Thankfully, after spending a few crucial moments adjusting the picture from its frighteningly OTT factory presets, the 40F71B puts its best foot forward with its picture performance.
Colours, in particular, are frequently breathtaking. That Wide Colour Gamut technology seems abundantly evident in the way the TV seems to produce a noticeably broader colour spectrum than many rivals, adding extra oomph to strikingly rich Xbox 360 games like Viva Pinata, but also adding unexpected authenticity – especially where green tones are concerned – to rich film sequences like the jungles of Skull Island during Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
The colours are so vivid, in fact, that you may find they take some getting used to. But persevere, and after a few days your TV will generally look ‘right’ while your friends’ TVs start to look rather flat and listless.
With some serious brightness underpinning the colour vibrancy, it’s surprising that the 40F71’s images don’t look noisy. But possibly partly because of the high native resolution and partly because of its noise reduction systems, its pictures – at least its HD ones – are actually impressively clean.
Even better, this lack of noise isn’t achieved by artificially softening the picture. On the contrary; HD pictures actually look terrifically sharp and detailed, and don’t even soften up badly when there’s motion to handle.
Add to these strengths some good – though not quite great – black levels and the ability to be watched from a much wider viewing angle than is common in the LCD world, and you really have got a talented performer.
But you haven’t got a perfect one. For instance, remarkably wide-ranging and eye-catching though the colours are, they do occasionally slip over into looking cartoonish. And second, while HD footage looks mostly excellent, standard definition softens up a little and can look noisy if the source is anything less than perfect.
Finally, the 40F71’s sound doesn’t do its pictures justice. The speakers are actually tucked under the screen above that angled strip along the bottom edge, a seemingly design-led idea that means you don’t get enough raw power and frequency response to fully involve you in what you’re watching.
As an HD monitor, the 40F71 is a tantalising full HD option, especially given its appealingly low price. But its lack of both 1:1 1,920 x 1,080 video playback and a digital tuner, together with one or two colour inconsistencies, mean we can’t give it a completely unreserved thumbs up.
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