The Finlux 42S9100-T’s various black level woes are made to look all the more unfortunate by the fact that when you’re not watching something dark, Finlux’s flagship TV actually performs rather well. For instance, HD images look extremely sharp and detailed, even when there’s a lot of motion to handle. This is certainly not something we would expect to see of any TV from a budget brand, even a flagship model.
In fact, if you’re watching a grainy source, such as the Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part II Blu-ray, the sharpness is almost too strong using the factory picture presets, leaving images looking gritty. Don't feel tempted to use the set’s noise reduction at these moments, though, or pictures will look softer and slightly laggy. Instead just nudge down the sharpness setting.
Colours are very respectable during bright scenes too, making full use of the screen’s high brightness levels to push forth a reasonably subtle and expansive palette. Even the set’s contrast looks more than proficient when you’re watching material with a mixture of light and dark.
Although the Finlux 42S9100-T’s issues with dark scenes prevent it from being a perfect gaming monitor, its sharpness, rich colours and brightness would have still made it a decent bet. Except for one thing. Our input lag tests measured a very high figure of around 100ms, which is enough to damage your performance with reaction-sensitive games. This reminds us that as with all passive 3D TVs, the Finlux 42S9100-T has an LG panel at its heart, as we’ve seen similar levels of delay from all of LG’s TVs this year too.
Sonically the Finlux 42S9100-T is par for the course where skinny TVs are concerned. There's perhaps a bit more volume than might have expected from a budget slim set, and dialogue generally remains reasonably intelligible. But things definitely start to sound harsh if turn action scenes loud thanks to a lack of true bass and treble extension.
The Finlux 42S9100-T has a fair stab at taking Finlux up to ‘the next level’ of the TV market. It certainly looks like a premium set, its got the 3D, multimedia playback and Smart TV features we’d expect of a premium set (even if the Smart TV ones are pretty limited in scope), and there are likable things about its picture quality too.
However, by stepping up to the £700 mark, the Finlux 42S9100-T sees Finlux going up against some pretty stiff competition from the big brands, such as the brilliant Panasonic P42ST50 plasma TV, the good Samsung UE40ES6800, and the Sony 40HX753. And unfortunately, despite its very credible 3D efforts, it ultimately just isn’t good enough to rub shoulders with such esteemed company.