Also racking up the kudos are the 42P7HD’s black levels. The dark interiors of the Xbox 360’s Gears of War look suitably black and intimidating, while a dark film like Alien looks rich and cinematic thanks to the lack of the greyness over dark areas that lets down so many flat TVs.
With high definition so crucial to any serious TV these days, it’s pleasing too to see that the 42P7HD delivers really impressive levels of sharpness. The detailing it has the ability to portray really does high definition’s extra resolution proud, especially with particularly pristine HD sources like the Xbox 360. What’s more, this sharpness holds up nicely even over moving objects, suggesting that the Smooth Driver technology we talked about earlier is going about its business without putting any significant smear-inducing pressure on the TV’s processing engine.
And so to the little flaws that stop the 42P7HD from being a runaway success. For starters, while dark scenes certainly look impressively dark, that darkness level looks a touch forced – the black areas of the picture tend to lack subtle shadow detail, which can leave them feeling a touch empty.
Next, the 42P7HD is another one of those flat TVs that is nowhere near as at home with standard definition sources as it is with HD, as all but the most pristine standard definition pictures suffer a few colour toning issues, particularly where reds and deep greens are concerned.
Finally, people’s skin can look a bit plasticky during standard definition viewing, making the occasional newsreader look more like a mannequin than a living, breathing human being.
With the 42P7HD’s sound proving rather average thanks to a general lack of power and range, it would be easy to walk away from this review of the 42P7HD feeling downbeat. But that actually wouldn’t be fair.
Sure, it’s no performance classic of the sort Pioneer and Panasonic routinely turn out. But taken as a full package with its price, design, picture level and features all put into the commercial equation, it’s really not a bad budget option at all.