Panasonic TX-50DX700B review
|Review: May 2016|
In a nutshell: The Panasonic TX-50DX700B is an entry-level UHD HDR TV with smart looks and adjustable feet. While it supports the HDR standard, its a relatively low-end option, missing the UHD Premium certification and 3D capability of more expensive models. But Panasonic's Firefox Smart TV system is excellent, offering a wide range of streaming and catch-up TV.
Design & looks
The Panasonic Viera 50DX700 television shares the same "Switch" design concept as the more expensive DX750. It's a smart-looking TV with a narrow black and silver bezel surrounding the screen, and a silver edging. It's very slim overall, measuring just 4cm at its thickest. The chrome legs can be positioned to suit a wide or narrow stand.
The TV is A-rated for energy efficiency, with a peak power consumption of 123W and a standard remote is included in the box.
The DX700B is Panasonic's entry-level High Dynamic Range (HDR) TV for 2016. HDR content is thin on the ground still, but will slowly make an appearance during 2016, in the way that 4K content gradually appeared during 2015. The DX700 is a relatively low-cost way to sample the HDR experience, but in our opinion it's not a TV that's really capable of doing the format justice.
To deliver a genuine HDR experience, a TV needs to be able to reach bright highlights, deep black backgrounds, and to exercise sufficient control over local variability that it can do both simultaneously. While the DX700B can certainly reach dark blacks, and has pseudo-local dimming available, it lacks the Super Bright panel used in the DX750B, and isn't able to reach a peak brightness beyond 350 nits. The result? Significantly less shadow detail than we'd like - less than in last year's CX700B in fact, which wasn't even HDR-compatible.
The screen does provide good colour accuracy with its Wide Colour Spectrum support (part of the HDR standard) but it misses out on the THX certification and Studio Master HCX processing of the DX750B. Viewing angles are reasonably wide - better than the majority of Samsung televisions - so it's a good choice if you have several people sitting down to watch TV at the same time.
Compared with the DX750B, the DX700B has a slower response time too. It's a native 50Hz panel (vs 100Hz on the DX750) and uses a slower 1400Hz backlight drive. Whilst this isn't a problem for normal viewing, keen sports fans, action movie buffs and gamers might notice the slower response. The 50Hz panel isn't fast enough to support 3D either.
The common theme here is that the DX750 is significantly outperformed by the DX750, and even by last year's CX700B, despite that not being a HDR model.
The DX700B uses an audio set-up that's standard for mid-range TVs - twin stereo speakers each with 10W of power. It's a relatively weak audio system, and we'd recommend adding a soundbar for a better audio experience.
Panasonic's Mozilla Firefox OS Smart TV system for 2016 is based around a customisable home screen, providing a simple interface to access all the TV channels, apps, videos, websites and other content available. This includes Netflix 4K, Amazon Instant Video 4K, YouTube 4K, a Firefox web browser, and other apps. The upcoming Amazon Prime HDR and Netflix HDR streams will also be supported via a firmware update.
A single HD tuner is provided, giving you access to more than 60 TV channels and 12 HD channels, as well as catch-up services including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5. Freeview Play is included, making the catch-up TV services easily accessible from the main menu.
The DX700B has a total of 3 HDMI ports, two of which support the 4K HDCP2.2 standard, and one of which is Audio Return Channel (ARC) compatible, for connecting to a soundbar or home cinema system. There's also a combined component/composite video input and a digital audio optical output for hooking up to legacy AV devices, but no SCART connection.
Other connectivity options include built-in Wi-Fi and ethernet, for connecting to a home network, plus 3 USB ports (one with USB 3.0 support), DLNA support, and easy mirroring of compatible smartphones and tablets.
Panasonic's Viera remote app for iOS and Android turns your smartphone or tablet into a TV remote controller with added functionality.
Conclusion - second-best
It's hard to say anything about the performance of the TX-50DX700B without comparing it unfavourably to the 50DX750B. Everything that the 700 does, the 750 does better, and for only about £100 extra.
While the Panasonic 50DX700B is a decent UHD TV in its own right, with HDR compatibility, in practice it doesn't do the new HDR standard justice, and even with normal UHD content it doesn't deliver the dynamic range that we really want from a TV at this price.
At launch this model was priced at over £1,000, which is far too expensive. We're hoping that by Christmas 2016 the price will have fallen close to £700, and at that price it will make a great entry-level HDR TV. But with the Panasonic DX750 costing just £100 more, we'd always stretch the budget and buy the more expensive model. Read our Panasonic DX750 review to find out why.
Panasonic TX-50DX700B features include:
- 50 inch LED-backlit UHD HDR screen
- 3,840 x 2,160 resolution
- 1,400Hz Back Light Motion (BMR) rate
- Brilliant Contrast
- Wide Colour Spectrum
- Local dimming
- Freeview Play
- my Home Screen 2.0 Smart TV
- Audio: Full Range stereo speakers (10W x 2), VR-Audio True surround sound, Dolby Audio
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet (LAN) x 1, HDMI x 3 (ARC support x 1), USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 2, headphone x 1, component in (Y/Pb/Pr) / composite in (AV) x 1, digital audio out (optical) x 1, CI (Common Interface 1.3), DLNA, Easy Mirroring
- Standard remote control
- Energy efficiency class: A
- Typical power consumption: 88W - 123W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 1115 x 647 x 40 mm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 1115 x 692 x 203 mm
Got a question? This is the place to ask it!
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Are you sure this is a 50hz panel? I am seeing elsewhere that it is 60hz.
on 6th Sep 2016
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