Finlux 48FT3E242S-T (£400)
You may not have heard of Finlux before. It’s a Finnish-founded, Turkish-owned brand that currently has one rather lovely party trick: cheap TVs that are pretty good.
We tend to find them in supermarkets, as well as Amazon, eBay and its own website.
What you get here is a 48in Full HD screen with a handful of online smarts, all for £400. For that money and size you might expect a creaky plastic monstrosity, but no – it’s actually rather nice. It looks quite presentable.
You get the slim bezel you would expect from the fancier alternatives, as well as a metal stand. Construction is sturdy too. Maybe they’ve cut back on the connections? Nope, you’ll find three HDMI inputs and two USB ports – that’s one more of each than the £500 Panasonic. Pretty good, Finlux.
The only thing that really feels a little ‘budget’ is the TV interface. It’s a little on the sparse side, with a basic video apps selection of Netflix, Youtube and BBC iPlayer. Then there’s the remote control, which is a bit awkward and unintuitive. Still, it’s forgivable as long as the picture performance is up to scratch.
It is indeed up to scratch. A TV of this price has no business looking this accomplished. For the size and money, there’s plenty of detail definition. The picture is clear, and edges are well defined without looking artificially sharpened.
The colours are bold and attractive. If you want a vibrant picture to show off, this will do nicely. There’s even a good bit of contrast, with an admirable amount of texture to be found in shadows.
Is the Finlux capable of taking on the big names in outright image quality? No, and we wouldn’t expect it to. Compared to the Samsung, its colours seem less natural. The Finlux isn’t particularly skilled at handling blues and greens. The Panasonic, meanwhile, is more nuanced with contrast.
It’s not the brightest screen, either. Even with the backlight turned up, the brightest areas – lamps, gunfire – are a little too subdued to give you the intensity you need. Upscaling is good, though. There is a lot less noise than we’d expect. There’s 3D too if you feel the need. This is an active 3D TV and it comes with two pairs of glasses.
Fundamentally, this Finlux is a success – just don’t expect miracles.
Big, cheap and pretty good too.