Panasonic TX-55LZ1500 OLED TV Review

hcc_recommendedJohn Archer rates Panasonic's step-down OLED TV as an unmissable bargain for anyone who already has an immersive sound system

Rival OLED manufacturers are really getting started with new types of high-brightness panel designs, but Panasonic has been at it for years – with consistently great results. A catch has been that the brand's hardware-enhanced OLED TVs have tended to pile on the (Great British) pounds.

The previously reviewed (and adored) LZ2000 model (55in reviewed in HCC #334), remains near the top of the price ladder, yet there's a more affordable option for AV fans who want the same cutting-edge picture quality for way less money.

To be clear, the LZ1500 series – again represented here by a 55in model – carries exactly the same picture bells and whistles as the LZ2000s, meaning one of the latest high-brightness 'EX' OLED panels; a heat sink so the screen can run more brightly without increased risk of permanent image retention; support for both dynamic HDR formats; and the newest iteration of Panasonic's HCX Pro AI processor, which includes a new tweak to unlock more peak brightness.

As such, we won't go deep into picture quality here. Suffice to say, this set delivers all the accuracy, class-leading near-black management and pristine sharpness we've long enjoyed from Panasonic OLEDs, alongside levels of HDR intensity and wide colour vibrancy you can only get with the new EX panel/heat sink combo. And the company seems to be embracing the 55LZ1500's dynamic potential with some really quite exuberant image presets – although there are various options, including Filmmaker Mode, for fans of Panasonic's 'creator's intent' philosophy.

This step-down offering deploys the same My Home Screen 7.0 smart system as the LZ2000, with Apple TV and Disney+ among its streaming services, and Dolby Atmos support from any apps that carry it. It also mirrors its sibling set in terms of HDMI connectivity. Two of its four inputs are ready for 4K/120Hz gaming and VRR, but note you should select the 4K 120 Bypass option in the TV's menus to get 4K/120 feeds appearing in full vertical resolution.

Slimmed-Down Sonics
The 55LZ1500 differs from the LZ2000 in terms of its physical appearance; it's much sleeker than the flagship model. The reason for this is that it doesn't carry the 360° Soundscape Pro audio system, with its expansive roster of up, forward and side-firing speakers, including the below-screen bar with 15 beam-forming drivers. Instead you get a 2 x 15W-rated stereo array, beefed up by a 20W woofer and twin passive radiators.

Not surprisingly this leaves the 55LZ1500's audio well short of the LZ2000. The soundstage it creates is much smaller, the sense of 3D space from Atmos mixes is greatly reduced, and imaging/effects placement is less precise. Another notable difference is its bass performance. There isn't enough low-frequency oomph or extension here to generate the scale and heft the first appearance of the massive Sandworm in Dune (4K Blu-ray) deserves.

With the film's less challenging/immersive moments the 55LZ1500 sounds fine. Dialogue is clean and well contextualised, Hans Zimmer's score ebbs and surges with some aplomb, and it plays reasonably loud too.

If you want the fantastic picture quality of the 55LZ1500 with significantly better built-in audio, you'll have to find an extra £500 for the 55LZ2000. If, on the other hand, you have an external sound system, then rest assured this more affordable set gives you Panasonic's top-tier picture quality. And there's a 65in model available too....

HCC Verdict

Panasonic TX-55LZ1500

Price: £1,799

We say: If you want Panasonic's best ever picture quality without paying for the premium audio of its flagship LZ2000, this TV is the answer.

Overall: 4.5/5


4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160 HDR: Yes. HDR10; HLG; Dolby Vision; HDR10+ TUNER: Yes. Freeview HD; satellite HD CONNECTIONS: 4 x HDMI inputs; optical digital audio in; headphone; 3 x USB 4K/120 PLAYBACK: Yes SOUND (CLAIMED): 2 x 15W, plus 20W woofer BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): N/A Contrast: N/A DIMENSIONS (OFF STAND): 1,227(w) x 711(h) x 69(d)mm WEIGHT (OFF STAND): 15.5kg

Features: Built-in Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; USB multimedia playback; HCX Pro AI processing engine; My Home Screen 7.0 smart system; EX panel with heat sink tech; works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant