The Panasonic LZ2000 is an excellent OLED that delivers staggering accuracy, immersive sound and next-gen gaming features
- Superb image accuracy
- Bright, impactful HDR
- Excellent sound quality
- Only two HDMI 2.1 ports
- Cluttered remote lacks a backlight
With Sony and LG launching their annual assortment of premium OLED televisions and Samsung releasing an OLED set for the first time since 2013, the Panasonic LZ2000 has its work cut out to stand out from the crowd.
But it manages to do just that by delivering the most accurate out-of-the-box images of any OLED TV we’ve tested, along with best-in-class audio quality from its built-in surround-sound speaker system. It’s a solid choice for next-gen gamers, too, with two of its four HDMI ports supporting 4K/120Hz and VRR, and Panasonic’s Game Control Board providing an easy way to access key gaming information.
Sadly, the other two HDMI ports aren’t as well equipped, but there’s little else to dislike about the Panasonic LZ2000 save the price and an overly busy remote that lacks a backlight. We’re yet to test Sony’s flagship OLED for 2022, but the Panasonic LZ2000 acquits itself admirably against tough competition from its LG and Samsung counterparts.
Panasonic LZ2000 review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||55in TX-55LZ2000B|
|Resolution:||4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)|
|HDR formats:||HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive, Dolby Vision IQ|
|Audio enhancement:||Dolby Atmos, 360° Soundscape Pro|
|HDMI inputs:||2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0b|
|Freeview Play compatibility:||Yes|
|Tuners:||Terrestrial, satellite, cable|
|Gaming features:||Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Game Mode Extreme with Game Control Board|
|Wireless connectivity:||Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth|
|Smart assistants:||Google Assistant built-in, Amazon Alexa built-in|
|Smart platform:||my Home Screen 7.0|
Panasonic LZ2000 review: What you need to know
The Panasonic LZ2000 is the flagship entry in Panasonic’s 2022 OLED lineup and boasts a set of specifications worthy of that title. There are three size options available: the 55in version reviewed here, a 65in variant and the 77in “Cinema Size” model.
All three are powered by the company’s HCX Pro AI processor, come with a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) Master OLED Pro panel that has a 120Hz refresh rate and heatsink, and use Auto AI and ambient light technologies to adjust the picture based on the type of content you’re watching and the conditions in your living room.
There’s support for the HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ HDR formats, and the Dolby Atmos object-based audio format is supported, too. Audio is delivered by Panasonic’s integrated 360° Soundscape Pro system, tuned by Technics, and features an upfiring speaker, two side-firing speakers and a forward-facing speaker array.
The Panasonic LZ2000 uses the latest iteration of Panasonic’s own operating system – My Home Screen 7.0 – and the majority of the streaming services are present and correct, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus, as well as Freeview Play. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are both built in and there’s a microphone on the LZ2000’s remote to enable voice commands.
Panasonic LZ2000 review: Price and competition
The Panasonic LZ2000 starts at £2,300 for the 55in model, with the 65in and 77in variants costing £2,900 and £4,300 respectively. That’s more than similarly specified options from LG and Samsung, both of which have cut the prices of their premium OLEDs aggressively since launch.
LG’s top-of-the range 4K OLED, the LG G2, is designed for wall mounting and will set you back £1,599 for the 55in model, £2,499 for the 65in model, and £3,999 for the 77in model. Like the LZ2000, the G2 incorporates heat dissipation technology that enables it to achieve higher peak brightness.
A more affordable option from LG is the LG C2, the follow-up to our favourite TV of 2021, the LG C1. It’s available in a wider range of sizes than the G2, with 42in and 48in models designed to cater for those lacking display space. Those models miss out on the brightness boosting tech of the larger TVs but still have four HDMI 2.1 ports that support the full range of next-gen gaming features. The 55in variant can be picked up for £1,399, the 65in model will set you back £1,899, while the 77in option costs £3,299.
Samsung’s first OLED TV for the best part of a decade, the Samsung S95B, uses Quantum Dot technology to enhance the picture quality of its OLED panel. It delivers awesome SDR images, bright HDR for an OLED and a full suite of next-gen gaming features, but is only available in 55in and 65in screen sizes. The smaller option costs the same as the 55in LG C2 – £1,399 – while the 65in variant will set you back £2,299.
We’re yet to review Sony’s 2022 QD-OLED, the Sony A95K, but like the Samsung S95B, it comes in just 55in and 65in screen sizes. The former launched at £2,699 but was available for £2,399 at the time of writing, while the latter can be purchased for £3,199.
Panasonic LZ2000 review: Design, connections and control
The 55in Panasonic LZ2000 is a smart-looking OLED that measures 1,225 x 60 x 760mm (WDH) and weighs 19.5kg without its stand. The stand takes the form of a pedestal measuring 390 x 350 mm (WxD) and weighs a hefty 5kg.
That weight ensures it’s extremely sturdy, and it swivels too, so you can adjust the viewing angle or easily access the back of the panel if necessary. The base is rounded at the front but straight-edged at the rear, allowing you to push it flat against the wall. If you’d prefer to wall-mount it, you can do so using 300 x 300mm VESA brackets.
There’s only 25mm clearance under the LZ2000, so it isn’t a TV you’re going to want to put a large soundbar in front of. That’s by design, however, as the LZ2000 has one of the most fully formed built-in sound systems of any TV on the market.
The LZ2000’s physical connections are split into two sections, with a Common Interface slot, headphone/subwoofer socket, two USB-A ports and one HDMI port facing the side on the left of the panel as you look at it, and the remainder of the ports facing downwards. These include three further HDMI ports (two of which support 4K/120Hz), a TV aerial socket, a third USB-A port, Ethernet port, analogue video input and optical output.
In terms of wireless connectivity, you have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but no AirPlay2 or Chromecast built-in, although screen mirroring is easily enough achieved if your smartphone is on the same wireless network.
The LZ2000 ships with a large silver and black infrared remote that looks nice but is relatively heavy and feels quite cluttered. There are buttons to quickly cycle through key picture modes and switch sources at the top of the zapper and, as you work your way down, you’ll find quick access buttons for Netflix, Rakuten TV, Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube and Freeview Play.
Below that are navigation buttons, buttons to access various menus, the electronic programme guide (EPG) and a handy “My App” button, which acts as a shortcut to an application of your choice. Smack bang in the middle of the remote is the microphone button, which you can use to hail either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. There’s no denying that the options at your fingertips are extensive, but there are slightly too many buttons for my liking and the remote itself lacks a backlight, which is a disappointment.
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Panasonic LZ2000 review: Smart TV platform
Panasonic has stuck with its own My Home Screen operating system for the LZ2000 and version 7.0 is both responsive and easy to navigate.
Hitting the “Home” button on the remote brings up your list of apps in a row that extends across the screen and these can be moved around and unpinned at your leisure, providing some welcome customisation options. The experience can be further customised using “My Scenery”, which lets you display moving wallpapers and slideshows on the screen when you’re not watching TV.
App provision is comprehensive and includes most of the big hitters, with Now and BT Sport the only notable absentees. In addition to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, and YouTube, you’ve got Rakuten TV, BritBox UK, DAZN, Deezer and a few other less popular services. Should you be craving something a little more niche, such as Al Jazeera, you’ll likely find it available to download via the “Apps Market”. Freeview Play is also present and correct, allowing you to catch up with all your favourite programmes on the UK’s biggest terrestrial channels.
Panasonic LZ2000 review: Image quality
Picture quality plays a huge part in the battle for OLED supremacy, and the Panasonic LZ2000 certainly gives its rivals a run for their money in this department.
There are a number of picture modes to choose from, ranging from Normal to Game by way of Professional Photo, Cinema, Filmmaker, True Cinema, Custom, Professional1, Professional2 and Sport. Each can be adjusted in multiple ways, with sliders for luminance level, contrast, brightness, colour, tint and sharpness all available in the picture settings menu.
Other options include Noise Reduction and Resolution Remaster toggles, a 15-point Dark Visibility Enhancer, Intelligent Frame Creation (picture smoothing), which can be set to Max, Mid, Min, Off or Custom and automatic contrast control, which tweaks contrast based on the image on screen. In short, if you enjoy customising your viewing experience, you’re in for a treat.
Fortunately, the LZ2000 is able to deliver excellent images with very little tinkering. Indeed, its Filmmaker mode is stunningly accurate straight out of the box. The mode tracked Gamma at 2.1 and produced an SDR greyscale with an average Delta E error score below 1, which is the best performance from any 4K OLED television we’ve tested.
Colour performance in Filmmaker mode proved equally impressive, with another average Delta E score of below 1 illustrating the LZ2000’s ability to reproduce the sRGB colour gamut without any perceivable errors. Only the red and blue primary colours crept over an error score of 2, which is still below the visible threshold of 3.
While Filmmaker mode should be the choice if you’re after accuracy, the Auto AI mode, which tweaks the picture based on the type of content you’re watching and your ambient light conditions, impressed too. Colours look vivid, shadows detailed and highlights crisp regardless of whether the room was dark or well lit and whether I was watching sport, films or YouTube.
The Normal and Dynamic modes weren’t quite as visually engaging to my eyes, with an excess of blue in the greyscale evidenced on screen. Colour accuracy in those modes also takes a hit. You can play around with the settings to improve things, but you’re better off switching to either Filmmaker or True Cinema mode, with the latter slightly less accurate but still able to deliver a clean, contrasty and punchy image.
The Panasonic LZ2000’s motion handling and upscaling capabilities are both highly impressive, too. Nintendo Switch games running in native 1080p looked better than ever, while fast-paced sports such as tennis and football looked smooth but not unnaturally so thanks to Panasonic’s Smooth Motion Drive Pro technology.
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Panasonic LZ2000 review: HDR performance
If you’re forking out over £2,000 for an OLED TV, you’ll likely want to watch a lot of HDR content to get the most out of it. And when it comes to HDR performance, the LZ2000 scores very highly.
It supports all the main HDR formats – HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ – and has the brightness to do them justice without requiring any tone mapping. In the most accurate Filmmaker mode, I recorded peak brightness of over 1,000cd/m² on a 10% window, with that figure dropping to a touch over 200cd/m² on a full-field pattern. Those numbers allow the LZ2000 to articulate details in both light and dark scenes extremely well and with plenty of punch, too.
Even more impressive was the LZ2000’s tracking of the Electro-Optical Transfer Function (EOTF) curve. This represents how a TV should ideally transfer data into onscreen brightness, and the LZ2000 tracked it pretty much perfectly while in Filmmaker mode. Coverage of the BT.2020 colour gamut was recorded at commendable 76% and saturation sweeps of the DCI-P3 gamut within BT.2020 proved very accurate as well.
This was reflected by the intergalactic vistas on show in the HDR10 cut of Star Trek Beyond on Blu-ray. Although the film was not shot in native 4K and it’s impossible to say quite what the geology on an alien planet should look like, the external settings looked authentic and expertly rendered.
While watching fantasy animation Maya and the Three in Dolby Vision on Netflix, colours looked sumptuous, with the Mesoamerican-inspired setting wonderfully vibrant and action sequences breathtaking.
Panasonic LZ2000 review: Sound quality
To complement its excellent picture quality, the LZ2000 has the beefiest built-in audio system of any OLED in the form of 360° Soundscape Pro. The system consists of a 490 x 60mm upfiring speaker located behind the panel, two side-firing speakers and a 60mm high speaker array that runs all the way along the bottom of the panel.
The combination can output 150W, supports Dolby Atmos and can be optimised to take into account the dimensions of your room using Panasonic’s Space Tune calibration. This can be done manually by inputting various measurements or automatically using a test tone from the TV and the mic in the remote.
The result is a TV audio experience that’s up there with the very best you’ll get without investing in one of the top soundbars. There’s width to the soundstage, decent low-end extension and the height effects delivered by the upfiring drivers add an extra layer of immersion when watching content with an Atmos soundtrack. Positional cues are precise and the Auto AI mode successfully balances different frequencies when the sonic demands of scenes are rapidly changing.
Auto AI is one of several audio modes, with Standard, Music, Speech, Stadium and User completing the lineup. I wanted a little more vocal clarity from the Speech mode at times but was very taken by Stadium mode, which is engaged automatically if you select the Sport picture preset and have “Sport Link” toggled on in the TV’s settings. As the name suggests, Stadium mode seeks to recreate the immersive audio experience of being at a live sporting event and I thought it worked really well. I got an additional sense of scale with the mode active and found myself using it for a lot of non-sport content as well.
Not content with squeezing all that into what is an attractive OLED frame, Panasonic has incorporated directional sound options that use beam-forming technology. Pinpoint mode sends audio to a single specific position in your room, Area mode functions similarly but with a wider radius, while Spot mode lets you adjust the volume of audio in a certain location while still projecting sound into a wider sound field. All of these modes can be tweaked to suit the user and there’s no denying they work, although I imagine most people will stick with the basic modes for simplicity’s sake.
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Panasonic LZ2000 review: Gaming
The LZ2000 houses two HDMI 2.1 ports that support the full suite of next-gen gaming features. Inputs 1 and 2 both support 4K/120Hz (High Frame Rate), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and AMD Freesync Premium, although input 2 is the only one that supports eARC. All four HDMI inputs support Auto Low Latency Mode.
In addition to that gaming provision, Panasonic has introduced a new “60Hz Refresh Mode”, which minimises latency when playing games at 60Hz, and “Game Control Board”. The latter functions as a user interface akin to Samsung’s Game Bar, and allows you to view and adjust key gaming metrics such as resolution, frame rate, VRR and HDR tone mapping metadata.
Overall, my gaming experience with the LZ2000 was a very positive one. Colour accuracy in the Game mode was unsurprisingly not on a par with that in Filmmaker mode, but the dystopian future depicted in the PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077 was rich in detail and really benefited from the LZ2000’s high brightness when delivering HDR content. Gunplay in Night City was very smooth, with latency having no detrimental effect on my ability to react to being swarmed by enemies from every angle.
It’s a shame that only two of the HDMI ports are up to the 2.1 standard but this will suffice for most people, particularly as the need to hook up a soundbar to the eARC input isn’t as great given the quality of the built-in sound system.
Panasonic LZ2000 review: Verdict
The LZ2000 is the jewel in Panasonic’s TV crown and part of an elite group of OLED sets offering a sensational home theatre experience at a premium price. If you’re looking for out-of-the-box picture accuracy, its Filmmaker mode makes it the pick of the OLED TVs we’ve tested, and no TV we’ve heard this year has a built-in audio setup that sounds as good, although the Philips OLED+937 may well run it close thanks to its integrated Bowers & Wilkins soundbar.
The absence of a couple of popular apps, a backlight on the remote and 4K/120Hz support on two of the HDMI ports are disappointing but don’t do too much to detract from all the things the Panasonic LZ2000 gets right. It’s a first-rate flagship that’s an appealing alternative to similarly advanced sets from LG, Samsung and Sony.
However, it’s significantly more expensive than the LG G2 and Samsung S95B, following big price cuts on those models since launch. That may harm its chances but, on merit, it’s right up there with the best TVs available today.