Panasonic VIERA 42-inch E30S LCD TV - Overzealous Luminosity

Launch SRP: S$1799

Design & AV Connectivity

Silver & Black Surfer

Panasonic may have turned a head or two when the purplish VIERA D25  landed here last year. For their recent 2011 line-up, Panasonic has since shed the purple outfit for something a little classier. As an immediate successor to the LED-flavored D-series, the E30S is dressed in a black bezel which fades to silver where the brand's logo resides. In our opinion, we do prefer this color scheme since it conforms better to diverse hues found in living spaces. Despite its E-LED lighting (Panasonic's term for edge-LED lighting), this unit is still relatively thick at 75mm compared to some of its competition. For instance, the Samsung Series 6 flaunts a slimmer depth of 29.9mm. For rack installations, the E30S features a rectangular pedestal base coated with a matte treatment, but do note that it doesn't swivel. Elsewhere, the E30S does not include touch-sensitive controls but offers hardware buttons on its right flank instead. Panasonic is also marketing their IPS Alpha panel with high contrast benefits, although its reflective surface is one trade-off you'll have to contend with. Here with us today is a mainstream sized 42-inch E30S model for our detailed scrutiny.

 

Panasonic's silver and black design has our vote from most of us here at HardwareZone. The IPS Alpha panel also offers improved contrast levels. However, its glossy treatment can be a bane under brighter lighting conditions.

Here's a closer look at Panasonic two-tone framework which gives it a handsome "burnt metal" look as well. The E30S is no slouch in the tuner department too for it comes embedded with both analog and digital tuners. 

The E30S features a sturdy spine with little "panel wobble". Then again, its solid construction can be attributed to the non-swiveling joint as well. Its rectangular base, however, feels less stable and may cause the TV to tip over when its unsettled.

 

AV Ports & Remote

Like most of Panasonic's recent displays, you won't find a shortage of AV ports on the E30S. By its side, the TV has a collection of HDMI, USB, Composite, Headphone and SD Card ports. The latter even supports SDXC format based cards. The SD Card function (and the VIERA Image Viewer), enables you to read various photo, audio and video files. Besides Panasonic's favored AVCHD format, the refreshed Image Viewer also supports DivX HD Plus and Full-HD MKV clips as well. As usual, the back panel is where the real AV meat is. Apart from the usual offerings, what's notable is the E30S' bevy of HDMI and USB slots. There are four HDMI and three USB ports in all, if you include those by the side panel as well. As for the remote's design, almost nothing has changed since we last handled the VIERA D25S. The wand still offers a fair grip with concise labels and relatively large buttons. However, the Blu-ray and TV toggle switch (VIERA Link) is noticeably missing on this model's stick.

Panasonic's E30S has an extensive array of AV connectors, including four HDMI 1.4 slots and three USB ports in all. If you're planning to wall mount this set, you might want to note that the side panel is only an inch deep which makes it highly accessible as well.

There's one other sweet feature Panasonic has thrown into the HDMI works. And that's the ARC feature found on Input 2 which enables you to output audio from a TV broadcast to your home cinema system using just a single HDMI cable, Neat!

Panasonic's clunky remote isn't the prettiest by far but at least it is functional. It also features an SD Card button which brings you directly to the VIERA Image Viewer. Strangely, the VIERA Cast button should read as VIERA Connect by now, but it isn't.

8.0
Design
8.5
HD Performance
8
SD Performance
7.5
Features
8.5
Value
7.5
The Good
Stylish Design
Comprehensive AV Connectivity
Extensive Media And Networking Support
The Bad
Inconsistent LED Backlights
Middling SD Performance
Lacks Content On VIERA Connect