When it comes to buying the best TVs there are plenty of options available in 2023. Panasonic is best known for its best OLED TV options – as sold in the UK and Europe, but not the USA – which are associated with Hollywood picture quality and big sound. But there's now also Mini-LED in the mix, which is new for 2023.
Whether you've been contemplating a model from the Samsung 2023 TV range or Sony 2023 TV range, I've broken down those options in separate articles. This piece is all about Panasonic's line-up, though, comparing and contrasting the various models in the range and why you might consider one over another.
OLED vs Mini-LED vs LED
- M = 2023 model
- Z = OLED
- X = LED (including Mini-LED)
When it comes to naming convention, Panasonic uses a letter to represent the product year. So for 2023, the champion OLED TV is the MZ2000; in 2022 the equivalent was the LZ2000; in 2021 it was the JZ2000 (no use of K being why); and so forth.
Then there's a signifier for whether you're looking at OLED or LED, the former represented by 'Z' in the name, the latter with 'X'. Panasonic doesn't differentiate Mini-LED from LED, however, nor does it segregate LED panel types and backlighting formats within a given product's name, which is where this article will come to help your queries...
OLED: the MZ 2023 range
The top of the top, the creme de la creme, the MZ2000 is the top-tier OLED TV in Panasonic's range, with two key factors to sell it.
One, it's got an MLA (Micro Lens Array) panel, which means it's brighter than any other OLED in the range (comparable to the LG OLED G3 too), up to an apparent 50% brighter than the previous LZ2000 model.
Two, it's got a 7.1 integrated soundsystem, so can output Dolby Atmos audio straight out of the box, no need for a separate soundbar or audio system. This is a proper sound setup, too, with speakers designed to fire overhead in addition – and as it's the very same in MZ2000 as it is in LZ2000, I can confirm it often sounds amazing.
The downsides? The high price point and inevitable thickness associated with the integrated soundsystem. So if you're considering wall-mounting then you may wish to consider another system.
The Panasonic MZ2000 comes in three sizes: the 55-inch TX-55MZ2000B, priced £2,699; the 65-inch TX-65MZ2000B, priced £3,599; and the even larger 77-inch TX-77MZ2000B, priced £4,499 (note, however, that the 77-inch model is not an MLA panel and therefore not as bright).
Unlike the earlier LZ1500 versus the LZ2000 from 2022 – which both used the same panel type, so no brightness difference, only a different sound proposition – the MZ1500 versus the MZ2000 for 2023 is a rather different step change.
First off, the MZ1500 features Panasonic's Master OLED Pro panel, which is not MLA, and therefore less bright than the MZ2000's option.
Second, there's also a step down in sound proposition, with the MZ1500 offering a 2.1 setup, with 40W+ of delivery, from a front-positioned soundbar arrangement. The MZ2000's full system is a 7.1 arrangement. However, the Dynamic Theatre Surround Pro system uses the left, right and rear woofer to create immersion through digital processing for that three-dimensional effect.
It still looks and sounds fantastic, of course, and the price point is lower than the flagship model to make it even more appealing. Available in 65-inch TX-MZ1500B, priced at £2,899, and 55-inch TX-MZ1500B, priced at £2,199, those are the only two UK options (a 48-inch and 42-inch model will appear in some European markets).
Don't want a massive integrated soundsystem and are happy to use one of the best soundbar setups instead? The MZ980 is your weapon of choice.
But, again, this is a further step down from the MZ1500 – because it features a 2023 OLED panel, i.e. not a 'Pro' panel, which means it's slightly less bright. Not hugely so, though, and for most people's dark room conditions it'll still deliver strong.
The MZ980 is available in 55-inch, priced £2,099; 48-inch, priced £1,699; and 42-inch, priced £1,599 – so it's a smaller panel proposition compared to its peers.
Panasonic MZ800 & MZ700
At the bottom-end of the range there's the MZ800, which is the entry-level product with Android TV. While this OLED panel is 120Hz like the others above, its output is put to 60Hz, so you won't get any high frame-rate (HFR) benefits that the other panels above offer from their more detailed game modes. That aside, it's otherwise much the same as the MZ980.
The MZ700 model, which is an Amazon exclusive, is designed for its Fire TV operating system. Other than the lack of a subwoofer that's in the MZ800, it's otherwise the same model.
Both are available in 42-inch, 48-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, priced as follows (the 700 series echoes the 800's pricing): TX-65MZ800B at £2,099, TX-55MZ800B at £1,599, TX-48MZ800B at £1,399, and TX-42MZ800B at £1,299.
LED: the MX 2023 range
Flipping the script to Panasonic's LED range and the big difference here is that LCD models don't emit their own backlight like OLED does, hence the need for LED backlighting.
But the type of backlight can be performed in different ways, hence Mini-LED, Full Array (FALD), and edge-illumination techniques. Mini-LED has much smaller LEDs for greater precision, so delivers less blooming and haloing.
The MX950 is Panasonic's first ever Mini-LED television, showing the company's want to pursue other solutions and avenues, not only OLED. Mini-LED is particularly good at offering greater brightness, but here at a marginally lower cost compared to OLED.
Having seen the MX950 in action, I can confirm it's a vast improvement over the older LED models in Panasonic's range. That's thanks to a VA panel type, not IPS, which helps to avoid blooming – especially with Mini-LED backlight precision – the MX950 is capable of great black levels.
Available in 55- and 65-inch sizes, the TX-55MX950 is priced at £1,599, while the TX-65MX950 is £1,899.
Moving away from Mini-LED, the step down model in Panasonic's range is a full array backlight model (FALD), the MX800. This is also a VA panel, not IPS, and therefore delivers good black level – just less precision than the MX950's Mini-LED offering.
The MX800 is available in plenty of size options, too, with 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch models available, priced as follows: the TX-43MX800 is £599; the TX-50MX800 is £699; the TX-55MX800 is £799; the TX-65MX800 is £999; and the TX-75MX800 is £1,499.
What about 8K?
Unlike its competition, Panasonic does not product 8K TVs. If you're curious to know about the latest then check out the best 8K TVs feature for a rundown of the best Samsung, Sony and LG options.