ConclusionWhen a reviewer spends their own money, they probably look at things one of two ways. They sometimes tend to nitpick things, because having spent their own money on something, they want it to perform up to and beyond expectations. Or the reviewer will gloss over negatives to help to convince themselves that they didn’t spend their money foolishly. So which way describes me? I would like to think the first.
Unfortunately, this is the hated input screen. Instead of hitting a button on the remote to immediately go to the wanted connection, this menu has to be used every time.
I knew the disadvantages of a S-IPS panel going into this, so the dark/black image issues that I have seen are not unfamiliar. I again have been using a S-IPS based 23” LCD for my primary computer going on 5 years now, so the dark color thing is a non-issue to me. What I was worried about when getting this TV were other potential issues. Things like input lag, sound sync issues, pixel blur, connectivity, dead pixels, stuck pixels, and a myriad of other playback features were what kept me up at night after spending my own $679. After using and abusing this panel for the past week I am quite happy to say that none of those fears have proven to be true.
The primary disappointment I have with this TV is the lack of an extra component input. The remote could be a lot better as well, especially when switching inputs. I certainly was not expecting a universal/learning remote, but having to use the onscreen display menu to even just switch inputs is annoying. At least volume is handled on the remote! The other problem that I quickly noticed (with two 7 year old boys in attendance) was how quickly the glossy cabinet became dusty and covered with fingerprints. Perhaps an option for a matte finish frame would be nice for 2010 models? For the panel itself, the slightly dimmed corners are a small annoyance, and the somewhat blotchy look with blacks in certain scenes is a negative.
The most exciting usage for me has got to be the HTPC and gaming. I can’t wait to get more racing games on this number, perhaps some flight sims as well. Note that without the flash, my burgundy walls do not appear pink…
There are better TVs on the market now, but none that are matching the price that I paid for this particular set. While Newegg no longer offers it for $679 or even $779 anymore, there are other online outfits which have it for under $799. This is a tremendous buy at $679, but it is still a very good buy at $779 up to $900. The price for the feature-set is very fair, and the overall quality of this set is top notch so far.
I put my money where my mouth is, and I can honestly say that this is one of the best buys I have had in recent history. Perhaps the only buy that compares is the Sony STR-DH800 that I bought for $276 last Summer. It has been many years since I last updated my home theater setup in such a way, and now it is ready for another 7 years before the itch strikes again. Unless of course the price of a similar LED-LCD panel drops in the same neighborhood…