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Panasonic TX-55CX802B review

 Review: September 2015  
 

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: If you're searching for the ultimate TV, the Panasonic TX-55CX802B comes close. With a stunning design and almost-perfect UHD images and HDR future-proofing, plus high quality audio, excellent Smart TV and connectivity, the only reason not to buy it is its high price.



 

Design & looks

Do you remember the days when Panasonic was a by-word for "ugly?" Those days are long gone, and Panasonic's high-end CX800 model is one of the best-looking televisions you'll find in 2015.

In its 55-inch version, this TV will blow you away with its looks. We love its slimline profile, its ultra narrow dark metal bezel, and its slim metal arc stand. You'll need an extra-wide pedestal or shelf to place it on, and a large room to best appreciate the big screen, but if you have the necessary space, you should totally fill it with this TV!

Seriously, this is a beautiful piece of kit, and as we'll see below, its beauty is much more than skin deep. So if you're a movie connoisseur, reach deep into your pocket, and find a space in your home for the CX802.

The TV comes with both a standard remote control and a smart controller too.

Picture quality

Any TV this big is bound to create a great first impression, but at the same time, a 55-inch screen is unforgiving if there are any faults in the quality of the image. There are few, if any faults to be found in the CX802B.

The screen is a VA panel with micro dimming, and is capable of reaching the very deepest blacks. It uses Panasonic's "Super Bright" technology that we've previously seen used to dramatic effect in the CX700B series, producing exceptionally bright and vivid pictures, while managing to retain a high degree of shadow detail. The result comes closer to the Panasonic plasma screens of yesteryear than any LCD display we've seen.

There are features here that aren't seen in cheaper models, such as 4K Studio Master processing, used to accurately reproduce colour standards. It's THX-certified too, and in THX-Cinema mode, colour reproduction is perfect. These features bring out the full depth of UHD content.

When it comes to motion control, the screen is rated at an exceptionally high 1600Hz. This is perhaps unnaturally high, and is obtained by setting the motion interpolation options to their maximum, which can result in overly smooth images. We prefer to dial these back from their maximum settings. Even so, the TV handles motion well, with little or no motion blur visible. Gamers will also appreciate the low input lag, which is one of the best from a UHD TV.

What about viewing angles? So many VA displays fail this final test, but in the case of the CX802, we can report that viewing angles aren't a major problem. In fact, you can sit a lot of people around this big screen, and the people at the edge won't notice a significant drop in brightness or contrast.

Overall, this is one of the very best screens we've reviewed, on a par with the Samsung UE55JU7500 - and the Panasonic wins, in our opinion, with superior viewing angles to the Samsung.

Intriguingly, a firmware upgrade to enable HDR support is promised, which could potentially make this a match for the most expensive TVs.

3D

Although the CX802B is 3D-capable, no 3D glasses are included, despite the high price of the model. It seems mean, but if you want to use this feature you'll need to buy some active 3D glasses.

The advantage of watching 3D on a 4K screen is that you get genuine 1080p resolution. The CX802B performs very well in 3D, with little crosstalk, and very sharp 3D images.

Audio quality

The CX802B has a beefed-up sound system compared with cheaper models. Total power output is 40W, compared with the more usual 20W of Panasonic's lower-end televisions. As a result, there's more depth to the sound, and voices feel rich.

Having said that, there's still room for improvement, particularly in handling deeper tones, and to make the most of this TV you'd be well advised to add a home cinema system, or even just a soundbar.

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 standard remote control includes a handy Netflix button, and a second Smart controller is also supplied. Voice control is also supported via the Smart controller.

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

Connectivity

Surprisingly for such an expensive TV, there are just 3 HDMI ports, one of which is ARC-compatible. We'd have liked four ideally, and this feels like completely unwarranted penny-pinching. However, all three ports are HDMI 2.0 compatible, and everything else we might want is here.

There's built-in Wi-Fi and ethernet for network connectivity, including DLNA support. There are 3 USB ports (one is version 3.0 compatible), plus SCART, component, composite, and an optical audio output. You'll also find a headphone jack, CI+ interface and even a microSD memory card slot. Additionally, there's a headphone jack, a CI Plus interface and an SD memory card slot.

The TV includes dual Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners.

It also supports display mirroring of Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and Panasonic's Viera remote app turns your smartphone or tablet into a TV remote controller with added functionality.

Conclusion - one of the best TVs of 2015

The Panasonic TX-55CX802B is one of the very best televisions we've looked at in 2015. Although it's priced well beyond what most people would consider affordable, if you're in search of the ultimate TV, this is a viable candidate. The CX802B is worth the money, in our opinion, and you could certainly spend a lot more on a TV without adding much to the viewing experience.

In terms of design, the CX802B delivers a premium look to match its price tag, and is a real stunner. 4K viewing on this TV is stunning too, and we have no complaints about picture quality at all. The possibility to upgrade to HDR is also an enticing prospect. Audio is better than most rival televisions, and we like the Smart TV and connectivity options too. All told, it's a great package and one that we can recommend very highly.


Panasonic TX-55CX802B features include:

User questions

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HDR firmware up date?

Asked by Ron chapman from Uk on 21st Apr 2016
Is HDR firmware update a sure thing when 4k players come out in late april 2016?

ls there any difference in picture quality between the 50 inch or 55 inch in this model?

Asked by john king from United Kingdom on 11th Apr 2016

Reply by Herkus Mantus from Lithuania on 19th Sep 2016
There are one big diference - 50" panel was only 8 bit.color panel and 55" have 10 bit panel only.



Panasonic TX-55CX802B user reviews

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Reviewed by Richard Murray from U.K. on 28th Oct 2015
Having been a fan of Sony over the years still am . I have been doing a lot of research into 4K tv and Panasonic 55cx802 come in very high on my list, just waiting to see what happens at Christmas when the retailers under cut each other.
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