The Finlux 42S7080‘s dynamic contrast system is problematic too, as it’s just too slow and over-aggressive. This means that you’re regularly distracted by the brightness adjustments it makes in its bid to deliver the best black levels it can, based on an ongoing assessment of the incoming images.
This isn’t to say that the Finlux 42S7080 is by any means an unmitigated disaster with dark footage, though. For instance, its backlighting does at least look pretty even, without the ugly patches of extra-brightness clouding still common with cheap - and actually a few not so cheap - edge LED TVs. Also, the greyness is much less pronounced if there’s a bit of ambient light in your room, so it might only prove seriously troubling to dedicated movie fans who like to turn the lights off before tucking into a good film.
Finlux 42S7080 3D
Shifting our focus to the Finlux 42S7080’s passive 3D capabilities, they’re far more enjoyable than expected. Some budget passive 3D TVs have ended up looking pretty darned ugly thanks to their problems with colour tones, motion and even crosstalk (despite this not generally being associated with the passive system). But the 42S7080 generally delivers all the strengths of passive tech without over-stressing the flaws.
This means, in essence, that you get to enjoy a flicker- and largely crosstalk-free 3D image with a natural sense of depth and more brightness and colour saturation than you get with the vast majority of active 3D sets. We were also impressed by how well the set handles motion in 3D mode, avoiding the overt juddering often seen with 3D footage even on some much more expensive TVs.
On the downside, you can make out a little horizontal line structure over bright areas and small bright objects, and contoured edges look jagged. Plus there’s less fine detail in the Finlux 42S7080‘s 3D images than you would see with an active 3D TV, and crosstalk goes from zero to massive if you sit more than 13 degrees above or below the screen.
These are all flaws of the passive 3D technology generally, though, and so can’t be laid at the door specifically of the Finlux 42S7080. The only 3D issue that you can blame Finlux TV for, in fact, is the way the image's lack of contrast can reduce the sense of depth during dark scenes.
One much more aggravating issue with the Finlux 42S7080’s performance that it can’t escape responsibility for, though, is the amount of input lag it suffers. Even using its Game preset and turning off every bit of video processing we could find, we still couldn’t get input lag lower than 100ms. This is plenty high enough to significantly reduce your gaming performance.
The audio the Finlux 42S7080 provides with its more than presentable pictures is more in line with the budget TV world. The mid-range is quite compressed, with minimal bass or treble extension and a tendency to sound thin and muffled when there’s anything more dramatic going on than your typical daytime TV chat show.
Finlux 42S7080 Verdict
Although its audio and black level deficiencies don’t make the Finlux 42S7080 a particularly great option for serious movie fans, for more casual users it’s much better than most budget 40 and 42-inch TVs. Even the 42S7080’s 3D efforts are more than respectable, making the fact that as many as eight people can enjoy them right out of the box a real bonus.
In the end the lack of a Freeview HD tuner, large input lag figure and weedy sound have persuaded us to go for a final mark of seven rather than anything higher. But if you can easily get an external HD source into the TV, you aren’t a serious gamer and money’s tight, then the Finlux 42S7080 definitely merits consideration.