The Pixel Precise HD engine also does a fine job of sharpening standard def sources up, leaving even usually soft fare like Bargain Hunt looking at least halfway HD. The 40PFL7007T isn't quite as nifty at taking noise out of the picture during the upscaling process as the 8007 and 9707 models, on account of these latter models having a more powerful, faster processing engine. As a result, you should turn off all the 40PFL7007T's sharpness-boosting tools for standard def viewing.
You might thus feel tempted to try the set’s NR routines, though these tend to make the picture look quite a bit softer. But whether you use the NR or not when watching standard def, overall you can rest assured that on those thankfully increasingly rare occasions where you find something you want to watch isn't available in HD, then the 40PFL7007T will present it more than adequately.
The only significant problem with 2D pictures, really, so long as you're careful with the set's processing settings, is that if you've got the dynamic backlight option active, sudden transitions from dark to very bright material causes a quite distracting momentary flicker effect over the central third or so of the picture. It crops up quite often if you use the 'Best for Picture' setting, and thankfully reduces considerably if you opt for the 'Standard' dynamic backlight setting. Because of this we tended to leave the dynamic backlight feature switched off, especially if watching animated material.
Nervously switching our tests to 3D, the 40PFL7007T thankfully left us feeling impressed. The biggest surprise is that it doesn't suffer with anywhere near as much crosstalk as Philips' flagship 9707 Moth-Eye set. You have to let the TV warm up for a bit before watching 3D, and even then there are still traces of the tell-tale double ghosting noise from time to time. But the ghosting is neither as common nor as aggressive when it appears as it is on the 46PFL9707. The only reason we can come up with for this is that the PFL7007T and PFL8007T models both source their panels from a different place to where the PFL9707 comes from.
The relative lack of crosstalk on the 40PFL7007T allows you to bask in the full HD glories of 3D Blu-rays, lapping up their rich detail and sharply rendered sense of depth. Also helping the sense of clarity the 40PFL7007T delivers is its above average handling of motion with 3D material, even if you opt not to use the Natural Motion processing.
And there's more. For while some active shutter glasses take substantial chunks out of 3D images' brightness and colour saturations, the 40PFL7007T's glasses only have a relatively minor dimming impact.
Minor 3D flaws
There are a couple of relatively minor issues with the 40PFL7007T's 3D pictures though, beyond the very minor residual crosstalk mentioned earlier. First, in working harder to counter the dimming effect of the 3D glasses, the TV is more likely to exhibit traces of light leakage in its corners during dark scenes. Second, the little mid-screen flicker noted in the 2D section of the review feels more pronounced in 3D mode, making it more likely that you'll choose to deactivate the dynamic backlight when watching 3D.
It’s worth briefly adding here, too, that the 40PFL7007T’s many picture processing options really need experimenting with in some depth if you're to continually have them running to their best effect with different types of source material.
While the 40PFL7007T’s colour, contrast and sharpness make it a very strong gaming monitor, its gaming skills are slightly dented by a somewhat high average input lag figure of around 60ms which could potentially slightly impact your ‘twitch’ gaming abilities.
TVs as skinny as the 40PFL7007T tend to suffer for their aesthetics when it comes to their audio performance. But the 40PFL7007T has a nifty trick up its sleeve that helps it stand head and shoulders sonically above the super-slim TV hoi polloi. For one thing we neglected to mention during our description of the 40PFL7007T is that it builds its speakers into its stand.
This allows the TV to produce much more bass and a wider mid-range than TVs with speakers included in their bodies tend to manage. Yet crucially Philips has managed to manipulate the sound the speakers produce so that dialogue still sounds locked to the image, and not like it's coming from the stand beneath it.
Philips has already done some cracking TVs in the latter part of 2012. But the overall package of the 40PFL7007T, with its design, features, price and performance levels, makes it arguably our favourite new Philips TV yet.