We like to see televisions that pay extra attention to the sound. The Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 not only promises top OLED performance, but also top sound with a unique array speaker from Technics. Can Panasonic still improve the performance of other top models?
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – specifications
|What||Ultra HD OLED TV|
|Screen format||55 inches (139 cm), flat|
|Connections||4x HDMI (2x v2.1 40 Gbps, 2x v2.0 18 GBps, ARC/eARC, ALLM, 4K120 HFR, VRR, AMD Freesync), 3x USB, 1x composite video + stereo cinch in, 1x optical digital out, 1x headphones / subwoofer, 3x antenna, 1x Ethernet, Bluetooth|
|Extras||HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive, Dolby Atmos, Built-in WiFi, My Home Screen 7, USB/DLNA media player, dual DVB-T2/C/S2, dual CI+ slot, HCX Pro AI Processor|
|Dimensions||1,227 x 786 x 350 mm (incl. base)|
|Weight||24.5 kg (incl. base)|
|Consumption||SDR 84 (G) / HDR 132 watts (G)|
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – Design
If you are looking for a relatively unobtrusive model, you have come to the right place at Panasonic. The manufacturer has opted for a sober, black style for many years. But one with a very fine finish. From the round base, the slim OLED screen to the beautifully finished back, it looks great.
Only in profile is it noticeable that the device is relatively deep for an OLED TV, about seven centimeters. This has to do with the exceptionally extensive audio configuration. There is the speaker bar at the bottom of the screen. At the top, just behind the edge of the screen are the upward-firing speakers, and to the side we also find two speaker grilles. All very discreetly concealed behind a perforated metal grille.
The device stands on a round base plate. The setup is very sturdy, and you can effortlessly turn the screen to the left or right thanks to the swivel base.
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – Connections
The LZW2004 provides two HDMI 2.1 connections with 40Gbps bandwidth, ALLM, eARC, VRR and 4K120 HFR. You also have two HDMI 2.0 connections.
There is a composite video input with stereo cinch, three USBs, an optical digital output and headphones. The latter also serves as a subwoofer connection, easy to set via the menu. All connections point to the side or rear and therefore do not interfere with wall mounting. An Ethernet connection, WiFi and Bluetooth complete the list.
Ease of use and smart TV
Panasonic My Home Screen 7 has no major new features. As one of the few smart TV systems, it still has a series of tiles that appear at the bottom of the screen. These can contain apps, external devices or live TV channels. So no full-screen interface, but we are absolutely not sorry about that.
It is possible to determine for yourself which tiles and in what order they appear on the screen. Many tiles show a second bar with recommendations as soon as you select the tile. This is the case, for example, with Netflix, Prime Video, Disney + and YouTube. If you select the Live TV tile, you will see an extra bar with all channels.
At the far left of the row you will find ‘My Scenery’, a screensaver that gives you a choice of illustrations or animations that you can put on the screen together with a clock.
Undoubtedly the greatest asset of My Home Screen is how quickly and smoothly you can go through the interface. Whether you want to open another app, or go through the menus to adjust a setting, you don’t really notice that the interface slows you down. On the other hand, the app offering is always somewhat behind the competition. For example, HBO Max and Viaplay are missing. For the Netherlands there is a good range of local streaming services, but Belgium comes off badly, neither Streamz, nor VTM go, nor VRT Max can be found.
The quick menu is a convenient way to adjust certain settings without having to go through the entire menu. You can also customize it to your own preference. The full menus are very extensive, but navigate smoothly.
The rounded design of the remote fits comfortably in the hand. Keys have a low profile, require little pressure and give a clean and clear click. We cannot call the remote control modern, it is still an enormous amount of keys, but the good layout and clear inscriptions make it user-friendly.
At the top you will find the ‘Picture’ button, a super fast way to change the picture mode. You can even set which image modes appear in the list via the menu. There are also six shortcuts for important streaming services, and at the bottom right next to the d-pad is the ‘My App’ button that you can assign to an app of your choice.
The TX-55LZW2004 (LZW2004 series) has a dual TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2/C/S2) and a dual CI+ slot. So you can watch TV and record another channel at the same time. You can cast YouTube and Netflix to the TV. The built-in media player is quite complete, both in terms of video (with subtitles) and audio. Keep in mind that the TV does not support DTS soundtracks, so you cannot send them via eARC.
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – Image processing
The Panasonic HCX Pro AI processor seems to us to have changed little compared to last year. That means that you can still expect great results, but on the other hand, those few weaknesses have still not been addressed. Those who fully trust the processor choose the ‘AI Image Mode’, which then independently decides how to adjust the image, based on what you are watching. Panasonic doesn’t go overboard with the adjustments, but we personally prefer the Filmmaker Mode with some minor adjustments. That already provides very clean upscaling with that typical soft Panasonic image. Those who want can give some extra sharpness (up to 30) and possibly also activate ‘Resolution Remastering’. The noise reduction is good, but mainly for random noise.
The main weakness of the TX-55LZW2004 (LZW2004 series) is color bands in gradients. The processor has no solution for them, nor when they are fairly subtle and certainly not in the difficult, dark Game Of Thrones scene. Even with all noise reduction on the highest setting, the color bands remained visible.
The OLED screen delivers excellent motion sharpness, with only a wafer-thin blurred border around moving objects. The 120 Hz Black Frame Insertion has disappeared, ‘Insert black frame’ now works at 60 Hz, which we also saw with other manufacturers. It also provides no visible improvement, costs brightness and you can still see the flicker to some extent. So we let that stand. The motion interpolation does a great job, we definitely recommend the Minimum setting, although even that left a bit of a stutter in the opening scene of RED. If you don’t want that, you can choose the higher settings. With Intelligent Frame Creation at the maximum setting, fast pans are almost always displayed smoothly and the processor rarely intervenes too late.
|Picture Mode: True Cinema
Auto Brightness: On
Auto White Balance: Off
Noise Reduction: Min
MPEG Remaster: Min
Resolution Remaster: Mid
Dynamic Range Remaster: OffDark Visibility Enhancer: 0Intelligent Frame Creation: Minimum
Accurate IFC: On
Insert Black Frame: Off
|Contrast Control: Off/Auto
Gamma: BT.1886 / 2.4 / 2.2 Picture Settings Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Image Scan: Off
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – Image quality
Behind the name ‘Master OLED Pro’ hides the latest OLED EX panel, with an extra layer for cooling. Panasonic has been delivering excellent results on its top model for years, and we expect top performance now too.
The uniformity was good, but not perfect. At the bottom of the image, we saw a light pink tinted edge of a few centimeters on the white test surface. You can sometimes notice this in normal content if the image is very clear. In the dark test images, we could vaguely see a bright spot, but that was never visible in practice.
But all our doubts disappeared like snow in the sun as soon as we watched some film and TV in Filmmaker Mode. It is calibrated almost perfectly, always a great achievement from Panasonic. The image had a lot of shadow detail and the color reproduction is, literally, perfect.
It is best to increase the ‘Illuminance’ to 70 for more universal use. Unless you’re watching a movie in a really dark room, Filmmaker Mode is too dark otherwise. Panasonic offers plenty of excellently calibrated image modes, so be sure to also check out True Cinema, or Cinema.
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – HDR
You don’t have to worry about HDR formats. Panasonic supports HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive. Whatever you watch, you’re guaranteed to get the best version available. And how great it will look! The ‘Master OLED Pro’ panel effortlessly taps 1,045 nits on a 10% window, and that in the accurate HDR Filmmaker mode. You also get that 1,000 nits on smaller windows, and the Average Brightness Limiter is very generous on larger windows. On a completely white field you still have 177 nits left. With that performance, the LZW2004 takes the top position again. In fact, it also leaves the QD OLEDs behind, which can only present a brighter result (about 200 nits) on the completely white screen.
We also see a slightly better result in the color range, of 99% DCI-P3 and 72% Rec.2020. That is slightly better than most other OLED TVs, but in that area it has to let the QD OLEDs go ahead. They provide a slightly larger color range, but are especially capable of displaying colors much brighter, so that they have a much larger color volume.
The HDR Filmmaker mode again leaves a great impression. Lots of shadow nuances, and excellent white detail up to 4,000 nits, which only clips away some nuances in very exceptional cases. The Panasonic takes the HDR10 metadata into account, and with ‘Dynamic HDR effect’ it can extract a little extra color from the very bright shades. Purists turn this off, but we didn’t mind leaving it activated. The calibration not only provides a particularly accurate color reproduction, but also emphasizes brightness as much as possible. Light accents therefore come into the picture extra spicy. Those looking for reference image quality need not hesitate, this Panasonic meets those requirements.
Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles
A wide viewing angle and decent performance with reflections, these are now standard matters for an OLED TV. Keep strong reflections to a minimum.
The input lag has improved considerably. We measure 10.4 ms in 4K60 and 6.5 ms in 2K120. Just like last year, you use HDMI 1 and 2 to support 4K120 input and VRR (HDMI VRR, AMD Freesync Premium). Although we do not find NVIDIA Gsync in the specifications, the Panasonic does have an NVIDIA Auto Game Mode that ensures compatibility with NVDIA cards for VRR. Unfortunately, the Panasonic cannot combine 4K120 and Dolby Vision. The eARC port takes up an HDMI 2.1 connection, but we strongly believe that you won’t need eARC anytime soon, as the audio quality is too good for that. The ‘Game Control Board’ clearly shows frame rate and important settings, so that you can quickly adjust something while gaming.
Panasonic TX-55LZW2004 – Sound quality
The TX-55LZW2004 (LZW2004 series) always receives a sound solution from the audio branch Technics from Panasonic. And this year they provided a solution that we have not yet seen. The speaker bar at the bottom doesn’t just contain a pair of left, center and right drivers, but it’s a real array of 14 drivers (70 watts). This allows the Panasonic to focus its sound extra well, which you will find on some high-end soundbars. Together with the woofer (20 Watt), sideways (2x 15 Watt) and upward speakers (2x 15 Watt), this system is good for an astonishing 150 Watt, leaving even the Philips 65OLED + 937 behind that delivered 95 Watt.
But how does the Panasonic deal with all that noise? Start with a calibration of the room acoustics. And then brace yourself for impressive audio. We jumped into our favorite Star Wars scenes, Dolby Atmos tracks, and tunes from AC/DC, Metallica, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga. To say the audio is powerful is an understatement. With the volume at 30 we already had more than enough, we didn’t want to go further than 40, then you started to put pressure on the speakers. But within those very wide limits you can enjoy impressive soundtracks, with a nice surround feeling, sufficient height effects and a full, warm sound. And a striking amount of bass, you can be sure of that, sometimes even a little too much. Although you can adjust that with the many settings. Important is the ‘Sound focus mode’ with which you can ask the speaker array to work in a targeted manner. There are different modes, for example ‘Aimed’ sends only voice sound in a certain direction, and ‘Place’ sends all sound in a certain direction. In the item ‘Sound focus Positioning’ you then indicate where you want to direct the sound. The effects are clearly audible, but we didn’t find them convincing enough, and ended up choosing the ‘Off’ position anyway. Much more interesting is ‘Sound Field Creation’, which allows you to give the sound a cinema or live accent. Definitely worth trying out, for music it gave very nice results. In the item ‘Sound focus Positioning’ you then indicate where you want to direct the sound. The effects are clearly audible, but we didn’t find them convincing enough, and ended up choosing the ‘Off’ position anyway. Much more interesting is ‘Sound Field Creation’, which allows you to give the sound a cinema or live accent. Definitely worth trying out, for music it gave very nice results. In the item ‘Sound focus Positioning’ you then indicate where you want to direct the sound. The effects are clearly audible, but we didn’t find them convincing enough, and ended up choosing the ‘Off’ position anyway. Much more interesting is ‘Sound Field Creation’, which allows you to give the sound a cinema or live accent. Definitely worth trying out, for music it gave very nice results.
- Best-in-class peak brightness for OLED
- Reference level calibration in Filmmaker Mode, SDR and HDR
- Impressive and powerful audio configuration
- Ample HDR support
- Excellent image processing
- HDMI 2.1 with gamer features and low input lag
- Processor cannot eliminate color bands