televisions

Panasonic Viera TC-L32C3 Review

32 in.

Solid motion performance for an entry-level set, but don't get too excited, this TV falls short all over the place.

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.

Introduction

At the bottom of Panasonic’s 2011 line, you will find the TC-L32C3 ($399 MSRP). It’s an interesting TV, using in-plane switching technology to achieve a wide viewing angle and solid motion performance in an entry-level set. These two features make it a consideration as a small sports TV, but don’t get too excited. There are significant drawbacks in contrast, color, resolution and other areas—many consumers will not be happy with this one.

Design

Can you call it design when it looks the same as everything else?

Panasonic doesn’t take any risky adventures into television design with this model. No color, no special texture, no super slim profile, and no leggy stand are hallmarks of the TC-L32C3. It’s every boring TV you’ve seen before with no surprises at all.

Panasonic doesn't take any risky adventures into television design with this model. Tweet It

Its handful of ports can be found on the back left-side. You really do not get much back there: two HDMI ports, one component and composite input each, a VGA port, and no 3.5mm audio input. There’s a spot for a cable or antenna to plug in, a digital optical output for connections to sound systems, and a curve ball—an SD card living alone on the left side of the display.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Smart TV Features

The menus are too basic to be difficult in any way.

With few advanced features, the menus on the Panasonic Viera TC-L32C3 are elementary. Pressing menu brings up a left side-bar with options for picture settings, audio settings, sleep timer, channel locking, closed captioning, and system settings for time, date, and other malarkey.

The SD card slot is the only extra feature on the Panasonic Viera TC-L32C3. The interface is easy to understand and it works well for individual photos. The picture slide shows are painfully slow. Hitting “Next” on the remote takes a full eight seconds before the next photo pops up. To put that in perspective, if you can stay on a bucking bronco for as long as it takes the TC-L32C3 to load a new photo, you could be the next rodeo champion.

Picture Quality

This is Panasonic's entry-level LCD and it really shows in certain performance areas.

"Entry-level" is a pretty loaded word in the television world. While it generally means "inexpensive," it also typically denotes a television with lackluster performance. As such, there are a lot of flaws we could discuss when pinpointing the C3's problems with display, but at $400 they're easier to overlook. Still, there are some serious issues, and by far its biggest drawback comes in the form of a tiny overall contrast ratio.

This display's dim output is a very good reason to pass on it entirely. Tweet It

The television uses "In-Plane Switching" (IPS) to achieve a great, wide viewing angle, but that choice causes serious issues in all other performance categories. The display does not offer a great black level, though we wouldn't expect that from an LCD. It is, however, much dimmer than we were expecting, which is really the worst of both worlds. Check out the science section if you want more detail on the contrast ratio, but know that this display's dim output is a very good reason to pass on it entirely.

Conclusion

We are certain that if you went to the store with $400, you could find a more suitable television.

The Panasonic Viera TC-L32C3 ($399 MSRP) is Panasonic’s lowest-end television for the year 2011. With an in-plane switching display—designed for optimized viewing angles and a speedy pixel response time—this Panasonic would seem to be a great secondary television, especially for watching sports. Many people can watch at the same time and motion will be displayed crisply.

Unfortunately, we cannot recommend the L32C3 for anyone as a primary television. We always try to think of the niche consumer that would find a certain feature useful or a price point to match highlights of quality, but the Panasonic Viera TC-L32C3 managed to defeat all of our theoretical buyers because of its poor color performance and awful contrast. You can find a better TV for the money.

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.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Compare Prices
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.

What's Your Take?

All Comments