Shopping for a TV with decent picture quality and abundant features on a tight budget can be tricky, but Finlux is here to make life easier for cash-strapped buyers. Selling its sets direct to customers online keeps prices down, which means you can get one of its well-specced sets for absolute peanuts.
Take the Finlux 32F6030-T for example. It’s a 32in Full HD edge-lit LED LCD TV that sells for just £270. Yep you read that right, £270. At that price, it inevitably lacks hi-tech trappings like 3D, Smart content and DLNA streaming, but if you want a straightforward TV purely for watching Freeview HD and Blu-ray movies then it could be excellent value.
Design and features
The 32F6030-T comes with a separate stand in the box, but refreshingly the screen clips quickly and easily into it without the need to faff about with screws. It wobbles about a bit, but feels secure enough.
Once snapped into place, it looks surprisingly attractive. The build quality is plasticky but the brushed wood grain effect on the black bezel and the transparent Perspex trim makes it look classy from a distance.
The swankier finish and slimmer depth makes it much prettier than the chunky Finlux 42F7020-D. The rectangular stand uses the same black brushed effect as the bezel.
There’s a row of touch-sensitive controls below the modestly sized Finlux logo, while on the back is a generous array of sockets. The nicest surprise is the inclusion of four HDMI inputs, three on the back and one on the side. These are joined by two USB ports on the side, a common interface slot, and a combined composite/analogue stereo minijack input (for use with the supplied adapter cable).
Component, analogue stereo and two SCART inputs are also provided on the back, alongside subwoofer and optical digital audio outputs and a VGA PC input. There’s even an Ethernet port, but sadly it isn’t for DLNA streaming and such like – it’s there as part of the mandatory Freeview HD spec and is currently redundant.
The 32F6030-T isn’t overburdened with features but there are a few things to report. First, the two USB ports allow you to plug in a flash drive or external HDD and play media files. I connected my file-filled flash drive and managed to play WMV HD, MP4, AVI, XviD and MKV (the latter with no audio as it couldn’t decode DTS). On the music side, MP3, WMA and WAV are supported, plus JPEG photos.
However it wouldn’t play DivX and only played AVCHD (mt2s) files with a glitchy, broken-up picture. Still, the 42F7020-D only played MPEG-1, so this is a much better effort.
With an HDD connected you can also record programmes, pause live TV and schedule future recordings from the EPG. The single tuner means you can’t change channel while recording but it’s a handy feature if you don’t have a proper PVR, plus it’s quick and easy to use.
The on-board tuner is Freeview HD, bringing you BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD alongside all the regular standard-def terrestrial channels.
There are no powerful picture engines on board with complex interpolation algorithms to boost the refresh rate – it’s a straight up 50Hz set with edge LED backlighting.
There is, however, a decent range of picture adjustments, including Natural, Cinema, Game and Dynamic presets, basic image tweaks and an advanced menu offering colour shift, RGB gain, skin tone, colour temperature and Dynamic Contrast settings.
We won’t pretend that the onscreen menus are any match for the slick, vibrant interface of a Samsung or LG, but there’s a simple charm about the 32F6030-T’s onscreen presentation.
The main menu is a banner that runs across the middle of the screen, using large icons decorated in fetching shades of gold. It offers Picture, Sound, Settings, Install and Retune, Channel List and Media Browser sections, each labelled in large text.
The Picture, Sound and Settings menus are simple boxes listing all the options, while the Media Browser is a little more sophisticated.
It splits content into video, photos, music and recordings library. Select one and the available files are listed on the left with a preview screen on the right. The layout is attractive and practical, making it easy to find your files.
The EPG looks good too but the default view is Now and Next – to view it as a timeline you have to hit the yellow button, which is a pain. There’s also no live TV box. On the plus side the programme grid lists ten channels at once, which means less scrolling downwards to find a channel, while the range of options at the bottom makes navigation a breeze.
The onscreen info banner is poor. You can only view now and next information, and you can’t access the programme synopsis.
The remote is surprisingly good though. It’s nicely sized, ergonomic and made from tactile plastic with large buttons. The menu controls are particularly intuitive, flanked on either side by huge programme and volume buttons. Unambiguous labelling makes everything easy to identify, and there are shortcut keys to all the main functions.
In terms of picture quality, the 32F6030-T is no world-beater, but temper your expectations before watching and you’re unlikely to be disappointed – particularly at this price.
With high-definition pictures from a Blu-ray player, images look sharp and detailed, with focused textures and patterns. There’s a bit of motion blur, making edge definition go a touch skewiff when there’s a lot of movement, but much less than I expected, which helps HD images stay reasonably clean and sharp.
Terrific colours back up this crisp detail. Bold hues look vivid but not garish, while subtler shades are suitably restrained yet convincing. With a brightly coloured Blu-ray disc like Monsters Vs Aliens, the Finlux really shines.
There are flaws, however. SD pictures from the built-in Freeview tuner look excessively soft and hazy due to the over-emphasised mosquito noise in the picture, with smeary, unnatural colours that leave people looking like they have jaundice. And if we’re being perfectly honest, I’m not overly impressed by the set’s Freeview HD pictures either, which don’t look quite as emphatically sharp as they should.
The other issue, which applies to HD and SD pictures, is the backlight inconsistency. There are large pools of light spilling into the picture that reduce the depth in those areas. It’s particularly noticeable during dark scenes.
With undemanding TV material, the 32F6030-T’s two 8W speakers do a fine job. Speech is clear, while treble is crisp and comfortable on the ears at louder volumes. There’s very little bass though, which leaves more aggressive material like movie soundtracks and pacy US dramas sounding somewhat anaemic. But if you have any sense you’ll leave that sort of material to your home cinema system.
The 32F6030-T has some obvious picture flaws, namely ropey standard-def and inconsistent backlighting, which stop it being the unequivocal bargain it looks on paper, but if you’re happy to tolerate them it still has plenty to offer.
Hi-def Blu-ray pictures look terrific and there’s a healthy array of sockets, including two USB ports that facilitate wide-ranging media playback and TV recording. It also looks prettier than many TVs and the onscreen menus make navigation easy.
Manufacturer and model
Screen size (inches)
1,920 x 1,080
3D glasses supplied
1,000 – 5,000:1
2 x 8W
Energy efficiency class
Dimensions (with stand, W x H x D)
783 x 526 x 203mm
Dimensions (without stand, W x H x D)
783 x 493 x 40mm
Digital audio output
SD card slot