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Panasonic TH42PX80 Review

by Vincent Teoh
10 March 2008

Update: The Panasonic TH42PX80 is no longer on general sale from UK retailers. See here for the latest Panasonic plasma TV deals.

A new year, a new spring. Primroses are spotted; bumblebees and butterflies start flapping their wings; and it's nearly time to get the lawnmower out. And Panasonic – unfailingly – launches their new line of Viera plasma and LCD televisions.

Even though it sports only a 1024x768 rather than true HD native resolution, I wasted no time in acquiring the Panasonic TH42PX80 to review, simply because it is the first of the 2008 Viera plasmas to hit the United Kingdom. With Pioneer announcing that it will no longer sell 42-inch plasma televisions (i.e. the excellent Kuro 428XD and 4280XD) after next year, let's see if the Panasonic TH42PX80 has the potential to fill the void...

Design

The somewhat muted (presumably due to anti-glare filter) plasma glass of Panasonic TH42PX80 is framed by a polished black bezel that is adorned only by inscriptions of "Viera" on the top left and "Panasonic" at the bottom centre. The bottom border of the bezel curves slightly upwards, and is separated from the base of the cabinet by a similarly-arced metallic grey strip.

Panasonic TH42PX80

Along this base section (which is raked backwards subtly) you will find a power button, some LED indicators and sensors, a central plastic flap which can be lifted open to reveal some control buttons and more connection ports, and perforations at either end concealing the speakers within the cabinet.

Recessed handgrip Speaker
Recessed handgrip at back of TV Perforated speaker grille

While the wedge-shaped pedestal stand is included inside the shipping box, some assembly is required before it is ready for use. Considering that its task is to support a 26kg plasma screen, its lightweight plastic material doesn't really inspire confidence... but at least its glossy black coating matches the bezel of the Panasonic TH42PX80 perfectly.

To assist with handling the heavy plasma television, Panasonic has generously added a pair of recessed handgrips at the back of the panel. The quality of construction and finishing on the Panasonic TH42PX80 is excellent, rivalling that found on their supposedly superior commercial panels.

Connections

All three HDMI inputs on the Panasonic TH42PX80 are located at the back of the panel. As with the previous generation of Panasonic plasmas, the Panasonic TH42PX80 would automatically switch source when a device (e.g. Playstation 3 or DVD player) connected to HDMI input 1 is turned on (and off).

Rear connections
Rear: 3 x HDMI, VGA, component, VGA, 2 x Scarts, aerial, CI slot, audio out
Front connections
Front control buttons, headphone jack, S-video, composite, SD card slot

4.5 Star Rating: Highly Recommended

 

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