- Unusually good picture quality
- Great value
- Good smart features for the money
- Backlight clouding needs to be worked round
- Crosstalk with 3D
- Crushed shadow detail post calibration
- Review Price: £400.00
- 48-inch LCD TV
- Native full HD resolution
- Smart TV features inc. Netflix and the BBC iPlayer
- Active 3D playback with 2 free glasses
What is the Finlux 48FT3E242S-T?
The 48FT3E242S-T is about as close as the budget brand Finlux is likely to get to a high-end TV (unless it gets bitten by the 4K bug). Despite currently costing just £400, this 48-inch TV offers a Smart TV service, a built-in Freeview HD tuner, and perhaps most surprising of all, 3D playback, complete with two pairs of glasses.
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Finlux 48FT3E242S-T – Design and Features
After the dourness of Finlux’s previous TV, the 32HBD274B-NC, the 48FT3E242S-T is actually rather attractive. Its frame is impressively thin and doesn’t feel overtly plasticky, and the application of a metallic silver trim to the outside edge feels premium rather than cheesy. The way the Finlux logo is enclosed in a wedge that juts down from the centre of the bottom edge feels like a cheeky nod to recent Sony designs, and the desktop stand’s heavy-duty metal finish looks almost posh!
Connections are reasonably numerous for such an affordable TV. Three HDMIs will be the first port of call for most of your video sources, but there’s also a pair of USBs that support playback of multimedia from USB storage devices or recording from the TV’s Freeview HD tuner to USB HDD.
Integrated Wi-Fi and a LAN port are on hand to support both access to Finlux’s online smart TV platform and multimedia streaming from DLNA-enabled devices.
The smart features are rather more numerous than you might expect from a relatively small brand such as Finlux. Highlights include Netflix (there’s even a dedicated button on the remote control), YouTube, BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport, Daily Motion, Viewster, TuneIn Radio, Facebook and Twitter. The interface is a bit drab by modern standards, but it’s easy to follow and use, and doesn’t run too sluggishly.
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The 48FT3E242S-T’s 48-inch screen boasts a full HD resolution and delivers 100Hz scanning to try to boost motion clarity. It uses edge LED lighting with a dynamic contrast system (though inevitably for this money there’s no local dimming), and there’s a basic noise reduction system on hand to try and tidy up messy sources.
The most surprising feature on the 48FT3E242S-T’s list is its 3D playback. This is starting to disappear from many mid-range TVs these days, yet here it is on a sub-£400 48-inch set. What’s more it’s the full HD active type of 3D rather than the reduced resolution passive format, which makes the inclusion of two pairs of glasses look very generous considering how relatively expensive active shutter glasses are versus their passive counterparts.
The fact that the 3D is of the active type also tells us that the TV is not using an IPS style of LCD panel, raising hopes that it might deliver a decent contrast performance despite its cheapness.
Finlux 48FT3E242S-T – Setup
While the 48FT3E242S-T’s out-of-the-box picture presets aren’t horrifically bad, you can improve pictures markedly by following a few simple rules. First, make sure the Dynamic Contrast system is set to Low. Turn off noise reduction for any HD viewing, and we’d suggest toggling the Backlight setting between low and medium for dark and bright room conditions respectively.
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You can also achieve a slightly warmer, more cinematic look to colours if you tweak the RGB gain management options Finlux provides – though if that sounds stressful, just nudging the Colour Shift bar a step or two towards the red end of the spectrum provides a simple way of improving things a little.