Panasonic’s LCD TVs all benefit from something called In-Plane Switching (IPS), designed to deliver a wider effective viewing angle than other LCD TVs. And this is pleasingly borne out during our assessment of the L19D28BP’s colours, as their saturations don’t drop off badly until you get to a significantly wider viewing angle than would normally be the case. This is a really nice feature to find on a TV that might well find itself in a ‘walkabout’ environment like a kitchen or conservatory.
The last advantage of the edge LED lighting exhibited by the L19D28BP concerns its black level response. For this really is exceptional in most respects versus anything seen from the vast majority of other small LCD TVs – bar, perhaps, Sony’s superlative 22in KDL-22E5300.
Sure, there’s a little tell-tale greyness over the darkest parts of the picture, and some shadow detail is lost as the screen sacrifices brightness to help it attain its black level prowess. But the greyness is much less pronounced than the cloudy nightmares of most sub-20in TVs, dark pictures still deliver a sense of depth and transparency despite the missing shadow detail, and as with colours, the contrast doesn’t drop off as badly as usual if you have to watch the TV from an angle.
There’s a trace of the backlight inconsistency that’s arguably edge LED’s most consistent shortcoming, but provided you don’t push the brightness or contrast settings too high, this only materialises as a very gentle strip of extra light at the top and bottom extremities of the picture. It only becomes noticeable – and then hardly severely so – in the rare circumstance where the picture has to show something very bright in the middle of a generally dark backdrop.
The L19D28BP’s sound is, predictably, nothing like as impressive as its pictures. Its down-firing speakers can’t produce much in the way of either raw volume or dynamic range. The lack of bass is particularly pronounced – if entirely predictable – the mid-range sounds a bit compressed, and while trebles aren’t harsh, nor are they particularly clear in the mix.
Of course, the same can be said of almost every other small-screen LCD TV too. But the limited audio situation is given added poignancy by the presence of the iPod dock.
While not by any means perfect, the L19D28BP does enough in the looks, features and picture quality department to justify its relative expense versus your average run of the mill 19in TVs. Especially if the iPod dock idea appeals.