The Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10 TV is a 42-inch (106-centimeter) plasma TV, available in Germany since March 2009 at a list price of 1,300 Euros. The only difference between this and the TX-P 42 G 10 model available elsewhere in Europe is that the G 10 has no digital-cable (DVB-C) tuner.
What Hooked Us:
- Contrast-rich picture.
- Authentic 24p playback of Blu-ray movies.
- Excellent motion clarity.
- Built-in tuner for every type of signal, right up to HDTV via satellite.
- Convenient TV and menu functions.
- Photo and video playback via SD-card reader.
Why We Grumbled:
- Thin, imprecise-sounding speakers.
- Picture is too dark in bright environments.
- High power-consumption, audible fan noise
The Final Verdict:
It’s extremely rare to find more user-friendly TV viewing or better picture quality for such a low price. Bear in mind, however, that this Panasonic plasma is better suited to darkened rooms and uses two extractor fans that are clearly audible during quiet movie scenes
Test results in brief
The Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10 can do many things – but not everything. Find out here about the most important properties of this plasma TV.
A large number of TV channels in top quality:
If you generally use your TV for its primary purpose – watching TV – you’ve hit gold with the Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10. Right from the word go, thanks to four (!) built-in tuners, the TV receives analog TV, digital cable TV, digital terrestrial TV, and digital satellite TV (this also in HDTV). There aren’t that many HD channels at present, but this Panasonic will be ready when the numbers pick up.
So, you won’t need a set-top box to receive digital channels. OK, the Panasonic can’t receive HDTV via cable and antenna, but does accept technically superior satellite broadcasts, so the manufacturer is definitely on the right track. And, since the TX-P 42 GW 10 receives all analog or digital TV channels in excellent quality, this model is a winning bet for TV junkies.
Simple, convenient operation:
Even beginners have no problem getting the hang of Panasonic devices. The TX-P 42 GW 10 benefits from clear menus, a clearly laid out remote control, and an excellent user manual, as well as a few luxury extras: The channel list is well structured, giving a constant overview of the countless channels that the TV can receive. And, because the satellite receiver is already integrated, you won’t have to deal with a second remote control.
Excellent TV- and movie-picture in darkened rooms:
This is the Panasonic’s home turf: As a plasma TV, the TX-P 42 GW 10 is most at home in a dark room, where it’ll give you natural colors, high contrast, and terrific motion clarity. With Blu-ray movies, the picture looks better than the projection in some movie theaters. Fine shading displays clearly even in gloomy scenes – a sign of a true master. The picture impression resembles that of a traditional tube TV, remaining constant at various viewing angles and sharp even during motion. Bright scenes, too, deliver outstanding contrast, so long as minimal ambient light is falling on the screen.
Rather flat in a bright living room:
In a sunny living room, because it uses plasma technology, the Panasonic is too dark and looks rather bland. The unspectacular design also costs the TV some points here. If you often watch TV during the day, and you like your technology to look snazzy, you’d be better off with an ultra-flat LCD display.
The TX-P 42 GW 10 will disappoint multimedia-obsessives. You can play back photos and videos via the SD-card reader – in excellent quality, too – but new-fangled extras such as a USB socket or network connection are nowhere to be found. For a PC monitor, the Panasonic shouldn’t be your first choice, since still pictures burn into plasmas faster than on an LCD display.
Thin sound, audible fans:
The built-in speakers sound terribly thin, as is often the case with flat-panel TVs. We recommend connecting the Panasonic to a stereo or a surround system. If you’re lucky, this will also drown out the TV’s occasional, quiet-but-distinct fan noise. The TX-P 42 GW 10 consumes significantly less power than predecessor models, but cannot compare with the thriftiness of modern LCDs.
Want to know more?
If, based on our short description, the Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10 sounds like your kind of TV, then we invite you to read our full review over the next few pages. We guarantee you one thing: Never before have you read such comprehensive information about a TV’s strengths and weaknesses. We’d love to hear your impressions of our review – you’ll find a link to the User Opinions form at the top of this page.
Good design shouldn’t just be about sleek looks. Practical operation and connectivity, simple mounting, and high-quality manufacturing are all essential to a TV’s success. This chapter looks at how the Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10 performs in these respects.
It’ll take a bit more elbow grease to get this Panasonic plasma out of its box than it would with a featherweight LCD TV, but 28 kilograms is a decent weight for a 42-inch set. You’ll easily lift the device with one helper, and the box’s removable sides leave the TV accessible for gripping from all angles.
In the box, you’ll find the usual accessories – power cable, batteries, and remote control – as well as a user manual. It’s a relief to see a decent paper copy, rather than the manuals that come on CD-ROMs from an increasing number of manufacturers – after all, it’s not set in stone that every customer has a computer. The accessories also include a cleaning cloth, which should serve as a warning about the scratch-sensitive, glossy plastic surface.
The pedestal attaches quickly using four Phillips-head screws. Thanks to the tapered shape of the rods, the base slots easily into the correct holes on the TV. This works best with a helper: Stand the pedestal on the floor or table and lower the TV onto it together.
Manufacturers advise against laying plasma displays down on the floor – the sensitive glass sheet can only handle knocks properly when in the upright position, and will otherwise break easily.
The Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10 stands solidly and allows rotation by a reasonable angle. Only a turntable on the underside of the base actually rotates; the pedestal itself is firmly attached to the TV. Panasonic offers an optional tilting bracket for wall-mounting the TV (model number TY-WK4P1RW).
Panasonic is now also playing slave to the omnipresent glamour-trend: Unlike earlier matt-finish models, the TX-P42 GW 10’s front panel is glossy. But there’s no extra-dark contrast-filter sheet like those we see in Pioneer’s plasma superstars, for example. The edges of the surrounding glossy frame are rounded and reflective. A silver-colored decorative strip accents the otherwise-black design.
Our opinion: The design is attractive, but Panasonic could have put in a bit more effort. The wide, low-sitting pedestal makes the TV look stocky and not particularly elegant. The manufacturer clearly only lets its top designers loose on the exclusive Z-series models – these are currently only available in extra-large (46- and 54-inch) sizes at correspondingly large prices.
Despite the newly added module for satellite reception, this TV retains the 10.6-centimeter depth of its predecessor, the TH-42 PZ 800 E. That is, of course, if you exclude the antenna connection for the satellite tuner, which points out backwards instead of to the side and is a tight fit when the TV is wall mounted.
From this perspective, you can see the numerous ventilation holes, with the two fan outlets in the center. The TX-P 42 GW 10 cannot match the elegance of competing LCD models or, indeed, of Panasonic’s own Z1 series.
The high-gloss plastic finish shows up fingerprints clearly, and is also sensitive to scratches. You should only clean it with a slightly moist microfiber cloth – aggressive cleaning products are an absolute no-no. Unlike most LCD TVs, the display itself is protected by a glass panel, making it relatively easy to clean.
With a length of 23 centimeters, the TX-P 42 GW 10’s remote control is relatively large, but the shape of the handset provides a solid grip. You have to slide your hand upwards when navigating using the cursor-cross at the top of the remote, but here the underside of the handset offers another molded grip – well thought out. Panasonic supplies two standard, commercially available AA batteries, and the user manual specifically advises against using rechargeable batteries.
With its robust frame, stout pedestal, and metallic rear casing, the Panasonic TX-P 42 GW 10 is built like a nightclub bouncer. The clear labeling of the inputs is exemplary, and even informs you of the compatible signal types for both Scart sockets. This is what we’re used to with Panasonic, which always keeps the customer in mind.
The developers pointed most of the inputs directly backwards. This makes them easier to access than, for example, downward-pointing inputs. It does, however, mean that the plugs and cables require more space. If you wall-mount the TV, the protruding antenna input for the satellite module is in particular need of an angle connector. The easily accessible, side-mounted interfaces suffer no such problems. Connections here include a headphone socket, an SD-card reader, and inputs for HDMI and VGA signals.