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Panasonic TX-50CX680B review

 Review: June 2015  
 

Last updated October 2015

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Panasonic Viera TX-50CX680B is a 50-inch UHD (4K) TV with a smart design and excellent picture quality - thanks to Panasonic's "Super Bright" LED display technology. It also comes with Panasonic's latest Firefox Smart TV system. Now that the price has fallen significantly, we've upgraded our rating from 4 stars to 5 stars.



 

Design & looks

The Viera 50CX680B has a smart, slimline design that will complement any modern decor. The TV is quite slim, with a depth of 47mm, and has a narrow black bezel surrounding the screen, giving it a smart, minimalistic style. The stand is slim too, and has a dark metal finish. It's not quite in the same league as the TX-50CX700B when it comes to style, but it's still a nice looker.

The TV is A-rated for energy efficiency, with a typical power consumption of 84W. A standard TV remote is included in the box.

Picture quality

It looks as if 50 inches is likely to become a much more common size in 2015, as the cost of big screens continues to fall. This 50 inch screen would be an excellent size for a large lounge, and if you're looking to buy a screen this big you should definitely consider having UHD (4K) resolution on your list of must-have features.

Although the UHD format is still in its infancy, some material is starting to appear on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, and once UHD Blu-Ray launches, a lot more titles will appear. In the meantime, you'll be watching mostly HD content, and some standard definition TV channels. The Viera 50CX680B upscales HD sources to UHD very competently, bringing out detail that you never knew was there, with only minimal artefacts introduced by post-processing. Upscaling of standard definition broadcasting is less successful, with no amount of clever processing by the TV able to remove the noise and lack of detail on a screen of this size and such high resolution. That's a general feature of watching on a big screen however, and isn't specific to this model.

The CX680B series uses Panasonic's "Super Bright" technology. This results in very bright and vivid pictures that are better than most LED panels. Local dimming enables the TV to produce some very deep blacks at the same time as bright colours, and the dynamic range of this screen is superb, with plenty of shadow detail in evidence. Colour accuracy is good too, especially in "True Cinema" mode.

The effective speed of this screen is 200Hz, which is on the low side for such a large TV. In practice, although there's little sign of motion judder, the ghosting effect results in a softening of the UHD images. Not all viewers will be aware of this, but if you watch a lot of fast-moving sport or movies, it might be more of an issue. The low motion processing speed also means that 3D is not available.

Viewing angles are rather good for an LED TV, and overall picture quality is very good, although not up to the extremely high standard of the Viera 50CX700B.

Audio quality

Modern slimline TVs aren't renowned for massive audio quality, and the CX680B is no exception. The two full-range speakers reproduce mid-range sounds well enough, so dialogue is crisp and clear, but there's insufficient bass. The total power of 10W x 2 is modest, and generally the sound feels quite thin. We'd recommend adding a sound bar or home cinema kit to complete the package.

Smart TV

For 2015, Panasonic has replaced its Smart TV system with a new Firefox-based operating system. A home screen provides a simple interface to access all the services and channels available. This system is new, and not all apps are yet available, but they will include Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and Freeview Play (BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and Demand 5).

The remote control includes a handy Netflix button, but it hasn't been purposely designed with Smart TV in mind and can be a little clunky at times. Panasonic's Viera remote app turns your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet into a TV remote controller with added functionality.

The interface moves along nice and quickly, with apps loading almost instantly, thanks to the TV's quad-core processor.

Connectivity

The TV is pretty well equipped for connecting to other devices. There are 3 HDMI ports, including one which is ARC-compatible for connection to an audio system. There's also a SCART, component, composite, and an optical audio output. Additionally, you'll find 3 USB connections, a headphone jack and a CI Plus interface.

The TV comes with an ethernet connection and Wi-Fi for connecting to the internet. It's DLNA certified and can be used to display pictures and video from your home network. It also supports display mirroring of compatible smartphones and tablets.

The TV also has a built-in Freeview HD tuner with a 7-day Electronic Programme Guide.

Conclusion - not quite as good as the CX700B

As good as the CX680B undoubtedly is, it's hard not to compare it with the CX700B, especially since there's hardly any difference in the price of the two models.

The 50-inch CX680B is a superb size for a family TV and the UHD format provides future-proofing, although it probably isn't of huge benefit yet. Picture quality is excellent, although it does miss out on 3D - a feature that most viewers probably won't miss a great deal.

Audio quality and connectivity are typical for a modern TV, and Panasonic's new Smart TV system is excellent.

The design of the CX680B is smart too. Overall, it's a very good TV. Yet the CX700B does all that the CX680B does, plus more besides, and has stunning looks too. Both TVs are worthy of 5 stars, but we'd pick the CX700B over the CX680B.


Panasonic TX-50CX680B features include:

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I have a damaged screen. Is it worth replacing as i he no insurance and have to pay? Its a tx50cx68ob.

Asked by don macgregor from U.K. on 14th Sep 2016



Panasonic TX-50CX680B user reviews

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Average rating from 3 reviews:

Reviewed by brian from uk on 7th Feb 2016
Excellent television. HOWEVER if you plan to use a youview or bt box for recording and playback you will need to use Scart cables instead of hdmi as Panasonic tv's do not recognise the audio codec and you'll get picture but no sound. Using a scart cable cures this problem but of course your video will be SD quality (720p), about one ninth of 4k definition.
Panasonic have been aware of this problem for years.
Other than that problem I love this TV.
Rating:

Reply by James from United Kingdom on 2nd Jun 2016
Or just use an optical cable for the audio.

Reply by Simon from United Kingdom on 11th Jan 2017
Works fine with my youview box.
HD is great on playback too.
4k streaming is insanely good on Amazon and Netflix.

Reviewed by andy from england on 12th Jan 2016
Picture very good.
Rating:

Reviewed by kayley from uk on 3rd Sep 2015
I absolutely love Panasonic tvs!! Their the best going! Originally had Panasonic Viera, but now have this one!! Brilliant.
Rating:


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