Panasonic TX-65EZ952B review

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Panasonic TX-65EZ952B

What is the Panasonic TX-65EZ952B?

Panasonic first experimented with OLED in 2015 with the CZ952. It was a massive success.Two years on, Panasonic is fully committed to OLED and now we’re getting two models. The EZ1002 – read our Panasonic TX-65EZ1002B review – and this, the EZ952

The two TVs are largely the same on the inside, although the EZ952 is the more modest version, doing away with some of the fancier features of its bigger sibling. Crucially, the EZ952 will be more affordable.

The 55-inch version (TX-55EZ952B) will cost £2999, which makes it one of the least expensive 2017 OLED TVs, alongside the LG B7 and LG C7. The 65-inch model (TX-65EZ952B, tested here) costs £4799, which is slightly less than the Sony KD-65A1.

Is the Panasonic EZ952 any good? Oh yes. It’s not the most punchy HDR TV on the market, but what it lacks in outright impact it repays in class leading colour fidelity and subtlety.

Panasonic TX-65EZ952B – Features

The EZ952 and EZ1002 (EZ950 and EZ1000 outside of the UK) share many of the same features. It has a 2160p 4K/Ultra HD resolution and OLED panel. The panel is flat because Panasonic reckons nobody wants a curved one these days. Samsung is now the only one still pushing that form factor.

We’re also dealing with about double the claimed peak brightness of the last generation: whereas the CZ952 offered a peak brightness of around 500 nits, the EZ952 goes up to 950 nits in its 55-inch version and 1,000 nits at 65 inches. That’s comparable with some of the brightest LCD TVs from 2016, which is quite an achievement considering LCDs still struggle to match OLEDs for black levels. It means the EZ952 can comfortably dole out the dynamism demanded by high dynamic range (HDR). That being said, it’s still some way off the 2000 nits claimed by the top LCDs of 2017.

Speaking of HDR, the EZ952 is taking a future-gazing approach to HDR: it runs the common HDR10 format, but it will also be ready for Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) out of the box. There’s still no word on when we can expect HDR broadcasts, but it’s good to know that this TV has the capability to handle it when the time comes. Gamers will be happy, too: the EZ952 has a low-latency HDR gaming mode.

There is no 3D here. Panasonic is now the last brand still offering 3D in its 2017 TVs, but you’ll only find that feature on the Panasonic EX750.

Panasonic TX-65EZ952B

 

Panasonic TX-65EZ952B – Design

On the hardware front, it isn’t quite so exciting. Panasonic has opted for an understated approach. The EZ952 has replaced the EZ1002’s flashy soundbar stand with a simple pedestal stand. I applaud the use of a pedestal stand, because far too many TVs choose to have the legs spread wider apart, which just isn’t practical for anyone without a wide bench-style AV rack. I also like the two-pronged design of the pedestal – elegant and more stable than a single neck.

Move round to the side and rear and the understated, almost utilitarian vibe continues. It’s a slim TV thanks to the OLED panel, but not to the extreme – in the way that LG has opted for with its Signature OLED W7. Note the rear of the TV is mostly hard plastic, with a faux-leather appearance. Gone is the bizarrely strokable Alcantara lining from the CZ952. The most fancy thing here is the cable management system, which channels your wires down behind the pedestal’s two prongs.

There are two remote controls: a full-sized traditional one with all the buttons and a smaller, simpler one with a touch-sensitive pad for swiping. I much preferred the traditional one as it’s more useful.

The connections sit behind a guard plate; remove it and you’ll find 3 x USB, 4 x HDMI 2.0 (4K 60/50p with HDCP2.2), Gigabit Ethernet, twin tuners, composite/component shared input, optical output, headphone output, and an SD card slot.

I like the design; it’s humble without being dull, and pleasant to look at without being too showy. I prefer a TV that won’t distract me from the viewing experience, especially if the picture is good.

Panasonic TX-65EZ952B – Performance

How does it look? In a word: stunning. I remember being blown away by the CZ952 when I reviewed it in 2015, but the EZ952 is on another level.

Contrast is greatly improved for a couple of reasons. First, the flat screen is far less likely to catch reflected light than a curved one. It  means you don’t have to black out the room. Second, we’re now dealing with double the peak brightness, while maintaining the same impressively deep black levels.

It’s a big jump, and that difference is further accentuated by OLED’s ability to juggle areas of light and dark – while compromising neither. If HDR is about maximising the gap between light and dark to deliver visual punch, the EZ952 is a knock-out. It may not be as bright as the 2,000-nit Samsung QLED TVs, but unless you’re viewing in a bright room with lights on and curtains open, you can forget all about those numbers. I generally do my viewing in dimmed (but not totally blackened) rooms, and specular highlights had plenty of kick.Panasonic TX-65EZ952B

Pros

  •  Class-leading colour accuracy
  •  Perfect blacks with excellent shadow detail
  •  Low input lag

Cons

  •  No Dolby Vision support
  •  HDR could do with a little more impact

 

 

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