Our Verdict 
It’s a good set, but the 9705 should be both a better deal and a better performer
For 
Great styling, finish and features
impressive Blu-ray performance
Against 
No HD tuner
issues with standard-def content
high price
Reviewed on

A high-end 32in TV might seem a frippery, yet there's an appeal to the 32PFL9705's elegant styling and extensive spec.

The Philips might not be a telly that you really need, but it's definitely one you'll want.

Unless, of course, you want Freeview HD. Over the years Philips has excelled at the unique – think of another manufacturer that produces a 21:9 TV, for example – but even so, we'd imagine it rues the decision to omit free-to-air high-definition TV from its current range.

It's especially germane when you consider that rivals such as the Award-winning Panasonic TX-L32D25, have both Freeview HD and Freesat tuners.Picture-enhancing tech aboundsStill, the 9705's other attractions are many. It's a local-dimming LED-backlit set armed with every picture-enhancing feature in the company's arsenal, from 200Hz Clear LCD and Perfect Natural Motion to Ambilight Spectra 3, the three-sided variant of Philips' system designed to make viewing comfier and more enjoyable.

There's no 3D, but that's no criticism: it's a matter of debate as to whether it matters in screens of this size.

More after the break

So, to performance. At first glance, the 32PFL9705 impresses hugely: it's got all the colour vitality and sharpness we've come to expect from the company's range, and for all its standard-definition limitations, the Freeview tuner's respectable enough, barring a hint of noise.

Blu-ray pictures have dense blacks and pristine whites too – but peer closer, and you'll find that the darkest points suffer from a lack of insight.

Tweak the set's menus – and this being a Philips, there are plenty of options to play with – and you can improve things to a degree, but all the same, some rivals offer more variety.

Online wi-fi works wellThe rest? The wi-fi-enabled online services work well, but are currently limited by a lack of useful content: again, others offer you more, at least for now.

Upscaling is a mixed bag with DVD – noise can be intrude on some discs – while sound is excellent: few firms can rival Philips in that regard.

That's not enough to redeem the 32PFL9705, though. It's a decent set and, as we said, a very desirable one – but that price, the lack of HD tuning and some other niggles conspire to undermine it.

See all our TV Best Buys

Follow whathifi.com on Twitter

Join whathifi.com on Facebook

 

Where to buy View all »