In fact, the 40PFL8605’s pictures are unusually bright, even by LCD standards - a fact that doubtless plays a part in the radiant way extremely rich colour saturations are propelled out of the screen to be devoured by your eager retinas.
Despite their aggressive tendencies, though, the 40PFL8605’s colours are by no means unnatural looking or ‘cartoonish’ - not least because the processing power pulling the TV’s strings is apparently so effortlessly capable of delineating even the most minute shift in colour tone or blend. This helps pictures achieve a strong sense of solidity and definition.
Talking of definition, this is another area where the 40PFL8605 excels in 2D. HD pictures look so full of texture and precision that it sometimes feels like you’re watching old favourite scenes for the first time, while the workings of Perfect Pixel HD ensure that even standard definition pictures look remarkably crisp and detailed.
The 40PFL8605 keeps an impressive lid, too, on LCD’s old problem of resolution loss over moving objects. In fact, you can pretty much remove it - and judder - completely via the HD Natural Motion circuitry Philips provides.
The only catch with this is that it can generate some side effects if used on too high a setting (though there are actually impressively few side effects on the processing’s low settings), and produces an ultra-smooth effect that just doesn’t work for some people - especially movie buffs. But hey, if you don’t like the motion processing, you can just turn it off, and still not find the picture plagued significantly by motion blur.
Inevitably, the 40PFL8605’s 2D pictures aren’t perfect. We’ve already hinted at the fact that you can, as ever with Philips’ processing-heavy TVs, end up with a very processing-heavy and unnatural picture if you don’t learn your way around the set’s many processing options. Also, we detected an offset secondary image when viewing from a wide angle, presumably caused by the glass sheet sitting across the TV’s fascia.
As a side note, gamers should note that the processing on the 40PFL8605 can introduce noticeable signs of the input lag that can so spoil online gaming experiences. But actually, the majority of this lag disappears if you stick with the provided Game picture preset when gaming.
Joining the 40PFL8605’s rather mixed picture fortunes if you take 3D into account is a pretty satisfying audio performance. You don’t get as much bass or definition as you do with Philips’ 9000 series, but the sound is still slightly louder, clearer and generally more convincing than it is with most TVs - especially TVs as thin as the 40PFL8605.
The 40PFL8605 appears to have been designed primarily as a 2D TV, with 3D merely an upgrade option. And as a 2D TV it’s a considerable success, making a better job of justifying its existence in Philips’ range than last year’s 8000 series models.
It’s also nice to find the 40PFL8605 offering a different aesthetic to the majority of Philips’ current range, even if the glass panel on the front creates a few problems.
The 40PFL8605’s 3D pictures are considerably less successful than its 2D ones, though, thanks to crosstalk noise. It’s fortunate, then, that Philips doesn’t appear to be charging very much for the 3D package it’s now bundling with the TV.
This doesn’t alter the fact, though, that in the end the set will likely only satisfy someone interested in 2D quality and multimedia features first, with only a passing interest in 3D (or no interest in it at all!). People really keen on 3D would be advised to look elsewhere.