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Panasonic TX-L37S20 review

Tempting price and the picture is perfectly watchable, but it does give a fair bit away to the best Tested at £800.00

Our Verdict

The price is tempting but there are much more capable TVs for not much more

For

  • Freeview HD tuner
  • good sound
  • dynamic picture with solid black levels

Against

  • Lacks subtlety and finer details
  • motion issues
  • some good features missing

Panasonic's S Series is far from no frills but understandably doesn't feature all the bells and whistles of the more expensive V Series.

It's not just what's inside the box either, this set looking instantly a little tired and sorry for itself without the TX-L37V20's silver finish.

Work your way through the set-up programme – a slightly tweaked version of last year's menu – and you'll notice some of the gaps in specification.

No USB inputs – there are two on the 'V20 – also means no USB recording, a neat feature on the sibling. You'll also have to make do without DLNA streaming and Panasonic's Viera Cast internet TV applications.

It's a different panel, too, the S20 being a standard LCD design without LED backlighting, and claiming a lower contrast ratio, while this set uses Vreal Pro 4 rather than 5 to take care of picture processing.

Freesat HD tuner, but no DD 5.1

While the majority of Panasonic's new sets spoil you rotten with Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners, the S20 settles, arguably quite sensibly, just for the one – Freeview HD.

Off-air pictures are decent enough, though there's a little noise compared with the best here and images could be drawn a little sharper.

Notably, this set wouldn't send Dolby Digital 5.1 sound via its optical out from HD channels, offering up linear PCM stereo only. Read about this issue in greater depth on our website.

Switch to Blu-ray using one of the three HDMI inputs and while the picture in isolation is perfectly watchable, up against the best it does give a fair bit away. Colours are rich and dynamic with good, deep black levels but the palette doesn't have the breadth offered elsewhere.

It's more of the same with DVD, motion unable to deliver the seamless pans available elsewhere and edges often not drawn that sharply.

Sonically it's competent, showing detail and authority, but with better-featured, better-performing sets in close price proximity, this one doesn't do enough to fight its way up the shortlist.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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