The 60in Panasonic TX-P60ZT65 is hailed as the most advanced plasma TV ever made. T3 put that claim to the test...
The Panasonic TX-P60ZT65 is literally the last word in plasma panel technology. Panasonic says it simply can't make a better panel, and has consequently pulled the plug on further R&D. Only available in limited quantities, this 60in glass and metal monster proves a rare treat.
Plasma TV may no longer appeal to the flatscreen mainstream, but picture quality enthusiasts still laud the technology. Now Panasonic has released what it describes as a Reference Grade Studio Master Panel. Representing an era of accumulated knowledge, this is plasma TV pushed to near perfection - but will it make it into our list of the best TVs to buy?
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65: Features
While the standard-bearing panel is its biggest attraction, there's no shortage of Smart functionality. The set offers twin Freeview HD and Freesat tuners, which allow you to record shows to an external hard drive while watching another channel, much like a regular PVR, as well as stream content to a connected mobile device via Watch & Share.
A multi-core processor ensures everything is swift to react. Panasonic's innovative My Home Screen user interface agreeably allows you to customise access to online content, or sniff out networked files for playback. The strangest feature addition is a Bluetooth electronic pen, which allows you to doodle and leave messages on the panel itself - clearly a crackers idea.
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65: Design
As an example of AV design, this NeoPlasma Kaiju looks sensational. The glass and metal finish is minimalistic and chic, while the high-necked pedestal stand provides stylish support. The TV is a mere 47mm thin.
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65: Specs
Connections comprise three side-facing HDMIs (one less than we would like), Scart and component/AV (via supplied adaptors), a trio of USBs, Ethernet, digital audio output, headphone jack and CI slot. Wi-Fi is built in and there's an SD card slot for JPEG playback. Two remote controls (one heavy and posh, the other a touchpad) are supplied.
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65: Performance
If you're after the finest Full HD picture on the market, then the TX-P60ZT65, which brags of THX certification for both 2D and 3D, delivers in spades. Its images are astonishingly crisp and dynamic. This Ultimate Black panel is capable of an incredible 30,720 steps of gradation, thanks to Panasonic's fastest ever (3000Hz) subfield driver.
Images are supremely smooth with deep blacks and plenty of shadow detail; the panel is also blazingly fast, removing image smears and making it perfect for sports viewing. The light emission period has been shortened, meaning that subfields are packed into just 1/3000th of a second thereby reducing afterglow smearing.
Colour fidelity is outstanding. A newly developed pure red phosphor is able to display 98 per cent of the DCI specification. Images really pop, yet skin tones appear perfectly natural. It's a kind of hyper-reality.
Obviously, a hardcore AV product such as this offers loads of scope for calibration, but there are a number of high grade presets that provide reliable shortcuts (the THX modes are probably our favourites).
Changes to the manufacturing process have also resulted in the elimination of the traditional air gap between the outer-glass and panel itself, so those characteristic plasma reflections seen from an angle have been eradicated. Sonically, the set does a reasonable job. There's a decent stereo soundstage with a fair dollop of volume.
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65: Verdict
It may be reassuringly expensive, but the Panasonic TX-P60ZT65 unquestionably offers the best Full HD picture you can buy right now. Images from both its HD tuners and Blu-ray look simply sensational, with extreme fine detail, punchy dynamics and vibrant hues.
It's also a superior Internet-connected proposition. The brand's My Home Screen interface is versatile and easy to live with; the set even does a good job as a media streamer. This is a 1080p panel with no peers. We rate it as simply stunning.
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65 release date: Out now
Panasonic TX-P60ZT65 price: £3650