There are, however, notable absentees from the tweaks on offer compared with some sets higher up Panasonic’s range. There’s no sign of Panasonic’s new Resolution Enhancer for souped-up standard definition upscaling, and no sign of any of the sort of colour management features now sported by a number of Panasonic’s latest screens.
From this, it’s no surprise to find that the L26X20 does not come with any endorsement from the Imaging Science Foundation. Though we have to say it’s debatable whether anyone would ever seriously pay for ISF calibration on a TV as small as 26in. After all, its size means it’s almost certainly only going to be used in a second room, not as a household’s main TV.
Other potentially important features the L26X20 doesn’t carry – understandably for its price – are a Freeview HD tuner (you just get standard definition Freeview), plus Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) and 24p Smooth Film processors. Hopefully these latter two absentees won’t result in pictures suffering too badly from judder and blur.
Finally in the ‘price compromise’ column we find the L26X20 only sporting an HD Ready native resolution, not a full HD one. This will doubtless put a few people off the set straight way – especially as there are now quite a few 26in TVs around that do manage to fit 1,920 x 1,080 pixels into their relatively small frames. But experience suggests that it can be difficult to spot much difference between Full HD and HD Ready pictures on screens as relatively small as 26in.
Having just said that, almost inevitably the L26X20 fails to deliver a scintillating HD performance! All the HD sources we tried, from Eurosport HD’s French Open coverage to a couple of Xbox 360 games and ”Avatar” on Blu-ray, looked slightly soft compared with the crispness and extreme detailing we like to see with our HD sources.
Some of this may be down to the processing required to translate 1,920 x 1,080 sources to the 1,366 x 768 resolution. But sharing the blame is some low-level but certainly noticeable resolution loss when the screen is showing motion, together with a little motion trailing, especially when watching standard definition.
At least the rather average motion handling isn’t made worse by as much judder as we might have expected. But we’ve certainly seen other 26in sets, notably from Samsung and Toshiba, which have made HD and standard def look markedly crisper and sharper.