The L37S10B’s difficulties with resolving a truly believable black also predictably damage its colour performance a little. For neither films nor TV programmes have quite as much colour vibrancy to them as you get with some rival LCD TVs, and tones don’t seem generally quite as natural either. To be fair, neither of these issues is devastating; in fact, you kind of get used to the laid back tone of the images over time. But then again, just because you get used to something doesn’t mean that it’s right!
One thing the L37S10B’s pictures definitely do get right, though, is sharpness. I can’t think of another sub-£1k 37in LCD screen that’s delivered HD sources with as much fine detailing and noiseless, pin-point accuracy. Everything you might hope to see on a high-end full HD TV, never mind an entry-level one – pores, the weave of clothing, celluloid grain – is immaculately presented.
This exceptional sharpness does its best to put back into the picture some of the three-dimensional depth lost by the average black level response. Plus it provides the L37S10 with one area of superiority over Panasonic’s 37in plasma TVs. It’s worth restating, too, that the exceptional sharpness isn’t as badly damaged as it usually would be on an entry-level LCD TV by motion blur.
In other good news, while colours might lack a little dynamism, the screen’s extreme sharpness does at least mean that colour blends are rendered with a level of subtlety usually only found way above the L37S10B’s price point. I was pleased to note, too, that colour saturations and black levels didn’t drop off as badly as usual when watching the TV from an angle – at least until that angle became really quite extreme.
And finally in the plus column, as is commonly the case with Panasonic TVs, the L37S10 handles standard definition fodder from the Freeview tuner exceptionally well, upscaling it to its 1,920 x 1,080 pixel count with plenty of extra sharpness but without adding or emphasising video noise.
Sonically the L37S10 is solid, but nothing more. Treble detailing is quite accomplished, and the set isn’t afraid to go loud. But there isn’t enough bass to adequately counterpoint the trebles, leading to harsh moments, and the mid-range sounds cramped, failing to expand as I’d like it to during action scenes. This also sometimes leaves voices – even female ones – sounding thick to the point of distortion.
The L37S10B is by no means a bad LCD TV. Its outstanding HD sharpness and superior standard definition scaling see to that. But at the same time its flaws are impossible to ignore. As is the fact that you can actually pick up the generally superior Panasonic TX-P37X10 plasma TV for close to £200 less than we’ve been able to find the L37S10B going for.