Panasonic TX-40DX600B review

Small and affordable, this 4K Panasonic TV is almost the best of both worlds... Tested at £500

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Our Verdict

Small screen wonder offers an appealing 4K experience at an affordable price

For

  • Decent picture quality
  • Full-bodied sound
  • Elegant, appealing interface
  • Good price

Against

  • 4K picture isn’t as impressive as it could be
  • Needs more subtlety and punch
  • No HDR

A 40-inch screen with Ultra HD 4K resolution that costs just £500? That sounds too good to be true. But the Panasonic Viera TX-40DX600B is real and it promises the latest picture technology wrapped up in a small package that doesn’t cost a small fortune.

But first, we have a couple of questions: is a 40in screen too small to fully appreciate the pixel-popping awesomeness of 4K? And does this TV strike the perfect balance between size, price and top tech?

MORE: 4K Ultra HD TV: everything you need to know

Build

The TV itself has a sturdy build, with a slim bezel surrounding the 40in screen, and shiny feet that stand rigidly on the surface. It’s not the slimmest TV, but it’s not too chunky, either. It’s the ideal size for fitting into the corner of a living room.

Around the back you’ll find three HDMI inputs, two of which are HDCP 2.2 certified – those are the ones that are compatible with 4K Blu-ray discs and players. It’ll also accept 4K HDR content, even if the panel itself doesn’t support HDR.

Component and composite inputs, an optical output and two USB ports round up the list of connections.

The remote control included is nothing fancy: it’s a standard remote that’s intuitive to use and works responsively with the TV’s menus.

MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray: everything you need to know

Picture

We should point out from the start that while the TX-40DX600B is a 4K screen with a 3840 x 2160 resolution, it doesn’t support high dynamic range (HDR).

4K and HDR have tended to come hand-in-hand with the top-end tellies of 2016, and likewise with the 4K Blu-ray discs trickling into the market now. A further question immediately pops into our minds: will the 4K discs look their best on a screen without HDR support?

We start with one of our favourite 4K Blu-ray discs, Mad Max: Fury Road. The Panasonic screen is filled with pin-sharp detail, with the gritty textures of the monstrous cars displayed clearly. It’s a wonderfully crisp picture without being overly sharp.

You can pick out the dirt and grime on people’s faces, the rusty metal, the grains of sand – there’s plenty of detail here.

MORE: HDR TV: What is it? How can you get it?

Sit close to the screen and you won’t find much noise at all. It’s a very good picture. The fiery reds are scorching, while the blues make a cool contrast. It’s vibrant enough to be exciting, but doesn’t go over the edge into being oversaturated.

Panasonic strikes just the right colour balance, which is more apparent when you’re watching sitcoms like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or old episodes of Top Gear in standard definition, which look pretty decent when upscaled to the 4K screen.

Blue skies, skin tones, office interiors and car paint all have a natural look to them, and there are no discernible motion issues when cars chase each other.

There is the expected dip in quality with the standard definition picture, which is fuzzy and not as detailed compared with the 4K Blu-ray, but it’s still watchable and, more importantly, enjoyable.

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What stops us from completely loving the Panasonic TV is a matter of subtlety and contrast. A touch more low level detail would stop characters and objects from looking flat against the background at times.

We want more gradations of shading to make them look fully three-dimensional and realistic.

You can see a decent amount of detail in shadows, but the black and dark areas could go that bit deeper. The picture in general could be brighter, too. It feels like using a smartphone where the screen never reaches that perfect 100 per cent brightness.

Turning up the brightness level in the settings only makes the picture look faded; we want more punch and intensity to bright scenes without compromising the black depth.

The 4K version of Mad Max has the same problem, but the Blu-ray doesn’t. Could this be the lack of HDR support that limits the nuances of colour and contrast in the 4K picture?

MORE: A list of all the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs on sale

Though you only really notice the level of clarity and detail in the 4K film once you’ve compared it with the Blu-ray (which upscales admirably on the 40in screen), there doesn’t feel like that much of a difference between the two. It’s not enough to make you go “wow” when you see 4K.

While you do get a step up in detail, clarity and sharpness, the screen’s small size and lack of HDR means you don’t get the full blast of just how gorgeous a 4K Blu-ray picture can be.

Blu-ray performance is better, and essentially, isn’t too far off the 4K. Here the Panasonic manages to strike that balance between contrast and brightness better, and ends up being a more satisfying watch.

Sound

Watching the Panasonic TX-40DX600B, it takes us a while to realise we aren’t immediately yearning for a soundbar. It’s a pleasantly full-bodied sound. Voices are solid and direct, and the overall presentation is warm and rather punchy.

There’s no brittle top end or booming bass.

A soundbar would open up the soundfield and deliver a clearer, subtler performance, but we’re still quite happy listening to the TV’s own speakers.

MORE: Best soundbars 2016

Features

We’re big fans of Panasonic’s Firefox OS interface: colourful circular icons that you can ‘pin’ to the home screen. It’s simple and straightforward to use, and the brightly coloured design is neat and appealing.

When you first fire it up, you’ll see bubbles for live TV, apps, connected devices and Freeview Play appear on top of whatever you’re watching. Navigating your way around them is fast and easy, and it all works smoothly.

We like that the interface isn’t too intrusive. Launching apps such as Netflix takes mere seconds, while scrolling through the input list or programme guide goes without a hitch.

MORE: Best budget 4K TVs

You can add more icons to the home screen by ‘pinning' your favourite or most used apps (such as Amazon Video, YouTube or BBC Sport), and then rearranging the order to however you want.

Simply press ‘option’ on the remote after selecting an app to pin, move or delete it.

The TV comes equipped with Freeview Play and Freetime, which lets you roll back the programme guide and catch up with a week’s worth of shows. It also puts all of UK’s catch-up TV apps in one place: BBC iPlayer, All 4, the ITV Hub and Demand 5 are all available on the 40DX600B.

You’ll need an internet connection for Freeview Play to work. Wired ethernet and built-in wi-fi are provided, and both methods are stable.

MORE: Freeview Play: What is it? How can you get it?

Verdict

Not everyone can fit a large TV into their living room, so the Panasonic TX-40DX600B is ideal for those with limited space. Add to that 4K technology at an affordable price, and you have an incredibly appealing proposition.

There are 4K TVs from Finlux and Hisense available at this money, although neither quite matches this Panasonic, which despite some shortcomings, is worth considering.

MORE: Best Panasonic 4K TVs

See all our Panasonic reviews

Specifications

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General Information

Product SeriesDX600
Product LineViera
Product NamePanasonic TX-40DX600B
Product ModelTX-40DX600B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Brand NamePanasonic
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerPanasonic
Manufacturer Part NumberTX40DX600B

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
CI+Yes
VGANo
USBYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports3

Energy and Performance

Energy Efficiency ClassB
Standby Power Consumption500 mW
Energy Consumption per Year95 kWh
Maximum Resolution3840 x 2160
Operating Power Consumption68 W

Technical Information

TouchscreenNo
FeaturesProgressive Scan, Web Browser, Wall Mountable, Media Player, Film Mode, Hotel Mode, Picture and Text (PAT), Screen Mirroring, Teletext, Game Mode, Sport Mode
Streaming ServiceBBC iPlayer, ITV, Catch up TV, Netflix, Demand Five
Aspect Ratio16:9
3D TypeNo
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Internet AccessYes
Smart TVYes
Interactive FeaturesVoice Guidance
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Screen Size101.6 cm (40")

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand36.4 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate14 kg
Weight Approximate12 kg
Width with Stand90.4 cm
Height with Stand57.3 cm
Width90.4 cm
VESA Mount Standard200 x 200
Depth4.9 cm
Height51.8 cm
ColourBlack
Dimensions51.8 cm (H): 90.4 cm (W): 4.9 cm (D)

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Near Field CommunicationNo

Audio

RMS Output Power20 W
Sound SystemDolby, VR-Audio True Surround

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T2
Motion Interpolation TechnologyBrilliant Motion Rate 800 Hz
Video Signal Standard4K UHDTV
Scan Format2160p

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedYes
Package Contents
  • LED TV Viera TX-40DX600B
  • Remote control

Power Description

Input Voltage230 V AC