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

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

More after the break