While Panasonic’s plasma TVs have met with near-universal success during recent reviews, its LCD TVs have tended to be more hit and miss. And it’s fair to say that while not quite a total miss, the 26LXD80 certainly isn’t any sort of classic.
In fact, since my first feeling about the TV’s performance was one of gentle but definite disappointment, I might as well start the testing section of this review by going through the things I don’t like about the 26LXD80.
Starting with its colour response, which to my eyes looks distinctly inconsistent. Some bright colours seem to flare and leap out too strongly, while also an odd yellowy pall occasionally pervades certain shots, having a particularly distracting effect on some skin tones.
I was also surprisingly unimpressed by the 26LXD80’s way with HD. For HD sources just didn’t appear with as much sharpness and detail in them as I would have expected, even taking into account the TV’s 1,366 x 768 (rather than Full HD) native resolution and relatively diddy 26in screen size.
Contributing to this lack of HD ‘snap’ is some noticeable motion smearing, recalling my earlier disappointment about the lack, however predictable, of any 100Hz processing.
Yet another problem is the 26LXD80’s black level response. With even some 19in TVs we’ve tested recently showing good strides forward with this key image element, the amount of flattening, detail-hiding greyness visible over dark scenes on the 26LXD80 is a real disappointment. Especially as the black level problems are substantially exacerbated if you watch the TV from any angle greater than 35 degrees or so.
Finally in the negative column, the 26LXD80’s speakers prove pretty average. They deliver decent amounts of clarity and precision with treble information during straightforward, sonically undemanding footage, but as soon as any bass is required it seems to get lost in the ether somewhere. As do voices during high-impact action scenes.