Panasonic Viera TX-L26X10 review: Panasonic Viera TX-L26X10

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Built-in SD card slot; generally good pictures with standard- and high-definition sources; better sound quality than you usually get with a 26-inch LCD TV.

The Bad Not cheap for what it is; images can look dull if watched in a very bright room; black levels could be better.

The Bottom Line Many manufacturers don't really take 26-inch TVs seriously. But, while the Panasonic Viera TX-L26X10 might be low on interesting features and more expensive than many of its rivals, it does at least produce a superior AV performance

7.5 Overall

As 26-inch TVs are usually destined for second rooms, quality generally isn't considered as important as price. But can Panasonic persuade us to spend in the region of £500 on its HD Ready Viera TX-L26X10 LCD TV?

Positives
As you'd hope for the price, the TX-L26X10 is decently specified. Key elements include an HD Ready resolution, and the inclusion among its connections of three HDMI jacks, a PC port and an SD card slot for playing back JPEG stills.

It's also good to find a dynamic contrast system, which can automatically reduce the backlight brightness during dark scenes to produce more credible black levels. While common on large-screen TVs, this sort of system is commonly missing at the smaller end of the market.

The TX-L26X10 has green credentials too, with an eco mode that adjusts the picture's brightness -- and thus energy consumption -- in relation to the amount of light present.

The lack of other really notable features unsurprisingly makes the TX-L26X10 very easy to use, especially with the added help from an excellent remote control and some clean, fuss-free on-screen menus.

The drab-looking TX-L26X10 won't win any awards for its design, but its performance is good

Where the TX-L26X10 really sets about justifying its cost, though, is with its performance. It's simply miles better than most of its 26-inch competitors.

It's particularly striking how sharp the set's pictures look. There's impressively little trouble from the LCD motion-blurring problem that's common at this screen size, for instance. And the screen's HD Ready resolution reproduces well the detail and clarity of HD sources, providing ample proof to naysayers that you really can appreciate HD content on a screen this small.

Standard-definition pictures look sharp and clean on the TX-L26X10 too. That's a particularly important but often-neglected consideration as regards second-room TVs.

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