A number of issues immediately become apparent when you’ve taken your 3D glasses off. First and worst, you really notice the set’s colour issues more. It’s possible to improve things a little by tinkering around with the limited colour options available to you, but at no point did we end up with reds, greens or skin tones that consistently looked entirely believable.
It doesn’t help that the set’s colour processing seems pretty underpowered, resulting in a lack of colour blend subtlety and a tonal range that leaves skin tones in particular looking either blotchy and stripey or plasticky and ‘mannequin’-like.
To be fair, colour tones do tend to look more believable when you’re watching HD rather than standard def - but of course, with no HD tuner in the set, there’s a good chance many people will end up watching standard definition for the majority of the time.
Also making us rue the lack of an HD tuner more is the way the C42T71’s standard definition pictures look rather soft and noisy, suggesting the upscaling engine is nothing special. Another issue that’s more apparent in 2D mode than it was in 3D is that the set’s motion handling isn’t great. There’s an obvious loss of resolution as objects cross the screen, especially - once again - when watching standard definition sources.
And still we’re not done with the flaws in the C42T71’s 2D pictures. For it also turns out when watching dark scenes that the set’s contrast performance is rather average.There’s a general grey/blue look to parts of pictures that should look black, and worse, the backlight level is very inconsistent, with some parts of the picture clearly getting light ‘clouds’ over them that can be quite distracting if you’re watching a dark film.
Testing the screen for input lag, meanwhile, we measured a smidge under 40ms. Which shouldn’t be enough to seriously damage your gaming performance if you use the TV as a monitor for your PC or console.
Finally, despite the C42T71’s considerable bulk, it’s not a particularly great TV to listen to. There is precious little bass, and no great clarity at the treble end of the spectrum either. This inevitably leads to the set’s mid-range becoming so overcrowded that the sound becomes harsh under any sort of major duress.
It’s nice, we guess, how unprocessed and natural the C42T71‘s pictures look, and how bright and vibrant the screen is for its price. The set is also an unexpectedly decent and fun 3D performer for casual family use. However, the C42T71’s 2D performance pretty much lives down to the expectations raised by its peanuts price, which has surely got to be a problem when 2D is likely to occupy the vast majority of your viewing time.