Image quality is central to this Panasonic LZW984 series (in Belgium the LZ980 series) OLED TV that shares many features with the top model. It seems like a good choice for gamers, movie buffs and sports fans, but where do you sacrifice some performance? And is it priced right to compete with the competition?
Panasonic TX-55LZW984 – 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 765 x 303 mm (incl. base)|
|Weight||18.5 kg (incl. base)|
|Consumption||SDR 83 (G) / HDR 101 watts (G)|
Panasonic TX-55LZW984 – Design
No striking style accents, but an excellent finish, that seems to be Panasonic’s creed. The characteristic OLED style is of course there, slim screen, barely visible frame, slightly thicker housing for the connections and electronics..
The black finish fits neutrally into most interiors. Compared to the more expensive models, you only miss one feature, namely the swivel base. The rectangular base plate is also relatively thick, which makes it look a bit cheaper. The screen hangs just under six centimeters above the furniture, so you can place a soundbar in front of the TV.
Panasonic TX-55LZW984 – Connections
Panasonic offers you two HDMI 2.0 connections and two HDMI 2.1 connections with 40Gbps bandwidth, ALLM, eARC, VRR and 4K120. There are three USB ports, an optical digital output and a headphone jack. If you want to connect an external subwoofer, switch the headphone connection to that function via the menus.
For old analog devices there is a composite video input with stereo cinch, for the smart TV functions there is Ethernet and WiFi. Finally, there’s Bluetooth to send audio to or from the TV. All connections point to the side or back so that they do not interfere with wall mounting.
Ease of use and smart TV
All Panasonic OLED models work with My Home Screen 7, so we resume our review of the LZW2004. It is one of the few smart TV systems whose interface does not fill the entire screen. Pressing the Home key will bring up a series of tiles at the bottom of the screen. These can contain apps, external devices or live TV channels.
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.
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, but not complete, range of local streaming services. Belgian apps are missing, 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.
OLED screens deliver very good motion sharpness, the 120 Hz panel only shows a very fine double border around moving objects. ‘Insert black frame’ activates a 60 Hz BFI , but that causes visible flicker that we hate. The Panasonic motion interpolation is very good, leave IFC at least in the Minimum position. Personally, we prefer the ‘Middle’ setting, which eliminates stutter better. Fast pans can surprise the processor at times, but the resulting image flaws, a slight hesitation in motion, aren’t too dramatic. Nevertheless, we hope that Panasonic will also eliminate that last hindrance with a new processor next year.
|Picture Mode: True Cinema
Auto Brightness: On
Auto White Balance: Off
Noise Reduction: Min
MPEG Remaster: Min
Resolution Remaster: Min
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-55LZW984 – Image quality
No Master OLED panel with extra cooling on this model, but according to the spectrum analysis it is a recent panel. It has very good, almost perfect uniformity, both in dark and bright images, were it not for a light pink band at the bottom of the image (just like on the LZW2004 ) that was mainly visible on the white test area. In normal footage it turned out to be barely or not visible, so don’t let that spoil the fun.
We chose the Filmmaker Mode, and it turned out to be almost perfectly calibrated. It is very dark, so set the ‘Illuminance’ to 70, so you can also use this image mode when there is some light in the room.
Panasonic TX-55LZW984 – HDR
With support for HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive, you know that all HDR content will look its best. But how much brightness should you sacrifice on this model? The panel delivers a peak of 725 nits on the 10% window, a significant step down from the 1,045 nits of the LZW2004. He also has to give up ground on the completely white field, 133 nits is the maximum (compared to the 177 nits of the LZW2004).
The color range is excellent, 98% P3 and 71% Rec.2020. Although all OLEDs score very close to each other here, we still see the LZW984 appear at the front of the list.
We switch the HDR Filmmaker Mode in, and it turns out to be just as excellently calibrated as the SDR version. The color reproduction of the TX-55LZW984 (LZW984 series) is very good, in bright colors an OLED TV with its white subpixel should always consider whether extra brightness should take precedence over color intensity. Panasonic finds a very good balance in this. It gives up a bit of color intensity in the brightest shades, but otherwise maintains very accurate colors. A lot of white detail is visible, up to 4,000 nits, and the processor takes the metadata into account. The tone mapping succeeds in showing very well even very clear mastered images. However, that cannot prevent some white detail from disappearing now and then. Even in the darkest shades we occasionally see some nuances disappear. You can adjust that with the ‘Dark Visibility Enhancer’, which brightens up the darkest tones very nicely. Don’t go beyond ‘5’ to avoid diluting the contrast. In short, very good results, which mainly sacrifice some brightness compared to the top model, but otherwise hardly lose any image quality.
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 of 10.4 ms in 4K60 and 6.4 ms in 2K120 is a good thing for gamers. VRR is available in HDMI VRR, AMD Freesync and also Nvidia Gsync. The latter is not on the official specification list of the TX-55LZW984 (LZW984 series), but there is an NVIDIA Auto Game Mode in the menus. Of course you can also game in 4K120, but not together with Dolby Vision (which is limited to 4K60). Also keep in mind that those using a soundbar or other external audio solution will need to use one of the HDMI 2.1 ports for eARC.
Panasonic TX-55LZW984 – Sound quality
The fact that the LZW984 has to give way to the LZW2004 in terms of audio will not surprise anyone. The high-end audio configuration is really reserved for the top model. But the fact that you have to make do with 2x 15 Watt is a small disappointment. You will not produce convincing film sounds with that, something we quickly establish in the Star Wars space battles. The Dolby Atmos experience is also very limited. There is some spaciousness in the sound, but that is all. We also notice that the bass reproduction is weak for music, and the processor has to intervene hard and quickly to prevent distortion when you turn the volume knob wide open. That is unfortunately very audible. The audio therefore does not reach more than an average level. A decent sound bar seems to us a requirement if you want to supplement the beautiful image with ditto sound.
Panasonic TX-55LZW984 – Conclusion
It is no sinecure to put yourself in the spotlight with the sub -top OLED models . You can tell by this Panasonic TX-55LZW984 (LZW984 series). It has very good qualities, but struggles to distinguish himself from the competition. The main drawback is that the processor cannot remove color bands from soft gradients. And despite its good gamer support, two HDMI 2.1 connections is a bit economical, especially since the audio only scores very average.
If you’re looking for excellent image quality, you’re in the right place with this Panasonic TX-55LZW984 (LZW984 series). The processor ensures top image processing, and it supports all HDR formats. The OLED panel delivers sufficient peak brightness, beautiful colors and good shadow and light nuances. The calibration is reference level, which is a strong asset. My Home Screen provides a good smart TV environment, although the app selection is slightly smaller than on other platforms. With its price, it is in the category of the LG C2 and Philips OLED807 , and those devices come out a little better. On the other hand, we see a competitor such as the Hisense 55A85Hwhich delivers almost comparable performance in some areas for a super competitive price. A nice discount would make it more attractive.
- Reference level calibration in Filmmaker Mode, SDR and HDR
- Ample HDR support
- Excellent image processing
- HDMI 2.1 with gamer features and low input drawer
- Processor cannot eliminate color bands
- Only two HDMI 2.1 connections