What is the Panasonic DX802?
Connections & Control
The second set of connections are behind a larger removable panel and here you'll find four HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 inputs (which we checked with our Murideo Fresco Six-G), three of which face sideways and one of which faces rearwards. One of the sideways-facing HDMI inputs also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel). There are also three USB inputs, two USB 2.0 ports which face rearwards and one USB 3.0 port which faces sideways. Also facing sideways are the CI (Common Interface) slot, a headphone jack, twin terrestrial and satellite tuners and the dedicated connector for the soundbar.
The second remote is Panasonic's touch pad controller that has been designed for day-to-day use and easy navigation of the Firefox Smart TV platform. The touch pad uses the same silver brushed metal finish as the larger remote and has a black section with a textured finish. It is small and curved, sits comfortably in your hand and is very simple to use. It pairs to the TV using Bluetooth and includes a microphone for voice control. Finally if you’d rather use your smart device as a controller, there are also free remote apps for both iOS and Android with Swipe & Share and Smart Calibration features.
Features & Specs
Picture Settings Video
Picture Settings - Out-of-the-Box
Picture Settings - Calibrated
Picture Settings - High Dynamic Range
This means that the best approach to setting up the DX802 would be to use Professional 2 for a Nighttime mode, True Cinema for a Daytime mode and Professional 1 for an HDR mode. That way you could calibrate the greyscale for each setting and use the correct Rec.2020 colour gamut for HDR and Rec.709 for the other two settings.
The DX802 actually performed very well in terms of its greyscale performance and tracking against the PQ EOTF. The greyscale is tracking accurately across the entire range, with almost all the errors below the threshold of three and the EOTF is tracking the PQ target very precisely as well. The actual luminance begins to roll of at around 60IRE and we measured the peak brightness at 545nits using a 10% window, which would explain why the DX802 isn't Ultra HD Premium certified.
Black Levels and Contrast Ratios
As with almost all of Panasonic's TVs this year, the DX802 uses a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel which resulted in an excellent black level measurement of only 0.02nits, which is impressive for an LCD TV. Although if you turn on the Adaptive Backlight Control (local dimming), the black level immediately drops to 0.002nits. The DX802 also easily hit our standard dynamic range target for night time viewing of 120nits, which means an impressive on/off contrast ratio of 6,000:1. It also delivered an even more impressive ANSI contrast ratio of 5,310:1, which is excellent for an LCD TV and means that you can get a great contrast performance before you even turn on the local dimming.
The DX802 uses a relatively thin chassis and edge LED backlighting but Panasonic have done an excellent job of ensuring the backlight is suitably uniform. There was no apparent dirty screen effect or any obvious bright edges and overall with normal viewing material the backlight performance was very good. At night in a dark room you could see some minor backlight issues but those were rare and easily mitigated with some bias lighting. There were more instances of brighter edges with HDR content and black bars on letterboxed films but since the DX802 only has a peak brightness of 545nits, it isn't as apparent as on edge-lit TVs that have a much higher peak brightness.
Local Dimming and Viewing Angles
The Adaptive Backlight Control (local dimming) on the DX802 was a definite improvement on the DX750 that we reviewed recently and unlike with Panasonic's cheaper TVs, we didn't need too turn it off. In fact the local dimming, even in its Mid setting was actually very effective and able to deliver decent blacks and peak highlights without crushing or clipping. It also rarely got caught out, so we didn't see the same brightness pumping that we have seen on other Panasonic TVs, nor was there a problem with excessive haloing. Panasonic don't recommend a specific ABC setting for HDR but we measured the same peak brightness in both the Mid and High settings, so we would recommend the Mid setting. Naturally, given that the DX802 uses a VA panel, the off-axis performance isn't its strong point and contrast and colour performance will deteriorate once you move more than 45% either side of centre. When you do sit off axis the local dimming becomes more apparent with increased haloing around bright objects.
The motion handling on the DX802 was very good for an LCD TV and delivered around 350 lines of motion resolution on our benchmark test. If you engage the Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) feature this will improve to the full 1080, even in the Min setting, but film content will immediately look more like video. So we wouldn't use IFC with film-based content but feel free to experiment with it when watching sports and the Custom setting allows users to adjust the Blur Reduction and Film Smooth controls to suit their own preferences. There's also the Clear Motion feature which uses black frame insertion to deliver improved motion handling but the image will be darker and some people are likely to experience flicker.
Standard and High Definition
Although standard definition content forms very little of our day-to-day viewing, it is still important that a TV can deinterlace and upscale this content effectively. The DX802 proved to be very effective in this area, with its excellent greyscale and gamma performance providing a solid backbone and Panasonic's equally impressive video processing making the lower resolution content look as good as possible on the Ultra HD 4K panel. There isn't much that the DX802 can do about some of the over-compressed channels available on Freeview but with a well encoded DVD its full potential was apparent and the results were surprisingly watchable.
Once we moved on to high definition TV broadcasts, the performance obviously jumped up a notch and the results were frequently very impressive. With the better HD broadcasters the DX802 deinterlaced and scaled the content very effectively and the results often looked excellent. All the positive attributes we mentioned for standard definition content equally apply to high definition and the colours were also suitably natural, if occasionally slightly under-saturated. When we moved on to Blu-ray the performance got even better and current reference discs like Zootropolis looked stunning, as did favourites like Jurassic World and Tomorrowland. The DX802 had no problems with 24p content and also handled Gravity extremely well, which is our favourite disc for testing local dimming. Overall the Panasonic gave a good account of itself when it came to high definition content.
As features go it's fast becoming something of a rarity these days but the DX802 includes support for active shutter 3D and it delivered a decent performance. You'll have to buy the glasses separately but the images were bright and largely free of unwanted flicker, although that will depend on factors like how susceptible the individual is and whether there are any other light sources in the room. The 3D images had plenty of depth and the colours remained suitably natural in appearance. There was some evidence of crosstalk on the Spears and Munsil torture tests but this was only apparent when objects were in extreme negative or positive parallax and for the majority of 3D viewing we didn't see any crosstalk. We tested the DX802 with recent purchases like Zootropolis and Kung Fu Panda 3, as well as old favourites like Avatar, Gravity and Hugo, and the Panasonic delivered a great overall performance with 3D.
High Dynamic Range
As we found when we tested the DX750, despite the lower peak brightness the DX802 was still capable of delivering a very watchable HDR experience. There certainly appeared to be no adverse affects from the use of an 8-bit panel and watching Ultra HD Blu-rays on both the Samsung UBD-K8500 and Panasonic DMP-UB900 was highly enjoyable. Ultra HD Blu-rays such as The Revenant, Deadpool and Sicario looked marvellous, although a 50-inch screen size is probably about the lower limit in terms of gaining any benefit from the increase in resolution. The HDR certainly added to the experience, with the wider colour gamut delivering a more realistic set of colours. However the peak brightness of 545nits meant the TV couldn't deliver quite the same impact as one that could reach 1,000nits, although as we mentioned earlier it causes less problems for the DX802 with difficult scenes like the tunnels in Mad Max: Fury Road. We did however notice that whilst the DX802 could correctly map content graded at 1,000nit, if we used a 4,000nits or 10,000nits test pattern the TV clipped. This was also true on the 'arriving at Neverland scene' in Pan, which was graded at 4,000nits, because the sun setting behind the mountain wasn't clearly defined. However for most of the HDR content the DX802 is certainly capable of providing an exciting first step into a new world.
It handled dialogue well, keeping it clear and centred, whilst music was well reproduced, especially in the mid-range and higher frequencies. The bass presence was limited however and the DX802 is no match for a soundbar that comes with its own dedicated active subwoofer. If you're buying the DX802 because you like the design, then the soundbar is part of the package and will certainly do a good job but if you want a really big audio performance, especially with movies, then an actual dedicated soundbar with its own subwoofer is a better solution. Although since you can just disconnect the soundbar included with the DX802, if you do decide to use a different soundbar it can be quite a tidy solution.
Input Lag & Energy Consumption
The energy consumption was also very efficient and on a 50% raster the DX802 measured 61W in its default Normal viewing mode and 64W in our calibrated True Cinema viewing mode. The level of consumption obviously increased when watching HDR content but even then the Panasonic was only measuring 110W, which is handy if energy efficiency is important to you.
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best)||67%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||8|
|What do these mean?|
- Excellent black levels
- Impressive video processing
- Accurate greyscale & colour gamut
- Decent HDR performance
- Plenty of video streaming services
- Separate soundbar
- Design could be divisive
- Narrow viewing angles
- Limited HDR capabilities
- Anti-reflection filter distracting
Panasonic DX802 (TX-50DX802B) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Should I buy one?
The DX802 is clearly aimed at the lifestyle sector of the TV market but we were pleased to discover that despite the emphasis on design, Panasonic haven't compromised on performance. The 50DX802 uses an easel-style silver stand that includes a separate soundbar and it is certainly eye-catching. The build quality is good and although you will need a wide surface to position the DX802B on, there is also the option to wall mount both the TV and the soundbar. In the case of the soundbar itself, it definitely sounds better than most built-in speakers but will struggle to compete with a dedicated soundbar that includes its own active subwoofer. In terms of features the DX802 includes THX certification, active shutter 3D and support for HDR10, along with Panasonic's excellent Firefox Smart TV platform with a full compliment of catch-up and streaming services. The input lag was measured at 44ms and if energy consumption is important to you, the DX802 proved to be very efficient.
The overall performance of the 50DX802B was very good, with a decent out-of-the-box performance and an impressive greyscale accuracy after calibration. We were a little disappointed at the overall colour accuracy, especially from a Panasonic, but the DX802 handled the HDR tests quite well. The native colour gamut was 67% of Rec.2020, the peak brightness was limited to 545nits and the tone mapping appeared to clip content mastered at more than 1,000nits but overall the HDR performance was good, although lacking some of the impact of other TVs we've tested. The performance with standard and high definition content was excellent and we were glad to find that the local dimming was much improved over other Panasonic TVs we've seen. The 3D was also very good, delivering plenty of depth whilst keeping the flicker and crosstalk to a minimum. So overall the Panasonic TX-50DX802B proved to be an excellent combination of design and performance that is worthy of recommendation.
What are my alternatives?
The 50DX802 is also very competitively priced, putting it in a good position when it comes to the competition. However if you like Panasonic but aren't so keen on the DX802's designer looks, then the excellent TX-50DX750B can be picked up for around £100 less. If you're happy to look at other manufacturers, then the HDR TV options are rather limited at this screen size but Samsung's impressive UE49KS7000 is the obvious choice. Its screen is an inch smaller but it costs the same and it is Ultra HD Premium certified, meaning it can deliver at least 90% of DCI-P3 and over 1,000nits of peak brightness. It doesn't support 3D but it has just about everything else and the larger UE55KS7000 picked up a Best Buy badge when we reviewed it.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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