The Finlux 32H503’s black level is particularly impressive. It’s common – almost standard, in fact – for very cheap 32in TVs, especially those from second and third-tier brands, to suffer with either very washed out black colours or else aggressive problems with backlight consistency, where dark shots appear unevenly illuminated. But the 32H503 largely avoids both these issues – so long, at any rate, as you call in the True Black feature when watching HDMI sources.
It’s likely, too, that the Finlux 32H503’s use of ‘old’ CCFL lighting rather than the trendier edge LED lighting system plays a healthy part in the set avoiding backlight consistency flaws. On the evidence of the 32H503 and a few of Sony’s impressive recent CCFL-using entry level models, we can’t help but think that edge LED should perhaps be actively avoided when you’re trying to put together a really aggressively priced TV.
Another surprise from the Finlux 32H503 is the quality of its colour rendition with HD sources. Just using the Cinema preset and without bothering with the – in any case rather half-hearted – colour adjustments supported by the TV, colours tend to look actually quite credible. They at least achieve a good balance right across the available palette and look like they’re using a video-friendly ‘temperature’ setting.
The picture looks decently crisp and detailed too. Certainly we didn’t feel especially aware of the screen’s 1,366 x 768 – rather than Full HD – resolution, as the screen did a respectable job of reproducing such tell-tale HD delights as individual hair follicles, facial pore details and suit weaves.
The Finlux 32H503 also delivers a massive surprise by largely avoiding the hideous motion blurring problems so commonly associated with bargain bucket TVs.
Before anyone gets too excited, most of these strengths do come with strings attached. Where the black level response is concerned, the decent representation of a black colour does come at the expense of quite a bit of shadow detail during dark scenes, leaving them sometimes looking rather hollow in their darkest corners.
And although colours are more accurate than expected, the palette lacks vibrancy compared with the retina-singeing delights delivered by some much higher-end TVs. Skin tones can look a touch plasticky with some shots too, showing that the screen isn’t able to resolve quite as many tonal subtleties as more powerful and expensive sets. But to be fair, this isn’t a problem that really bothers you very often.
Much more problematic is the image’s judder. For while we might have been impressed by how little images blur as they cross the screen, with Blu-rays in particular there’s obvious stutter as objects move quickly across the screen or, especially, if there’s a horizontal camera pan.