Whatever your personal preference regarding active or passive 3D, there’s no denying that it’s the passive technology that’s making 3D mainstream.
The main reason for this is, of course, price. This is not a particularly sophisticated reason, we’ll grant you. But the history of AV is littered with examples of technology ‘wars’ that have been won by the cheapest rather than the supposedly 'best quality' option.
With this in mind, the latest 3D sets to hit the UK from in-house Dixons brand, Logik, have the potential to be very important. Because, amazingly, the two Logik passive 3D series (one CCFL-lit and one edge LED-lit) start at under £400. And even the 42in edge LED L423ED11 we’re looking at here costs under £600, despite coming (at the time of writing) with an unprecedented 10 free pairs of passive 3D glasses and a free 3D Blu-ray player from Philips. Crazy.
So cheap are Logik’s new 3D ranges, in fact, that it’s tempting to assume they must be rubbish. An assumption which it thus falls to this review to confirm or refute.
Aesthetically the L423ED11 gets the job done without delivering any originality or thrills. Its black bezel is suitably glossy but old-fashionedly wide. Its stand is robust, but bland. And although the set’s chassis feels more robust than expected, the finish looks rather plasticky.
The L423ED11’s edge-facing connections are in some ways better than expected, in that they include three v1.4 HDMIs (one down the side), a D-Sub PC input and even a USB port capable of playing video, photo and music formats. Its format support is surprisingly expansive, too, with MPEG1/2/MPEG4/DivX/H.264 video, JPEG/BMP/PNG photo and MP3/WMA/AAC/AC3 music files all on the ‘can do’ roster.
There is one obvious shortcoming of the L423ED11’s connections, though: no LAN port. So there’s no way of streaming files in from a networked PC and no way of accessing online features.
This is probably fair enough on a TV as cheap as this one. However, not having a LAN also reveals that the L423ED11 doesn’t have a Freeview HD tuner. Instead you just get a standard definition one. This is much harder to take - especially on a 42in TV - than any missing DLNA compatibility or Smart TV functionality. Only you can decide if getting 3D on the cheap is more important to you than having easy access to HD services.
Trying to explore the L423ED11’s features turns out to be a punishing task, on account of one of the most horrible remotes we’ve ever wrestled with. Its layout isn’t bad - in fact, putting a trio of Menu, Help and 3D buttons on their own at the top shows someone somewhere is at least thinking about things. The problems are that the remote’s buttons feel squidgy and unpleasant and that even with new batteries in, getting the remote to talk to the TV is a nightmare. We spent so long moving the remote up and down and changing its angle to try and get it to work that by the end we felt like we’d just finished a three-hour Nintendo Wii tennis session.
If it hadn’t been for the soothing tub of M&S Caramel Crispy Mini Bites we had sat next to us while testing the TV, the remote might very likely have ended up embedded in the L423ED11’s screen.