The 55-inch version of the OLZ TV GZW2004 from Panasonic received our award for the best OLED TV 2019. The 65-inch model is in no way inferior to these achievements, but in 2020 it will have to assert itself against new competitors.
The successor model HZW2004 can already be seen on the Panasonic website, which not only looks confusingly similar to the GZW2004 from the outside. You can find out what the differences between the models are in our preliminary comparison of the two high-end TVs following this test. Since the 65GZW2004 hardly differs from the 55-inch model, we do without extensive test laboratory analyzes and instead refer to the results in our edition 5.2019. But what makes the GZW2004 so unique that we discuss this TV for the second time in a test?
Unique panel tuning
Panasonic relies on OLED panel tuning for the GZW2004 models in order to effectively alleviate one of the greatest OLED disadvantages: temporary afterglow effects are drastically reduced with the GZW2004. This is made possible by a reinforced rear wall, which dissipates the waste heat extremely effectively. Since OLED cells generate light with pixel accuracy and bright pixels emit significantly more heat than darker ones, the problem arises when changing images to uniform illuminated surfaces (all pixels should shine equally brightly) that shadow patterns appear in the previously lighter (warmer) areas. With the GZW2004, Panasonic succeeded for the first time in effectively combating these shadow patterns.
With the exception of the successor model HZW2004, no other OLED TV model has yet been announced that builds on this technology, which is why the GZW2004 is still a unique construction that you will not find in other OLED TV manufacturers. But Panasonic wants more: The manufacturer increases the average brightness of the GZW2004, which is why this OLED TV also displays more brilliant pictures. Under practical conditions, the lead over other OLED TVs can shrink to a few percentage points, but the difference is particularly noticeable with flat, bright picture sequences. Another advantage of Panasonic’s OLED control: Despite the logo dimming function, which specifically reduces the brightness of static elements, the GZW2004 shows no decrease in brightness in films or series if they run for minutes without changing the contrast – other OLED TVs often darken automatically the picture.
For movie lovers
Panasonic makes no secret of the fact that the GZW2004 should appeal primarily to film lovers. Even if you do not perform image calibration or rarely play movie content, you will quickly appreciate the excellent presets. Especially in the default settings cinema, THX or professional, the measured values could hardly be more precise and the TV even competes with professional monitors. If you choose the dynamic or standard mode, the automatic contrast control, which cannot be switched off, can cause the GZW2004 to show a flickering brightness when the contrast changes. If you want to spice up the source material, Panasonic’s color and contrast remastering is the better alternative to increase the saturation and dynamic range in the image without the result appearing too artificial. HDR image content with up to 4,000 nits of dynamic range is reproduced with almost no loss of detail, which is why the auto HDR image adjustment has little effect on this television.
Panasonic’s entry-level LCDs with significantly poorer image performance, on the other hand, benefit even more from the dynamic HDR adjustment. As befits a current high-end TV, the GZW2004 not only supports basic HDR signals such as HDR10 and HLG (also HLG photos), but also the dynamic variants Dolby Vision and HDR10 +. Since some UHD Blu-ray discs deliver both formats, it is highly creditable to Panasonic that you can make a preselection in the HDMI system menu, for example to force Dolby Vision playback and HDR10-Plus detection through the Bypass source. This ensures maximum flexibility and at the same time makes the GZW2004 an absolute display reference for everyone who wants to professionally evaluate the picture quality of UHD Blu-rays. Panasonic also does not miss anything in terms of display quality in the gaming sector: You can use a perfectly set picture mode and simply switch on the game option to reduce the input delay to 22 milliseconds. The pixel-perfect RGB playback of PC signals can also be activated in seconds using the optional Pure Direct mode. However, new HDMI functions are missing: VRR, a 120 Hz signal acceptance and an eARC sound transmission cannot be implemented with the GZW2004.
Instead, ALLM is supported as the only new HDMI feature, so that the TV automatically switches to game mode as soon as a video game is started. And we also have to criticize the sound concept, because Panasonic constructs the GZW2004 as an all-in-one solution: you not only acquire a high-end display, but also receive a Dolby Atmos-compatible sound system. The 3D all-round sound is to be made possible by forward-facing speakers on the lower edge of the picture and additional Atmos speakers mounted on the back and radiating upwards. If you compare the sound quality with other TV solutions, the Panasonic concept can certainly collect plus points: the reproduction is powerful and, depending on the setup or the nature of the room, the surround sound can also convince. But good is not good enough with this television: there is no automatic measuring system to adjust the reproduction to the room conditions, and the low-positioned, front-radiating loudspeakers make it impossible to avoid unnecessary reflections when placed on a table. You shouldn’t expect miracles when it comes to dynamic range either: The Atmos demo tracks from Dolby are presented by the GZW2004 with the handbrake on. It is also unfortunate that Panasonic supports Dolby sound tracks, but DTS tracks are left out. Due to the reference-worthy picture quality one expects at least the sound quality of a full-blown soundbar solution with this television, but this quality does not convey the internal loudspeakers. Since the TV cannot be integrated as a center channel in the home cinema set-up and a soundbar extension is not recommended from an optical point of view, a classic hi-fi stereo extension makes the most sense here or you can use the internal speakers and are satisfied with the sound quality offered.
The GZW2004 offers numerous advantages thanks to the twin tuner system, including a video view of the second channel within the Smart TV channel list and the option of recording two program contents in parallel on USB hard drives. Activation for 6-month HD Plus use is free of charge and the practical restart function via an Internet connection is also available for HD private channels from ProSieben and Sat.1. Apps, frequently used functions and image presets can be filtered so that you really only see what you use every day in the on-screen menu. Without external players, apps such as YouTube, Netflix or Amazon offer access to 4K HDR signals. Normal HDTV signals are not a challenge for the GZW2004, but the natural picture adjustment also benefits everyday TV playback. Panasonic’s system only shows weaknesses when you try to correct image errors: the noise filters either intervene too weakly or provoke dragging effects (automatic level usually the best compromise) and Panasonic does not offer an effective solution to banding artifacts.
Even in dynamic mode, Panasonic alienates input signals significantly less than other TV providers, which can quickly give the impression in wholesale stores that the GZW2004 appears to be less contrasting. But the opposite is the case: Panasonic avoids artificially radiating images in most settings and at the same time dark image contents show excellent detail accuracy. The reproduction will therefore be all the more convincing in your own living room and we can particularly recommend the neutral image settings to you here. Even if you will find the famous hair in the soup even with such an exceptional TV: We have not seen a better picture quality in the TV segment so far and every 2020 TV model will have great difficulty in improving the quality of the GZW2004 outdo.
Settings for a natural picture
- Mode: Professional, THX, User or Game
- Luminance level: as desired
- Contrast: 90-100
- Brightness: 0
- Color: 50
- Hue: 0
- Sharpness: 30-50
- Color Temp .: Warm 2
- Color Man .: Off
- Color mastering: Off or Low
- Ambient sensor: as desired
- Dynamic HDR Effect: On (HDR10 source)
- Auto HDR: as desired
- HDR Brightness Enhancer: Off or max. 10 (HDR source)
- Noise Reduction: Off or Auto
- Rem. Pr. MPEG: Off
- Rem. Pr. Resolution: Auto
- Contrast remastering: Off or On
- Intelligent Frame Creat .: Off or Low
- Black intermediate image: off
- Contrast control: off
- Color scale: Rec. 709 (SDR), Rec. 2020 (HDR)
- Gamma: 2.4 (SDR), 2.2 (HDR)
- 16: 9 Overscan: off
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