Panasonic HX700 Review: Affordable 4K TV with Dolby Vision support

Panasonic HX700
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The Panasonic HX700 and HX600 series TVs are the initial 4K TV lines from this Japanese manufacturer in 2020. Both series support Dolby Vision and some smart features.

Perhaps the main difference between the Panasonic HXR700 and the HX600 is the operating system, which is Android in the 700 series, and Home Screen in the 600 series. Consider the Panasonic TX-50HXR700 4K TV review from last year’s Dolby Vision series.

Panasonic HX700 Review

The manufacturer focuses on the Panasonic 50HX700 because of the cost. The set of specifications in the HX700 series is likely to suit those looking for a relatively inexpensive 4K TV, while still offering decent smart features and pleasing picture quality.

Design

Highlights in this part of Panasonic’s HX700 review include its simple looks, good build quality, and a wide center stand to accommodate the soundbar. As with Panasonic’s OLED models, the HX700 series has a “standard” aesthetic. The bezel surrounding the display is slim except for the bottom of the TV.

The all-black finish only enhances the usual look of the models. Dimensions for diagonal 50 are such that they require approximately 1120 mm of horizontal surface if such an installation is to be expected. Due to the center stand, the overall depth is about 222 mm. This is slightly less than the Philips PUS8505 with the same diagonal.

The center stand is fixed, so the 50HX700 cannot be rotated. Unboxing and assembling the 50 ” model is straightforward. You can turn on the TV in five minutes. The height to the bottom of the screen is a little small, and most soundbars will hardly fit there so as not to block the IR receiver.

The remote control is relatively large, the buttons are freely located. But the keystroke responsiveness is not that good. Apparently the hardware stuffing of the Panasonic 50HX700 TV has an effect. The remote has shortcut buttons only for Freeview Play and Netflix.

Panasonic HXR700 design

Opportunities

The main thing is support for Dolby Vision, compatibility with voice assistants and a fairly low gaming input lag. Like its understated design, Panasonic’s approach to advanced features is understated and expected out-of-the-box functionality at an average level.

Note that the more advanced Panasonic models are equipped with an HCX processor. In the HX700, the image processing is carried out by means of “4K HDR Studio”, there are realistic frames. HDR support affects HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR. Moreover, the latter standard improves the HDR performance of the HX700, given the limited maximum brightness.

The soundtrack is marked by the presence of Dolby Atmos. But like any low-priced TV, it is not premium. The sound is output through 2×10 W speakers – very modestly.

Smart functions in the Panasonic HX700 are based on the Android 9.0 Pie operating system. Major apps include Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and BritBox, to name a few. Freeview Play is only available for some regions.

Among the voice functions in the Panasonic HX700, we note Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The microphone is built into the TV. There are some notes on how ChromeCast works. In the list of devices, the TV can be found on the smartphone, but it is impossible to force the content to play correctly. Instead of displaying correctly, the YouTube app just opens.

Panasonic HXR700 view

Interfaces

There are three HDMI inputs for connection (one side, two rear). One of them supports ARC for connecting to an external sound system. Other inputs and outputs include a pair of USB and Ethernet. In addition, there are connectors for a standard antenna and satellite dish, RCA, PC input (may not be installed in some markets), headphone and digital optical output. Everything is very standard.

Control and game mode

The appearance of the menu is usually simple in Panasonic. There is no clutter or overcomplication in the submenu systems. Many users of last year’s models want small embellishments, but the manufacturer is still conservative.

Panasonic’s HX700 TVs have a game mode. Moreover, the time delay is about 17.1 ms. The HDR image quality in Game Mode is colorful, but the lack of brightness in the peaks makes it difficult to perceive the image with lack of detail. This is noticeable in dark or night scenes in gameplay.

Panasonic HXR700 interfaces

Picture

What should be noted at this point in the TX-50HX700 review: there is not enough brightness for a punchy HDR picture. The image looks “very” natural. SDR content performance is neutral.

For the best picture quality, go to the Panasonic TX-50HX700 settings and disable power saving. Otherwise, the picture of the HX700 in “working order” looks appropriate right out of the box.

Natural Picture Mode provides a decent balance between a wide color gamut and naturalistic colors. But, as we already mentioned, this series lacks brightness. The competitor Phillips PUS8505 has a higher brightness in dynamic mode.

Although the complexion of the Panasonic HX700 looks natural and varied, even better than that of Philips, sometimes this color scheme can be quite pale. Definitely, skin tones are more accurate. Switching to a warm color tone in the settings adds quality.

Motion processing never completely results in correct reproduction. Jitter is noticeable when streaming sports on Prime Video. Setting the processing engine to a low level improves the situation, but does not completely eliminate blur.

SDR scaling works correctly, showing good clarity, expressive colors and details. Fine details, surface roughness and texture are captured. However, the SDR picture is blurry and soft, there are edging artifacts and compression is noticeable.

Compared to cheaper TVs such as the Samsung UE50TU7002 – Panasonic delivers better performance with better colors, brightness and pure whites. If you are considering this model and comparing it to a cheaper one, then in terms of picture quality the TX-50HX700 TV is a real upgrade.

Conclusion

Compared to the Philips PUS8505, the feature set in the Panasonic HX700 is less ambitious. Indeed, in Panasonic we get a more natural picture, which is one step higher than in cheaper TVs.

Dolby Vision support improves its performance in HDR content, especially in terms of black levels. The HX700 TV series lags a little behind in terms of smart features, but these models offer quite solid picture performance at a fraction of the cost.

The pluses include: natural look, support for Dolby Vision HDR, solid build and Freeview Play. Let’s add some cons: medium black levels, limited brightness, the picture may have noise and imprecision in dynamic scenes.

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