent job upscaling HD resolution sources too.

Image presents cover the usual Dynamic, Normal, Cinema, True Cinema and Sport range. We’d suggest True Cinema over regular Cinema, as it has more impact. We suspect most viewers will stick with Normal, and for the most part that’s actually the most consistently pleasing picture mode on offer.

Stream Dolby Vision content from the Netflix app and you’re offered Dolby Vision Vivid, Dolby Vision Bright and Dolby Vision Dark HDR handling.

Panasonic HX800

The screen’s HDR performance largely apes its GX predecessor. We measured HDR peaks at around 450 nits (cdm2), using the HDR Normal preset. This is bright enough to allow the TV to reflect the grading intent of creators, without dragging down overall picture levels to orchestrate specular pop. We found we achieved the best HDR performance with the adaptive backlight turned off.

Motion handling can be described as respectful, provided you keep the IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) setting on a tight leash. Minimum adds little in the way of overt motion artefacts, but still holds detail well. Good news with fast-paced action movies and sports.

The HX800 isn’t built to offer anything much more than passable sonics, but in that regard it hits the spot. With 2 x 10W amplification, there’s welly to spare. For immersive audio, you’ll want to bitstream out to some proper Dolby Atmos hardware.

Related: Dolby Vision HDR – everything you need to know

Should you buy the Panasonic TX-58HX800?

If you’re looking for a refined LED LCD with cinematic flair, then the HX800 should be right up your street. Fine detail performance, colour handling and accommodating HDR support make for a mid-ranger with a touch of class.

There are caveats. It’s image performance is ultimately constrained by the fact that it’s an edge-lit LED LCD, and it really doesn’t do deep black. As much as it wants to look like an OLED, it can’t, which is a problem when the Philips OLED754 sells for pretty much the same price. And the kids may moan about the lack of Disney+.

Of course, where it gains the upper hand is its gaming performance, and it has those extra inches over everyday 55-inch models.

As an all-around proposition, we reckon the HX800 takes some beating.

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