When we tested the Kogan 32XXXYA A few days back, we promised we’d also soon be looking at a couple of other self-consciously cheap 32in TVs. So here’s the second part of the trilogy, in the shape of Finlux’s £299.99 32F8030-T.
And a fairly striking shape it is too, courtesy of the way it boldly apes some Samsung designs by sporting a transparent outer trim around its otherwise glossy black bezel. Before fashionistas get too carried away, though, it has to be said that the set’s build quality is rather plasticky, and the size of the bezel is wide by modern standards.
Budget TVs tend – predictably – not to be overburdened with features. But a quick scan of the 32F8030-T’s connections immediately has us suspecting/hoping that this might be no ordinary budget TV. For as well as a hugely impressive four HDMIs, you get two USB ports, an Ethernet port, and even, remarkably for a £299.99 32in TV, built-in Wi-Fi, courtesy of a provided USB dongle.
The USB ports can be used for recording from the Freeview HD – yes, HD – tuner, or for playing back video, photo and music files from USB storage devices. Even more startlingly, the Ethernet/Wi-Fi options can be used for either streaming video, music or photos from networked DLNA PCs (via Nero MediaHome software), or going online to access a selection of apps and streaming services. This latter feature is a pretty incredible find on a sub-£300 32in TV.
Not surprisingly the 32F8030-T’s online features are fairly limited versus the rich online worlds available now from many mainstream TV brands. The full list looks like this: the BBC iPlayer, CineTrailer, Facebook, Twitter, Foreca, ITN, Viewster, AutoZine, DigitalBloom, Drivecast, Ebay, YouTube, iConcerts, Joomeo, K&N, Metonews.tv, Pizza.co.uk, playin’TV, Qualifiers 2014, Solitaire Club, Tactic 2, Tunein.radio, tunin.fm, a Twin Match Ocean game, and UVTV.
Obviously the lack of payment based big hitters like LoveFilm, Netflix, Blinkbox and Acetrax is a shame, but really even just having the BBC iPlayer built into a TV as cheap as this has to count as a significant bonus.
Heading into the decent-looking onscreen menus - courtesy of a well-designed and responsive remote control - keeps the unexpectedly good times rolling, as we find such helpful and ‘non-budget’ features as multiple backlight settings, various noise reduction settings, a dynamic contrast system, an adjustment that lets you alter the skin tones in isolation from the set’s other colours, a colour shift bar that lets you tweak the colour bias towards red or green, and an RGB gain option.
Obviously you don’t get the full gamut of calibration options you might expect from a more expensive set, but there is at least enough going on in the 32F8030-T’s menus to make it look unexpectedly ambitious where picture quality is concerned. So let’s find out if these ambitions bear fruit.