The more popular flat panel TVs get, the bigger mainstream sizes become. And so it is that the once hugely popular 26-inch size is gradually falling out of favour, going from being a main TV to a second-set option for the office or bedroom.
But that hasn't stopped Panasonic going to town with its £650 TX-26LXD70.
The 26LXD70 gets off on the right foot, thanks to some robust build quality and neat black and silver looks. We should also mention connectivity that shows plenty of high definition ambition, with two HDMIs, a component video input and a D-Sub PC port allowing the TV to double up as a computer monitor. The rest of the 26LXD70's feature count is so impressive that it almost goes beyond the call of duty for such a small TV.
For starters, it carries the same Viera V-Real image processing found on the brand's much bigger TVs. It can thus take 1080p native high definition signals or upscale any other lower-res format to 1080p. We're not entirely sure you can really appreciate the 1080p difference on a 26-inch screen, but if Panasonic wants to do 1080p on its 26-inch TV, who are we to complain?
The TV's image processing also includes a 100Hz system, whereby the frame rate of the picture is doubled to combat LCD's traditional loss of resolution while showing moving objects.
With a superb remote control wrapping up the impressive up-front stuff, the 26LXD70's picture quality thankfully delivers on just about all of the set's sky-high promise.
With an HD source like Con Air on Blu-ray, for instance, the amount of fine detail the TV reproduces is quite superb. If you doubted whether a 26-inch TV could really show off HD, this TV will put you straight.
Its picture is also unusually bright for a small LCD, which helps colours look extremely vibrant and rich during the colourful Con Air sequence at Lerner Airfield. The 26LXD70 is also unusually adept at showing standard definition digital tuner broadcasts.
But where it most stands out from the 26-inch crowd is with its motion handling, as the 100Hz engine really does help it show moving objects with far less of the usual distracting resolution loss.
It's entirely possible that many of you reading this just won't be able to see past the 26LXD70's really quite high £650 price tag, regardless of our belief that it's actually worth the money.
There is one area where the 26LXD70's otherwise exemplary picture quality could do better, however, and that's black level response. Dark scenes and image parts do tend to look a touch grey or blue instead of black, plus occasionally you can also spot a slight jump in brightness in dark images as an automatic backlight dimming system employed to improve black levels goes through its motions. Having said all that, black levels are still very presentable versus much of the 26-inch competition.
The Panasonic TX-26LXD70 has the build quality, feature count and even performance standards to shame many much larger LCD TVs. Admittedly, you have to pay £650 for the privilege, but if money's no object, then you can help yourself to a 26LXD70 safe in the knowledge that it's probably as good as 26-inch TVs are likely to get.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire