Finlux S8070 (40S8070-T) Full HD LED TV Review

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It's a first for AVForums with the Finlux Flagship S8070 LED TV.

by Mark Hodgkinson Jul 3, 2012 at 12:00 AM

  • TV review

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    Finlux S8070 (40S8070-T) Full HD LED TV Review
    SRP: £599.00

    Introduction

    Finlux may not be a name that springs to mind, for many, when it comes to considering their next TV and the fact that it exists at all, is thanks to a recent buy-out of the brand by Vestel. If you haven't heard of them, well they're a rather large Turkish electronics manufacturer who claim to be the World’s 3rd largest TV producer, with a 25% market share in the UK. Prior to that, as the name would suggest, the company’s operations were centred in Finland – where they were once under the wing of Nokia – and more recently the brand was owned by Hong Kong company Semi-Tech before slipping in to major difficulties with Norwegian outfit, Otrum Electronics, as the market transitioned from CRT to flat panel displays.

    Now that the history is out of the way, what of the present? Finlux have decided to eschew the traditional retailer-led route to success and have instead decided to focus their efforts on selling online only, direct from their own website. This has the obvious advantage of cutting out the costs associated with using a middleman and allow Finlux to pass those savings on to consumers with televisions that are priced very attractively. Obviously one downside of this approach is the fact that consumers can’t get any hands-on time, in-store, before making a purchase so we’ll do our very best to bring you the full low-down here, making you as informed as is possible. Finlux are keen not to be grouped in with the ‘no-name’ supermarket brands and wish to be seen as a credible player in the consumer market, let’s see if their confidence is well placed with the flagship 40S8070-T model.

    Design & Connections

    Probably the most notable thing about the design of the Finlux 40S8070-T is the complete absence of the manufacturer’s brand name on the front of the product. There’s no need for it from a retail point of you because it's not competing on the shop floor so perhaps it’s some potentially clever marketing ploy from Finlux. Something to provoke questions from visitors along the lines of "that’s a nice looking TV, what make is it?" - because it is a very attractive television. The S8070 sports a one-sheet-of-glass design with a ‘frosted’ black bezel that has a micro-thin transparent strip to its outer edge, measuring less than 4cm in width all around with the bottom strip housing touch-sensitive controls for Standby, Source Programme and Volume up and down. Behind the ‘bezel’ and around the chassis is a silver trim that brings to mind designs from Sony and Panasonic in particular but that’s no bad thing. We’re not quite so keen on the base stand with its black insert but it is made of thick glass, giving both a good sense of weight and stability.


    The supplied remote control is very large and quite heavy by modern standards but that has the advantage of making the buttons easy to locate with the downside of making it a bit cumbersome to operate with only one hand. The slightly rubberised feel to the rear of the remote does give it a nice, tactile quality even if the proportions are on the unwieldy side. In addition to all the standard controls one would expect, there’s also INTERNET and MULTIMEDIA buttons plus two ‘MY BUTTONS’ that can be assigned to a source, channel or link for speedy access later. Whatever you could say about it, the handset certainly doesn’t feel cheaply constructed and you’re not likely to lose it down the back of the couch!








    There’s no skimping on the connections front either as the S8070 features the full complement of four HDMI connections – 3 facing outwards from the rear and one very 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. Unusually, and commendably, the S8070 provides an output that allows connection of an active sub-woofer to supplement the predictably fairly weak response of the in-built speakers. Also, on the audio front, is an S/PDIF digital audio out and completing the connections – and to the side – are two USB inputs and a CAM slot.



    Menus

    We were very impressed with the menus and GUI of the Finlux 40S8070T; they are well planned, easy to navigate and extremely responsive to the remote. The black and gold colour scheme is also quite attractive and a departure from the norm. We’d prefer they didn’t time out so quickly but that’s not likely to trouble most users who likely won’t be calibrating or, indeed, writing about them.

    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 functions particularly as Finlux has made such a good job of making the rest of the menu functions fairly self-explanatory and logically positioned.

    The Finlux 40S8070 offers a choice of 3 Picture Modes – Dynamic, Natural and Movie – which we’ll measure for accuracy later on in the Test Section area of review. There are, of course, all the usual ‘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, especially as the description in the instruction manual is either badly translated or just plain odd!

    Features

    Finlux are obviously conscious they’re not going to cut it at this level of the market if they can’t pack their TVs with plenty of diversions and we were pleasantly surprised that they even have their own internet portal where owners can access the various content on offer. Making it easier to do so, the S8070 ships with a USB dongle that enables a wireless connection to your home network. We tested it over a range of around 15 metres through a couple of walls and doors and it had no trouble making a solid connection to our router. There’s even a network speed test available in the Network Settings area of the menus that will let you know if your network is up to scratch for streaming video which another nice touch from Vestel’s menu designers.

    Compared to the established players’, the Finlux online Smart portfolio is a little bit limited but, to be fair, there’s a decent selection of the ‘old guard’ with BBC iPlayer and YouTube for Video on Demand (VoD) and Facebook and Twitter apps for social networking junkies. We’ve spoken to Finlux about their plans to bring more apps and services to the Finlux online universe (We think they should call it Finluxia?) and they are in talks with a lot of the major players and hope to reach deals quite quickly. We’re not sure how much we can say but there’s hopefully two major TV/Movie rental companies that will be on-board. We’ll let you guess…

    A Smart TV wouldn’t be as bright as it could if it didn’t allow for a bit of media streaming and the 40S8070 makes a reasonable stab at being your renderer in the living room. Unfortunately we couldn’t get MKV files to play either by streaming or via USB, which will be disappointing for some and general file support, especially for video, is lacking compared to some of the competition but we’re sure Finlux are aware of that will take steps to improve things.

    The ability to record from the in-built tuner is present, when connected to a USB storage device, and the lay-out of the recordings options is very easy to follow. The fact that one of those tuners is Freeview HD capable is always a big bonus and means you can watch Hi-Def content for free, every day!

    Test Results

    After settling on the Cinema picture mode together with the Warm Colour Temp as being the most accurate to industry standards we took the readings below for greyscale and gamma.

    The green cast – with a touch of yellow in places – was quite noticeable before calibration and we were totally unsurprised when the meter confirmed our observations. Gamma tracking was actually fairly close to our 2.2 target, bar a couple of spikes at 20% and 90% stimulus. The controls provided in the S8070 are very basic with just a single slider for each of the channels so the lack of linearity in the errors is worrying from a calibrators point of view. There’s no direct control over the gamma tracking either, although that is less unusual than not having two point White Balance controls to tame both the high and low end of the greyscale. In fact, Finlux label the control RGB Gain so there’s even less hope for the darker portions of the luma signal.

    There are absolutely no options for choosing a colour gamut on-board the S8070 so we were hoping the native panel characteristics are at least close to the HDTV standard of Rec.709. To be fair, the Finlux wasn’t at all far off and the general over-luminance should easily be rectified with use of the Colour control with the hope that improving the white balance will help the secondary colours fall more in to place.

    To say the RGB Gain controls are coarse would be underplaying it. With a single click down of the Green Channel, the Delta Error at 80% stim fell down to below 1, which is a remarkable swing for a solitary button press. In fact, errors across the scale were almost all below the ‘safe’ level of 3 where our eyes can see no imperfections. Great, we thought, a very brief exercise for once!

    As the saying goes, ‘if something looks too good to be true, it probably is'. Having been reasonably satisfied we could do no more with the basic white balance controls we took a quick measure of the colour gamut to be met with the above…

    As you can see, by using the RGB Gain controls, we have introduced a very large luminance error in to the Red primary and switching from patterns to real-world test material confirmed the worst. Skin tones looked positively scorched and pictures seemed almost incendiary. We experimented with different ways of manipulating the white balance controls as we thought perhaps our altering the green channel had an unusually negative effect on the luminance (the green channel carries the luminance signal) but it made no difference. Quite simply, the RGB Gain controls ruin the picture fidelity and they can’t be used in their present state. We were able to bring luminance errors down with the colour control but small hue and saturation problems remained intact. That’s not to say colour reproduction was bad, it was in fact very good.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis vitae enim enim. Quisque pharetra malesuada elit, sed posuere eros bibendum at. Nunc iaculis id quam ac gravida. Mauris laoreet nulla iaculis, adipiscing leo mattis, venenatis est. Mauris in risus at mi venenatis malesuada id non sem.

    Picture Processing

    After the chastening experience with the calibration it was heartening to see better results here. Generally Vestel’s in-house processing does very well. Scaling of standard definition is quite good, with just a little softness. With the Film Mode engaged the S8070 was able to pick up on the most common NTSC 2:3 cadence, although it was unable to lock on to the PAL 2:2 equivalent. Video deinterlacing was also very decent with most fine details holding up under scrutiny and there were absolutely no issues in handling 1080p24 material without judder or any other problems. The mysterious Movie Sense options turned out to be nothing more than motion interpolation which worked fine for the primary purpose of improving motion clarity but, bizarrely, put a blue tint to the picture with some ensuing blue trails on moving objects. Overall Vestel have made a very decent fist of things in this department.

    Gaming Performance

    We were unsurprised by the results from our Lag Test device as gaming felt decidedly sluggish in all modes. In fact, the dedicated Game mode performed slightly worse than the Natural Picture mode which returned results of 55.6 milliseconds latency to controller input. It would seem that Finlux think Game mode is all about oversaturated colours and over-sharpened edges rather than cutting out as much extraneous processing as possible. A little bit more work to do here for Finlux.

    Energy Consumption

    A 40 inch LED TV shouldn’t have your electricity meter whirring in excitement and the Finlux S8070 is no gas guzzler. With backlight set to low and a basic calibration done we measured an average consumption of exactly 65W. We’ve seen bigger TVs consume less but these are still good numbers.

    Picture Quality

    As we were unable to obtain a satisfactory calibration, the S8070 isn’t what it could have been had the controls not made a total horlicks of the picture. The Cinema/Warm combination was still the most accurate, however, but definitely tainted by the green cast. Black levels were actually fairly impressive and returned an ANSI reading of 0.054 cd/m2 against a peak light output of 150 cd/m2 and that was without any of the dimming trickery the Dynamic Contrast control provides. In fact Dynamic Contrast only crushed details near black in ever increasing degrees, the higher up the scale it was pushed, so it was assuredly left off during the review process. Had it improved the clouding uniformity issues, we may have balanced a little black crush against its use; but it didn’t.

    Motion clarity was about what we’d expect from a S-PVA type panel, i.e. of average quality and we could occasionally notice a bit of ghosting with rapid movement. We’re actually not totally sure what panel is equipped within the S8070 as Vestel say they choose whatever is the best value at the time. They do, however, assure us that all panels are of Grade A quality and there was certainly no issue with dead/stuck pixels, or the like, that you would expect to see in lower grade TVs. Certainly, had we were able to extract the kind of performance we usually can from TVs in this price-range and the Finlux would have held its own with most, whilst showing a clean pair of heels to others.

    It would probably be fair comment to say that not many, if any, of Finlux’s targeted customer base would ever consider a calibration but we have to judge every TV on a level playing field so all are given the same opportunity to impress. The vast majority of owners will probably be thrilled by the pictures the S8070 produces. High Definition images are finely realised, contrast performance is very good and, for the most part, colours appear pleasing and natural. The generally good video processing – which is all in-house – also benefits horrible old Standard Definition images too, with some decent scaling and clean deinterlacing.

    The Finlux S8070 is certainly no slouch in the picture quality department, it’s just a TV constrained by a set of controls that are likely as bad as they are, due to an assumption by the manufacturers that they will never get used. They could well be right. Present company excepted, of course.

    Conclusion

    6
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    The Good

    • Excellent dynamic range
    • Attractive design
    • Reasonably accurate in cinema mode
    • Solid video processing
    • Promising feature set
    • Good black level
    • Very nice menus
    • Decent filter

    The Bad

    • Quite a lot of clouding
    • Some blur with fast motion
    • Extremely poor calibration controls
    • Slight lack of 'premium' online content
    • No MKV support
    • Input lag is quite high
    You own this Total 0
    You want this Total 0
    You had this Total 0

    Finlux S8070 (40S8070-T) Full HD LED TV Review

    Any brand snobbery should really be set aside when considering the Finlux 40S8070-T. It's a well-built, stylishly designed television that comes armed with an array of excellent features that we know are being expanded by the manufacturer, as a priority. The S8070 also delivers some very impressive contrast and a pretty accurate colour palette. Video processing is solid and high definition pictures, in particular, will likely leave most very impressed. Were it not for an untameable green cast to the most accurate picture modes, owing to some very poor calibration controls, and quite a degree of clouding due to uneven dispersal of the backlight we would certainly have been looking at putting the Finlux S8070-T on the recommended list. As it is, at this price point, the S8070 is far from being considered a budget-entrant and thus goes toe to toe with the higher mid-ranges of the big boys where it just comes up short. It's close but not quite close enough, for us, although a very promising foundation on which to build.


    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £599.00

    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    7

    Screen Uniformity

    6

    Colour Accuracy

    5

    Greyscale Accuracy

    5

    Video Processing

    7

    Picture Quality

    6

    Sound Quality

    5

    Smart Features

    6

    Build Quality

    6

    Ease Of Use

    7

    Value for Money

    7

    Verdict

    6

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