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Pioneer PDP-427XD review

A high-quality plasma TV that's easy on the eye

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Our Verdict

Another astonishingly good Pioneer plasma, which offers near faultless picture performance and all the features you could wish for

For

  • Excellent picture quality

    Stylish looks

Against

  • Price a little on the high side

This seventh-generation Pioneer plasma is the step-up version of the impressive £2,000 PDP-4270XD.

It boasts a similar feature list, including a digital tuner and 1024 x 768 resolution, but the extra cash gets you a second HDMI input (crucial if you've got more than one hi-def source), a subwoofer output and a PC interface.

Also found among the sockets are three Scarts (two of which take RGB), component video input, a CAM slot for pay TV services and an optical digital audio output for piping TV sound to an AV receiver.

Aesthetically it's the James Bond of the plasma world - suave, well-built and dressed in black. And like Bond, it's equipped with all the latest technology designed to kill off its opposition.

For instance, the PureBlack screen, which helped Pioneer's previous plasma TVs deliver perhaps the best black levels ever seen, has been improved, plus there's a mindboggling range of processing modes on board that aim to enhance every aspect of the picture.

If you avoid the enhanced calibration options (not found on the PDP-4270XD) the TV is easy to setup and use. The menu architecture is logical, the displays are attractively presented (if a little too small) and the remote is functional and works well.

Phenomenal

A recording of Revenge of the Sith from Sky Movies HD looks absolutely phenomenal. The frantic opening battle is presented with incredible clarity thanks to the set's assured detail handling and a complete lack of noise. It resolves the myriad spaceships with consummate ease and it has no trouble keeping up with the fast-paced action.

Black handling is also mightily impressive, not only in terms of the depth and purity of dark objects, such as Chancellor Palpatine's cloak, but also in the way delicate shadow detail is still visible within them. Colours meanwhile are strongly saturated and vivid, without ever looking unnatural.

These comments not only apply to HD material but also to SD sources like DVD and Freeview, which look terrific. The set's processing has occasional trouble with Sky Sports News' horizontally scrolling text but it's a minor gripe.

Sonically, the TV's speakers don't let the side down, blasting out the ferocious Star Wars soundtrack at loud volumes without straining or distorting. Bass output is powerful but not at the expense of clean, audible midrange and treble.

It's debatable whether a few extra sockets are worth the premium over the entry-level model, but there's no doubting the set's quality. It's another astonishingly good Pioneer plasma, which offers near faultless picture performance and all the features you could wish for.