You know the Finlux drill by now. Aside from the surprising flagship 42S9100-T we tested recently, the Vestel-owned brand seems to be doing quite-nicely-thank-you by selling remarkably cheap TVs to a cash-strapped UK marketplace direct through its own website. So it’s no surprise to find the Finlux model under the spotlight today, the 46S8030-T, delivering 46in of pictures, a Freeview HD tuner, edge LED lighting and even a degree of Smart TV functionality all for the princely sum of £550. Minus a penny.
Dedicated readers will also know, though, that the Finlux ‘way’ comes with some strings attached. Namely that when a new set comes through the door you don’t know for sure what you’re going to get in quality terms. Some models we’ve seen have been startlingly good for the budget TVs, while one or two others have been, well, rather less impressive. So without further ado let’s find out which side of the Finlux coin the 46S8030-T belongs on.
Aesthetically it’s... OK. On the surface of things it does a respectable job of aping Samsung’s ‘crystal’ design of a couple of years ago with its shiny finish and transparent outer trim. Its slightly textured bezel looks pleasant too. But it feels a bit flimsy, and the bezel is unfashionably wide by today’s ultra-skinny standards.
Its connections are surprisingly uncompromised by the 46S8030T’s budget price, though. Especially pleasing is the appearance of four HDMIs, a pair of USB ports for playing back video, photo and music files or recording from the built-in tuner, and perhaps most surprising of all, built-in Wi-Fi courtesy of a provided USB dongle.
There’s also a LAN port if you’d rather go the hard-wired route, but with Wi-Fi available we don’t imagine many people wanting to do that.
Finlux has even gone so far as to include with the TV a free copy of the Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials to help you get your computer(s) networked to the TV. Though it’s a pity that this software only runs on Windows 7 and XP; there's no Mac support.
Operation of the TV is accomplished via a surprisingly good remote control complete with a spacious and mostly sensible lay out, along with some pleasant enough onscreen menus that combine large icons with clear text.
Features within the menus include a quartet of picture presets (Dynamic, Cinema, Game and Natural); low, medium, high and auto backlight adjustments; multi-level noise reduction circuitry; a multi-level dynamic contrast system; 100Hz processing; a basic colour temperature adjustment, and a trio of surprises on such a cheap TV, namely a skin tone adjuster, a simple Red-to-green colour shift sliding bar, and the ability to adjust the gain levels of the red, green and blue colour elements.