Yet more great news concerns the 40PFL7605H’s colours, which benefit from both the extra intensity kick edge LED frequently delivers and Philips’ own unusual talent for reaching saturation levels other brands struggle to reach. Though they do this without becoming overblown and unnatural.
We were mostly impressed with the 40PFL7605H’s motion handling too, with a few cautions we’ll get to in a moment. The 100Hz engine reduces motion resolution loss while causing practically no artefacting, while the Natural Motion system can pretty much eliminate judder, even at its lowest setting.
However, it’s also the Natural Motion system that introduces our first issue with the 40PFL7605H. For even at its lowest setting it can produce noticeable artefacts, such as the occasional halo around moving objects, or flickering with fast moving edges.
These issues are much reduced with Philips’ more powerful Perfect Pixel HD engine models, and in the end were sufficiently troublesome to cause us to turn Natural Motion off when watching Blu-rays. But the key point here is that you can choose whether to use Natural Motion or not; it’s not forced upon you.
Similarly, you can make the picture look way too bitty if you employ the ‘Optional’ advanced sharpness tool. And you can make pictures look laggy if you overdo the ‘Optional’ noise reduction systems. And you can make the picture look slightly flickery if you aren’t careful with the dynamic contrast and dynamic backlight settings. And you can make pictures flare slightly around very bright objects if you set the gamma level wrongly…
Actually, the occasional subtle flare or halo around bright objects in predominantly dark scenes remains no matter what settings you use. But this is a very minor point versus our main one, which is that nearly everything that can go wrong with the 40PFL7605H’s pictures can be put right via the multitudinous options at your disposal.
As ever with a Philips TV, the effort involved in optimising the 40PFL7605H’s pictures won’t suit everyone. But also as is often the case with a Philips TV, the rewards for your efforts really are outstanding. Precious few rivals have the ability to make our jaws drop open in admiration as we watch them quite as regularly as the 40PFL7605H does.
The 40PFL7605H even outguns most of its skinny rivals with its audio. There’s not quite the same outstanding clarity, bass punch and dynamism you get with the brand’s flagship 9000 series, but the two woofers mounted on the set’s rear certainly produce a bigger, more open and thus clearer sound than the paper-thin sound stages commonly witnessed with edge LED TVs.
As usual with a Philips TV, you can royally screw the 40PFL7605H’s pictures up if you’re not careful with its processing options. But honestly, it’s really not that difficult to learn your way round. And once you’ve figured out what works for your personal tastes and what doesn’t, and what works for certain source types and what doesn’t, you’ll frequently be left staring agog at arguably the best edge LED picture we’ve seen for under a grand.
So yes, the 40PFL7605H doesn’t have a Freeview HD tuner. So yes, aggravatingly you’ll have to add an external HD tuner of some sort. But for us, a TV’s heart and soul lies in its AV performance, and in this respect the 40PFL7605H is a TV you dismiss at your peril.