Earlier this year we already looked extensively at the Panasonic EXW784 series (in Belgium the EX780 series), but the Japanese manufacturer also brings various middle class models on the market. In this review we look at the Panasonic TX-43EXW604, a 43-inch model from the EXW604 series. In Belgium, exactly this device is sold as the TX-43XE600.
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD LCD TV, Full Led with Adaptive Backlight Dimming
- Screen size: 43 inches (108 cm), flat
- Connections: 3x HDMI (1xARC 2x v2.0a), 1x component video, 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 2x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, My Home Screen 2.0, USB / DLNA media player, In house streaming, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock
- Dimensions: 969 x 624 x 351 mm (incl foot)
- Weight: 11 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 89 / 0.5 watt (Energy Label A)
- Models Netherlands:
- 65-inch (TX-65EXW604): 1,899 euros
- 55-inch (TX-55EXW604): 1,199 euros
- 49-inch (TX-49EXW604): 949 euros
- 43-inch (TX-43EXW604): 849 euros
- 40-inch (TX-40EXW604): 799 euros
- Models Belgium:
- 55-inch (TX-55EX600): 1,199 euros
- 49-inch (TX-49EX600): 949 euros
- 43-inch (TX-43EX600): 849 euros
- 40-inch (TX-40EX600): 799 euros
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – design
The 43-inch model from the EXW604 series is a simple but sleek designed TV without bells and whistles. The television comes with a predominantly black list showing a thin gray / silver border. The bezel is a bit wider than with the real top models, but nothing that you will easily disturb. The screen looks just neat and neatly finished, although it is noticeable that everything is made of plastic.
More striking is the foot, with a chrome finish. It stands out from the TV, but that gives the model a more luxurious look. The foot can be placed under the TV in four different ways; with the flat or pointed side of the feet forward, and with the feet against the middle of the TV or against the ends of the TV. The differences are not big, but it can be just that little bit better with your interior, or the TV simply does not fit with the feet at the ends on your closet.
On the side we find HDMI, once USB 3.0, once USB 2.0, a CI + module and the headphone jack. At the rear, pointing downwards, two HDMI ports, an optical digital output and a network connection are added. There is also a connection for component video on the back. Of course WiFi is available, but bluetooth is missing on this model.
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – ease of use
If we look at the ease of use, we will soon end up on the smart TV platform, in this case My Home Screen 2.0. This is actually Firefox OS, but since Mozilla has stopped the development, it has been taken over by Panasonic. Just like last year’s platform, the interface is pretty simple, tight and intuitive. You immediately see where you have to be, there is no abundance of options and navigation between the different sections is smooth and fast. All settings of the TV are easily accessible, well structured and well-organized. There are a lot of them, and that may seem intimidating at first, but the experienced user can adjust everything to their heart’s content.
As soon as you have gone through the first settings, you will enter the homescreen of My Homescreen 2.0. Here you first get information about the use and the possibilities of the platform through a number of beautifully designed windows. After a few times browsing through the interface you see where everything is for. Incidentally, nothing changed in terms of appearance and functionality compared to last year. My Home Screen 2.0 still works exactly the same, and the speed of the platform is also right. Thanks to a fairly simple smart TV platform, the company knows how to find a good combination of functionality and user-friendliness.
The remote control is one that we have known for years from Panasonic. A large plastic accessory, with large buttons and a clear layout. Everything is clearly labeled, the buttons have a good travel and the remote control is well in hand. A special Netflix button takes you directly to the app of the service.
At the bottom left of the remote we find the only novelty: a ‘my app’ key. In the overview screen of the apps you can use the options to set up one app as ‘my app’. You start from that date with this specific test. It is a small detail, and quite handy, but also no sign of innovation.
Panasonic has for years an application with which you can make a remote control from your smartphone or tablet. Since a few years we are ready for the second version of this app (TV Remote 2), but it is really time for a new version. Although this app does exactly what you can expect, the look is now outdated; it can all be more beautiful and tighter.
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – features
Smart TV platform
In the area of My Homescreen 2.0 we can actually be quite short. There has been little change compared to last year. This smart TV platform is one of the least comprehensive and most minimalist platforms, and that has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it is clear, easy to use and fast. The disadvantage is that you do not have to expect a large amount of smart TV functions and a wide range of interesting apps. The most important apps, including Netflix, NPO Gemist and YouTube, are present. If that’s the most important thing for you, along with fast software, then you’re good at Panasonic.
The layout is still the same and the possibilities are not adjusted. So you have a home screen, accessible via the home button on the remote control, where you come across three icons; Live TV, Apps and Devices. These are shortcuts to the main functions of the TV. You can also place shortcuts on this screen, for example from a favorite TV channel, a frequently used input or a handy app.
The Info Frame is part of the smart TV platform, but we have used it only sporadically. This is a window with colored elements on four sides, with which Panasonic wants to give suggestions for content or interesting information. You can view the weather forecast, open favorite websites or see recommended TV programs. It is a nice feature but it does not really matter to use.
Panasonic offers a full set of tuners (DVB-T2 / C / S2) but in contrast to the higher models does not come with a dual CI + module for, for example, USB recordings from a different channel than is being watched. Thanks to ‘In House TV streaming’ from Panasonic you can watch the TV channels on another TV set in the house, but this device can only function as a client, so receive the picture.
The TX-43EXW604 can play media through the built-in media player and Miracast. The latter option offers the possibility to display content from a Miracast-compatible device on TV. DLNA support allows you to view media from a NAS or from your PC on the TV. The media player is built in for this. It supports a wide range of file formats including AVCHD, AVI, MKV, WMV, MP4, M4v, VOB, MP3, AAC, WMA Pro, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, JPEG and MPO. HEVC support for playing 4K content is also present. Apart from the lack of support for DTS audio, the TV deletes with all common file formats.
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – picture quality
In terms of image quality, we see a number of important differences between the EXW604 series and the EXW784 series. The first series does not come with local dimming but with Adaptive Backlight Dimming. Also, the EXW604 models have to do without the wide color range, the contrast of the panel is lower, the maximum number of hertz is 1300 and the brightness is less high. In addition, 3D display is absent and the Studio Color HCX2 processor is also missing. On the other hand, we still have to deal with a 4K Ultra HD TV that supports HDR and has a quad-core processor.
|Image mode: True Cinema
Heat Color: Warm2
Vivid Colors: Off
Remast color: Off
Adaptive Backlight control: Med
|Ambient Sensor: Off
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG remastering: Off
Resolution Remastering: Off
Dynamic Range remastering: Off
Intelligent Frame Creation: Min
Sharp movements: Off
|Contrast control: Auto
Explanation of main settings;
- The True Cinema setting delivers the best image quality from the box. The brightness (backlight) depends on how light the room is. Choose 48 for a reasonably dark room, up to 80 for a brightly lit room.
- Noise Reduction and MPEG remastering can only be activated if you start with a bad source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube).
- Intelligent Frame Creation: Off for purists, but the Minimal mode gave smooth images without obvious artefacts.
- Advanced, Contrast control can be set to Auto for a slight boost in contrast.
General image properties and image processing
If we look at the imaging techniques, the processor and the features then it is immediately clear that we are dealing with a middle class model from Panasonic, but for a 55-inch TV from this series you still pay more than 1,000 euros. Naturally, a certain quality must be attached to that price tag.
Fortunately, the Panasonic TX-43EXW604 leaves no false impression despite the lack of some techniques and features. First of all, it is striking that the panel is very uniform. There are hardly any clouding effects, and that is mainly due to the full LED backlighting. This gives you a smooth, even view. We do not speak of banding, a problem that we encountered with several full LED TVs. Also the upscaling of SD content to HD, or even Ultra HD is smooth and without negative side-effects. No, it does not become native Ultra HD but the reproduction is soft, sufficiently detailed and above all clean. Panasonic shows that this also has a good grip on lower models. Another big plus is the color rendering; the TV knows a very lifelike picture with intense colors, sufficient gradations and a lot of dynamics.
Nevertheless, in certain areas we also clearly see that we are dealing with a middle-class TV. The contrast is rather disappointing, so that black is actually more gray than black. Details in dark parts of the screen fall away quickly; the shades of gray leave something to be desired. Especially when you look in a dark environment, this is noticeable. If you look during the day or with a lot of ambient light, this problem will disturb you less quickly. However, if you look with too much ambient light then the somewhat lower brightness of the panel falls back. With less than 350 nits, the TV can not compete with much light, let alone show HDR content in full glory. In terms of motion sharpness, the EXW604 falls in the middle. A lot of sharpness is lost and artefacts are introduced when IFC is completely turned on, and without this option the ‘stutter’ effect will take effect. We prefer to leave this option always outstanding, but in this case the Minimal option provides the best compromise.
4K Ultra HD content is of course the content that makes this TV feel most comfortable and with which the best results can be achieved. We have watched several films in the full 4K resolution, including The Martian, The Fifth Wave and Everest. Although the contrast leaves something to be desired and the movement sharpness remains a compromise, you get a very tight, lively and detailed picture. The combination of subtle details and true-to-life colors makes for that extra dynamic.
Yes, the Panasonic TX-43EXW604 supports HDR content from the box and can therefore display HDR material. However, the clarity of this panel is so late that you will not benefit greatly from this in practice. If we look at the clarity of the real top models look this depends, depending on OLED or LCD, between 700 and 1,500 nits. 700 is already tight, but if you look in a dark room, HDR definitely offers added value. At 350 nits it is even in a dark room, which many people do not have, looking for the big advantage of the HDR reproduction. In our view, the difference is too small to really label a unique feature or an improved image quality. Combine that with no support for a wide color gamut, and you retain pure compatibility with HDR material, both in the form of HDR10 and HLG.
Reflections and viewing angles
The TX-43EXW604 has an ips-panel and therefore we can say that the viewing angles are fine. Only far from the middle of the TV you lose brightness and contrast. The TV comes with a special coating for counteracting reflections, which has a reasonable effect. Yet it is still important to think about the placement with regard to reflections. A bright light in the back of the room or the sun shining through the window can have a negative impact on the viewing experience.
The Panasonic TX-43EXW604 has a special game mode that disables various image processing techniques to give you a fast response time, with low input lag. A low input lag is desirable for those who like to play games where the reaction time is important, for example shooters. The EXW604 models end up with an input lag of 20ms in the higher regions and are therefore a great choice for the avid gamer and the casual gamer.
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – audio quality
The Panasonic EXW604 models have two 10 Watt speakers and these small speakers do not leave a particularly good impression. For normal TV viewing, the audio reproduction is fine, but if you watch movies often, you will miss a lot in the low spectrum and you will experience that there is little dynamic in the sound. It is noteworthy that with the somewhat higher volumes the audio in the middle regions can quickly deform, and the volume can not really be high enough to fill a room properly. So if you are a home cinema enthusiast and / or listen to a lot of music, an external audio system is absolutely recommended.
For this review use the Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the Denon AVR-X6300H receiver and Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series loudspeakers. The LG E6V series OLED TV serves as a reference model. We also used Netflix for testing 4K and HDR material.
Panasonic TX-43EXW604 – conclusion
If we add everything together, we come to the conclusion that the Panasonic TX-43EXW604 (in Belgium the TX-43EX600) offers quite some value for money, if you can live with the downsides in this class. The TV comes with a sleek design in which the foot can be adjusted to your own wishes, offers a user-friendly interface with a simple but well-functioning smart TV platform and comes with excellent image quality of which the uniformity and color reproduction are the most important plus points. The viewing angles of this TV are also an important plus point. The content of the app store has been disappointing for years at Panasonic and the audio reproduction of this model is not particularly good for the real film fan. The contrast is disappointing, the movement sharpness is not optimal and the HDR support thanks to the low brightness is pure on paper.
But, we are dealing with a middle-class TV with a price tag of about 850 euros. For this money the TX-43EXW604 is definitely a great TV that you will not soon regret. Is it the TV in the (not too dark) living room, where the whole family looks both during the day and in the evening? And is HDR view not an interesting feature for you? Then we can certainly recommend this model.