The 42X60 is Panasonic's least expensive 2013 model plasma. Sporting a native panel resolution of 1024 x 768, the X60 can accept sources outputting up to 1080P resolution.
Measurements and a quick visual test were made for the various unmodified picture modes.
Standard mode: Somewhat dim overall, with dark details sinking into black, and flat whites. Color looked respectable, however.
Cinema mode: Cinema looked great, with very good shadow detail but somewhat polite colors. Contrast was excellent for a budget set, about on par with flagship plasmas from 2-3 years ago. Whites seemed slightly off-white, but the picture as a whole was surprisingly pleasant.
Custom mode: Bright but with very poor shadow detail: dark areas of the picture dissolved into huge black blobs. Whites managed to look highlighted and flattened at the same time, and the picture was etched and hard looking.
Game mode (not measured) looked similar to Custom, but with slightly less color.
Vivid mode (not measured) appeared to be a hyped up custom mode: it was over the top overexposed, too rich in color, and very bright.
Calibration: No picture mode had any white balance adjustments (or any other advanced calibration adjustment) in the user menu, so calibration of the X60 had to be done in the hidden service menu. Surprisingly, the X60's service menu featured only gain controls for white balance adjustment, meaning that the white balance of dark levels could not be balanced separately from brighter levels. In addition, the service menu save procedure was a little different from other Panasonic models I've worked with: the enter button had to be pressed for each gain control to be saved before exiting the service menu. Because of the lack of calibration controls, measured performance could not be significantly improved. This is one display that would benefit from the ISF calibration adjustments found in some upper model Onkyo receivers or outboard video processors. However, those components are unlikely to be used with a display at this price point.
Black level measured a very respectable .0084 fL, and the modified ANSI checkerboard contrast ratio was 2973:1 (.00865, 25.72 fL). Maximum brightness of a full white field was 15.29 fL. The X60 did an excellent job of minimizing white balance shift as the ABL kicked in; there was only a slight emphasis of green with larger windows and full fields in comparison to tiny measurement windows, as evidenced by the following measurements:
Color accuracy at various saturation and brightness levels was disappointing, though not necessarily for a budget display.
Uniformity was excellent, with blacks, whites, and grays looking consistent across the entire screen. Surprisingly, there was no hint of line bleed, something that plagues many more expensive plasmas.
Cinema mode calibrated best; Custom and Standard modes had different underlying characteristics that led to a less accurate image. Calibration reduced the off-white look Cinema mode had initially, while letting the excellent contrast shine through. Lack of 1080P resolution was visible with real images, though it did not call attention to itself at typical living room viewing distances.
The X60 is a very respectable budget display, with some very powerful strengths compared to LED LCD sets.
Panasonic TC-P42X60.pdf 1414k .pdf file