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Having had my previous TV for quite a few years, and with it practically falling apart, I decided it was time to upgrade. I have always stuck with LG and Samsung when it comes to buying TVs, mostly due to their lower prices. However, my old LG TV was very disappointing in regards to the fact that it only lasted roughly 3 years before it started to become faulty. I therefore decided to look into other brands, such as Panasonic, and I am very glad I did.
I bought the television from John Lewis, which I would recommend if you are considering this TV, as they sell for the same price as competitor stores, but they also give you a 5 year guarantee (which would usually cost hundreds of pounds on top of this). All in all, the TV came to about £850, which does seem very expensive when you compare it to similar TVs, although I was happy enough to pay this with the knowledge that Panasonic is a reliable brand.
The first thing I was shocked about when I unboxed the TV was just how light it was. With my old 50" plasma weighing at least 65kg, I was amazed at how light the Panasonic is (around 15kg). This is definitely a selling point in my opinion, especially if you're looking at mounting it to a wall.
Secondly, I thought my old plasma LG was thin, but honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a TV as thin as this Panasonic! It really is unbelievably thin, especially compared to the new LGs, Sonys and Samsungs I saw when looking around for TVs. Similarly to the weight, this is definitely an advantage if you wish to wall mount it, since it means you can have it practically flat against the wall!
This model is the 50" version, although Panasonic do make them in other sizes. Fifty inches is definitely sufficient for me, although that does bring me onto a note I have about the TV that can be seen as negative or positive, depending on which way you look at it. As with all newer LED TVs, the bezel around the outside is very, very thin. This means that the main part of the TV is the screen, and there's practically nothing around the outside. This does make it look all very modern, but I can't help but think it makes the TV look much smaller. Having had it for around a year now, I have gotten used to it, but I do remember just how small it looked when I replaced my old TV with this one, despite their screen sizes being the same.
--Potential Design Flaws--
Although I can find very little to fault about this television, there are a few tiny things that could be irritating or inconvenient. As I said, the size and weight of the TV make it perfect for mounting it to a wall. However, all of the ports plug into the back of the TV, which means that if it were hung onto a wall, you have to account for all the wires that will stick out of the back, unlike other TVs where they have ports on the side.
Another thing that I find slightly irritating is the positioning of the buttons. They are all located at the back, so if you are trying to turn it on (if you're the kind of person who always takes it off of standby, like me) then it is very difficult to find the right button, since you cannot see which one is which. Furthermore, if I'm being very picky, there is almost no response from the button, so it's difficult to tell whether you pressed it properly, and the TV makes no noise when it turns on, it simply has the tiniest little light that flashes on the front, which you cannot see at all when your head is stuck round the back whilst you're trying to turn it on.
Once you've dislodged your head from the rear of the TV, you can finally sit back and use it, which is where this TV comes into its own. The picture quality is astounding. It's an LED backlit TV, so you can expect the quality to be good, but it does not compare to anything else I have seen. The picture is crystal clear, and even right up to the edges you can still see the perfect, very bright picture. This TV also seems to suffer from glare a lot less than my previous TV, so even if you're in a bright, sunny room, viewing it is no problem at all! One thing that would be nice is if it were 3D, especially considering the price, but that's not really necessary today anyway, so it doesn't bother me too much that this TV is not 3D.
When reviewing a TV, I always find it difficult to comment on the sound. I personally think the sound from the TV is very good, although I can never notice much of a difference from one TV to another. Having briefly looked through other comments though, I have found that this television has been slightly criticised for its sound quality, but if you just want a TV for everyday use, there is certainly no problem with its sound, so I would advise you not to let this deter you from purchasing the TV.
One of the selling points for me was the fact that this is a smart TV. I have never had one before, so I cannot compare it to anything else. However, I must admit that once the novelty of owning a smart TV wore off, I never find myself using any of the features. It does have some nice features though, and I was especially looking forward to using Skype on it, which it has built in. However, you cannot do this unless you buy a webcam. And it can't just be any webcam, it has to be one that Panasonic sell, which can be in excess of £100. I therefore have elected to stick with using my laptop to use Skype, so I am a bit disappointed. Therefore, if this was something you intended to do, bear in mind that you'll have to fork out another £100 for a webcam.
There are some features that I have made use of though, such as BBC iPlayer. It's a pretty smooth, well designed app on this TV, although it is a little slow. In fact, the whole smart system on this TV is a bit slow, which is a little agitating in this day and age, where everything else we use is designed to be fast. That said, it is very simple to use, and the layout is very user friendly. The Panasonic smart system also has some nice little features such as being able to set up your own "Home" page, where you can select widgets such as the weather, the news, a calendar, notes, and several other things, which you can access quickly in one nicely laid out page.
One of the problems I had with my old TV was the ridiculous about of power it used. It was rated at using in excess of 1000W! But, with this LED Panasonic, it only uses 50W to power, and is rated at an A+ efficiency rating! This is one of the most efficient TVs I have seen of its screen size, which does make up for the fact that it cost a lot initially. If you live in the kind of household where the TV is on almost all day, then paying out a little extra for an eco TV like this will definitely save you a lot of money.
As I've said, I have been reassured that Panasonic is a very reliable brand, a lot more so than brands such as LG and Samsung. I've had the TV for over a year now, and I've had nothing wrong with it at all so far. I also have a free 5 year guarantee from John Lewis, which I would recommend if you are considering buying this, just in case. I therefore believe that this is a very reliable TV. On top of that, with its very up to date looks, performance and quality, you can be assured that you will not have to upgrade in a few years to keep up with the times!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this TV. It is from a very good brand, the picture is fantastic, the sound is very good, it is very lightweight, thin, and has a very modern design. It is also a smart TV, and incorporates very convenient apps, and for all of this, it is very, very cheap to run. If you want something that you won't need to replace for many years to come, then look no further!