Philips 40PF T6550 £500

FOR Pic­ture sharp­ness and de­tail; am­bi­light AGAINST Colours lack sub­tlety; hor­ri­ble menus

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Televisions -

Philips hasn’t had a very good run of late. Its past cou­ple of TVS have been ser­vice­able, but noth­ing spe­cial – not enough to give the very best a proper chal­lenge. And un­for­tu­nately its lat­est ef­fort, the 40PFT6550 seems to be pro­vid­ing more of the same. It’s a case of close, but not quite.

Run­ning on An­droid

This 40in, Full HD LED TV sits in the middle of the Philips range. It comes packed with a good amount of tech and sup­ports ac­tive 3D, al­though no glasses are pro­vided. As with ev­ery Philips TV we’ve seen this year, it runs on Google’s An­droid TV plat­form.

Around the back you’ll find four HDMI in­puts and three USB ports – gen­er­ous. It also has Philips’ lovely Am­bi­light tech­nol­ogy on three sides (left, right, top), with strips of LEDS pro­ject­ing light on your wall. Am­bi­light is as dy­namic as you want it to be – you could have a solid, non-mov­ing colour, or the lights will re­act to what­ever is on screen. It has the ef­fect of ex­pand­ing the im­age to your pe­riph­eral vi­sion, cre­at­ing the il­lu­sion that your TV im­age is a lot big­ger. It is de­signed to de­crease eye fa­tigue and in­crease the feel­ing of im­mer­sion. And we re­ally like it.

“We like the tex­tures of­fered, which are sharp and with­out ex­ag­ger­a­tion. The back­light is en­cour­ag­ingly uni­form, and we like the con­trast”

Data in­putting made sim­ple

An­other Philips trade­mark is the two-sided re­mote con­trol, nor­mal on one side but with a full QW­ERTY key­board on the other. It speeds up the la­bo­ri­ous task of en­ter­ing email ad­dresses and pass­words.

Sadly, the time saved there is wasted all over again in the menu sys­tem, which is just plain an­noy­ing. It takes 15 clicks just to get to ad­just the bright­ness. You’ll need to dive in deep, as it’s hid­den un­der lay­ers of sub-menus.

Of course, you’ll likely do this just the once and for­get about it, but it’s a long­stand­ing prob­lem and we can­not be­lieve Philips has let it go on for years. The TV is slug­gish, too, with some but­ton presses tak­ing sec­onds to have an ef­fect.

Thank­fully, the pic­ture makes up for the sys­tem per­for­mance to a de­gree. We like the tex­tures of­fered, which are sharp with­out ex­ag­ger­a­tion – this is def­i­nitely sharper and more sub­tle than the Fin­lux 43UT3E310B%T. The back­light is en­cour­ag­ingly uni­form.

We like the level of con­trast, which demon­strates a fine abil­ity to jug­gle bright and dark – al­though we’d like the blacks to go a lit­tle deeper. At both ex­tremes there is a good deal of de­tail, al­though the blacks tend to be­tray a bit of noise.

The Pana­sonic TX%50CS520 achieves deeper, cleaner blacks with ease. It also has more ac­cu­rate colours that make the Philips look a lit­tle green, even with some ad­just­ment.

Set mo­tion to min­i­mum

Mo­tion han­dling is ac­cept­able. Turn off all mo­tion pro­cess­ing and the Philips strug­gles with slow, smooth pans – this can be fixed with mo­tion pro­cess­ing set to min­i­mum, but we feel even this looks un­nat­u­ral and over­pro­cessed. Sadly, there is no com­pro­mise.

As for smart con­tent, Google’s An­droid TV has much po­ten­tial but is a lit­tle sparse for now. You get Google Play plus Netflix, Youtube and BBC iplayer. We’d like more, how­ever.

This is a de­cent ef­fort. But there are things that need im­prov­ing, such as the pic­ture and the in­ter­face, which face tough com­pe­ti­tion. Un­til then, we’ll file this un­der ‘de­cent’.

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