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Panasonic DX900 UHD Premium TV review: Designed to let HDR shine

By Ng Chong Seng - 24 Oct 2016
Launch SRP: S$6999

Design and Features

 

Panasonic's best 4K LCD TV

While Panasonic has announced at least half a dozen 4K TV series this year, the company has chosen to bring in just four of them to Singapore, namely the DX400, DX650, DX700, and DX900. The other models that complete Panasonic's lineup here this year are the full HD DS630, DS500, and D400/D410.

As you’d expect from their names, spearheading this bunch is the DX900, a 4K TV crammed with the best TV tech Panasonic could muster. Available here only in a 65-inch screen size and filled to the brim with features like a quad-core processor, Firefox OS, and active 3D support, this DX900 (model name: TH-65DX900S) is expectedly a different beast compared to the very affordable and frill-less DX400 that sits on the opposite end of the lineup.

In fact, the DX900 represents quite a step up too from the next-in-line DX700. For one, it’s the only one that uses direct LED backlighting and supports full-array local dimming (FALD). Ceteris paribus, FALD TVs usually outperform LED edge-lit TVs in areas like black level and have better control over lighting-related artifacts (e.g., halo/bloom), simply because they’re able to exert more granular control over the LEDs behind the LCD panel. And in the DX900’s case, there are 512 local dimming zones, easily the most I’ve come across in any FALD set.

The DX900 is also the sole wearer of the Ultra HD Premium badge in this 2016 lineup. Panasonic didn’t reveal exact numbers, but the fact that the DX900 passed the stringent criteria set out by the UHD Alliance leaves no doubt that this 4K TV supports a 10-bit color depth, and is able to hit a peak brightness of at least 1,000 nits and a black level of less than 0.05 nits. And while many of Panasonic’s 4K TVs this year are able to process HDR, notice that “Ultra Bright Panel”, “HDR Premium”, and “Hexa Chroma Drive Pro” are some of the words exclusively used to describe the DX900’s features, further allusions by Panasonic that the DX900 is in a league of its own (compared to its other DX series siblings) when it comes to brightness and color reproduction.

 

Not pencil thin, but with good reason

If Samsung has a history of trying bold new designs to wow consumers, Panasonic has a history of playing it safe. The DX900 is first and foremost a flat TV, and the whole of its 1.46m width sits on a non-adjustable pedestal that’s about just as long. Thankfully, most of this stand can only be seen from the back; what you see from the front are two wedge-like feet at the ends and their starburst texture.

With a direct LED backlight unit, the DX900 is never meant to be a pencil-thin TV. It measures 64mm at its thickness point, and weighs a good 43kg with the stand. In addition, there are several cutouts at the back for the built-in fans to circulate the air. As such, I personally feel that the DX900 looks and works best on a TV console, instead of mounted to the wall.

And unlike Samsung’s SUHD TVs that use a breakout box to house some of the terminals, all of the DX900’s I/Os are found on the TV itself. The more pertinent ones include four HDMI inputs (all of which are 60/50p and HDCP 2.2 compatible), three USB ports, and a LAN port. The TV also ships with two remote controls, one that’s longer with many buttons, and one that’s shorter and curved and has a touchpad.

From the front, you may think that the DX900 is only supported by two tiny feet; but there's actually a stand bar at the back hidden from view. Because of that protrusion, you need to leave a bit of clearance behind the TV. (The depth of the TV with the stand is 334mm.)

The stand is designed to stay out of sight, but that doesn't stop Panasonic from dressing it up with a faux-leather finish.

There's a total of four HDMI ports - two at the bottom (one of which supports ARC), and two at the side. All of them play nice with 4K at 60/50p and HDCP 2.2. And yes, the DX900 has a built-in DVB-T2 digital tuner.

The DX900 comes with a classic remote (Netflix button!) and this smaller remote that does away with the number buttons but includes a touchpad.

It's also worth mentioning that the DX900 has a built-in DVB-T2 digital tuner. It also supports Mediacorp's Toggle Red Button service, which gives compatible TVs easy access to Mediacorp channels, TV guides, and select content from the Mediacorp Library and Toggle Originals. You can read more about Toggle Red Button here.

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8.5
  • Design 7.5
  • HD Performance 9.5
  • SD Performance 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Top notch local dimming performance
Bright panel, wide gamut combine to give class-leading 4K HDR quality
Excellent color management system
Supports Netflix and Netflix HDR streaming
Active 3D technology supported
The Bad
Firefox OS has few apps
Clean UI gets messy in system menus
FALD system means a thick chassis
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