Panasonic TC-L58E60 Review (TCL58E60)
58" 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV
by Robert Wiley, Editor
This is the only 58 inch model in the 2013 lineup from Panasonic. The TC-L58E60 takes an interesting stance marking an middle ground between the large and middle sized TVs. It could be just the size that many shoppers out there are looking for. The E50 series from last year was Panasonic's top model without 3D functionality. The E60 series is a direct replacement of that series. It has a light feature load to keep the price down, making it a great value model.
Picture Quality Rating:8.5
The shedding of a few key picture quality elements makes the E60 a much more value oriented model. The most important difference is the LCD panel instead of the IPS LED panel. It's a pretty significant downgrade that 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.
Without the IPS LED panel, color reproduction is another element that loses some performance. Colors aren'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 Refresh Rate with 240 Backlight Blinking
The TCL58E60 gets a nice 120Hz native panel for reproducing rich fast motion content. This is a major upgrade over a 120Hz panel. The difference in fast motion playback and side to side panning is huge. This model also has a feature called 240 backlight blinking. What this does is push the processing just a bit further. It is nowhere near the 4200 backlight scanning of the WT60 or the 1920 of the DT60, but a good effort nonetheless. With 240 backlight blinking on edges show a little smoother and motion blur a little less apparent.
Motion Picture Settings - Dejudder
The E60's Dejudder options are called the Motion Picture Setting. Without 3D on this model, the weak level is about as high as it needs to go. There isn't a way to customize the setting either. Blu-rays, DVDs, and 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 like the higher settings. Background blur is even present. Standard definition content sees a benefit from this as well.
Vivid – Terribly overblown colors, brightness, and sharpness. Avoid this one.
Standard – Not the dim energy saving mode that it is in the ST60 plasma even though it is still the Energy Star rated picture setting. A cool color temperature (blue) overall image is produced.
Home Theater – The Home Theater setting is the dimmest of all the settings, meant for dark viewing rooms. Colors are subdued with this setting, but flesh tones look natural.
Cinema – This is similar to Home Theater, but with warmth and brightness turned up a notch or two.
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-L58E60 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
Viera Connect and Wifi
Connection through built in wifi is one of the strongest points of the E60's internet features. This simple feature really improves the overall experience. We've seen other smart TV platforms were a slow connection really hurts the experience. It locates your home network quickly, it's easy to connect, and apps and web pages load very quickly. The Apps button gives access to all of the Viera Connect apps. 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.
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
When the Web Browser is opened, a tiled screen shows all bookmarked pages with the address bar, Google search bar, and other browser commands across the top. It's got everything one would need. Well, everything except browsing speed. 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.
Energy Star 6.0 Certified
Panasonic is all about lowering the energy consumption of the LED lineup. This year the 58E60 consumes about 15% less power than it did last year. And last year the power usage was cut by about 25%. So Panasonic is making big improvements in this area. LED and LCD TVs are already good about power consumption so this extra cut settles the minds of the most energy concerned individuals out there. The TV was awarded an Energy Star 6.0 certification.
The volume on the TC-L58E60 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. Movies end up sounding compressed and lack a full range. There is little that goes on in the low end of the sound spectrum. 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 Panasonic TC-L58E60 really balances picture quality, feautes, and value. Some similar models that are competitively priced are Toshiba's 58L4300U at and the LG 60LN5400. The Panasonic has a much better appearance, and a fuller feature set than both and would probably tip my decision that way.
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|