Review Price £239.99
Another pleasant surprise, is how crisp and detailed HD images look. The screen’s full HD native resolution probably plays a part in this, but also very respectable for the Finlux 26F7030’s price level is its motion handling. It’s only a 50Hz set, yet levels of judder and smearing aren’t by any means excessive, meaning that even during action scenes you’re never in doubt that you’re watching an HD picture. Let’s not forget, either, that this HD quality is being delivered on a mere 26-inch screen, proving the point that HD really isn’t just for big screens.
Colours are slightly short of dynamism during dark scenes, but tones are more subtly delineated than we would have expected, and bright scenes look winningly punchy and vibrant.
If there’s a disappointment about the Finlux 26F7030’s HD pictures, it’s that the set’s black level response isn’t especially profound. Parts of the picture that should look black instead look rather grey, no matter how much you tinker with the backlight settings. The contrast issues are exacerbated, moreover, if you have to watch from an angle of more than around 35 degrees.
From a standard ‘opposite’ viewing position, however, the extent of the greyness isn’t as bad as might have been expected on such a small and cheap TV. Plus, as noted before, its impact is further reduced by the fact that you can still see a decent amount of depth-bringing shadow detail in dark scenes.
Probably the weakest part of the Finlux 26F7030’s picture performance is its standard definition handling. This looks a little soft and exhibits a much less nuanced colour performance than you get with HD. This leaves skin tones in particular tending to look a bit plasticky. However, motion blurring doesn’t increase as much as might have been expected, and a positive spin on the slight softness noted a moment ago is that it ‘smoothes away’ typical digital broadcast source noise like MPEG compression artefacts and background ‘twitching’.
Having bigged the Finlux 26F7030 up as a potential budget gaming monitor, its input lag measurement is particularly important. So it’s a relief to find that it averages a very respectable 30ms. It was a little odd to find that even using the TV’s game mode with noise reduction turned off the measured input lag varied between just 6ms and as much as 60ms. But for the most part it was in the 30-34ms zone.
Finlux 26F7030 Sound Quality
The Finlux 26F7030’s audio is its weakest all-round performance point. We’re used to small, slim TVs struggling to deliver any real volume or dynamic range, but the 26F7030 actually manages to sound worse than most, as pretty much all of its audio gets crammed into a very compressed mid-range, with hardly any treble or bass extension.
In other words, while the TV as it stands is just about able to deliver the goods with simple TV fare, if you want to use the screen for serious gaming or movie viewing, you should think of adding some sort of external stereo sound system, even it’s only a basic one.
Finlux 26F7030 Verdict
Although there have been - and likely will be in the future, too - a few stumbles along the way, overall Finlux is increasingly starting to look like something of a diamond in the budget TV rough.
Certainly if the surprisingly competent Finlux 26F7030 is anything to go by, the extraordinary rate with which Finlux keeps refreshing its TV ranges is increasingly starting to look indicative of a brand genuinely keen to keep offering buyers more quality as soon as it becomes available. And if that’s not an attitude worth praising here, we don’t know what is.
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