Hands-on review: Panasonic 65' JZ980 OLED 4K Smart TV
Our household is a tough one to satisfy for a new television. We want the gaming experience to be top-notch and the NetFlix movies to feel cinematic. Then on top of that, it needs to be simple to operate (for those older family members).
We got our hands on a Panasonic 65" JZ980 OLED 4K Smart Television to see if it matched the brief.
To start with, you have to marvel at its size. This is the largest TV I've ever had in the house. It came in clever packaging that protected the device and was easy to unpack. However, you will need two people.
It includes a heavy-duty ground stand, which keeps the TV reasonably close to the surface below. As a result, it was the perfect gap for our Apple TV - Sky decoder to fit underneath neatly.
From the side, the top third of the TV is very thin, just millimetres, while the bottom two-thirds widens out to 6cm thick to keep all the electronics. This is one very slim TV; in fact, when you are unpacking it, you have to be careful which parts you can lift it by, as some parts are very slimline.
From the front, there is basically no bezel (the black gap around the picture).
The technology behind the display is OLED which is the gold standard. It's much higher quality than QLED and the old fashioned LED. One of the key advantages of OLED is every pixel can have its luminosity adjusted and even turned off. So the colours appear vivid and natural while the blacks can be pure black.
When plugging it in, you have vast numbers of options. Three HDMI ports are on the rear and one on the side. I could see the side one being useful when you want to present your family photos from a laptop.
Two of these HDMI ports support all the most advanced features like 4K video at high frame rates.
There are many other inputs, but realistically with built-in Wi-Fi and numerous apps, you may have a lot fewer reasons to use even the HDMI ports nowadays.
I was extremely pleased with the speakers. These two 15 watt speakers are spectacular, probably due to the Dolby Atmos audio technology. Games, films and music videos came alive with these immersive speakers.
This TV is so smart that a lot of things are being done behind the scenes. For example, it analyses the picture constantly to finess the colour accuracy, the contrast and the clarity. This artificial intelligence even knows whether you're watching sports or films and adjusts itself. Genius!
Panasonic also worked with Netflix on a new model that ensures your movies run precisely as the director intended.
Then it came to gaming time. We had an Xbox Series S connected, and we changed the TV to 'Game Mode Extreme'. This was the best Assassins Creed Valhalla experience any of us had ever had. Panasonic puts it down to the HDMI 2.1 with High Frame Rates (HFR), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and AMD FreeSync Premium support. We just thought it felt as realistic as a game can get in 2022. This is a Gamers TV.
Even with all these impressive features, the software that runs the TV is easy to follow and the remote just made sense. I was particularly impressed by how fast the system ran, no waiting around while the TV catches up (which I have experienced with other new TVs).
Built in were all the essential apps that you could imagine, from FreeView, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, AppleTV+ etc. So all I needed to download was Aljazeera and TVNZ on Demand.
At this point, I started to question whether I even needed a separate AppleTV box. Anything I had ever done with it was already built-in to the TV.
In addition to the included remote, you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or control the TV using Alexa or Google Assistant.
This TV compromises on nothing; its vivid colours, pure blacks, incredible detail and advanced technologies make it class-leading. As a result, this is the best possible experience for film buffs and gamers while being simple to operate.