Available locally late last year, the 65-inch EZ1000 (model: TH-65EZ1000S) is Panasonic’s flagship 4K OLED TV, and goes up against the likes of LG’s E7 and Sony’s A1 OLED TV series. Like its rivals, Panasonic attempts to strike a balance between an eye-catching and unobtrusive design, and has mostly pulled it off thanks to a negligible screen bezel, a glossy but tastefully done trim, and a cool-looking pedestal which chief goal is to ‘lift’ the panel off the table to create a floating TV look.
This hefty stand that runs across the bottom serves another important function: it’s part of the OLED TV’s Dynamic Blade Speaker system that houses no less than 14 speaker units (eight woofers, four squawkers, two tweeters, and a quad passive radiator). While this Technics-tuned soundbar doesn't support Dolby Atmos, it still generates room-filling sound and offers good stereo separation. Panasonic didn't manage to cram the TV’s processor, I/Os, and power supply unit into this bar however, which explains the bulge at the lower half of the otherwise super-thin TV’s back.
Feature-wise, the EZ1000 doesn't veer too much from the other premium 4K TVs. It has four HDMI 2.0 inputs, support HDR10 and HLG HDR formats (but not Dolby Vision), and runs Panasonic’s easy to understand My Home Screen 2.0 smart TV platform. If you’re like me and prefer to keep things simple, with just a few core streaming apps on the home screen, you’ll be well pleased with the EZ1000's UI model.
Out of the box, I found the True Cinema and the two Professional picture modes to offer the most realistic and accurate colors. Like Panasonic’s past flagships, the EZ1000 has an excellent color management system and you fine-tune white balance and select different gammas, but my review set was pretty spot on that I didn't need to get my hands dirty doing any drastic calibration. About the only thing I did was to set the Intelligent Frame Creation (a frame interpolation setting) to the lowest setting to improve motion resolution. Turning on Clear Motion also improved motion sharpness, but this caused a slight dip in brightness.
With a peak brightness of about 650 nits and a wide color gamut (99% DCI-P3), HDR truly shines on the EZ1000. HDR10 4K Blu-rays and Netflix streams all delivered exceedingly good contrast, with plenty of detail in specular highlights as well as in the shadows. While it couldn't go as bright as some of the best LCD TVs (like Samsung’s QLED TVs), the true blacks and excellent viewing angles more than made up for it. Even ‘normal’ SDR content looked great. Overall, Panasonic’s Studio Color HCX2 processor is a peach. The TV also worked well as a gaming display, with a very low input lag not too dissimilar to LG’s W7 and G7 OLED TVs.
When it comes to OLED TVs, most people will think of LG. But with the EZ1000, Panasonic has shown that it’s right up there too. With the right price, Panasonic has a winner on its hands.
(Editor's note: At launch, the 65-inch EZ1000 has a sticker price of S$10,999, but you'll find that its street price is much lower.)
Additional read: Panasonic unveils new FZ950 and FZ800 4K OLED TVs at CES 2018.
Note: This article was first published in the Dec 2017 issue of HWM.