At this point, though, it’s time to pause and take a reality check. After all, the 37PFL5522D is a 37in LCD TV costing just £550, so you could hardly expect it to be true state of the art stuff in terms of features or picture performance. And at least it also has a few good points up its sleeve.
With HD, in particular, it performs reasonably likeably overall. Fine detail levels are quite high, colours look more natural than they do with standard definition, and perhaps most strikingly of all by budget TV standards, black levels are really very decent, handling night scenes with far less of the flattening greyness that’s so rife during dark scenes on most budget flat TVs.
Try as we might, though, even with the £550 price point fixed steadfastly in our brains, we still find ourselves inevitably spotting more negative issues than positive ones. For instance, even with HD it’s impossible to ignore how the general sharpness is spoiled by motion blur – even when the movement is as small as someone’s face moving.
Also with HD, we noticed a tendency familiar from Pixel Plus’s early days whereby harshly contrasting edges often produce a gentle glimmer around them that makes some very bright shots look a tad bitty.
As a final niggle we have to report that in keeping with a depressing number of LCD TVs, the 37PFL5522D’s viewing angle isn’t up to much. Watch from as little as 40 degrees off axis, and the image loses considerable levels of black response and colour saturation.
Sonically the set is no great shakes either. In stereo mode the mid-range sounds too dense and cramped, with a lack of treble ‘sparkle.’ But the biggest problem is at the low end of the frequency range, as an ill-judged attempt to insert more bass than the TV’s speakers can actually handle causes the soundstage to appear strangely disjointed and often slightly distorted.
With our fair head on, we’d probably say that the 37PFL5522D is a perfectly respectable TV considering how little it costs. But it’s a testament to the wonders Philips is achieving elsewhere in its current range, even with the only slightly higher spec PFL7762 models, that ‘perfectly respectable’ in this case feels just a wee bit disappointing.
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