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Fujitsu P50XHA51AS review: Fujitsu P50XHA51AS

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The Good Excellent picture quality for both HD TV and DVDs. Detachable speakers allows for greater flexibility. Good contrast and sharpness.

The Bad No built-in tuner. Fairly basic set of inputs compared to other sets in its class. Features-light. Heavy at 45kg. Pricey. Stand and speakers have to be purchased separately.

The Bottom Line The Fujitsu P50XHA51AS is a fine plasma monitor that produces outstanding pictures, but its high price point and only decent specs compared to its peers hobbles its overall appeal.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.8 Overall

Review Sections

Design
Fujitsu's P50XHA51AS is a 50-inch plasma monitor with some serious heft. At 45kg it's a weighty unit, and you'll need at least two people (three to be safe) to set this baby up on its stand (sold separately for AU$399). Fujitsu has foregone any design flourishes to instead focus on simplicity -- the 16:9 widescreen is surrounded by a metallic silver bezel. The bezel itself is largely unadorned, with the minimal effect only disturbed by a row of indicator lights and buttons running down the monitor's bottom right side. These buttons protrude slightly from the bezel, and includes buttons for mode selection, volume and screen ratio. The Fujitsu boasts dimensions of 121.6 by 72.6 by 10cm, making it relatively slim should you wish to wall mount the unit. All of the Fujitsu's inputs are arrayed at the rear of the unit, and all are facing downwards for ease of use when the panel is wall mounted. Thankfully, clear diagrams explaining all the inputs are displayed on the Fujitsu's back.

The Fujitsu doesn't come with speakers; rather, users have the option of buying two detachable speakers for AU$599. The black speakers we were sent to review the unit looked somewhat odd when attached to the Fujitsu panel, partly because of their colour next to the monitor's metallic silver, but also because the speakers are smaller than the height of the monitor itself. Those truly concerned with aesthetics will probably do well to put some space between the panel and its speakers.

The panel's clean looks are let down somewhat by its remote control, which looks cheap, plastic and overly large. Just like the main unit, the remote is decked out in silver, but features quite a large amount of empty space that seems to have no real functional use.

Features
First things first -- the Fujitsu P50XHA51AS is a plasma monitor, not a plasma television. That means it has no television tuner included out of the box -- you'll need to supply that yourself if you're interested in purchasing this unit.

The 50-inch wide screen boasts a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, and can display up to 1080i signals. Image tasks are handled by the Fujitsu-developed AVM II (Advanced Video Movement) digital video signal processor, which features noise reduction, automatic light sensor to dynamically adjust the screen's brightness relative to the room, and automatic edge correction to further define sharpness.

The Fujitsu boasts a decent if unimpressive list of inputs. Leading the list is a single HDMI input, but the monitor also includes one each of RGB, S-Video and composite, as well as two component inputs. We would have liked to have seen more than one HDMI input, particularly on a set at this price.

For those of you looking for any other nifty extras, you're out of luck. Features like card slots or USB terminals that populate other sets have been omitted from this Fujitsu. Picture options are also rather limited -- the Fujitsu does feature an extensive range of image adjustment options including contrast, brightness and individual colour settings, but lacks others such as picture in picture or an auto-detect mode for screen ratio.

Performance
From its high price point and relatively gimmick-free features list, it's clear that Fujitsu is aiming the P50XHA51AS at the discerning TV buyer who values picture quality over whiz-bangery. And thankfully, they've hit the mark when it comes to the picture -- we have few complaints over the impressive images this monitor was able to reproduce during our testing.

We ran our Digital Video Essentials tests with the Fujitsu and the set passed with flying colours on most of the benchmarks. Contrast and sharpness were particularly strong, with the P50XHA51AS producing deep, black image as well as distinct lines and edges. Colour was a stumbling block, however: blues and reds were accurately conveyed, but green was slightly hard to adjust to DVE standards during our testing.

Real world usage fared excellently as well. Hooked up to a HD tuner, the Fujitsu P50XHA51AS floored us with its quality, producing images on some shows that were almost three-dimensional in looks. Watching Bert's Family Feud on Channel Nine produced impressive colours and skin textures, and even picked up the unnatural smoothness of Bert's over made-up face.

With DVDs, the Fujitsu had no problems conveying fast-moving scenes. In the night time bug attack sequence in Constantine, the many scurrying insects and quick action of the scene was conveyed without any blurring or artefacts. This scene also showed the set's contrast in a positive light -- the many wet folds and drops on Keanu Reeves' black jacket were clearly visible, as was plenty of detail on his dark hair.

Overall, picture quality is above average on this Fujitsu monitor, which means price will probably be the main consideration for most punters out there. At AU$8999, the Fujitsu is priced much higher than many of its rivals, particularly the equally impressive Pioneer PDP-506HD, which only costs AU$7499. Without a built-in television tuner and with only an adequate list of inputs, the Fujitsu begins to look a little expensive for its asking price.

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