Right, 3D next. And the Philips 55PFL7008 picks up where Philips’ 2012 models left off by handling the third dimension extremely well. Pictures look phenomenally bright using Philips’ 3D preset, exploding off the screen in a way you just don’t get with the vast majority of TVs that use the rival active 3D format.
The Philips 55PFL7008 also delivers in full on passive 3D’s promise of minimal crosstalk ghosting noise, which in turn helps pictures look crisp, clean and full of depth. And of course, the large-scale of 55-inch screen is just the job when it comes to filling plenty of your field of view with the 3D image.
The typical passive 3D caveats apply, too: you can see traces of horizontal line structure over the image; edges and curved lines can look slightly jagged; and images don’t look quite as detailed as their active 3D counterparts. But for many people – especially families – these caveats will be perfectly tolerable in return for the ease (and affordability) of the passive 3D experience.
There are a couple of other minor 3D issues worth mentioning, though. First, every now and then, when a 3D image jumps very quickly from a dark to a very bright shot, there’s a noticeable backlight ‘pulse’ or flicker. We saw the same thing on 2012’s Philips 3D TVs.
The second niggle is that you’ll probably find you have to use the Perfect Natural Motion system with 3D, as otherwise 3D images can suffer with quite noticeable judder. Yet using Perfect Natural Motion – even on its lowest power level - causes the occasional shimmering and twitching artefacts noted in the 2D section.
None of the little 3D niggles are sufficiently overbearing, though, to make 3D viewing ever less than a real pleasure to watch.
The Philips 55PFL7008’s audio is very good by skinny TV standards too, achieving greater volume and separation than most thanks to the inclusion of a couple of large woofer speakers on the set’s rear.
Things can start a bit forced during really dense audio sequences, and the TV seems slightly more prone to lip-synch errors than most. But at least the Philips 55PFL7008 is always game for having a go at delivering a big soundstage; it never slips into that horrible skinny sound so common with thin TVs.
As a gaming monitor the Philips 55PFL7008 comes up a little short, on account of suffering more input lag than serious gamers will feel comfortable with - around 65ms on average. This was measured with the 55PFL7008 switched to its Computer preset, and with as many bits of processing turned off as we could find - including Ambilight.
Knowing what we do about the rest of Philips’ upcoming range, we can’t quite shake the thought that the 55PFL7008 sits uncomfortably between the potentially better value PFL6008 series and the potentially spectacular pictures of the PFL8008 series. It's a very good TV, but not quite a great one.