EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Our verdict on Panasonic's new TX-37LZD85 LCD TV

Tue, 8 Apr 2008, 10:34am

Pana 1-1

Right folks, we promised you an exclusive online review of one of the new Panasonic '85 model flatscreen TVs, and true to our word, here it is.

Now the eagle-eyed among you on our Forums may remember that we had originally promised a review of the 42in model, but as it turns out the one Panasonic decided to supply was the 37in version, the TX37LZD85.

Still, given that the 37in seems to be the one many of you are interested in buying, we hope you won't be disappointed.

Panasonic TX37LZD85

£1100

5 stars

For
Bright, lustrous images; good facility with motion; surprisingly good sound

Against
Hardly a great leap forward

Verdict
The '85 may be only slightly better than the TV it replaces, but it's better more-or-less across the board - make sure it foes on your shortlist

Pity the new LCD TVs that replace a critically acclaimed, sales-grasping range, in this instance last year's Award-winning Panasonic TH-37PX70 plasma and TX-37LZD70 LCD. Make no mistake, this TX-37LZD85 has its work cut out if we're not to finish this review by waxing nostalgic about the models that went before.

Happily, everything that's admirable about Panasonic flatscreens in general - sturdy build quality, ergonomic good sense and on-the-money specification - is here, and more besides.

The '85 is, naturally, a Full HD screen with 24fps capability (via 4:4 pulldown, which promises smoother motion tracking than older machines' 3:2 version) and enough inputs to keep everybody happy.

Pictures, whether via Blu-ray, DVD or one of the two on-board tuners, are exemplary. Thanks to bright, clean whites and impressively deep, detailed blacks, contrasts are impressive. Images are sharp and colourful, motion is tracked confidently (particularly noticeable when viewing Blu-ray images) and textures are nuanced and believable.

Surprisingly good sound
Sound, never a flatscreen strong point, is genuinely impressive by prevailing standards - it's weightier and wider than most rivals can offer, and stops mercifully short of the tissue-paper-and-comb effect lesser screens are so fond of.

We've enjoyed every example of Panasonic's new flatscreen range we've reviewed so far, and by now you know that we admire this TV a good deal too. We're increasingly forming the impression, though, that the technology may be approaching the limit of its ability.

Where previous model ranges (and not just Panasonic's) represented a sizeable step forward from the range they replaced, the differences here are incremental. They add up to a screen that's better than those that went before it, but owners of Panasonic's TX-37LZD70 (for example) needn't rush to bin their screen in favour of this one.

TECH SPECS

Type LCD

Aspect Ratio 16:9

HD Ready Yes

Full HD Yes

Screen size (in) 37

Resolution 1920 x 1080

Accepts 1080p Yes

24fps Yes

HDMI 1.3a Yes

Integrated analogue tuner Yes

Integrated digital tuner Yes

HDMI in 3

DVI in 0

PC in 1

Component in 1

RGB Scart in 2

Scart in 0

S-Video in 1

Composite in 1

USB in 0

Memory card in 0

Phono audio in 1

Phono audio out 1

Digital audio out 1

Dimensions (hwd, cm) 61 x 94 x 11

Weight (kg) 20

ALSO CONSIDER

Panasonic TX-37LZD70

£950

5 stars

April 2008

Attention bargain hunters -we discussed this screen's 'incredibly detailed' Full HD images as recently as April. But as it's been replaced, there should be deals around...

Samsung LE37R88BD

£850

5 stars

August 2007

Another screen destined for the great scrapheap in the sky, the Samsung offers corking pictures at a more-than-reasonable price

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Comments

We haven't had the TH-37PX80 in for review yet. The next model we're getting is the TH-42PX80 which is the lead First Test in our June issue, on sale May 1st.

Does this mean no review of the 42PZ85 Plasma?

It's coming! Panasonic left us with a slightly different selection of sets than promised, but we've requested every bloomin' flatscreen we can get our hands on, so it's only a matter of time.

To be honest I am more than a bit disappointed, I was hoping for the 42PZ85. The big difference is not the size of the screen but LCD or Plasma.

Sorry - we'll concentrate on reviewing the ones we don't have in future.

Cheers Clare. I think everyone's interested in the Plasma because it looks like the only serious competition to the Kuro in the 42" range. Especially now that they're around the same price.

Thanks for the review.

Interesting remark about the technology approaching the limit of its ability, so cost will be the deciding factor going forward. Probably means that in a couple of years time you'll get a brilliant 37" tv for about £300.

In your review of the Panasonic 32" full HD LCD, you said (or words to the effect...) that full HD couldn't really be appreciated on a screen that size. Is that the case on this screen? I ask as I'm torn between the new Panasonic 37" Plasma (which is HD ready, has poor sound, but is significantly cheaper) and this Panasonic.

That is what we are waiting for fella. Comparing this set alongside the PX80 and the PZ85...

I read the review above but noticed there was no comments on the SD image.

could you please provide some details on the  SD image and how it compares to the 37PX70 as I'm sure

I read somewhere that because of the upscaling to 1920 x 1080 Full HD. SD images tend to suffer.

Couple of questions:-

1). How was the built-in Freeview SD picture ?

2). Was there anyway of changing the backlight control ?

3). How good is the 100hz Motion Pro and was there anyway of turning it off ?

Cheers

Paul

will you be reviewing 37lzd800

Thanks for the review - I've been waiting to see what WHF made of the LZD85 before I splashed the cash (although room size dictates the 32 inch model)

It's the 24fps I'm particularly interested in (and would also like to know if it's possible to turn off the 100hz) - any more info on these would be great.

Hi there

This pannie v the philips 32PFL9632D ?  Thoughts ?  They both seem like the frontrunners for 32 inch.  I'd be watching sky HD (incl sport of course) and upscaled DVDs.  No xbox etc.

Lack of 1080p on the Philips is making me tempted to go with the Panasonic - but does that really matter on the 32 inch screen???

As an aside - philips seem to have canned the 100hz on the new 32PFL9603 - why ?

NEED HELP!  

Cheers

You state that   HDMI 1.3a = No

Panasonic website states   x.v. Colour =  yes

I was also told by Panasonic that all 2008 t.v's ending in 80 or 85 are in fact HDMI 1.3a.

Clarification please ??

Thanks.

re the previous post, I of course meant the TX-32LZD85  v the philips 32 inch..... apologies, cringe..  can't see a 32 inch thread tho.

Questions still stand !

the 42 z85 is 1.3 compatible

There's nothing on the Panasonic website that categorically says the 37LZD85 is HDMI 1.3a compatible, but given that it does indeed say it has x.v. colour then it would seem logical it has HDMI 1.3.

I did query this with our review team this morning, so will double-check with Panasonic tomorrow.

I was lucky enougth to see Panasonics latest 37" models plum next to each other in a store yesterday showing the same feed (defiantly the 08 models because they both had the new 'swoosh' at the bottom) so was a great (and i guess very rare) opportunity to see a comparison. The feed was Panasonics own promotional movie showing a sequence of scenes including animations, and a power boat race, obviously all designed to show off how the screens can deal with colour reproduction and fast images, was sitting about 3 metres away (no sound unfortunately) and ambient lighting level was low. . The LCD delivered VERY  impressive sharp, bright colours and no complaints about its reproduction of the fast power boat race images either, there was none of that 'pixceling' occuring, it looked fantastic. However when compared to the 37" Plasma, plonked right next to it, everything people say about Plasma v LCD was starkly evident. The same images through the Plasma were much fuller and warmer in colour, handling of fast moving images was at least on a par with the LCD but  what surprised me most was how well the Plasma dealt with black levels, what appeared black on the Plasma was a faded (washed at to higher temperature) black on the LCD. I'd go for the Plasma any day, gutted my room dictates a 32", tempted to go for function over form now!

stomans

x.v.YCC is supported as an option on the basic 1.3 specification - ie 1.3-compliant kit can do it, but doesn't have to. The Panasonic does.

The 1.3a revision just does some minor tidying up on the 1.3 spec, and has no significant performance implications.

"Pictures, whether via Blu-ray, DVD or one of the two on-board tuners, are exemplary."

Does that answer your question Hot Rod.

I went to my local store a week ago to see the new 37LZD85. I arrived but they hadn't displayed it on to the shop floor yet. I asked a staff member about it and within 10min it was on display.

At first I was pleased with the overall design but then they put it on to SD and this is where the picture fell slightly. From a distance of 4m the picture looked good but any closer, forget it.

Whilst they were doing a few more bits I had time to browse the rest of the store and came across the Pioneer section. I was blown away by the clarity of every format SD, HD, Gaming etc. I was going to buy the Panasonic for £1000 but if I splash out an extra £299 I could get an extra 5 inches and quite possibly the best 42inch plasma on the market. Added to this a 5 year warranty! No, it's not John Lewis.

I'm going back to the store this weekend to make my purchase. Bottom line, shop around online compare prices, read reviews, read forums and pay that little extra for the best then there will be no uncertainty like many of us face.

Happy shopping!

I cannot decide between the TX37-LZD80 or the TX37-LZD85. Is the 85 worth the extra money for the 24 real cinema and the 100HZ. Any advice please

I think the last sentence of the review kind of answers that one, at least by implication...

... but the 85 does sound a bit better than the 70.

Clare, can you set any expectation as to when you might review the PZ85? Is it days or weeks? Thanks.

2 words...   'Too expensive'

There are many sets now that are almost as good at nearly half the price. Dont get me wrong..half my home electronics are Panasonic but wait at least 4-6 months and get it for a lot less online.

Where in this review does it say that it has a 100Hz refresh rate?

Jules

Yes that does answer my question

Cheers

D***! Was waiting for the 42" full HD plasma review fore some time now

(the th-42pz85) Interested in the intelligent frame creation. And global improvements.

Also very disappointed as I am agonizing over the PZ85/Kuro question.  I guess you cant review what you dont have as you say Andrew.

But then- Andy Clough said you did have it on another thread "The TH-42PZ85 has indeed arrived in our stock room, and Mr First Tests Editor Simon Lucas has it on his list of things to test next week"- not trying to be a git but which is it?

Well, if you read the second paragraph of the story, you will see that I explain that although Panasonic had told us they'd deliver us the TH-42PZ85, what actually turned up in the box was the TX-37LXD85.

When I checked our stock delivery list at the time of my original post it showed the 42PZ85, but later I was informed we in fact had the 37in. So there you have it - we live in an imperfect world. Sorry!

Kubris

Have a look on the Panasonic site... They have put the new models up on their and it says about the 100Hz Motion Pro 2 feature on this model and the LZD800.

In reply to Stomans, Panasonic has come back and confirmed the 37LZD85 is compatible with HDMI 1.3a, so I've updated the tech specs accordingly.

Andy, I know you were expecting the TH-46PZ85B as well. Did it arrive  ? - did you get any of the plasmas in for review ?

thanks.

I was waiting for a decent review of a new Panasonic 37" LCD, so thanks.  If the Plasma is better than the LCD (Claretandbluepoo), why make both?  

Anyway, will the current Freeview tuner be able to get the HD Freeview channels when they arrive, or will we need an extra box.

Thankyou people, so very much,, i was interested in the TX-37LZD80 ,But was awaiting reviews on the TX-37LZD85 set to see what was said about it,,,, Other Reviews have been good, & after reading your very review here,, You have been the deciding factor in me deciding to buy this T.V,,

Thankyou Smile

"If the Plasma is better than the LCD (Claretandbluepoo), why make both?"

If Porsches are better than Vauxhalls, why make both?

Sorry, I know that's a terrible analogy - I was just in a certain mood at the time! My point was, the answer to both questions is - because there is a market for both.

can you please tell me which is the best panasonic 32inch lcd with the best features. i am confused between the TX-32LZD80 and thTX-32LLXD85

many thanks

Hi, all. I was wondering how the tx37lzd85 with 100 hz would weigh up against the toshiba 40xf355d. I've been looking at the toshiba for a while now and now the panasonic has thrown a spanner in the works. I've looked at both side by side and they seem equaly impressive, just the tosh is that much bigger, any oppinions.......first time user so be gentle if this is not the right place for this post.

Andy, can you advise whether the 37PX80 is also HDMI 1.3a - i get a difference answer each time i call Panasonic!

Just called it as i saw it    

bill88888.

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHT IS THE BEST PANASONIC 32" HDTV OUT THERE........................................................................................................................................................

>JSM15

Andy Clough said:

In reply to Stomans, Panasonic has come back and confirmed the 37LZD85 is compatible with HDMI 1.3a, so I've updated the tech specs accordingly.

April 10, 2008 9:58 AM

Does anyone know if this is a 10 bit panel? I've checked on the panasonic site and it doesn't confirm.

Thanks,

L

Theres seems to be lots of comments on the Panasonic TX-37LZD 80 and 85 models, has anyone seen the 800 model?

Interested to hear what people think of it, as thinking of buying.

Have just purchased the 37in lcd 80 model I am very impressed with the colours and black levels sound is also very good with a decent bass level sd viewing is not as good as my old crt but if you are giving it a bad signal youl get a bad picture out ( am sitting only 2.5m away, from further away it is acceptable).Tthe picture from upscaled dvds is very good no problems with blurring. Cannot wait to get my blu ray player.

Hi folks, check this out: www.trustedreviews.com/.../p1 I think you will find some useful info!.

Well, I've found some reviews for some latest Panasonic models:

Panasonic TX-37LZD800 37in LCD TV Review:

www.trustedreviews.com/.../p1

Panasonic TX-32LZD85 32in LCD TV Review:

www.trustedreviews.com/.../p1

Panasonic TH-42PX80 42in Plasma TV Review:

www.trustedreviews.com/.../p1

Panasonic TH-42PZ85B 42in Plasma Review:

www.hdtvtest.co.uk/Panasonic-TH42PZ85B