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Panasonic was the first brand to introduce a high-brightness OLED panel back in 2019. Other OLED brands have recently followed suit with high-brightness OLEDs of their own, but to date none have bettered Panasonic – especially when it comes to the amount of full screen brightness they can deliver. 

The only problem with Panasonic’s previous proprietary high-brightness OLED TVs has been their cost. They’ve been flagship models with price tags to match. Happily, the new JZ1500 range changes all that with prices at: 55-inch (£1,499), 65-inch (£2,299).

The JZ1500s bring the Master HDR OLED Pro high brightness panel technology down to a much more affordable price – despite also partnering the cutting-edge panel with Dolby Atmos sound and a powerful picture processing engine designed with genuine Hollywood filmmaking creatives.

Picture quality

The JZ1500s don’t just deliver the same spectacular OLED picture quality we’ve seen before from previous Master Pro Panasonic OLED TVs; they actually improve it.

The main reason for this is that the traditional brightness, colour saturation and subtle detailing strengths of Panasonic’s special OLED panel have been elevated to even greater heights by the brand’s latest HCX Processor Pro AI video processing. 

Dark areas contain even less picture noise (always a sign of quality in the OLED world) but more image detail, while also retaining the pretty much immaculately deep and natural black levels Panasonic’s premium OLED screens have long been known for. Colours are reproduced with even more blend and tone subtlety, helping to emphasise the sharpness of the screen’s native 4K imagery and portray a more three-dimensional feel.

The sharpness holds up well with motion, too, and while the JZ1500 certainly has very vivid presets and options, its heart really lies in its ability to deliver exceptionally accurate, natural and nuanced images no matter what source you’re watching. There’s a good reason why Hollywood luminary and colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld is happy to not only associate his name with Panasonic’s premium OLED TVs, but also to get involved with tuning their pictures.

Rounding out the JZ1500s supreme dedication to picture quality is its support for 4K/120Hz and VRR gaming, and its ability to play both of the premium Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats, rather than just one or the other.

Sound quality

The JZ1500s don’t get the spectacular multi-channel (including height channels!) Dolby Atmos speaker system built into Panasonic’s flagship JZ2000 OLED TVs. Some consumers will welcome this, though, since retaining a relatively conventional stereo plus subwoofer speaker set up means the JZ1500 range is able to deliver Panasonic’s premium OLED picture experience so much more affordably than the JZ2000s.

What’s more, AV fans have been saying for the past couple of years how much they’d like to be able to buy one of Panasonic’s premium OLED panels without having to pay for a powerful integrated sound system they don’t need because they already have an external sound system.

Despite its relatively basic audio set up, the JZ1500 still makes a decent fist of Dolby Atmos playback. The sound spreads pleasingly far to the left and right without the sound stage becoming incoherent. Its integrated subwoofer kicks out a healthy amount of bass for a TV sound system, too, fleshing out explosions and underpinning heavy impact sounds with plenty of well-rounded, distortion-free low frequency rumbles.

Fine details can lack a little clarity, and there is a limit to how much pressure the speakers can handle from a swelling movie mix before the audio starts to flatten off and sound a little boxed in. Overall, though, the JZ1500 sounds good enough to make adding a soundbar something you can save up for over time rather than needing to add instantly.

Living with a JZ1500

Apart from its unusual, near-circular desktop stand, the JZ1500 is a straightforward looking TV – just a black rectangle with a moderately thin frame. However, the minimalistic approach makes it an elegant and unassuming addition to any room - which is exactly what most households want.  

The JZ1500 is pretty easy to use, with straightforward onscreen menus and an impressively customisable and easy to navigate smart system courtesy of Panasonic’s My Home Screen 6.0 platform. This isn’t the most prolific platform when it comes to sheer app numbers, but most of the big hitters are there. Especially since Panasonic recently added Disney+ to the mix.

Conclusion

While it’s true that the likes of Sony, Philips and LG have recently managed to get closer to the capabilities of Panasonic’s premium OLED panels, Panasonic’s long experience of working directly with film industry creatives and self-emissive TV technologies still makes its premium OLED TVs something special. And in the JZ1500’s case, that’s something special you can now get for a much more affordable price.

Watching notes

The Shawshank Redemption, 4K Blu-ray. The 4K Blu-ray of The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most beautiful examples we’ve seen of how the 4K detail, HDR light range and wide colour gamut of the 4K Blu-ray format can recapture the glories of classic older films that were shot on 35mm film. The JZ1500s’ flare for subtlety and naturalism takes this already impressive remaster to a whole new level.

Tenet, 4K Blu-ray. Tenet enjoys one of the most detailed, clean and dynamic pictures we’ve seen on 4K Blu-ray to date. It’s a great way to showcase the extreme contrast and effortless colour and detail finesse the JZ1500s are capable of. Especially the highway chase scenes, and the sequences in the two sides of the time switch mechanism.

Arrival, 4K Blu-ray. The beautiful but tricky-to-deliver subtleties of the otherworldly imagery of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi classic are handled so well by the JZ1500s’ OLED screens that it’s easy to believe you’re seeing things exactly as they were designed to look in a professional mastering studio.

Side panel 

Price: 55-inch £1,499, 65-inch £2,299

What the press say

Why you should buy it

You should buy a Panasonic JZ1500 because for the first time ever, Panasonic has made its fantastic and exclusive high-brightness OLED panel technology available on a model significantly cheaper than its flagship Z2000 series. The result is a stunningly cinematic TV that you can actually afford to buy. Which is nice.

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