Finlux TVs are like buses, it seems. You wait years for one, and then three come along at once. The first two of these Finlux, um, buses, the 55S6040-M and the 32H503, have both proved actually a bit better than we’d frankly expected them to be. But they stuck to 2D. The 42F7010 in front of us today has a stab at 3D.
This has to be considered a brave move, to be honest, given that budget attempts at 3D have tended to come a bit of a cropper. Let’s hope the bravery doesn’t start to look like foolishness once our testing is done.
The home for Finlux’s 3D debutante is rather run of the mill aesthetically. It’s essentially just a plasticky black frame sat on top of a pre-attached plasticky black base. Finlux has tried to liven things up by piling on the gloss for both the bezel and the stand, but actually this extreme gloss ultimately just makes the TV look even more cheap. Barak Obama’s infamous ‘lipstick on a pig’ analogy comes to mind...
The 42F7010 does start to go up in our estimation, though, when we run our eye over its connections. Particularly surprising is the set’s combination of four HDMIs - three on the rear, one on the side - with a pair of USBs. The HDMIs can, of course, receive full HD 3D signals from 3D Blu-ray players, while the USBs can either play back film, music and photo files, or record video to USB HDDs from the integrated digital tuner. Impressive.
Rather less impressive is the fact that this digital tuner only receives standard definition Freeview broadcasts. We guess this is a cost-cutting measure, but while we felt able to tolerate the same situation on a big screen like the 55in 55S6040-M, which we could imagine being bought simply as an affordable monitor to go with a separate tuner/home cinema system, not having Freeview HD seems tougher to take on the 42in 42F7010, which we would imagine being more likely to be used as a straight TV rather than a monitor.
One last point about the connections we should cover before moving on is that many of them face directly out of the TV’s rear - a potential headache for anyone thinking of hanging a 42F7010 on a wall. Though to be honest, the rather huge depth of the 42F7010 probably makes wall hanging it a non-starter anyway.
The £449.99 price attached to the 42F7010 seems pretty aggressive when you consider that LG’s 42in 42LM660T passive TV is around £1200 and Panasonic’s L42ET5B passive 3D TV is around £900. You can get other budget 3D TVs for less, such as the £400 Logik L423ED11 and Cello C42T71dvb. But neither of those TVs were anything special in performance terms, so there’s plenty of room for the 42F7010 to justify its slightly higher cost.
Probably the most concerning competition for the 42F7010 is the Toshiba 42VL863, another passive TV with a very solid performance that can at the time of writing be had for under £550. Still, the 42F7010 does its damndest to underline its value credentials by currently shipping with no less than eight pairs of passive 3D glasses.
The panel at the 42F7010’s heart is a full HD affair, driven by edge LED lighting. It’s got a dynamic contrast system and claims a respectable ‘native’ contrast ratio of around 1400:1.