Panasonic TX-32AS500B review

A decent, multitalented set for the price, but its performance doesn’t quite pink slip the class-leaders

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Our Verdict

A decent, multitalented set for the price, but its performance doesn’t quite pink slip the class-leaders

For

  • Crisp picture brimming with detail
  • Punchy, vibrant palette
  • User-friendly interface
  • Good smart features

Against

  • Rivals produce more subtlety
  • Dark shades of colour often overdone

Just recently, the 42in from Panasonic’s entry-ranging AS500B Series received a respectable four stars, and now the range’s baby TV steps up to the plate.

If wall-mounting this TV, bear in mind that the majority of connections – which comprise two HDMI, RGB scart and component/composite inputs, as well as analogue and optical outputs – are on the TV’s back panel, with only a single USB input and headphone output on the easily accessible side panel.

Features

You don’t get the whole shebang of features found on Panasonic’s bigger screens (after all, this model is quite far down the company’s 2014 line-up), but its list is nothing to sniffle at.

Connecting to a home network via a wired or wireless connection is an open door to the big three online apps (BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube), as well as a prolific ‘app market’ where you’ll find a host of add-on apps. What’s more, Panasonic’s TV Remote 2 app enables the use of Swipe & Share, which can beam a smartphone’s pictures, videos and music to the big screen.

The physical remote is easy to get to grips with too. For a mobile app, it’s all there: a touchpad, shortcuts to individual apps, remote-control functions and keyboard. Response time is speedy too, though navigating the numerous pages can be long-winded.

Last but not least, Remote Sharing allows video memos and text messages to be sent from an Apple or Android smartphone to a compatible Viera TV.

We’re big fans of Panasonic’s My Home Screen portal. With a highly customisable home screen, moveable apps and everything logically boxed-out, it’s both foolproof and fun.

Performance

For £300, it’s not wholly surprising that resolution falls short of the Full HD figure. Its 1366 x 768 (or, in other words, ‘HD ready’) panel lies between high- and standard-definition, meaning the set has to downscale or upscale almost everything it plays. But if it’s done well, it shouldn’t be an issue.

We test its downscaling ability first with American Hustle on Blu-ray and it has our attention from the outset. Its razor-sharp picture is packed with detail and punchy, vibrant colour. Amy Adams’s hair is a bright, fiery red, while glamorous swingin’ seventies costumes are immediately eye-catching.

Slightly tempering down the exaggerated out-of-the-box colour palette using a THX Optimizer disc and changing colour temperature to ‘cool’ brings a more natural balance. Yet, even after toying with contrast and brightness, darker shades are often blacked out.

As the TV upscales The Grand Budapest Hotel DVD, it makes the most of the film’s colourful aesthetics – the purple of the lobby boy’s coat looks deep and rich.

The picture is both sharp and detailed too, and there’s not so much of a motion blur as sleds pelt down the snowy hills. The Freeview tuner keeps up its end too.

The Pana’s frame may be slim and lightweight, but sound doesn’t give that away. In fact, we have few complaints. The Samsung has a richer delivery, but sound is generally weighty and clear.

Verdict

The Panasonic does a lot – and does it well. It may not produce the most subtle or natural picture on the market but, for a price that doesn’t cost the earth, it’s certainly worth a punt.

Specifications

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General Information

Product SeriesAS500
Product LineViera
Product NamePanasonic TX-32AS500B
Product ModelTX-32AS500B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Brand NamePanasonic
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerPanasonic
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-32AS500B

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
CI+Yes
USBYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports2

Energy and Performance

Energy Efficiency ClassA+
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
Energy Consumption per Year44 kWh
Maximum Resolution1366 x 768
Operating Power Consumption50 W

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand19.4 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate5.50 kg
Width with Stand72.7 cm
Weight Approximate5 kg
Height with Stand46.5 cm
Width72.7 cm
Depth6.7 cm
Height43.2 cm
ColourGlossy Black
Dimensions43.2 cm (H): 72.7 cm (W): 6.7 cm (D)

Technical Information

FeaturesWeb Browser, Mirror, Teletext, Picture and Text (PAT), Hotel Mode, Child Lock, Ambient Lighting
Streaming ServiceBBC iPlayer, Netflix, BBC Sport
Aspect Ratio16:9
Backlight TechnologyLED
Internet AccessYes
Horizontal Viewing Angle176°
Smart TVYes
Interactive FeaturesVoice Guidance
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Vertical Viewing Angle176°
Screen Size81.3 cm (32")

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes

Audio

RMS Output Power10 W
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, DTS 2.0 Digital out, V-Audio Technology

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Motion Interpolation Technology100Hz Backlight Blinking
Video Signal StandardHDTV

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedYes
Package Contents
  • LED TV Viera TX-32AS500B
  • Remote Control
  • Printed Quick Installation Guide
Country of OriginPoland

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year