televisions

Panasonic TC-P42U2 Plasma HDTV Review

42 in.

In its favor, the Panasonic TC-P42U2 is pretty inexpensive for a plasma.

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Tour & Design

Tour & Design Summary
Editorial Note: This is a review of the Panasonic TC-P42U2. Test results are for this model, but should indicate the general performance of other sizes in the TC-PxxU2 series. The TC-PxxU2 series includes the following models: TC-P42U2 and TC-P50U2.  Read here for more details on series differences.
{{article.attachments['Panasonic-TC-P42U2-vanity.jpg']}} • Lots of shiny plastic and hard edges • Onboard controls look ugly but feel of tougher stuff than most TVs • No swivel base
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Front


The front of the Panasonic TC-P42U2 confronts you with the standard Panasonic design: unremarkable, with lots of black plastic. The super-gloss shine on this particular unit tends to reflects everything in the room if you shine enough light on it. Along the bottom of the facade is the power button and a few indicator lights.

Panasonic-TC-P42U2-front.jpg

Back


The back of the Panasonic TC-P42U2 bulges out a bit to accommodate all the guts required to power a plasma screen. In the lower corner are a number of ports. The AC power jack is located more towards the center. For information about the ports on the back of the Panasonic TC-P42U2 see our Connectivity section.

Panasonic-TC-P42U2-back.jpg

Sides


As you can see from the photos, the Panasonic TC-P42U2 isn't as thin as the latest LED-lit LCD displays. The right side is blank, while the left side has a few conveniently placed ports and onboard controls. For information about the ports on the sides of the Panasonic TC-P42U2 see our Connectivity section.

Panasonic-TC-P42U2-sides.jpg

Stand/Mount


The stand for the Panasonic TC-P42U2 does not allow the display panel to swivel. We hate that. Even with the great viewing angle of a plasma screen, sometimes you need to move a TV. There's no reason you shouldn't have the option, except for Panasonic to save a few cents on a cheaper stand. It's just bad design.

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  • The base does not swivel. *

 

Controls


The onboard controls for the Panasonic TC-P42U2 are located on the left side of the display panel. Most companies try to blend them in, aiming for a discreet, seamless design. Not Panasonic, which makes its buttons as big and honking as possible. To their credit, the buttons feel great – far more sensitive and solid than most TVs. Perhaps we could reach some sort of middle ground here... just an idea.

Panasonic-TC-P42U2-ports-side.jpg

Remote Control


The remote control that comes with the Panasonic TC-P42U2 is basic, but functional. It feels solid in the hand and the buttons are intuitively placed. We weren't terribly impressed with the frequent squeakiness of the buttons, but on the whole, it's perfectly adequate. It can also control other Panasonic devices under the 'Viera Link' umbrella. 

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  • A decent enough remote *

 

In The Box*(5.0)*


The Panasonic TC-P42U2 ships with the stand, remote control, batteries, an AC cable, the instruction manual, and some other assorted documentation.

 

Aesthetics*(4.5)*


The Panasonic TC-P42U2 is not the most attractive TV we've seen. The entire frame is encased in high-gloss plastic, and with all the hard angles, there always seems to be some glare coming off it. The base looks as cheap as it is. But it's not downright ugly, either. 

Other Models in the TC-PxxU2 Series
This is a review of the Panasonic TC-P42U2. The other sizes of HDTVs in this series should be similar in terms of performance and usability. For details about any differences, click on the image to jump to the Series Comparison page.
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Panasonic TC-P42U2 42 inches Panasonic TC-P50U2 50 inches
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.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Vs Sony KDL 40NX700
  14. Vs Samsung LN40C630
  15. Vs Toshiba 42ZV650U
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
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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