The 24-inch TX-24X6B is the smallest TV in Panasonic's range to have the company's smart TV system onboard -- so it lets you access services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix. It has an HD Ready resolution rather than Full HD, however, and priced at around £350, it's pretty expensive for such a small telly.
User interface and EPG
Its wee screen size doesn't mean the TX-L24X6B misses out on the smart TV system boasted by the larger screened models in Panasonic's Viera lineup. When you switch it on you're greeted by the new homescreen, which includes a video window for live TV along with various shortcuts to smart TV apps and widgets.
There are three different homescreens to choose from, but Panasonic cleverly also lets you create your own customised screen using a choice of four templates. This is ideal if you want to group together services that you use all the time, such as iPlayer, Netflix and Facebook on a single, easy to access screen.
The settings menus are also identical to those found on the brand's high-end TVs, and unusually for a little TV there are comprehensive picture controls provided, including a full colour management system. The menus system feels pretty speedy to use, too.
Unlike older Panasonic models, the EPG on this one has a video window so you can keep tabs on the show you're watching while perusing the guide to see what you might want to catch later. The guide still looks basic, but it's quick to navigate around and the text is easy to read from a distance even on a screen size this small.
Smart TV features
Panasonic's Smart TV platform centres on the idea of a Homescreen that pops up every time you turn on your TV -- although you can change it so you just see full-screen TV instead. You can choose between using preset homescreens or design your own from a template so it contains just the apps you use most often.
There's a fairly broad range of apps available from the onboard Viera Connect market place. Most of these are free, but some -- mostly games -- need to be paid for. In here you'll find the likes of BBC iPlayer and BBC News, as well as Netflix, iConcerts, Facebook and Twitter.
The line-up isn't as strong as that on Samsung's smart TVs, however, as it lacks 4oD, ITV Player, Demand5 and Lovefilm, which are all supported on Samsung's platform.
The TV also has a built-in media player and this has good format support. It streamed a range of MKV HD, DivX and Xvid files across a network without any issues and also plays these formats from drives connected up to either of its two USB ports or from memory cards slotted into its SD card reader.
Unfortunately it doesn't support recording of shows from the Freeview HD tuner to USB drives. However, if you download the Viera Remote 2 app for Android or iOS devices, you can use your tablet or phone as a remote control for the TV -- it even lets you 'throw' photos, videos, music files and webpages from your mobile device to the TV screen. This works reasonably well, although there can be quiet a long pause as files stream from the phone to the telly.
Design and connections
Most small-screen TVs look quite chunky these days compared to their larger-screened siblings, with disproportionately thick bezels. Panasonic has managed to avoid that failing on the X6B, as its bezel is relatively narrow -- it measures just 21mm wide at the top and side edges. The bottom edge does extend down a little further, but the designers have managed to disguise this fact somewhat by angling it away from you to give it a slimmer visual profile.
The panel across the bottom actually looks pretty stylish, but is perhaps not as classy as the brushed-metal effect used on Panasonic's older TX-L24E6B. Nevertheless, the thin chrome strip that runs all the way across the bottom does look attractive and helps distract from the slightly plasticky nature of the rest of the chassis. The pedestal stand looks reasonably elegant, but again is made entirely from plastic so doesn't feel quite as solid as I would have liked.
As the X6B uses LED backlighting it's much slimmer than most older 24-inch sets. Towards the top and middle the chassis is only around 29mm deep, but it does extend out to about 60mm at the bottom to make some room for the speakers.
When it comes to the TV's remote control, I've got no complaints. It's long and reasonably slender, but the buttons are generously proportioned. All the keys are well placed too, so all the key features that you use most often are within easy reach of your thumb as it hovers over it. Panasonic has also added dedicated buttons for accessing the homescreen, apps menu and programming guide, which really does help to speed up navigation.
Most of the TV's connections are found on an outward facing panel on the rear. These include two HDMI inputs, a set of component inputs, a Scart socket, an Ethernet socket and an optical audio output. A side panel on the left-hand edge houses the two USB ports as well as the headphone jack and CI cam slot.
It's not a bad lineup of connections, although given the price of the TV it would have been fair to throw in a third HDMI input.
It's rare to hear a smaller screen TV with really good audio and unfortunately the X6B is no different in this regard. It has just two tiny 3W speakers built-in to its thin chassis and they're incapable of producing much in the way of bass. As a result, its audio tends to sound rather thin and a little brittle if you push the volume very hard.
To be fair, it's no worse than other small sets I've had in for review. If you turn on the virtual surround setting in the audio menu it does produce a wider than usual sound stage without muddying dialogue in the way that some of these virtual modes do.
Also, while its speakers are small, they're still reasonably powerful and can certainly fill smaller rooms with pretty loud audio before distortion starts to creep in.
Despite its relatively high price tag (and what you may read on some retailer sites), the X6B is not a Full HD TV. Instead its panel has a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, which makes it an HD Ready TV. Does it matter much? To be honest it doesn't, as from a normal viewing distance you really can't tell the difference between Full HD 1080p and HD Ready 720p on a screen this size. If you're thinking of using the TV to double up as a monitor for a computer, however, the lower resolution makes it a poor choice.
With normal TV feeds, and especially HD channels, the X6B's images still look extremely sharp though, which perhaps isn't surprising given that its pixels are so tightly packed together. Colour performance is also very good for such a teeny telly, especially if you choose one of the cinema presets, which produce warm and believable hues that look especially good for watching movies in HD.
On the whole black level performance isn't bad. It's far from reference level, but it's deeper than I'd expect to see on this size of screen. There is a bit of backlight pooling visible if you watch the TV a darker room though. Viewing angles are relatively narrow too, so if you watch it off-axis, colours tend to wash out quite a bit.
As with a lot of small screen TVs, its motion performance isn't amazing, so you will see some LCD blur when you're watching sports like tennis or football. Sadly, there are no motion processing tools onboard that you can call on to cover up this weakness.
The TX-L24X6B offers surprisingly good picture performance by small-screen standards and it's great to see Panasonic integrate its smart TV system into the TV, unlike on the older TX-L24E3B. Its asking price is high given the small size, however, and it's a shame it doesn't support more online catch-up TV services.