Well, you asked for it, so here it is!
Live from the test team; pre-publication in the issue - a full review of Panasonic's brand-new 37in LCD TV, including how it performs against its Award-winning sibling, the TH-37PX70.
£1100 (list price)
FOR: Incredibly detailed Full HD pictures; smooth and bright DVD performance; excellent digital tuner
AGAINST: Black levels and insight are beaten by another Panasonic
VERDICT: This is the best 37in LCD that we’ve seen, but not quite the best 37in TV
No sooner have we awarded a 37in Panasonic TV a Best Buy Award, but another 37in rival appears from the very same company. However, other than both being generally TV-shaped, the two siblings have little in common.
This TX-37LZD70 is an LCD, whereas the Award-winning TH-37PX70 is a plasma. This boasts a Full HD specification, whereas the plasma is ‘only’ HD Ready. Even the speakers are in different places, with the LCD opting for the ‘wing’ design rather than under-screen (of which more later).
These significant differences in specification lead to significant differences in performance, but in this case different doesn’t mean disappointing.
The usual high-point of a Full HD set is its performance with HD material, and the ‘LZD70 is no exception. Blu-ray movies jump off the screen in bright and colourful glory, and detail levels are exceptional in well-lit scenes. It’s only when the LCD panel is asked to render very low-light images - gloomy or night-time scenes in movies or TV shows, for example - that it struggles to match the plasma for blackness and insight.
Panasonic’s Freeview tuners are well-known for their excellence, and even though 1920 x 1080 screens can sometimes struggle with standard-def images, the ‘LZD70 continues the excellent record. Colours are natural and the overall image is clean and stable, though the plasma alternative is just a touch sharper.
The ‘LZD70’s DVD performance is further evidence of this set’s ability with SD. A great tester such as Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is displayed beautifully; contrast levels are excellent, and motion is tracked without any sign of stutter or blur.
In terms of sound, those 'wing' speakers mean the 'LZD70 is capable of more effective stereo separation than its plasma counterpart, and is slightly less edgy when pushed, but otherwise its sonic performance is - like with so many flatscreens - nothing special. We'd continue to argue that TVs of this quality deserve to be paired with a decent cinema sound system.
The inevitable comparison for this TV is its plasma sibling, and our Award-winner is still the absolute best 37in TV you can find, thanks to its blacks being superior in both depth and insight and the more natural level of contrast this creates, regardless of whether you're watching SD TV or DVDs, or HD content.
So, the Panasonic TH-37PX70 remains the best 37in set you can buy, but if you feel that you really must have a Full HD set or an LCD at this size, the TX-37LZD70 is the one to get.
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As mentioned in the review body, this TV won the Best 37in Television category in our Awards issue last month, and though it’s not a Full HD set, it’s still the better TV – now heavily discounted, too...
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