Firing up Mass Effect on the Xbox 360, the TX-37LZD70 showed that it has no problem dealing with bright, vivid colour palettes, while the superb detail resolution really showed off the game’s ground breaking facial animation to great effect. The TX-37LZD70 also had no problem keeping up with the lightning fast pace of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, giving the game a lifelike and immersive feel – England beat Croatia 2:0 during testing!
Panasonic hasn’t forgotten about standard definition either, and despite the 1,920 x 1,080 native panel resolution, the TX-37LZD70 produced some very impressive SD pictures, even from its built-in digital tuner. In fact, even with some of the horrible, low bit rate channels that you can find on Freeview, this TV managed to produce a watchable image, with as little blocking as can be reasonably expected.
Visually the TX-37LZD70 looks like a larger version of Panasonic’s other LCD screens. Unfortunately this means that it has side mounted speakers, rather than under mounted. This makes the TX-37LZD70 over ten centimetres wider than Panasonic’s TH-37PX70 plasma TV, which also sports a 37in panel – a very odd design decision, considering that most consumers look at a 37in TV because their room can’t accommodate anything larger.
In defence of Panasonic’s design department, the sound quality from the side mounted speakers is pretty good. There’s a good level of clarity, a reasonably wide sound stage and even a good stab at directional effects. Obviously you’re still not going to get the kind of bass effects that you’d get from a dedicated sound system, but even when it comes to low frequency fodder, the TX-37LZD70 is above average.
Price wise, the TX-37LZD70 looks good at £859, but only in isolation. When you consider that the excellent Toshiba 42X3030D can be had for under £800, the Panasonic starts to look somewhat expensive – especially when you consider that the Toshiba is a 42in set, supports 1080p 24Hz and is happy to receive a 1080p signal via its component video input. In fact, if I absolutely had to have a 37in TV I’d rather have Panasonic’s TH-37PX70 plasma – it may not be full HD, but it’s smaller, better looking and is a steal at around £700.
I can understand why Panasonic has decided to come to market with a 37in Full HD LCD TV, but unfortunately the TX-37LZD70 lacks some of the key features sported by its competitors. The lack of 1080p 24Hz may have been acceptable six months ago, but these days, with plenty of HD players offering pure 24fps output, this Panasonic looks to be behind the times. Add to this Panasonic’s continued insistence to not let its TVs accept a 1080p signal through component video, and it’s hard to recommend the TX-37LZD70.
The above issues are a real shame, because the pictures produced by the TX-37LZD70 are generally very good, whether viewing HD or SD content, and the sound is above average for a flat screen TV. Ultimately though, if you have between £800 and £900 to spend on a Full HD TV, my suggestion would be to go for the Toshiba 42X3030D instead.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9
Sound Quality 8