televisions

LG 42PT350 Plasma TV Review

42 in.

LG’s entry-level plasma, limited in features and an ill-fitting native resolution

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Introduction

The LG 42PT350 ($599 MSRP) is LG’s entry-level plasma, limited in features but adequate enough in many areas of performance. The drawback, though, is the ill-fitting 1024 × 768 native resolution, which created a number of problems for picture sharpness.

Design

The PT350 is decent-looking for an entry-level plasma.

By modern TV standards, the LG PT350 is as normal as they come. A thick bezel surrounds all four sides. Along the bottom there’s a reflective strip with a screen tone pattern. It’s questionable gilding on a rather drab lily, but we suppose it’s nice that they’re trying. Sometimes it's the effort that counts.

By modern TV standards, the LG PT350 is as normal as they come. Tweet It

The LG 42PT350 has a number of ports located on the back of the TV. The whole jack pack feels a little loose in the TV’s cavity—whenever you plug something in, the entire circuit board tucks back into the panel like it’s trying to avoid a poke. If you're brave enough to deal with that then you'll find a grand total of three HDMI ports, two sets of component ports, two sets of composite ports, VGA, USB, an RS-232C port, and a wired remote jack. The last two are aimed strictly at enthusiast users, so they are somewhat out of place on an entry-level display.

Smart TV Features

Cheap-looking menus tarnish the PT350's interface.

Having just wrapped up the review for LG’s entry-level LCD television, the LK330, we assumed things would be similar with the entry-level plasma. We really liked the LK330’s menu, which was mostly identical to the top-of-the-line LG LCD. What we actually got on the PT350 was something very close, yet uncannily removed.

It was almost like someone had copied the menus from the LCD line, but made them look cheap. All the sub-menus were the same and arranged in roughly the same way, but all the graphics were a little off—they were stripped of the finishing touches like color gradients and nicer fonts.

Picture Quality

Average performance dragged down by a very narrow contrast ratio.

If convincing blacks and whites are a deal breaker for you, steer clear of this entry-level LG. Tweet It

The LG 42PT350 tested with decent color accuracy, though not without some expected flaws. Its viewing angle and motion performance were likewise acceptable. What we'd really like to complain about is how terrible its contrast ratio scored: well below average, even for a TV in this price range and especially for a plasma. If convincing blacks and whites are a deal breaker for you, steer clear of this entry-level LG.

Conclusion

While not wholly terrible in any way, there's something about the PT350 that left a sour taste behind.

The LG 42PT350 ($599 MSRP) is a better entry-level TV than some others we have seen. This plasma TV has a reasonable price matched with a reasonable performance in many areas. The color scores were good and there are a number of useful connectivity options to satisfy all types of users, even high-end enthusiasts.

However, we cannot overlook a number of shortcomings that seriously dampen our good feelings towards the TV. The most significant issue is the 1024 × 768 native resolution. As it does not match any standard TV broadcast, everything must be re-sized to fit the screen, which created a number of sharpness problems. The motion performance, too, is inadequate. Even the black level, something that plasmas should have no trouble excelling at, was far less impressive than entry-level plasmas from Samsung and Panasonic.

Overall, the LG 42PT350 is only a bargain if you’re not too picky about image quality or you're looking for a plasma screen for a PC monitor.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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