Panasonic ST50A plasma TV (preview)
Panasonic’s ST50 plasma may be the best value TV this year
- Astonishingly low street price
- Strong Panasonic picture quality heritage
- Good design
- Inferior Smart TV implementation may be a problem
Panasonic’s ST50A plasma should have great image quality, but a middling Smart TV implementation might hold it back from being a jack of all trades. We already know that it’s exceptionally good value.
Price$ 1,749.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic TH-P50ST50A, a 50-inch Full HD 3D-ready plasma, is the second best TV in Panasonic’s 2012 line-up. Although the company is slowly shifting away from plasma to LED (and eventually OLED) technology, the ST50A might prove to be the best value TV in Australia this year.
Panasonic ST50A: Design
Panasonic’s plasmas are getting thinner, lighter and better looking with each year that goes on. We’ve got a 50-inch Pioneer KURO as a benchmark, and while the ST50A doesn’t have the same tank-like build quality it’s a hell of a lot thinner and less imposing.
The dark grey surround and transparent bezel look nice, the TV can swivel on its stand, the screen is glossy without being a mirror: all of this adds up to a good-looking package.
Panasonic ST50A: Features
VIERA Connect has direct access to YouTube, Facebook, Quickflix, BigPond Movies, ABC iView, Skype, PLUS7 and the VIERA Market app store. From our initial testing the interface is a little slow and the app selection isn’t fantastic — but whether this second-rate service is a problem remains to be seen.
We’ve always given most importance to TV’s picture quality over any other feature, because for a mere $150 you can buy a Smart Blu-ray player (we’d pick a Samsung) for all the extra content you’d ever need. For what it’s worth, the Panasonic ST50A scores marks for including a built-in Wi-Fi b/g/n adapter and Bluetooth for trouble-free 3D glasses syncing.
Panasonic ST50A: Picture quality
From our half-hour sit-down with the ST50A so far, its True Cinema picture mode looks like one of the best all-round quality picture settings we’ve seen straight out of the box (short of the aforementioned Pioneer KURO’s Optimum mode).
ISF calibration options seem to be missing or at least well-hidden, so cinemaphiles might have to stump up for the more expensive DT50A.
The Panasonic ST50A is a Full HD 1080p panel that’s the 15th generation of plasmas produced by the company. Pioneer’s technicians defected to Panasonic in 2009, so the Japanese plasma manufacturer is at least the spiritual home of the world’s best plasma TVs.
We’ve always liked the 50-inch screen size — 1080p content looks great on that pixel size from a regular viewing distance, and it’s not imposingly large. We’re keen to give this Panasonic TH-P50ST50A more of a test run soon.
We already know the Panasonic ST50A is excellent value. Its $1749 RRP for the 50-inch is impressively low, but we've found it with a street price of $1249 — that kind of cost-cutting so soon after launch goes to show how competitive the TV market is at the moment.
Is there anything you’d like us to test when we review the Panasonic ST50A? Let us know in the comments below.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Sony shows off its new OLED and LCD TVs, video projector, and Bluetooth speakers
- Sony’s Bravia XBR-A1E OLED could be the first flat-screen TV with sound that doesn’t suck
- Say goodbye to Apple's third-generation Apple TV
- Japan gears up for 8K TV broadcasting
- NHK's latest 8K display is large, thin and beautiful
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPMid-Level Java DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness Test Lead - BRT/UATNSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- FTHRIS ConsultantQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)VIC
- CCTechnical Support AnalystACT
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - ITMSP - Melbourne CBDVIC
- FTData AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Business AnalystSA
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPImplementation Business Partner - Business ModernisationNSW
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- TPScrum MasterVIC
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- TPProject Coordinator/Junior Project ManagerVIC
- FTData Conversion LeadNSW
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- TPiOS Developer (Mobile)NSW
- CCUser ResearcherNSW
- CCSystems Engineer (Systems Architect/Designer)VIC