First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A LED TV
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV review: A simple, low-cost LED TV with some useful features
- Good design
- Reasonably good picture quality
- Nothing of note
Panasonic's VIERA TH-L42E30A is a good performer. It's nothing special compared to its peers, but we have no pressing complaints about its picture quality or design.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
In addition to its excellent high-end plasmas like the ST30A, Panasonic has a good line-up of relatively cheap and reasonably cheerful LCD TVs. The E30A is one of these at only $1199 for a 42in panel, and the 32in is even cheaper at $949. The E30A is more stylish than most other Panasonics, although its picture quality is nothing special.
Read our guide to picking the best LCD, LED or plasma TV.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV: Design and setup
The Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A is the largest and third most expensive LCD that Panasonic makes. If you want any larger you'll have to pick a (comparatively) power-hungry plasma or change brands. At 42in it's only a mid-size model, suitable for a small living room or large bedroom. The design of the E30A is refreshingly sleek and stylish, which is a departure from the slightly staid and boring piano black we've become used to from the brand. The edge LED backlight saves space compared to a CCFL (fluoro LCD) backlight and aids in dealing with contrasty video material. The TV measures 1002 x 646 x 288 mm, although if you're wall mounting the E30A, the panel itself is only 41mm thick.
Setting up the VIERA E30A is not difficult — there are a fair few analog and digital video and audio connectors arranged across the TV's rear and side panels. Four HDMI ports (with audio return support for connecting a home theatre), composite, component and VGA analog video ports are plenty of analog audio inputs and a digital audio output. We opted for HDMI when we hooked the VIERA TH-L42E30A up to a Apple MacBook Pro, a PlayStation 3, and a Sony BDP-S480 Blu-ray player.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV: Picture quality
The VIERA E30As's default home picture mode is a little bland and drab-looking — we opted to spice it up by boosting contrast and saturation slightly. Lowering sharpness and brightness has a positive effect on the quality of video being displayed, so we did that as well. The True Cinema mode is the most colour- and contrast-accurate that the TV can display, but this is not a daylight-friendly viewing mode. Standard is a good compromise between quality and a bright display, while the Game mode turns off all the picture processing to almost entirely elimate input lag (making the E30A a good choice for avid XBox 360 or PlayStation 3 gamers).
The Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A is a 100Hz panel and so displays fast-moving content (on-screen pans and tracking shots are especially testing for LCD panels) reasonably well. Extra-fast-moving shots are able to display a bit of tearing and on-screen jitter, but in the three Blu-ray movies we used to test the TH-L42E30A this was only an occasional occurrence.
During our watching of The Dark Knight we noticed a small amount of detail lost in dark and bright areas of the screen, but this is standard for edge-lit LED TVs. The white-lights-on-black-background opening scene of The Dark Knight doesn't look great on the E30A, with the entire screen tending to look a bit grey and over-brightened. This is similar to when watching rolling movie credits. Don't get us wrong, though — the VIERA E30A has generally acceptable picture quality and it's definitely no worse than competing LED TVs of a similar price tag.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV: Conclusion
The Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A is an LED TV with solid specifications and no major flaws. If we were looking for a mid-size, mid-range TV it'd feature on our list.
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