A definite improvement
What is the Finlux F8073-T?It’s the start of a new season for Finlux, with a brand new range of Smart TVs just launching this autumn.
Our first look at the new wave comes with the 40F8073-T, which includes Finlux’s new online portal, now with access to Netflix, amongst others, as well as a web browser and the ability to make Skype calls. In fact, there is a heavy emphasis on the Smart TV functions in all Finlux’s marketing materials, let’s just hope they haven’t forgotten the most important thing – picture quality – in the rush to compete on the connected features front.
Design & ConnectionsWe imagine the meeting went something like this:
Marketing: “We need to spruce up the looks of these new Smart TVs”
Designers: “Sure, how much have you got to spend?”
Finance: “Not that much”
Designers: “Well, Samsung are doing pretty well, how about a four-footed stand?”
All: “Yeah, that will do it”
In truth, the F8073-T looks a tad cobbled together. There’s a very basic black bezel, which is neither particularly slim nor overly attractive and it’s bolted on to a slightly strange looking, silver-effect stand that doesn’t really blend with it. It just doesn’t do a lot for us but whatever floats your boat and we’ll leave matters of taste to the individual. The remote is no pin-up either, in our estimation, being a little too big and cumbersome but at least the buttons are easy to get at.
In truth, the F8073-T looks a tad cobbled together. There’s a very basic black bezel, which is neither particularly slim nor overly attractive and it’s bolted on to a slightly strange looking, silver-effect stand that doesn’t really blend with it.
It just doesn’t do a lot for us but whatever floats your boat and we’ll leave matters of taste to the individual. The remote is no pin-up either, in our estimation, being a little too big and cumbersome but at least the buttons are easy to get at.
To the back and sides are a reasonable set of connections, including 3 HDMI ports but they are positioned a little too close to the edge of the bezel so you’ll potentially have a bit of overhang. There’s also a legacy connection for Scart devices but none for component. One of the two side-facing USB inputs can be used for the included USB WiFi dongle, whilst the other can be used for playing back media files or recording programming onto a hard drive.
MenusFinlux keep their interfaces nice and simple so as not to confuse and the black and gold colour scheme is distinctive. The Picture Menu contains a number of viewing modes where your best bet for pleasing pictures come from either Movie (usually) or Natural (sometimes). There’s all the usual basic front panel adjustments of Contrast, Brightness and Colour plus some crude finer calibration controls and a film mode that has never worked for PAL sources in the past. Time will tell if it - and the dynamic contrast setting – are of any use.
Menus are easy and snappy
FeaturesFinlux has spruced up their online portal with a new paint job and its tiled interface is attractive and easy to get around. That’s thanks, in part, to the fact that aren’t a huge amount of apps or services to choose from but at least what is there, are things you might actually use. With Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube covered, that will be enough for many plus there’s social networking integrated with Twitter, Facebook and Picassa. There’s also the facility to make Skype video calls, with the purchase of a USB camera/mic attachment and you can also hook up USB storage to record programmes from the Freeview HD tuner. To call the Finlux Smart TV system lightweight would certainly be unkind so let’s go with compact and pared back.
Not loads of apps but some very key ones are present
We could usually almost draw these charts by hand even before whipping out the measuring equipment and loading up the software. Almost every Finlux we’ve tested has displayed an over-emphasis of green in the greyscale but this one was different and, instead, had just touch too much red. In fact, in terms of balance between the channels, performance was actually pretty good for a pre-set. Gamma tracking was less than ideal, however, and as result objects in dark scenes are likely going to be more visible than intended. Colour tracking was of a reasonable standard but Finlux are still using panels that are unable to fully saturate red, by some margin, but elsewhere things are better.
As it transpires, the nature of the Finlux calibration controls allowed us to do no better with either greyscale or colour gamut so other than adjusting Sharpness, Contrast an Brightness and turning off the Dynamic Contrast, end results are pretty much ‘as-is’ from the Cinema preset.As we can see from the CIE Chart below, colour accuracy at points below full saturation is actually pretty good but red runs out of steam early on. It’s not too bad at around the 20-30% saturation level, and this area is important in terms of skin-tones but fuller reds noticeably suffer. Supporters of certain sports teams would definitely notice!
Contrast, Black Levels and Screen Uniformity
Our hopes lifted when we discovered that the F8073-T was not a passive 3D set. That would have inevitably meant an IPS panel was being used and thus performance here would be mediocre. In fact, we were very impressed with this Finlux’s native contrast performance and an ANSI ‘score’ of approaching 4,700:1 paints its own picture. Well almost. Whilst there’s an undoubted bit of punch to pictures, gradation near black is poor, i.e. the relative difference between video black and the steps up to 10% grey is insufficient to show detail in dark scenes. It’s a common failing of LCD/LED and generally only the top-tier Samsung’s or Sony’s get close to doing that well.
Much to our delight, general screen uniformity was excellent with barely a cloud to spoil the night sky. If we’re being picky, panel luminance wasn’t perfectly spread with the top left corner a little dimmer than the rest but it was barely noticeable with ‘real world’ content.
Blacks are good but shadow detailing is weak
There’s no need to touch the Game mode in the F8073-T, each picture mode measured the same, and we’d advise you don’t because it looks pretty awful. Finlux has actually managed to reduce inout latency down to around 27 milliseconds, which is under a frame of the average console game of this gen, or is that next gen? Whatever, it’s pretty damn impressive and we can’t imagine many would be able to sense any real lag.
The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
Out-of-the-Box – Natural Mode: 43W
Calibrated – Calibrated Cinema Mode: 50W
Finlux F8073-T Picture QualityThe Finlux 40F8073-T outputs competent, if not dazzling pictures. Colours are generally convincing, save for fuller red tones and skin-tones look just about right, most of the time. The relatively good native contrast of the panel means there’s a decent amount of pop too although the dynamic range is undone, near black, by some poor shadow detailing. The nature of the panel means it will go very bright, should you need it to, but beware that the screen surface does glare quite badly in direct light, masking details. Sports fans will probably find this one of the better budget LEDs as there is very little in terms of poor screen uniformity to spoil panning shots but the usual caveat about the natural tendency of LCD pixels to blur with rapid movement is there. It’s only fair to judge the Finlux 40F8073-T against other TVs in its size and price class and we’d say it stands its ground fairly well, at full RRPs, but there are better TVs priced not far above it although we cannot over-emphasise the importance of good screen uniformity and the Finlux scores highly there.
- Very decent black levels
- Mostly believable colours
- Low lag for gamers
- Good price
- Some good core smart functions
- Great screen uniformity
- Lacking details in the shadows
- Red is noticeably lacklustre
- Design is not that attractive
- Screen is glarey with direct light
Finlux F8073-T LED LCD Television ReviewAt just under £400, this 40-inch Smart TV is certainly competitively priced. We’re not that sold on the styling – stand and chassis don’t co-ordinate – but other elements of the design are better. User Interfaces are easy to navigate, and understand, and the new online portal looks good. There aren’t a huge amount of services to choose from, at present, but with iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and Twitter support, a lot of people’s most important bases will be covered.
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ often rings true but the Finlux 40F8073-T punches above its weight with contrast performance. Blacks are satisfying, although shadowed areas lack detail, and colours are generally natural enough in appearance to pass muster. This isn’t a TV for the connoisseur, by any means, there’s some iffy picture processing here and there and picture controls are inadequate to attain true picture fidelity but, in its price bracket, it’s certainly one to consider.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality6
Ease Of Use7
Value for Money7
Our Review Ethos
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