I just got my 50G10 home about three hours ago. (replacing a 50PZ85U) Although it will be running the break-in sequence for several days before I start actually using it, here are some initial impressions:
-There is some slight buzzing but ONLY during a few of the solid gray slides. The PZ85U made this noise on every one and sounded absolutely nuclear by comparison.
-There are at least two fans in the back (I don't feel like moving it again right now to see if there are more as I finally got my sources hooked back up and got the panel back into place) and they're perfectly silent unless you poke your head to the back side of the television. There's a slight hint of warmth coming from them, but it's noticeably cooler than the 85U.
-Whereas Cinema seemed to be the only mode on the 85U where the picture wasn't visually noisy, every mode except Vivid seems to be usable on the G10.
-The panel is extremely uniform and doesn't have any of the manufacturing imperfections (not typically noticeable except for on the occasional solid color, mind you) of my 85U. I had a row of four quarter-sized lighter spots and a few "streaks" on the inner glass in the upper-right hand corner of the old panel. I've inspected the entire G10 from an inch away and nada, nothing, zero imperfections. It's perfect.
-The remote sucks. The silver on the navigation functions look cheap and it's ridiculous that the menu button was decreased to a third of the size and hidden away at the top. Also, the backlight is restricted to the volume and channel buttons. They could have at least had a light behind the now hidden and all too important Menu button. It's a bit obnoxious that they're touting these Viera features so heavily as many will never use them. Unless there's some kind of firmware update that I can't transfer via the SD card slot, an ethernet cord is never touching my television.
-Speaking of the SD card slot, it seems a bit cheaper than last years models. It doesn't click in and out as easily, but this is a minor quarrel. (hey, I haven't seen it mentioned here yet
-The bezel is quite a bit smaller than the 85U and, in my opinion, it makes the screen size look a bit smaller. It doesn't seem to dominate the room the same way as the old set did. However, this could actually be a good thing for those who were considering a 46" because they feel that the 50" is "too large." It's a very understated, almost unassumingly humble design. Also, the circular base doesn't strike me as being as aggressive looking as the wedge design. Despite all this, it is prettier than it looks in pictures as it doesn't seem to bulge out around the glass as I expected. Also, the subtle fade from black to silver at the bottom was a nice touch and adds a bit of identity.
Now, a few major things.
I couldn't help myself. I submitted to temptation and watched a few minutes of television and a bit of The Dark Knight.
-48Hz is still worthless. DO NOT buy the TV based on this feature because it's UNUSABLE. There's simply no debating it... it was a bad decision all the way around to include this feature. However...
-I immediately noticed better panning fluidity while in 60 Hz mode. Now, I'm someone who wrote off the "600 Hz sub-field" as marketing nonsense just like when they were touting the 480 Hz spec, but I, for one, noticed it. Also, I don't know whether to attribute it to this phenomenon or to a possibly functional noise reduction function, (comes defaulted to "low") but the 1080i signal broadcasted by my local NBC affiliate was devoid of the blocks of pixelation caused by motion that was present on the 85U.
-At first glance THX mode... is much better than expected. I'll agree with the slight "antique" look that Chad cited, but it was immediately quelled when I changed the temperature from the default "Warm 2" to "Warm 1." Everything looked very natural, more so than any tweaking I've seen with the 85U, but it did lack the same punch found with the latter set post-Cinema calibration. However, it can possibly be calibrated to look much better, custom mode does look to be VERY promising on this set, and I was surprised at how much more acceptable the Game mode looked after only turning off Color Management. I may actually use it for... well, games!
-The blacks are noticeably deeper, but don't expect them to match the bezel. (yes, even on an all black screen) I instantaneously noticed a difference in the letterbox bars on TDK
and the night shots in Hong Kong look very deep and detailed. Again, I have done no real tweaking of this set yet, so this could improve, but it's a top performer in this area out of the box.
Now, two reasons that I find very critical in getting the G10 over the S1 AND the 85U
-You can achieve a natural looking green on this set, but I'm unsure if this is restricted to THX mode.. I played with an S1 that was on display next to a Sammy plasma from last year and the latter set was much less neon. This looked closer to the Sammy. In other words, you get great Sammy colors with deeper blacks and an added sense of reliability.
-THE RED PUSH IS FINALLY FRIGGIN' GONE!!! Praise be to the fine folks at Panasonic! In the same S1-Sammy comparison (I want to say it was a 650, but it may have been the lower-end unit) faces were noticeably more "sunburned" even after kicking the S1 into cinema and lowering the color significantly. The 85U didn't do this as dramatically post-calibration, but it was still very noticeable on a few HD programs and movies and SD content was often off the charts. Also, while looking punchy the 85U could sometimes make facial features seem a bit clay-like and lacking in fine features. (see: LCD displays) The G10 exhibits NONE of these problems on ANY (besides the useless Vivid mode) of the presets, even after cranking up the colors a bit. I don't know about everyone here, but to me this poor decoding is a deal-breaker and the S1 has it. I'm positive that after some tweaking this set will look plenty punchy AND have no random actors looking like they've stepped straight off of a Mexican beach onto the set. While I haven't looked through any color filters at either set yet, it's easy to see that the G10 can be dialed in MUCH better than either the 85U or the S1 and is, in my opinion, easily the better investment.
In summation: Great blacks, (but still no KURO from my experience) acceptable THX performance out of the box, accurate green primary (at least for THX), useless 48Hz mode, and, most important of all, NO RED PUSH.
It's a winner. Plain and simple.
Edit: I was tempted again and turned to Dancing With the Stars.
This program was absolutely unwatchable as it pushed reds so hard on the 85U and I was convinced that it was just broadcasted poorly. I was wrong. While the picture quality is actually pretty great it's still unwatchable... because the show is awful. :P