Panasonic TC-P50S2 Review
For those consumers that are looking to purchase a fairly priced product that does deliver as promised, without having them breaking the bank, Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 may be just the next best thing. Showing that improving the last year technology is something totally in their powers, the manufacturers decided to make this model, as well as the others in the same series, a great combination of more than decent picture quality with the no frills type of attitude, under a not so boastful design. If you are to compare this 50 inch plasma TV with the step up models from the same company, like Panasonic TC-P50G20, and Panasonic TC-P50G25, you will see that there are several important changes, such as the lack of the THX certification, and the absence of wireless capabilities. Also, access to Viera Cast Entertainment is dropped, but, for a Panasonic plasma TV which comes with a price tag that does not go over the $1,000 mark much, there may not been too much need for such bells and whistles.
- Deep and strong black levels
- Reduced power consumption (when compared to last year models)
- Overall picture quality on par with more expensive models from the same company
- Color accuracy drops for low end signal
- False contouring issues
- Grey haziness present when playing standard definition content
This is not exactly an area where Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 does that great, but it is understandable since the more fancy extras are usually reserved by all manufacturers to their best plasma TV models. You will find no 3D TV capabilities, no THX certification, no Wi-Fi abilities, and no online streaming options. As opposed to models like Panasonic Viera TC-P50G20, or Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25, all these may sound like a big loss, but, considering the difference in price, they can be just the reason why this particular Panasonic plasma TV is considered to be a good deal. The one feature that consumers will find to come pretty handy is the Viera Link which enables them with control over other equipment attached to the TV. Also, Viera Image Viewer lets you use the SD card for viewing pictures. The same type of panel as the one used in the making of more expensive models is employed, although the lack of the Infinite Black technology may cause slight differences in image quality.
The design on Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 opts for a wider frame, which is not exactly this year’s trend, which aims at making all the best HDTV models as thin as fashion supermodels. While not engaging in the new thin and sleek craze, this Panasonic plasma TV has the Clear Touch type of design, which makes maintaining the bezel cleanliness totally easier.
Clearly, Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 is not aiming at making the connectivity options it has, a forte point. It has only three HDMI ports, but this is not a biggie, since its more expensive and pretentious brother, Panasonic Viera TC-P50G20, only has three, as well. You will find no Wi-Fi capabilities, though, and, since you cannot have access to online streaming services, this should not come like such a big surprise. Still, you can use the SD card for viewing images, and the PC input to hook up your computer and play some games. All in all, for the average consumer, looking to spend well their hard earned dollar, such connectivity options may be considered to be enough to go around.
Despite the fact that the Infinite Black technology is not present on the Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 model, picture quality, as exhibited by this 50 inch plasma TV, is excellent, and on par with the higher end models. The best thing about image performance is the quality of the black levels, which shows much improvement over last year’s models. Also, color accuracy does not disappoint, although you will not get the THX certification for this one, and the best performance belongs to the high definition content, as it happens with the other models from Panasonic’s high tier series. Standard definition is not that great, and playing 1080p/24 content can be a little tricky, but, all in all, the Panasonic plasma TV reviewed here does a pretty good job.
It is true that Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 cannot compete with Panasonic Viera TC-P50G20 or Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 when it comes to black levels, as it does not have the Infinite Black technology. Also, you may find that other models on the market, like Samsung PN50C7000, have better, ink like blacks, or that this Panasonic plasma TV does not compare with LG Infinia 50PK750, which has the TrueBlack filter incorporated. Still, the black levels are quite good and their contribution to image quality is very important. Combined with a good level of brightness, it renders a great shadow detail, as well.
Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 has no THX certification, which means you still have to tweak a little more with the controls until you obtain the right colors. Also, you will be able to notice differences when playing different types of content on your plasma TV. The colors tend to look more saturated, when you watch full high definition content, than otherwise. If the signal broadcast on your TV is of lower quality, the colors will not look as punchy as you would expect.
The best performance Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 can deliver is with high definition content. As it is happening with other competitive models from the same manufacturer, this is the area where these particular Panasonic plasma TV models excel at their best. Because of the great blacks the image has, and the accurate enough colors, the image looks quite good, although you should not expect out of this world performances when you want to watch 1080p/24 content. The superior refresh rates are still reserved for high end models, and it shows. The contrast ratio, which is still rather dashing for a product in this category, and the 600Hz sub field drive technology, may have their contribution in rendering the best HD image. Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 is able to produce 1080 lines of moving resolution, like the better models, which is a great plus.
The manufacturer did not succeed in making Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 a model that can play standard definition content at its best. But, since it did not succeed this with higher end models, either, this should not come as such a big surprise. The set’s inability to render the most accurate grayscale affects the way you are watching standard DVDs, or regular broadcasting, but keep in mind that this also happens on the more competitive, higher priced Panasonic Viera TC-P50G20, as well. The image tends to look a bit too soft, and image artifacts can also be a problem.
Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 is not at all a bad choice. Its image quality falls very little behind of the one seen on models that cost much more, and it comes equipped with all that matters. Direct competition from other HDTV manufacturers, include models like Samsung PN50C6500 (which has better connectivity), or LG Infinia 50PK750 (which has streaming options, and THX certification to make it rise above), but, depending on your personal preferences, you can go for one model or another. Also, you should take into consideration the very attractive pricing, since Panasonic Viera TC-P50S2 is still a model released in 2010 and its performances are more than just a tad above those seen on last year’s plasma TVs.
Because in our experience most of the time it has the best prices on HDTV, our recommended store is Amazon.com. Do look around for the best price, but make sure you don’t skip Amazon.com or you might miss a good deal.