Finlux S6030 (46S6030-T) Full HD LED TV Review
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Mark looks at Finlux's big-screen, low price 46inch S6030-T
We were quite impressed with our first taste of the Finlux experience when we got hands-on with their flagship TV, the S8070, recently and but for some uniformity issues, we would have happily added it to the ranks of the AVForums Recommended list. Next up is their more mid-tier S6030-T which foregoes internet connectivity and Wi-Fi capabilities but does include the niceties of a Freeview HD Tuner, USB PVR recording and media file playback, again, via USB. The Finlux 46S6030-T is certainly priced very attractively. For just over of £550, you can have a 46inch TV plonked in your living room, or wherever it will fit for that matter, and that really isn't a lot of money for a decent amount of screen real estate. It’s only real mainstream competitor - at the time of publishing – is Samsung’s UE46EH5000 and that’s only because it’s currently being sold with a heavy discount from one online retailer.
In a sense, the Finlux 46S6030-T is a bit of a no frills TV by 2012 standards, but we’ve countless other devices we can now plug in to our TVs to obtain the internet functions ‘missing’ here. Regardless of brand or heritage our prime focus will always be picture quality so let’s see if this Finlux can fit the bill.
The Finlux 46S6030-T is attractively styled in a very ‘Samsungesque’ way. The matte black bezel is fairly slender and is surrounded by the transparent strip popularised by the Korean’s. The supplied base stand doesn’t swivel and looks and feels rather cheap, however, and we’d have preferred the remote control to be of more manageable proportions. Connections-wise, we were very pleased to see the 6030 sports 4 HDMI ports amongst its inputs, making a mockery of recent models from Samsung and Panasonic that have been skimping on that front. The menu system’s gold and black colour scheme is quite unusual but we liked it and it’s also very well structured and responsive to the commands of the remote. The menus don’t contain a lot in the way of smart features, with just USB PVR recording and (quite limited) Media file playback via attached storage but this is a 46” TV costing less than £550, so we shouldn’t expect too much and, besides, you’ve probably got something you can plug in to it that can give you pretty much the same functionalities the various smart platforms provide.
Predictably, the out-of-box Dynamic mode looked dreadful; the amount of blue energy in the greyscale took it off our usual scale; colours were far too bright and over-saturated and the backlight was set to nuclear mode. The default picture somehow managed to combine being washed out and garish, all the same time. Following a quick change of picture mode and colour temperature, pictures dramatically improved and that was almost as far as we got as the white balance controls were as broken in the 6030 as they were in the 8070 but we did manage to tame the colours to a very acceptable degree.
Contrast performance and black levels were very strong for a TV costing so little and, when combined with the impressive uniformity, we were presented with some very nice pictures indeed. Video processing is of a good standard, although the somewhat soft scaling of standard definition combined with the lack of 2:2 film cadence detection will detract from your DVD collection, if you’re not using a scaling player. The weak points of the pictures are some of the usual suspects when it comes to LED/LCD TV technology – blurry motion, restrictive viewing angles and some panel banding but we never found any of them too distracting during the review process. Gaming performance won’t please the competitive players out there with an input lag approaching 50 milliseconds but we found it fine for our increasingly casual roster.
If you can put your brand snobbery to one side – and there’s no real reason not to – we’d recommend giving the Finlux 46S6030-T some consideration. For its combination of strong contrast, general proficiency and believable colours, against an extraordinarily attractive price-point, it’s an AVForums Recommended Award winner. Just don't go expecting the latest and greatest in the way of features!
Design, Connections and Menus
Unlike the S8070-T, the Finlux 46S6030T is unabashed in displaying the company logo front and centre, along the bottom of the brushed-effect matt black bezel. Beneath the logo are some very discrete, touch-sensitive controls for the basic features but one can also navigate through the menus using them too, although it’s an arduous process. The whole look of the 6030 is decidedly Samsung inspired, with its transparent strip surrounding the bezel but we like the general understated design. The base stand is similar to that of the 8070 in that it features a black rectangular insert in to the transparent casing but its feel is decidedly cheaper as it’s entirely constructed from plastic. It doesn’t swivel either so it will need placing somewhere everyone can see it from a reasonably front-on viewing angle, as the panel is not particularly good off-axis.
The supplied remote control is identical to that of the 8070T, meaning it’s a touch on the large and heavy side. It makes button navigation easy enough but makes it difficult to operate with only one hand. The slightly rubberised feel to the rear of the remote does give it a nice, tactile quality and there’s no suggestion you’re ever holding one of those awful ‘no brand’ controls you’d associate with the less expensive end of the market.
The 46S6030-T is equipped with a generous set of connections that should have Samsung and Panasonic bowing their heads in shame, given some of the skimping we’ve seen from those particular manufacturers on the HDMI port front. The 6030-T features (what should be) the required four HDMI connections – 3 facing outwards from the rear and one close to the edge. There are also 2 RGB SCART terminals, a D-SUB PC connection, Component and Composite Video connections with accompanying L/R audio jacks, aerial socket and a LAN Port. The S6030T also provides an output that allows connection of an active sub-woofer to supplement the in-built speakers and they could use it. Also, on the audio front, is an S/PDIF digital audio out and completing the connections, on the side, are two USB inputs and a CAM slot.
As for the 40S8070T, we really liked the planning and implementation of 6030’s menu system. It’s extremely responsive to the commands of the remote control – perhaps too much so at times – but very simple to navigate. We also liked the black and gold colour scheme and our previous criticism of them timing out too quickly has proved unfounded, as we found an option to stop them disappearing so quickly in the Other Settings area of the main Settings Menu. Our bad!
The Menus are split in to 6 areas – Picture, Sound, Settings, Install and Retune, Channel List and Media Browser. As ever, we’ll concentrate on the main Picture. The Finlux 46S6030T offers a choice of 3 Picture Modes from the internal tuner – Dynamic, Natural and Movie – and adds a garish Game Mode from external inputs. There’s the standard ‘front-panel’ controls of Contrast, Brightness and Colour as well as options for Low, Medium, High and Auto for the Backlight intensity. There’s some ECO modes for either switching off the video signal or setting to a low energy mode but we wouldn’t recommend the latter if you value your pictures.
Moving in to the Advanced Picture Settings and we have options for Dynamic Contrast, Colour Temp (Cool/Normal/Warm), Movie Sense, Film Mode, Skin Tone, Colour Shift and RGB Gain. We’ll go in to further detail on almost all of these in subsequent sections but we were very impressed that Finlux provides a split-screen demo of what Movie Sense does. Clue – it’s motion interpolation.
This will be one of the briefer entries in our 2012 TV reviews as the Finlux 46S6030-T isn’t blessed with many of the Smart TV features we’re starting to take for granted. There is no internet connectivity, it can’t be controlled by a smartphone and you can’t connect it to your home network to stream media files. It will most assuredly not pour the milk on your breakfast cornflakes nor make you a better person through built-in fitness regimes either but – you know what – we don’t really mind. As convergence takes a hold in your household, it’s very likely your next – or even current - Blu-ray player, games console or set top box can stream BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Sky Now, Netflix and all the rest of them and act as a media streamer, to boot. If not, you could always hook up your tablet or laptop via HDMI.
Naturally there will be some to whom the Smart features play a part in the purchasing decision, so the 6030 is likely not for them, being as it all it really can boast is some limited playback of media files from USB storage. We found it unable to play any MKV files whatsoever and it also demonstrated some issues with mp4 files, where video would sometimes break up or not show at all. There is the ability to record from the internal tuners via USB and the interface looks nice, in keeping with the rest of the GUI.
Picture Quality – 2D
We would have liked the calibration controls to have been useable as, there’s no doubt, we would have had a more fulfilling viewing experience with a more accurate greyscale but we guess it’s a bit of a moot point as the overwhelming majority of potential owners are highly unlikely to use them. Given that most of the greyscale errors were coming from the blue channel – the least perceptible colour to the eye – the pictures were actually of a pleasing nature, once we’d tamed the colour errors. As shown in the ANSI test on the ‘Test’ page, contrast performance was very impressive and the 6030T displayed an admirable absence of the clouding uniformity issues we’ve seen in many TVs costing considerably more. We did note some banding on panning shots, with paler colours, but that’s almost par for the course with LED TVs - alas.
Motion resolution was about what we’d expect from an LED LCD and unless you’re willing to put up with the strange blue tint that using the (motion interpolating) Movie Sense setting provides, you’ll perhaps notice a bit of blur with faster moving action. Viewing angles aren’t particularly generous, in terms of black levels holding up off-axis but colours stand up quite well. When you consider the rather accommodating pricing of the Finlux 46S6030-T, it’s actually very impressive that it can achieve such accomplished pictures, although owners will need to do a fair amount of tweaking to see it at its best.
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Full HD 1080p LED TV
Suggested price: £549
Reviewed 20th July, 2012 by Mark Hodgkinson
To get the best out of your TV or projector, consider getting it calibrated.
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