LG Pentouch 50PZ850T plasma TV review

Interactive Touch Pen-operated 3D plasma display
Photo of LG Pentouch 50PZ850T plasma TV
£1,100

While other displays from LG concentrate on 3D and even split-screen gaming and its Korean rival unveils its Samsung Galaxy Note scribble-smartphone, this plasma TV is all about doodling in digital on a huge 50in flat-panel display.

You can have a look at the 50PZ850T in action here – and what you’ll notice immediately is that it uses a pressure-sensitive stylus pen.

The 50PZ850T – which is also available as a 60in model – actually sells with two of these pens, and for good reason.

Touchy-feely TV
Used together on the multitouch screen, the two pens can be used to pinch the screen (which is fitted with a protective skin), as you would a touchscreen-armed smartphone, to zoom in and out of an image. Twin USB ports are provided on the rear of the TV for recharging the pens.

LG Pentouch 50PZ850T plasma TV

Put into Pentouch mode from the TV’s remote, and it’s actually very easy to get used to selecting options using the stylus, though why you’d want to manually control a TV this way is entirely down to the software it’s packing.

Lined up along the home screen are five icons, including for the obvious Sketchbook app (which entails choosing colours, pen types, width of brushes and other Photoshop-style choices), Photo Editor, Family Diary, Gallery (for slideshows for Pentouch creations), Internet (for surfing on Internet Explorer) and MyOffice (for accessing, manipulating, altering and even printing documents stored on a connected TV).

We experimented using Sketchbook, choosing colours from the on-screen palette and doodling, erasing, saving and editing; we found it pleasant to use, but although the screen is large enough to make some pretty detailed drawings, it’s not quite as responsive as it should be.

Those worried about plasma display technology’s reputation for image retention – AKA ‘screen burn’ – shouldn’t be; the 50PZ850T is fitted with ISM (Image Sticking Minimization) tech and both a white and colour wash option, post-doodle.

Advanced spec
Away from its pen-related duties, the fairly slim (it measures 1169x712x52.5mm) 50PZ850T is a thoroughly advanced plasma TV, fit for any living room.

It’s has Full HD (1920×1080-pixel) resolution, three HDMI inputs and uses the Active Shutter 3D format, which requires battery-operated 3D specs.

Just one pair is included in the box, unlike the ‘passive’ 3D system LG has adopted across the rest of its LCD/LED TV ranges (which presumably aren’t quick enough to contemplate Pentouch features), which come with seven pairs of 3D glasses.

Company: LG

Website: http://www.lge.com/uk

Contact: LG on 0870 6075544

Positives
  • Good value, great for kids, advanced 3D TV when not in Pentouch mode.
Negative
  • Not responsive enough for professional use.

Verdict

At its core the Pentouch idea is all about educating young kids, most of whom, in our experience, seem to expect touchscreens on any electronic device, but do we really want sticky fingers marching towards our TVs?

Perhaps not, but this is a nice implementation of next-gen tech could catch-on among families looking for their next TV. It could give the ailing plasma tech a lift, too, but LG's Pentouch isn't yet responsive enough to give architects and other professionals a touch-feely future.