It's fair to say Panasonic's new TV range is extensive and offers a solid, if not a class-leading performance.
The 'P42S10 is a case in point. It's a feeling you get from the first moment you lay eyes on it. This set is sturdy and feels like it'll last for years, but it's not going to make your mates drool.
Turn it on for the first time and the theme continues, with the blue-on-grey menus proving clear and easy to read, but also being about as inspiring as a brown cardigan.
Great motion processing
The specs contain a thrill, though: 400Hz Sub Field Drive Intelligent Frame Creation Pro. Sounds good, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it makes little discernible difference to the way the set handles motion – which is fine anyway, as it happens.
Still, at least this means you have to do almost no fiddling around with settings once you've got the basics right with a THX Optimizer.
Plasma lovers are likely to enjoy the picture as soon as they start playing a disc, with the gloomy indoor scenes of the Fargo Blu-ray benefiting from the deepest blacks of any affordable set.
Even when set to ‘cool', colours are just on the warm side of neutral, giving a degree of blush to skin tones that's not unpleasant, but which also means that whites aren't as pure as they could be. Combined with punch that's short of the very best, it leaves the snowy landscape of the film's titular town looking more dreary than it should.
Lacks detail and insight
Also, while detail and edge definition are perfectly respectable whether the image is static or in motion, the Panasonic lacks the scintillating insight of others.
It closes the gap somewhat when you switch to DVD. The Duchess demonstrates that it's still missing a touch of detail and white punch, and skin tones are the rosy-side of natural, but this does have the benefit of creating lush colours in general, and the picture is very stable all-round, with no noise at all to speak of.
Given this stability, it's a bit of a shame to see that the Freeview tuner exhibits a little more noise than the very best.
Still it's got good detail in general, while the audio proves to be more weighty and balanced than most, rounding-out a solid and enjoyable performance all-round.
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