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Panasonic TX-L42ET5B review

It's passive 3D, it's LCD, but it's still Panasonic

Panasonic TX L42ET5B

Ease of use

The L42ET5 keeps you on your toes in usability terms, being brilliantly simple in some areas but a little less thoughtful in others.

For instance, when it comes to the Vera Connect menus, the main menu is problematic. It looks attractive enough, and is very readable. But its insistence on using very large icons means you don't get many services onscreen at once, leaving you having to delve down through multiple layers of further onscreen menus to get to all of the services available.

You can, to be fair, choose the order the service icons appear on these menu 'layers', but it's still a rather cumbersome approach that will only become more long-winded as more services come online.

The Viera Marketplace, on the other hand, is more or less exemplary in its structure, using more sensibly sized options, and providing well thought-through tools and shortcuts for streamlining your experience. The only annoyance is the tedious need to input all your personal and credit card details using the remote control so you're ready to buy apps. This kind of stuff is never going to be much fun on a TV, but we couldn't help but feel that Panasonic could have included some more text input assistants to make the process less of a ball ache.

In terms of Panasonic's standard operational menus, these look reasonably approachable thanks to the introduction of a few basic icons here and there. However, there's still no denying that the rather low-resolution look to proceedings is a country mile away from the HD delights of Samsung's latest onscreen menu system.

Turning to the L42ET5's remote, there was a time when Panasonic's remote control design was as good as it got in the TV world. But it's starting to show its age now, looking and feeling a bit cluttered, and not providing the best 'weighting' for different application buttons. Essentially it feels as if the extra functions on today's Panasonic TVs have been shoehorned onto pre-existing button layouts rather than Panasonic coming up with a new remote design that really reflects the different way people use their TVs these days.

That said, at least the remote feels nicely weighted and well built, and its buttons are large and responsive.

Sound quality

Panasonic has done a very respectable job of getting a decent audio performance out of the L42ET5 when you consider how slim and affordable it is. There's a reasonably open feeling to the midrange, which lets voices sound realistic and helps action scenes avoid sounding too harsh or thin. Detail levels are high too, and the soundstage is impressively wide.

Bass feels a touch forced and doesn't really venture very low down the frequency response scale, but this is hardly rare in the flat TV world. Overall the L42ET5's sound provides a satisfying accompaniment to its 42-inch pictures.

Value

While the £998 price for which the L42ET5 is selling on Panasonic's website is a bit steep, the £750 price tag it's being sold for elsewhere seems about right all things considered.

Last year's LG 42-inch LW550T passive 3D model is slightly cheaper at around £700 from most mainstream retailers, but with the new L42ET5 you're getting a more stable and friendly online platform as well as Panasonic's superior picture processing. Panasonic's TV looks a bit better too.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyViera
3D Type3D
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Analog TunerPAL
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)17.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Operating Power Consumption55 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
RMS Output Power2 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HDMI VersionHDMI 1.4
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand650 mm
Width with Stand997 mm
Depth with Stand247 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports3
3D TechnologyPolarized
3D ConversionYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Enhanced Refresh Rate300 Hz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height604 mm
Width997 mm
Depth52 mm
ColourBlack
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS, Virtual Surround
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesTeletext, Picture and Text (PAT), In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology, Web Browser
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-L42ET5B
Product Name42" Smart Viera LED TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXL42ET5B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

42" Smart VIERA LED TV - A Smart Experience with Easy 3D
A polarizing film on the display surface displays the left and right images for each of the odd-numbered and even-numbered horizontal scanning lines. When viewed through polarizing eyewear, different images are shown to the left and right eyes, resulting in the perception of 3D images. This method reduces the vertical resolution to one-half, but it is an easy way to view 3D images using light, economical eyewear. Great for watching with a group of people.

Package Contents
  • 42" Smart Viera LED TV
  • 4 x 3D Glasses
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)14.50 kg