What is the Panasonic AX630B?
Elsewhere are all the connections you would expect from a Smart TV including 2 USB ports, legacy video connections in the form of Scart, Component and Composite inputs and a terminal for a Freeview HD aerial. You also get a Toslink S/PDiF digital audio output, for a soundbar, AVR or similar, and a headphone jack. The AX630 features both a wired and wireless LAN connection, built-in, and a Common Interface slot for premium digital services access.
Panasonic AX630 Remote Controls
Panasonic Smart TV Apps
As ever for a Panasonic TV without either THX or isf pre-sets, the True Cinema viewing mode provided the most accurate images. There was a yellow tinge to whites, thanks to a small excess of green and red energy (and lack of blue) but it wasn’t overly noticeable with real world content. The colours were even more accurate, with just a slight lack of luminance all-round but with the controls available, there shouldn’t be any issues in fixing that.
With two and ten point white balance controls, a full colour management system and detailed gamma adjustments available, it’s no surprise we were able to dial in a reference level performance with the AX630. The white balance became perfectly atonal and all the colours lined up almost exactly where we would like so we have no complaints here whatsoever.
Panasonic AX630: Video Review
AX630 Input Lag
Panasonic AX630 Picture Quality
In perhaps even better news, screen uniformity on dark screens was as good as we’ve seen for the technology. The AX630 employs direct LED backlighting and it evidently pays dividends in that respect, so we can’t wait to see what the upcoming AX902 is capable of, given its far more advanced local dimming system. The Active Backlight Control in the AX630 isn’t really worth the bother, it simply crushes details in dark areas of the image and since black levels and screen uniformity were so good, it wasn’t needed anyhow.
As we can see from the technical section above, the AX630 also boasts incredibly accurate colours which team up with the strong contrast performance and superior video processing to provide top quality images. The lack of 4K Netflix meant we had to rely on testing its Ultra HD pedigree using some 4K clips we’ve squirreled away on a USB hard drive and, as you would expect, these all looked great but you are going to need to be sat pretty close to a 48-inch screen to notice an actual resolution upgrade. Still, you get a little more sense of texture and depth and with prices already tumbling it will soon become a case of ‘why not?’.
AX630: Any Issues?
Like most of the 2014 Panasonic’s we’ve tested – 4K or not – the AX630 doesn’t handle 50Hz signals as it should, without IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) engaged. That means there’s a certain jerkiness and stutter most easily observable with content with lots of fast panning action. To be fair, with IFC at ‘Min’ it looked as we would expect without it on and as it is switched on by default in all picture modes, it’s not an issue many will encounter; still, we would like to see it rectified. The other small thing we noticed was a very mild dirty screen effect, also on panning shots, which seemed to exclusively happen with white screens. Even then, it was rare and didn’t really spoil the enjoyment.
- Class leading blacks
- Very accurate colours
- Superb screen uniformity
- Great price
- Good Smart TV features
- Is 48-inch too small?
- No 4k Netflix
- 50Hz issues
Panasonic TX-48AX630 (AX630) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Should I buy the Panasonic AX630?As an entry-level 4K TV, you would struggle to do better than the AX630. It boasts a winning combination of great blacks, accurate colours, excellent screen uniformity and generally superb video processing, on the picture front, and a host of well implemented Smart TV features as icing on the cake. Yes, there’s no 4K Netflix but there will be a raft of affordable Ultra HD media players along soon enough and the (comparative) price of the AX630 is such that you can factor in that outlay as part of your budget. The other thing to consider is the screen size in relation to UHD content and there’s no doubt you will get more benefit by going bigger but that’s something for your own eyes to decide. In short we were very, very impressed by this TV – more than we expected to be, in all honesty!
What are the alternatives?The most obvious competitor we can think of is the Samsung 48HU7500. It too boasts superb colour accuracy and top-notch processing but its native black levels and contrast performance aren’t quite as strong as the AX630. On the flip side, the Samsung has a much better dimming system, better Smart TV features (including 4K Netflix) and, arguably, a slightly swankier design. The HU7500 does cost quite a lot more, however, so the decision between the two sure isn’t an easy one. There’s also the 49-inch Sony X8505 but that doesn’t have the dynamic range of either the Samsung or the Panasonic. To take a look at all our 4K TV reviews, see here.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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