Panasonic TX-50EX700B review
|Review: May 2017|
In a nutshell: Dropping in below the excellent EX750B, the Panasonic EX700B is a more affordable 4K HDR TV with an attractive design. Next to its pricier sibling, the picture looks a little grey, and motion blur makes it a poor option for football fans, but for overall family viewing it's not a bad choice of 50-inch TV.
Panasonic EX700 review: Design & looks
The Panasonic EX700B sits immediately below the EX750B (see our full Panasonic EX750 review) in Panasonic's 2017 range of LED TVs, and lacks the fully adjustable stand of the latter. However, we're no big fans of that stand, and we actually prefer the "Switch" design stand that comes with the EX700. This stand can be configured in central or wide configurations to suit your TV furniture, and is practical, attractive and sturdy.
The TV screen itself is slim, and framed by an attractive thin metal frame, and overall the TV looks very nice.
Like the EX750B, the EX700B is a 4K HDR TV, compatible with the HLG standard, which is the new format that will be used by broadcasters like the BBC and Sky to show UHD HDR content. It also includes support for HEVC and VP9, so the TV is fully future-proofed.
It doesn't use a Super Bright panel, however, and brightness levels are noticeably lower. Although the screen does use a form of local dimming, the contrast levels are rather poor, and compared with the EX750B, the picture looks a little washed out. The high-end HCX2 processor that powers the EX750 is also absent. It's very much a lower-end experience, despite the HDR label.
The screen is intrinsically slow, so even though Panasonic claims a 1600Hz back light, motion blur can be a problem when watching football or any fast action scenes, to the point that it can be quite obtrusive.
The EX700 uses the same audio system as the EX750. A pair of 10W full-range speakers succeeds in recreating dialogue, but depth is lacking, despite the simulated surround sound. We'd recommend the addition of a dedicated soundbar to get the most out of this TV.
Panasonic's Smart TV system is called my Home Screen 2.0, and it's a reasonably comprehensive system, with support for BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4, My5, Netflix 4K, Amazon Instant Video 4K, and YouTube 4K, with HDR support for streaming.
The remote control includes a handy Netflix button.
The EX700B has a reasonable array of options for connecting to other devices, including Wi-Fi and ethernet, 3 HDMI ports, 3 USBs (including one USB 3.0), a combined component/composite input and a digital audio optical output.
A Freeview tuner is included, but not Freesat.
The TV can also stream content from connected phones and tablets.
Conclusion - good on a budget
The Panasonic EX700 isn't bad if you're on a budget, but it doesn't compare well with the company's much more capable EX750. However, we do like the design of the TV, and it will provide solid viewing as long as you don't watch a lot of sport.
As lower-end TVs go, it has the advantage of good looks, excellent Smart TV, and fair pricing. It's the picture quality that lets it down. Pricing is key and at launch this model is priced too high, at nearly £950. That would have been acceptable a few years ago, but the price of 50-inch screens has dropped significantly, and we'd like to see this one hit £750.
Panasonic TX-50EX700B features include:
- 50 inch LED-backlit UHD screen
- 3,840 x 2,160 resolution
- 1600Hz Back Light Motion rate
- Bright Panel
- Brilliant Contrast
- Wide Colour Spectrum
- Local dimming
- my Home Screen 2.0 Smart TV
- Audio: Full Range stereo speakers (10W x 2), VR-Audio True surround sound
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet (LAN) x 1, HDMI x 3 (ARC support x 1), USB x 3, headphone x 1, shared component/composite input 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: 82W - 129W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 1115 x 647 x 40 mm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 1115 x 702 x 315 mm
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