We thought we knew Finlux by now. We thought the once-Finnish brand (now owned by Turkish TV maker Vestel) was all about value; about serving up relatively lowly-featured sets designed to appeal to the many people out there who fancy a big new TV but don’t have the funds for something from one of the more established ‘household’ brands.
Then the Finlux 42S9100-T turned up. This hot-off-the-presses model is Finlux’s first serious stab at adding a ‘flagship’ TV to its range - even though while its £700 price is high by Finlux’s standards, it hardly looks expensive when compared with other 42-inch models. Especially as it ships with a free three year warranty.
So what is it about the Finlux 42S9100-T that makes it Finlux’s most ambitious TV to date? Quite a lot actually. For starters it boasts built-in passive 3D playback, backed up by the inclusion of no less than eight pairs of glasses.
Also standing out on the feature list is a built-in Freeview HD tuner (not something you can take for granted across Finlux’s range), 100Hz processing, DLNA network support, Wi-Fi via a supplied USB dongle, and access to Finlux’s online services which, as we’ll see later, have at least a couple of useful tricks up their sleeve.
The set’s connections are suitably numerous, too. There are four v1.4 HDMIs, while as well as the aforementioned USB Wi-Fi option there’s a LAN for hardwiring the set to your network, and a second USB port for either playing music, video and photo files from USB sticks or recording from the built-in tuner. There’s even a subwoofer line-out for boosting the set’s low frequency audio performance by adding an optional external bass speaker.
All this and we haven’t yet mentioned the most immediate sign of the Finlux 42S9100-T’s surprisingly lofty ambitions: it’s distinctly swanky design. For starters its bezel is remarkably slender; only a little over 1cm wide. Second, the tasteful black finish of the main bezel is offset very cutely by a gleaming chrome-like outer trim encasing each of the TV’s sides.
The set’s rear is fashionably slim too, and the set’s build quality feels impressively robust. To top it all off, the whole screen attaches to one of the cutest metal cross desktop stands we’ve seen. Put some tape over the Finlux logo and casual observers could easily imagine that the Finlux 42S9100-T was actually a new LG or Samsung TV.
To support its DLNA capabilities, the Finlux 42S9100-T ships with Nero’s MediaHome 4 PC software, and Finlux has even gone so far as to try and simplify using this relatively complicated TV by providing a startlingly stripped back second remote alongside the bigger, more button-laden standard one.
Firing up the Finlux 42S9100-T’s online features reveals a fairly basic-looking interface, comprising a single page of colourful but rather ‘standard def’ icons for accessing all the services currently on offer.
Highlights include the BBC iPlayer, CineTrailer, Facebook, Foreca, ITN, Twitter, Viewster, AutoZine, Digital bloom, DriveCast, ebay, a European Football Matches channel, YouTube, iConcerts, Joomeo, K&N, Meteonews.tv, pizza.co.uk, playin.tv, Footie Qualifiers 2014, Solitaire Club, Tunein Radio, Tunin.fm, and Picasa.
Obviously it’s a pity there aren’t more mainstream video platforms present, such as LoveFilm, Netflix and the ITV Player, especially given that the Finlux 42S9100-T’s flagship status. But we guess Finlux/Vestel simply doesn’t have the resources and industry punch to leverage as much content as the big-name TV brands. And even the content that is on offer still isn’t too shoddy given how much else the TV offers for its money.