Panasonic TC-L42E60 Review (TCL42E60)
42" 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV
by Robert Wiley, Editor
The 42 inch TC-L42E60 comes in as the smallest size of the E60 series. This middle of the road TV aims to be one of the better valued Smart TV sets on the market for 2013/14. A lot of the top tier features are dropped so the price much easier to swallow. It is different from the EM60 series below it due to inclusion of Viera Connect and built in wifi.
Picture Quality Rating:8.5
Panasonic got rid of a few key picture quality elements makes the TC-L42E60 a much more value oriented model. The most important difference is the LCD instead of the IPS LED panel. It's a pretty significant downgrade mainly effects side angle viewing. Luckily, it's got the same Clear Panel Pro filter that keeps images bright and sharp. The backlight manipulation through Backlight Scanning has been bumped down to 240 Backlight Blinking, but what's important is the 120Hz refresh rate.
Color reproduction suffers with the loss of the IPS LED panel as well. We saw that colors weren't as bright and come off looking slightly flat. Dark shadow detail is is decent with great transitions from light to dark areas of the screen. Black levels and contrast are strong points for the E60's picture quality. You don't see the blacks of a plasma display, but for an LED edge-lit TV the performance is good.
This shot of the E60 series shows off realistic shadows and good performance in the grayscale trasition area. Color and contrast help to make the image pop
120Hz and Backlight Blinking
The E60 sports a 120Hz refresh rate panel for fast action programming. This in itself is a nice upgrade over 60Hz. The difference in fast motion playback and judder is pretty significant. This model uses a feature called 240 backlight blinking to push the processing just a bit further. With 240 backlight blinking, image edges render a little smoother and motion blur is a little less apparent.
Motion Picture Settings - Controlling Judder
The Motion Picture Setting located in the picture menu controls the amount of judder on the 42E60. Weak, is really the highest this should be set since there is no 3D playback on this TV. Blu-rays, DVDs, and video games are going to be the best with this turned off. If any judder bothers you at all, the weak setting may be just the right choice. The smoothing effect is very unobtrusive as it doesn't noticeably flatten out images and get rid of background blur.
Game Mode – Great for Gaming
Battlefield 3 on the E60 performed wonderfully with the Game Mode enabled
Enabling the Game Mode is a must if you plan on doing any gaming on this TV. It's located in the Advanced Picture menu. Turn it on and you are ready to go. The Game Mode disables most of the picture processing to decrease input lag. The TC-L42E60 is very successful with this. This will be the go-to mode for a first person shooter or action game hands down. When playing Battlefield 3 and Okami HD, that was by far the best setting for each. Also, make sure Overscan is set to off. This way the entire picture will seen be on screen. This is found in the Screen Settings menu. The E60 is a great value choice for a gaming LED TV.
Turning on the Game Mode makes a world of difference for input lag. This is really important for shooters and action games
Features Rating: 8.5
Strong Wifi Connection Through Built-in Wifi
The built-in wifi is one of the strongest points of the E60's internet features. It may sound simple, but a fast and reliable wifi connection is something that can be hard to find on a smart TV. The TC-L42E60 takes full advantage of this to improve the overall experience. We've seen other smart TV platforms, like LG's Smart TV, where a slow connection can make streaming frustrating and unusable at times. The most important apps like the web browser and media player are laid out across the top of the menu with downloaded apps like Netflix, MLS MatchDay, and Amazon Instant Video below. These can be rearranged to anyone's liking. Positions can even be password locked if that is needed for some reason.
Check out our full review of Panasonic's Viera Connect to see everything they have added for this year.
Customizable Home Screens
Here you see the home screen where every user of the TV will be able to customize the home page with any apps they like
The large Home button on the remote brings up the Home Screen selection on the ET60. These screens allow different users to create different home pages for themselves. Different apps can be assigned to the home screen like the calendar, weather, or notes. New screens can be added and set up with bookmarks and even more apps. This will most likely be useful for high traffic TVs that get a lot of different users.
The Web Browser is thoughtfully laid out and very easy to use. Having your frequently visited sites bookmarked will speed things up a lot. The only downfall is controlling it with the standard remote
The web browser has got everything one would need, except a fast method to control the browser. The arrow keys of the 5-way controller move the cursor around the screen, but it's painfully slow to use. The soft keyboard for inputting searches is not arranged QWERTY style. On the plus side, searches and pages load fast. Once you get to what you are looking for, there won't be much of a wait.
The volume on the E60 comes off very weak. Even when nearing full volume. The small woofer on the ET60 didn't seem to do much, but it's absence if felt. This one has two 10 watt speakers that just don't push out enough sound to fill up a room. Deep voices sound muffled and hollow. We tried to coax a little more bass out of the speakers by adjusting the bass levels. The difference was minimal. The built-in speakers are fine for light TV watching, but will need some outside help for much more than that.
The E60 series has a slim profile of less than 1.5 inches and thin metal bezels of .25 inches. In those two aspects it has the design of models higher up in the lineup. The stand is the basic square plastic design. It's the same one as the ET60. For color, the TV is a glossy black instead of the flat silver of higher tier Panasonic LEDs. It stands out a little less, but the super thin bezels make the biggest impact.
The front of the E60 seires shows off the simple yet sleek design similar to the ET60. It features thin black bezels as well as a square stand made of the same material
Value Rating: 8.1
The TC-L42E60 is a pretty good value when compared against some of it's competition. The LG 42LN5700 is similarly priced with the option of a Magic Remote and the Samsung UN40F6300 is a little smaller but competes when it comes to quality. The E60's super thin bezel design is much more appealing than the other two, but may not be a deciding factor.
Overall Rating: 8.2
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|