“A few surprises along the way”
FOR Sharp picture; well judged colour palette; good value AGAINST Lacks subtle detail; contrast could be better; design
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.
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 40FMD294BP – 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