Sharpness levels, meanwhile, are impressive. The 40RL958B makes full use of the 1920x1080 pixels contained in its screen to deliver a crisp, textured HD image that doesn't even break down into softness when there's a lot of motion to handle (so long as you deactivate the noise reduction options when watching HD, anyway). In this latter respect in particular the 40RL958B is again far removed from the soft mush commonly witnessed when similarly affordable TVs try to handle a Hollywood action scene.
The most mixed part of the 40RL958B’s picture performance comes - predictably enough - with its handling of very dark scenes. Cheap edge LED LCD TVs find it notoriously difficult to control their light output so that dark scenes enjoy a genuinely black colour, and so that the whole screen area is uniformly lit, without dark scenes suffering areas of clouding. The 40RL958B is definitely not immune to either of these concerns, as very dark material exhibits a slight grey overtone, as well as some gentle evidence of clouding, especially in an area to the screen’s far right.
There’s also less shadow detail to see in dark corners than you get with the best LCD TVs, especially after you’ve reduced the backlight to around its -10 to -15 level in a bid to minimise the greyness and backlight clouding issues.
However, the key point about all this is that the 40RL958B suffers LESS with this assortment of dark scene issues than the vast majority of 40in TVs in its price bracket. So we’re not saying that the 40RL958B’s handling of dark scenes is by any means bad; all we’re really saying in pointing its dark scene issues out is that you can do better in this department if you spend more money.
But you could likely have worked this out for yourself. The really important question for the 40RL958B is whether its pictures are good by the standards of its price level. And the simple answer to that is yes, they certainly are.
The 40RL958B’s affordability and size make it a potentially firm favourite among gamers. So it’s pleasing to find that it suffers with less than 35ms of input lag - a low enough figure to leave your gaming abilities pretty much unaffected.
The 40RL958B also looks cuter than the majority of its similarly cheap rivals thanks to its reasonably slender bezel, gloss black finish and reasonably robust bodywork.
The weakest thing about the 40RL958B's performance is its audio. It's thin and unconvincing with any sound mix that's at all complex or multilayered, over-exaggerating trebles and thus leaving action scenes sounding painfully harsh and voices often sounding a little 'electronic' and contained.
Despite its rather feeble audio and minor issues showing dark scenes, the 40RL958B is still a very attractive budget option, thanks to its surprisingly lengthy feature list and a picture quality with both HD and standard def sources that’s comfortably ahead of most similarly priced rivals.