A fresh new look doesn't quite save this flagship Full HD TV from mediocrity
What is the Finlux F9076?Finlux are moving up in the world. They have just announced the launch of a range of 4K TVs, topping out at an asking price of around £13,000, and the smaller ones are priced similarly to competing sets from the likes of Samsung, Panasonic & Sony. That's a bold move from a brand not yet mentioned in the same breath as the big boys and we wish them well in their endeavours.
The 47F9076-T up for review here is of a mere 1080p resolution but it is their flagship Full HD TV, featuring both 3D and Smart TV technology. It is priced more modestly than the Ultra HD TVs, naturally, but with an online ticket price of about £900, it is by no means a budget entry. Indeed one could get a mid-tier set with comparable features for around the same cost, or less if you were willing to go end of line, from one of the more recognised brands. Again, this is a brave approach from Finlux so we best find out if it’s one that’s justified.
Design & ConnectionsWow, well done Finlux, this is a very desirable looking TV so that goes some way to addressing the price tag. OK, once again, the design team may have taken some noticeable inspiration from a Korean manufacturer, or two, but the results are lovely and there will be few that could be unimpressed by the swooping base-stand, which is actually made of metal, where most of these new-fangled designs are usually plastic based. The outside and bottom of the bezel is made from plastic but doesn’t look it, whilst a micro-thin black strip frames the sides and top of the screen. It’s clear from the attention that Finlux has paid to styling this TV that they want to step away from just being considered as a budget brands.
Truly one of the nicest base-stands we've seen to date
As befitting a TV of its status, the F9706 has 4 HDMI ports, three of which are perilously close to the edge so you may need to consider angled cables or adapters to preserve the clean lines. We also get proper component and scart inputs, for legacy video equipment and there are two USB ports, also side-mounted. One of those USB inputs can be used for the included dongle which allows for wireless connection to your network, and beyond, although there is a LAN port for going wired. Finally, there are also outputs for a pair of headphones and digital audio (S/PDIF) for hooking up to a soundbar or receiver.
The remote is of a now familiar Finlux design and is slightly concave in form to make its rather large form more easy to handle. The positive side of the size is that it means buttons are large, and therefore easy to locate, but this is somewhat negated by the fact that the symbols on the buttons aren’t always easy to correlate to a function. We still haven’t worked out what one of them does and the removal of the Netflix button hasn’t gone down well with certain residents in this household.
MenusFinlux presents its menu system in an unusual gold and black colour scheme and once the TV has gone through a few warm up routines, they respond swiftly to command. Some of the sub-menus feel a little over-filled but items are generally placed logically so they are easy enough to use. The default Picture Modes include Dynamic, Natural and Cinema, although what you’ll be presented with, as default, depends on what you’re watching. Using the TVs internal tuners, the default mode is natural whilst anything external will see the ghastly Dynamic option deployed. We would actually advise you to use neither and opt for Cinema, instead, but Natural isn’t too bad. The Picture Menu contains some advanced options, including Dynamic Contrast, Film Mode and some basic white balance controls which we’ll look at later in the review.
Default Picture Modes vary on input. Strange
FeaturesThe 9076-T definitely has a zippier processor aboard than we’ve seen with many of the Finlux Smart TVs. Well, either that or they’ve just made the operating software more efficient, but whichever is the case, it has made using the Smart TV features more rewarding. You may not get the wide range of apps and services you do with the bigger boys but the eclectic mix includes offerings from YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Twitter, Facebook and Picassa. The Netflix app is also with the new user experience and supports individual profiles and for those that like to sample Netflix’s international catalogues, you can specify your own DNS servers in the Network settings menu.
A good selection of core Smart TV services
After the last Finlux TV we tested broke the mould by being most accurate out of the box, with a Picture Mode/Colour Temp combo of Cinema/Normal, it was the Cinema/Warm partnership that won out with the 9076-T. Not that it was particularly great. A large excess of green in the greyscale was all too evident in both test patterns and real world content. During run-in we actually notched down the Green Gain control in the menus as it was virtually intolerable to watch. If there’s an error you don’t want, it’s with green as it’s the most prominent colour to our eyes. Colour performance against the Rec.709 standard was considerably better with only under-illuminated red and magenta errors worth noting
Finlux’s ‘white balance’ controls are dreadful. We realise that the their target audience are very unlikely to ever bother using them but surely it wouldn’t take a massive investment to at least make them two point – rather than one – to open up their potential market to include those that do care about picture fidelity. Perhaps we’re barking up the wrong tree but the controls present didn’t allow us to make huge improvements to the greyscale. We swapped a very large excess of green energy for a smaller surfeit of red energy and landed exactly back where we were with the run-in settings, bar a slightly reduced Contrast slider.
A fortuitous side-effect of the white balance controls being so bad was that they positively impacted the colour luminance issues at full saturation levels. It really shouldn’t happen but we’ll take what we can get and the F9076-T produced very impressive results both at 100% saturation, as we can see from the chart top-right, and at lesser levels, as can be noted from the CIE chart below.
Contrast, Black Levels and Screen Uniformity
The presence of passive 3D means this TV is odds on to use an LG sourced IPS panel, so black level performance was never going to be a strong point. We’ve seen much worse, to be fair, but an averaged black level, from a chequerboard pattern, of 0.123 cd/m2 isn’t exactly stellar. We got an ANSI contrast figure of just over 800:1, which is about average for this type of panel but considerably lower than we’d expect from the likes of a Samsung, for one.
If you’re watching in a bright living room environment, this probably won’t be that impactful on your enjoyment but with lights low, there’s an unmistakable ‘milky-ness’ to darker scenes. With the same sort of material we also observed several patches of uneven light, which couldn’t be mitigated by settings. Finlux does include a Dynamic Contrast setting but that’s arguably worse than the white balance controls and simply dims the life out of the whole picture rather than adjust individual portions of it. Best left alone!
A truly abysmal dimming system!
Finlux (or should that be Vestel) don’t produce TVs with the highest calibre of video processing circuitry, we think it would be fair to say. You get the odd skip and a jump with Blu-ray 1080p24, video deinterlacing isn’t the best, meaning you will see some jagged lines from time to time and scaling of standard definition signals could be a bit crisper. Bar the scaling, none of those flaws are particularly noticeable with real world material, however, and nor is the lack of 2:2 cadence detection capability. In fact we expect most people reading this review will be using a Blu-ray Player – or at least a scaling player - to watch their DVDs with now so that’s probably an even more trivial factor. Still, the fact remains that Finlux needs to brush up in this area as all facets of picture performance add up, no matter how small a part they play.
You can leave the Game mode alone with the F9076-T, it has only a 0.6 of a millisecond advantage over the others and doesn’t look particularly appealing with default settings. As it was, we used Cinema and got a measurement of 31.2 milliseconds delay in response to an input. That should be lag-less enough for most. And if it isn’t, buy one of the recent Sony’s.
The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
Out-of-the-Box – Natural Mode: 87W
Calibrated – Calibrated Cinema Mode: 84W
3D - Cinema Mode: 105W
Finlux F9076 Picture Quality - 2DWith the few picture-improving adjustments possible to be made complete, we settled down to some viewing. In all honesty, the F9076-T hasn’t really moved anything along in terms of producing better images than its predecessors so we still get that slightly noisy, yet digitised, quality to content viewed from within about 6 feet so we wouldn’t recommend it for close-up watching. From a more conservative distance it’s easier to appreciate the realistic colour palette and with hi-def images it can certainly look good.
We could probably say that of every TV we review, though, so we’re looking at the finer details of picture performance by which to differentiate them and there’s not really much this Finlux excels at. In fact, those previously mentioned flaws in processing only serve to undermine the colour accuracy and that excess of red in the greyscale leads to pinkish whites, which can be off-putting. We could swap that for a greeny-yellow cast but that’s even less desirable.
Picture quality just isn't there for a 47-inch £900 TV
There was also a slight dirty screen effect apparent on panning shots and the lack of decent blacks and native contrast performance means pictures very rarely pack in any dynamism or impact. The F9076-T is at its best with colourful and bright content and, to be fair, there’s quite a bit of that about but, again, this isn’t a quality exactly rare amongst LED TVs and, frankly, you could do just as well, or better, for a considerably lower sum than the F9076-T is commanding.
Finlux F9076 Picture Quality - 3DThe Finlux F9076 is a more impressive 3D TV than it is a 2D one. There are four pairs of passive specs in the box that are almost free of colour tint and comfortable to wear. We’d imagine the lenses are also large enough to fit over a ‘regular’ pair of subscription glasses, too. The inherent brightness of an LED TV means they are well suited to delivering 3D pictures and the 9076-T certainly isn’t lacking in that regard, helping it to produce 3D pictures that had plenty of pop. The inconsistencies of the backlight did it no favours with the black-heavy Gravity 3D, however, but with animated content, in particular, the lack of flicker and almost zero ghosting was very pleasing.
Finlux F9076 Video Review
- The design of the stand is truly lovely
- Good core Smart TV functions
- Easy to watch 3D
- Accurate colours
- Mediocre black levels
- Patchy uniformity
- Dirty screen effect on panning shots
- Innaccurate greyscale that can't be rectified
- Sub-par video processing
- Noisy picture from close up - even with HD
Finlux 47F9076-T (F9076) LED Television ReviewThere's no doubt that Finlux has designed a TV that can truly compete with the best efforts of the major brands. The sweeping base-stand is quite simply one of the most elegant we've seen. It's good, too, that Finlux sees fit to include 4 HDMI ports, where some are skimping with fewer, and the sturdy remote control is very easy to use. Finlux's Smart TV offering may not be the most far-reaching but there are a lot of the key services available and the processor on board the F9076-T is up to the job of running them very well.
Where the 47F9076-T falls down, against a lot of the TVs in this price bracket, is in terms of producing truly great pictures. We managed to get an accurate colour performance, ironically by way of some iffy picture controls, but the rest of the ingredients just don't quite cut it. Black levels, and therefore contrast performance is weak, and there were a number of niggly screen uniformity issues that grate. There was also the matter of a tinge to whites - green or red, you choose - and some below-the-standard-required video processing to hinder the output.
This isn't a bad TV but, bar the outstanding design, doesn't do enough to justify its price-point.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level7
2D Picture Quality6
3D Picture Quality7
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money7
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