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Panasonic HZ2000 65in (TX-65HZ2000B) review: OLED picture perfection

Vincent Teoh Tom Bruce
16 Nov 2020
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
3,999

The new 4K OLED flagship from Panasonic has the best picture quality of any TV in 2020. It doesn’t come cheap, though

Pros 
Natural, vibrant colours
Impressive inbuilt Dolby Atmos speakers
Highest peak brightness of any 2020 OLED
Cons 
Expensive
Lacks next-gen HDMI2.1 gaming features
Rare frame skipping with 24Hz HDR movies
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Panasonic’s latest 4K flagship is yet another in a long line of industry-leading OLED televisions from the respected Japanese firm. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s the best one yet. But it’s also extremely expensive, making even some of the priciest OLED sets from LG, Philips and Sony look affordable by comparison.

It’s expensive for a reason, mind you. Every Panasonic HZ2000 TV comes with a custom ‘OLED Professional Edition’ panel that has to be developed in small batches and on a separate production line to Panasonic’s other OLED models. This special panel is capable of higher peak brightness levels than any other OLED we’ve tested, and it’s also fitted with a large heatsink that’s able to dissipate heat more effectively than other panels, making it less susceptible to burn-in.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that the HZ2000 has the best picture quality of any 4K TV you can buy, period. If you want your movies and shows at home to look as good as they possibly can, then keep reading.

Panasonic HZ2000: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:55in TX-55HZ2000B,
65in TX-65HZ2000B (reviewed)
Panel type:OLED
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate:120Hz
HDR formats:HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG
Audio enhancement:eARC, Dolby Atmos
HDMI inputs:4 x HDMI 2.0b
Streaming services:Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Freeview Play, BritBox, Rakuten TV, YouTube etc.
Tuners:DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-C, DVB-S2, Analog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM)
Gaming features:ALLM
Wireless connectivity:WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth
Smart platform:my Home Screen 5.0

Panasonic HZ200 review: What you need to know

Panasonic’s HZ2000 is a direct follow-up to the Panasonic GZ2000 launched in 2019, and it’s available in 55in (TX-55HZ2000B) as well the 65in model (TX-65HZ2000B) we’re testing here. Packing the latest iteration of Panasonic’s HCX Pro Intelligent Processor, it supports every major HDR format going and has a built-in audio system that includes integrated upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers at the rear/top of the TV.

As an upgrade over the GZ2000’s ‘OLED Professional Edition’ panel, the HZ2000 uses a ‘Master HDR OLED Professional Edition’ panel to achieve higher average brightness levels than its predecessor as well as boosted dynamic range. The HZ2000 also features Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing, two separate technologies that are able to compensate for bright ambient light during HDR playback.

Buy now from Appliances Direct


Panasonic HZ2000: Price and competition

As far as 4K TVs go, the HZ2000 is about as expensive a television as you can buy. Our HZ2000 65in review unit launched with a staggering RRP of £4,300, and that has since dropped down to a still pricey £3,799 at retailers such as John Lewis and Appliances Direct.

Meanwhile, the Panasonic HZ2000 55in retails for around £2,999. Both sizes of the HZ2000 cost the same as the 2019 GZ2000 equivalents, meaning Panasonic hasn’t cut its prices year on year.

Competing brands are doing exactly that, as evidenced by Sony’s flagship A8 OLED 65in, which has launched at £2,799. Philips is at it too: the 2020 Philips OLED+ 935 55in will cost £200 less than its predecessor, the OLED+ 934.

LG’s latest premium OLEDs are also putting the pressure on Panasonic. The LG CX is one of the best all-around OLEDs you can buy, with a 55in model priced at £1,799 and a 48in model that’s only £1,499.

Panasonic HZ2000 review: Design and features

Due to its custom panel and the Dolby Atmos speakers located above the screen, the HZ2000 is thicker than your typical OLED set. The left, right and upper bezels are impressively slim, if not quite as slender as the borders surround the Samsung Q95T, while the bottom border is thicker to accommodate some Technics-tuned speakers. The panel rests on a metallic pedestal stand with a weighty rectangular base that offers plenty of stability, and its relatively narrow footprint also makes it easy to place on most AV furniture.

All connections are found at the left rear of the display and include four HDMI 2.0b ports. It’s a shame that the HZ2000 isn’t HDMI 2.1-compliant but at least Panasonic has managed to implement two HDMI 2.1 features, namely eARC for lossless audio passthrough, and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for auto-switching to the TV’s low-latency Game Mode.

With its built-in up-firing and front-firing speakers, the HZ2000 creates one of the most convincing Dolby Atmos effects we’ve heard from a TV. Audio has a decent level of clarity and there’s plenty of body to the sound, as well. Panasonic also gives you the option to bolster the bass by connecting an external subwoofer. If you haven’t got the room or budget for a soundbar or a complete surround sound setup, the HZ2000’s speakers might be the next best thing.


Even the remote is a little special. It has a premium brushed metallic front, feels well-balanced in the hand and has great tactile button feedback. Some of the buttons are backlit, and there are shortcuts for the Netflix and Freeview Play apps.

Buy now from Appliances Direct


Panasonic HZ2000 review: Smart TV platform

The Panasonic HZ2000 runs the latest version of the Japanese brand’s smart TV OS, My Home Screen 5.0. It’s not as intuitive as LG's WebOS or Samsung's Tizen, but at least it has most of the major video demand services on board.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Rakuten TV and YouTube are accounted for, and you can watch all the UK catch-up services via Freeview Play. Disney Plus, Now TV and Apple TV are notably absent, however. To remedy this, you can just buy a 4K Fire TV stick or Roku Streaming Stick+. It’s a small price to pay, if you’ve already spent £4,000 on the TV.

READ NEXT: The best smart TV platforms

Panasonic HZ2000 review: Image quality

In common with all OLED TVs, the HZ2000’s OLED panel is self-emissive and so is naturally capable of achieving true black. It can also deliver incredibly vibrant colours and offers wider viewing angles than LCD LED TVs.

The HZ2000’s near-black performance is in a league of its own thanks to its remarkably effective suppression of flickering artefacts in heavily compressed content and hyper-accurate gamma tracking at near-black. As a result, the HZ2000 delivers spot-on shadow detail that’s neither crushed nor too bright – and no other 2020 OLED TV can match it.


It also has the most natural-looking, cinematic colours we’ve seen from a TV right out of the box, whether that be with SDR or HDR content. Colours look even better in Filmmaker Mode, the most accurate of the HZ2000’s picture presets and, after calibration, colour accuracy is nigh on perfect. The panel exhibited an average Delta E of 0.75 on an SG colour checker chart, and not a single colour exceeded a Delta Error of 3, meaning that any inaccuracies are small enough that they’re near impossible to detect with the human eye.

The HZ2000’s motion handling impresses, and even with motion settings such as Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) turned off, the HZ2000 is still capable of smooth 24fps SDR movie playback that’s totally free of telecine judder. In HDR mode, there are occasional instances of microstutter during scenes containing fog, smoke or extreme face close-ups, but it happens so rarely we feel that most people won’t notice it.

One key upgrade on the HZ2000 over its predecessor is the introduction of Black Frame Insertion (also known as Backlight Scanning) at 120Hz. In combination with the judicious use of IFC for motion interpolation, the HZ2000 achieves levels of motion clarity that rival the best plasma TVs, without producing noticeable flickering or luminance drops.

Brightness uniformity is excellent, with no signs of banding, Dirty Screen Effect or colour tinting on full-field grey slides. Darkness uniformity is also better than most OLED panels that we’ve come across; the sides appear ever so slightly brighter than the rest of the panel when displaying full-field slides, although this didn’t bother us in real-world viewing.

Unsurprisingly, the HZ2000’s video processing capabilities are superb; 720p and 1080p content look great in upscaled 4K, with even the most grubby of broadcasts looking relatively sharp.

Panasonic HZ2000 review: HDR performance

HDR performance doesn’t disappoint either. We measured a maximum brightness of 900cd/m2 on a 10% window after calibration and 135cd/m² at full-field. With the highest peak luminance of any 2020 OLED, the HZ2000 can express bright specular highlight details more clearly than any of its rivals. We also measured a DCI-P3 gamut coverage of 99%, so you’re getting the full spectrum of colours used to grade films for digital distribution.

Thanks to a new hard clipping function that wasn’t present on the GZ2000, you can even disable the TVs tone mapping functions in order to use the HZ2000 as a professional grading monitor. You know, if you wanted to.

The Panasonic HZ2000 supports every key HDR format, those being HDR10, HDR10+, Hybrid-Log Gamma and Dolby Vision. Specifically, that's the TV-led version of Dolby Vision, which is preferable to the player-led (or low-latency) implementation seen on TVs such as the Sony XH90, as it allows for richer colours and a more accurate representation of the creator’s original intent.

The TV also has two forms of ambient light sensing for HDR: Dolby Vision IQ and Panasonic’s own Intelligent Sensing. Dolby Vision IQ works well to lift shadows and midtones in a bright room while maintaining creative intent to a certain degree but, bizarrely, some settings such as noise reduction, sharpening and motion interpolation are engaged and then locked in place when IQ is active, so the picture doesn’t look as pristine as it should.

Intelligent Sensing sorts out the ambient light correction for all HDR content that is not Dolby Vision, and it’s only active when using Filmmaker Mode. In a bright room, Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing instantly adjusts the EOTF (Electro-Optical Transfer Function) to bring out the detail in shadows nicely, making it ideal for daytime viewing.

Buy now from Appliances Direct


Panasonic HZ2000 review: Gaming

As mentioned previously, the HZ2000’s custom Professional Edition panel has a large heatsink that dispels the heat generated from its very high peak brightness, allowing it to clear temporary image retention faster than any other 2020 OLED. In practice, this makes it much more resistant to OLED burn-in from images that remain on screen for long periods of time, such as the HUD in your favourite video game.

That’s certainly reassuring for hardcore gamers but, given the TV’s lack of HDMI 2.1 gaming features, it’s unlikely to appeal to that demographic. It does support ALLM at least, and in Game Mode it has a relatively quick input lag of 21ms on a 4K HDR 60Hz video signal. Yet the lack of Variable Refresh Rate and 4K at 120Hz input capabilities will no doubt put off prospective Xbox Series X and PS5 owners. For a true next-gen OLED gaming TV, look no further than the LG CX.

Panasonic HZ2000 review: Verdict

For watching movies and TV shows, however, Panasonic’s HZ2000 is unequivocally the best television you can buy in 2020. Its motion handling, brightness levels and near-black performance are unmatched and it produces the most gorgeous and natural-looking cinematic colours you could hope to see on a consumer television.

Colour accuracy is outstanding right out of the box too, especially with Filmmaker Mode engaged. Watching movies on the HZ2000 is a truly sumptuous experience and the immersion is only enhanced by the ambient light sensing technologies and Dolby Atmos audio.

At four thousand pounds, however, the HZ2000 is also the least accessible 4K TV on the market. Unless you’re a diehard cineaste or freelance colourist with several grand to spare, you’ll probably have to settle for an OLED from LG or Sony instead.