Philips 42PUS7809 – 3D Picture Quality
The 42PUS7809 is arguably at its best with 3D. The slight dimming effect of the 3D glasses reduces your sense of the TV’s black-level shortcomings, while the passive system combines with the 4K resolution to deliver a true Full HD 3D image from 3D Blu-rays without you having to suffer the sort of crosstalk ghosting or flicker problems associated with the active 3D format.
The sense of depth in the image looks pronounced yet natural, colours look excellent, and motion in the 3D frame is convincing, suffering only minimally with the judder so commonly seen during 3D playback. That excellent motion handling comes as a real surprise, considering the TV’s price tag.
Our only concerns are by some minor, very localised ghosting in the bottom right edge of the picture, and a massive surge in general crosstalk if you watch the screen from an angle of more than around 15 degrees above or below. Although the latter is a universal limitation of passive 3D technology.
Philips 42PUS7809 – Sound Quality
The 42PUS7809’s audio ambitions slightly outstrip its abilities. In other words, it’s brave enough to try and deliver both greater bass depth and more treble detailing than your typical flat TV, but doesn’t ultimately have quite enough power to deliver it without overwhelming the mid-range or the treble getting harsh.
To be fair, though, these problems only really affect very loud, dense soundtracks of the sort that might accompany an action film. For typical types of content the 42PUS7809 sounds just fine.
Other Things to Consider
Despite using a quad-core processor, the 42PUS7809’s operating system proved rather sluggish during our tests. Especially when using its Smart TV menus and electronic programme guide.
There is one thing that makes its Smart features more worthwhile, though: a full Qwerty keyboard on the back of the remote. It’s way more usable than the usual onscreen keyboard you have to put up with, and a nice touch.
Philips TVs have tended to struggle as gaming monitors, due to high input lag. And the 42PUS7809 unfortunately continues this theme. Even when using its Game mode and after turning off any residual picture processing, we still recorded input lag measurements of around 100ms. This is more than three times as high as we’d like to see, and certainly won’t do your performance any favours with reaction-based games.
Should I buy a Philips 42PUS7809?
If you definitely need a 4K screen, a 42-inch screen suits your room and your budget won’t stretch further than £750, then the 42PUS7809 is uniquely well qualified to meet your needs.
Our advice, though, would be that if you’re really keen on 4K you’d be better off scrimping and saving a bit longer to get something bigger, such as the Samsung UE48HU7500.
The 42PUS7809’s unusually small price and size for a 4K TV definitely make it stand out from the crowd, but its input lag means it’s unsuitable for gaming and it’s only a solid rather than great picture performer.
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How we test televisions
We test every TV we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Score in detail
3D Quality 8
Smart TV 6
2D Quality 6
Sound Quality 7