The Finlux 26F7030 doesn’t have any Smart TV or DLNA streaming functionality onboard, but it wouldn’t really have been reasonable to expect such features at the 26F7030’s price.
Calling up the Finlux 26F7030’s colourful but determinedly low-res onscreen menus reveals another surprise or two. For instance, there’s an option for adjusting the set’s backlight that includes an ‘auto’ option, revealing that unlike some budget TVs, this one carries a dynamic contrast system.
There’s also noise reduction, and even an ‘advanced picture settings’ submenu in which you can adjust the colour temperature, turn off overscanning, activate a black booster for HDMI sources, and shift the colour balance along a simple red-to-green line.
Finlux 26F7030 3D
Given that its 3D abilities definitely give the Finlux 26F7030 its ‘headline’, lets kick off by looking at how effective they are. And the short answer is that they’re quite a bit better than expected.
For starters, they’re surprisingly colourful and punchy, and look quite sharp too. Also, the screen’s small nature hides the traditional passive shortcomings of horizontal line structure and jagged edges. And as usual pictures prove more relaxing over longer viewing/gaming sessions than most active 3D ones, too.
The TV’s sense of 3D depth is fair (though as predicted, the smallness of the screen rather reduces that depth’s impact). Even motion doesn’t look nearly as juddery as expected considering how little picture processing the Finlux 26F7030 has.
There are, though, a couple of unexpected flaws. First, despite LG’s claims that passive 3D doesn’t cause crosstalk, on the Finlux 26F7030 it does. Crosstalk is clearly and regularly apparent over distant objects, especially if those objects are dark against light backgrounds, like the turrets of the Disney Castle in the 3D branding sequence that prefaces Tangled on 3D Blu-ray.
The fact that the crosstalk is restricted to distant content means it doesn’t appear as regularly as it does on some active 3D TVs, but it can be quite aggressive and thus distracting whenever it does appear.
The other problem is a strange flickering artefact that sometimes appears over large moving objects in the 3D image, or when there’s a rapid cut between two shots. Where motion is concerned, the moving image appears to shimmer almost subliminally in and out of the image, while between cuts the flicker appears in the form of a momentary black frame that’s drawn down the screen from top to bottom.
The flickering issues crop up much more often with Blu-ray movies than 3D games, and is arguably so subtle that not everyone will even notice it. But if you do, you might sometimes find yourself looking out for the flicker, and thus being distracted from the 3D action.
Still, considering the Finlux 26F7030’s size and, above all, affordability, the fact that its 3D images are as watchable as they are is borderline miraculous.
Finlux 26F7030 Picture Quality
Switching to HD 2D, the sense of Finlux’s set punching above its weight continues. For starters, it’s a huge relief to discover during dark scenes that the Finlux 26F7030 suffers barely at all with the sort of backlight inconsistencies so common in the LCD world (and which were actually especially problematic on the Finlux 32F6030-T a while back). Even the corners and extreme edges of the Finlux 26F7030’s pictures sport pretty much the same level of black level as the image’s centre during dark scenes, giving dark scenes an even look that underlines how annoyingly distracting backlight inconsistencies can be when they appear on other TVs.
Also surprising during dark scenes is how much shadow detail you can see. The Finlux 26F7030‘s dynamic contrast engine isn’t as sophisticated as some; certainly it sometimes reacts rather slowly to changes in the source image. But it does at least appreciate that there’s no point taking so much brightness out of the portrayal of dark scenes that subtle details get crushed into oblivion.