Panasonic TX-65CZ952B User Review

  • Derek S-H
    The Kuro is dead, long live OLED!
    Review of Panasonic TX-65CZ952B OLED TV by Derek S-H, Jan 11, 2017.
    Okay, this might be a bit of a contentious way to title my review, but I'm writing this for any other plasma owners out there who are considering switching, but are undecided as to which technology to choose.

    First of all, let me state that this is not a comparison between Panasonic and LG, that one is better than the other. This TV is a tweaked LG panel anyway, so if you currently decide to opt for OLED you'd be buying a LG product in some form regardless.

    My first flatscreen was a 40" Sony LCD, which seemed great at the time but its limitations were rapidly exposed, especially with fast panning. I then managed to pick up one of the last new 50" 9G Kuros and was very happy with it until the opportunity arose to grab a 60" 9G Kuro at a great price secondhand.

    This lasted me a couple of years and I had little cause for complaint regarding its performance apart from two things:

    1. The heat it gave off was remarkable, it virtually heated the room on its own! Fine in the Winter, less so in the Summer.
    2. It had a noticeable buzz. I got used to it but I never liked it.

    In the meantime I'd been keeping an eye on OLED technology which, to me, seemed the obvious upgrade from plasma. It offered the black levels, contrast and motion control of plasma with the sharpness, brightness and colours of LCD/LED, without the drawbacks of either technology.

    Like many people, I'd assumed that I'd end up with an LG, purely based on affordability versus performance, and probably one of the 2016 models. But the Panasonic came up at less than 1/3 of the original asking price of £8000 (!), so I took a punt. And I can simply say that it is the best picture I have ever seen.

    There is a simply stunning lifelike quality to the images that seem closer to a professional studio monitor than a domestic TV. It has a sharpness and clarity that the Kuro can only dream of (that TV looked soft and blurry in comparison) and is far, far brighter. On the subject of brightness, I would say ignore numbers and nit statistics: if a picture is so bright that you're squinting or have to wear shades to watch, then it's too bright. And there's usually a trade off with black levels too.

    The Panasonic has been professionally calibrated by Gordon at Convergent AV and its colour accuracy is simply amazing, black levels are astounding and motion control has no cause for complaint. Like many people, I still watch content on DVD and SD and I was concerned that the Panasonic wouldn't match the Kuro, but it is remarkably forgiving with low quality content, even at the huge 65" screen size.

    Other areas that improve over the Kuro is the weight/size ratio - the Kuro was 60" and an absolute beast at 50 kilos, the Panansonic is 65" and 32 kilos: it's bigger but lighter! It also has a much nicer remote control that looks and feels better and is easier to use. A curved TV does divide opinion but I've got used to it and rather like it now. It's certainly a much more aesthetically pleasing object to look at when off, unlike the Kuro which was a rather industrial piece of design. It also features a glorious curved pedestal design that looks like a Klingon Bat'leth!

    To summarise: OLED technology is noticeably superior to plasma. Even at this screen size, you can still watch SD and DVD without wincing in pain. HD and UHD is simply jaw-dropping and I've not noticed any unpleasant lag whilst gaming on either the Wii U or PS3. The sound is merely functional, but that's not unique to OLED as all flatscreens seem to struggle with producing immersive and convincing sound.

    Is this the best TV ever? I doubt it as OLED technology has moved on and Panasonic are making even greater claims for their new TV due Summer 2017. But it's the best TV I have ever owned and I can confidently state to any plasma owners that are thinking of switching technologies to seriously consider OLED, especially if you still watch SD content regularly. To me, it is the obvious replacement and the next logical step.

    I am still gobsmacked every time I turn it on and have rather lost interest in following TV technology for now. If ever you feel that whatever device you own is as good as it can possibly be and it pretty much meets all your needs, then leaving behind that restless, constantly upgrading mindset is a satisfyingly rewarding place to be.

    Completely recommended, especially if you can pick one up from one previously careful owner!
    This item was purchased for 2600 from AV Forums Classifieds in 2016. The reviewer still owns this product.

    Pros

    • Sharpness
    • Brightness
    • Colour accuracy
    • Fantastic black levels
    • Lovely design
    • Simple but effective Smart platform
    • Fine remote
    • Bat'leth pedestal!
    • The most natural picture I've ever seen

    Cons

    • Apart from the merely functional sound, nothing else.

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    10

    Screen Uniformity

    9

    Colour Accuracy

    10

    Greyscale Accuracy

    9

    Video Processing

    10

    2D Picture Quality

    10

    Picture Quality Calibrated

    10

    Sound Quality

    5

    Smart Features

    8

    Build Quality

    9

    Ease Of Use

    10

    Value for Money

    10

    Verdict

    10
    1. dcleach and rickmoz like this.
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