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Every now and then LG manages to get something over to us quite a bit ahead of its actual release date. And that's precisely what's happened today with the 42in 42SL8000, a TV not due to go on sale until later this month.
While we always appreciate the opportunity to get stuck into something early, there is a downside. Namely that no 'real world' prices are available for the 42SL8000 yet, so we've had to depend on educated guesswork and a couple of industry contacts to come up with the approximate £1,000 figure given at the top of the review.
But this is pretty much where the bad news about this review ends, for despite arriving with us more or less out of the blue, the 42SL8000 has turned out to be a bit of a star.
The good news begins as soon as you get the set out of the box. For the design is a paragon of slenderness, with a bezel that's barely an inch across on three sides, and a rear end that only sticks out around 50mm - roughly half the butt size of a typical LCD TV.
Couple this thin profile with a typically flamboyant high-gloss, almost glass-like finish, some neat curves around the bezel's edges, and even a flourish of subtle blue colouration along the TV's undercarriage, and the 42SL8000 really does boast impressive shop-shelf appeal.
In typical LG style, though, the 42SL8000 doesn't trade on its looks alone. In fact, it's packed to bursting point with features and promisingly potent specifications.
Take its connections, for instance. They tick pretty much all of our favourite boxes by including four HDMIs, a dedicated VGA computer port, and a USB port that can handle DivX 1080p, WMV, and other video file formats as well as the more typical JPEGs and MP3s.
Hardcore gadget hounds might also appreciate the set's Bluetooth support, allowing you to transfer wirelessly music and photos from Bluetooth phones to the TV. Or else you can listen to the TV's sound via a set of Bluetooth headphones.
The next thing to catch our eye about the 42SL8000 is its 200Hz processing system, provided to increase the clarity and fluidity of motion reproduction. I'm duty bound to point out here, though, that calling the feature 200Hz is a little optimistic, as the TV doesn't actually refresh its screen 200 times a second, like Samsung and Sony's 200Hz TVs do. Instead it uses a 100Hz refresh rate in conjunction with a scanning backlight arrangement, to produce a 200Hz-like effect.
This doesn't mean that the 42SL8000 won't necessarily be able to produce pictures with hugely improved motion, but it does mean we need to be on the look out for artefacts associated with scanning backlights, such as multiple echoes of small moving objects, and flickering over patches of fine HD detail.
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