“A few sur­prises along the way”

FOR Sharp pic­ture; well judged colour palette; good value AGAINST Lacks sub­tle de­tail; con­trast could be bet­ter; de­sign

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - First Tests -

Some­times you don’t need bells and whis­tles to get the job done well. This Fin­lux set, rather short on ei­ther of them, does just that – and all for just £250.

You'll have to look past the some­what unim­pres­sive cover to see it though – it’s not the pret­ti­est of sets, hav­ing a chunky black bezel to match its in­el­e­gant plas­tic stand. It’s light too – al­most wor­ry­ingly so – and its in­puts are rel­a­tively lim­ited, with only two HDMIS to choose from. Enough for more humble set-ups per­haps, but it will leave more am­bi­tious sys­tems want­ing.

Still, the beauty in this bud­get set is its pic­ture per­for­mance. With enough tweak­ing and a healthy dose of well­man­aged ex­pec­ta­tions, you can get a pretty de­cent im­age.

Un­ex­pected ex­tras

It has a few fea­tures you might not ex­pect at this price too, in­clud­ing built-in wi-fi and Free­view Play – mean­ing it’s ca­pa­ble of a few sur­prises along the way.

While 4K might be the res­o­lu­tion of choice these days, it’s Full HD that’s served up on the 40FMD294BP – and to its credit. Com­pared with some of the bud­get 4K TVS we’ve seen, it’s a much more con­vinc­ing pic­ture across the board – you won’t get 4K compatibility of course, but smaller bud­gets are bet­ter spent on HD sets for best re­sults.

Set­ting up the TV is rel­a­tively sim­ple – if you’re us­ing a THX disc to ad­just your pic­ture set­tings though, you’ll want to briefly turn off the CEC con­trol be­cause, when switched on, the in­cluded re­mote au­to­mat­i­cally con­trols any con­nected HDMI de­vices. That can be handy but it also stops you get­ting to the pic­ture set­tings menu you need.

The re­mote isn’t the eas­i­est to nav­i­gate ei­ther, with some icons for key fea­tures not eas­ily recog­nis­able.

When it comes to pic­ture set­tings, we pre­fer the ‘nat­u­ral’ pic­ture mode to our usual ‘cin­ema’ set­ting, then we tweak from there. We switch eco mode and most ex­tra pro­cess­ing to off, though we do find blacks ben­e­fit from the ‘low’ op­tion.

We first try some HD TV chan­nels and are pleas­antly sur­prised at the Fin­lux’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It shows off a largely nat­u­ral colour palette and a de­cently sharp, watch­able im­age with clean out­lines.

Bright colours are oc­ca­sion­ally mis­judged and over­done, but for the most part it man­ages the bal­ance be­tween punch and be­liev­abil­ity with con­fi­dence, and skin­tones are spot on too. It could be ac­cused of be­ing a touch smooth and lack­ing in in­sight, but the pic­ture re­mains watch­able.

Fun in the jun­gle

We switch up to a Blu-ray of The Jun­gle

Book and no­tice sim­i­lar traits. The or­ange of Shere Khan’s coat is pushed a lit­tle too much, and the finer de­tail and tex­ture to fur, faces and land­scapes is over­looked, but it’s still a sharp, vi­brant and en­joy­able pic­ture with no mo­tion is­sues of note, even if de­tail in dark scenes can be rather lim­ited.

There’s no smart TV sys­tem of note – it’s more a (rel­a­tively short) list of ac­ces­si­ble apps built into the set­tings menu than any­thing else. Still, with short­cuts to most of them from the re­mote, it works just fine.

They in­clude Net­flix, Youtube and Free­view Play – the lat­ter dou­bles as a TV guide for the 70 Free­view chan­nels and an on-de­mand ser­vice for all the UK’S catch-up ser­vices – a great in­clu­sion at this price.

You will want to con­sider buy­ing a sound­bar if you go for this TV. Most flatscreen sets – par­tic­u­larly bud­get ones – don’t of­fer much in the sound depart­ment but this is def­i­nitely one of the Fin­lux’s weaker spots. It sounds hol­low and cum­ber­some.

There have been some un­der­stand­able com­pro­mises here, but they’ve been well han­dled so are far from glar­ing, ul­ti­mately cre­at­ing a bet­ter-con­sid­ered pic­ture than we’d an­tic­i­pate. It’s not per­fect by any stretch, but watch this TV with the open mind its price tag de­mands and we sus­pect you’ll be as pleas­antly sur­prised as we are.

VER­DICT It’s not without its com­pro­mises, but this bud­get set of­fers a good per­for­mance for the money

“There have been un­der­stand­able com­pro­mises here, but they’ve been well han­dled, cre­at­ing a bet­ter-con­sid­ered pic­ture than we’d an­tic­i­pate“

Not the pret­ti­est screen, per­haps, but it presents a pleas­ing pic­ture

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