Panasonic Viera E3 (TX-L32E3B) review: Panasonic Viera E3 (TX-L32E3B)

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Typical Price: £450.00
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Sharp high-definition pictures; rich colours; decent sound quality.

The Bad No Internet features or media-streaming support; some motion blur.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic Viera TX-L32E3B delivers generally sharp, rich and engaging pictures, and its audio quality is a cut above that of most 32-inch LED TVs. It's disappointing, then, that it suffers from motion blur and lacks online features.

6.5 Overall

The Viera TX-L32E3B sits at the bottom of Panasonic's range of LED TVs. Apart from its LED backlight, it doesn't offer all that much in the way of features, lacking the 200Hz processing found on the step-up E30 range , as well as Internet capability. Priced at around £450, this 32-inch, 1080p set is fairly cheap by LED standards, but does it represent a good option for bargain hunters?

Design

If there's one area in which Panasonic has been consistently weak, it's design. Previous models have looked functional at best, and downright boring at worst. But Panasonic's made more of an effort with its 2011 line-up. The TX-L32E3B isn't exactly a stunner, but its slim chassis and clean, angular lines means it looks distinctive and sharply tailored.

Connectivity

As this is an entry-level TV, the line-up of ports is slightly less impressive than that of Panasonic's higher-end sets. For example, you only get three HDMI ports, rather than the four that are now pretty much standard on pricier 32-inch tellies. Nevertheless, there are VGA, component and Scart inputs, so, unless you've got masses of gear, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Sadly, this model lacks networking support. The set has an Ethernet port, but it isn't actually enabled. In fact, it only seems to be there because it's a prerequisite for Freeview HD certification. As a result, you don't get access to the online services supported on Panasonic's E30 sets, such as BBC iPlayer.

There's also no media-streaming support, and, as the set lacks a USB port, you can't even use it to play back media files from USB keys or hard drives. This is disappointing given that even Tesco and Dixons' own-brand models now support digital media playback.

Panasonic Viera TX-L32E3B menu
The menu system looks dated and drab compared to the systems on TVs from the likes of LG and Samsung.

You do, however, get a Freeview HD tuner, so you can at least appreciate the delights of Come Dine With Me in HD on Channel 4, for example.

Picture quality

The TV is built around one of Panasonic's 1080p IPS Alpha panels. One of the benefits of IPS technology is that it offers a wider-than-usual viewing angle, so colours and contrast remain impressively consistent even if you're sitting at a pretty extreme angle to the TV.

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