Sharp and detailed picture quality for under £300? Despite its flaws – yes, pleaseWrite your own review
- Crisp and clean picture in SD and HD
- Decent colour palette and overall detail for the money
- Very good value
- No smart TV or internet
- 3D quality is patchy
- Black levels could be deeper and subtler
- Thin sound
Finlux has made quite a name for itself for offering rather good TVs at bargain prices, and the Finlux 32F7020-T easily joins that list. For a wallet-friendly £280, you get a 32in TV that offers a Full HD screen, passive 3D, a built-in Freeview HD, and four HDMI inputs.
That’s a decent list of features under its slim frame, but the 1080p resolution and Freeview HD tuner are the star attractions on this TV.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: picture
Whether you’re watching Wimbledon coverage on BBC One HD or endless reruns of Top Gear on Dave, the Finlux offers bright, crisp and detailed picture that’s good enough to worry the likes of Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony.
Black levels may not be as deep or subtle as we’d like, but the whites are clean and punchy alongside a well-judged colour balance. It’s not the last word in absolute detail, but it’s astounding to see such an enjoyable and comfortable picture quality for this price – a budget price doesn’t have to mean a mediocre picture, and the Finlux proves just that.
The overall colour palette could do with a dash of subtlety and vibrancy, though – the Philips 32PFL4258T, for instance, delivers more natural skin tones and richer blues and reds. Play BBC’s Sherlock on Blu-ray, and the Finlux makes the eponymous detective’s trademark blue scarf look distinctly dark grey.
It’s worth taking a trip to the Finlux’s picture settings to add some more punch to the screen. The 32F7020-T’s black levels can look a bit grey compared to the Panasonic TV-L32E6B and Philips 32PFL4258T, so we set the backlight setting to ‘Medium’ to get deeper blacks.
Play the farcical Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and the Finlux translates the DVD copy really well. Dark scenes are less muddled than before – it doesn’t quite manage to dig out all nuances in shadows, but there is a better sense of drama.
Also, despite the clean picture, we found that setting the noise reduction to ‘low’ gave much crisper and smoother edges overall. Motion handling isn’t perfect, but it’s nothing too strenuous to distract us from enjoying what we’re watching.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: 3D
Surprised to get 3D picture under £300? We were, too. It’s a good feature to add to the list, but it’s a shame the passive 3D quality isn’t up to scratch. While it’s a bright picture, the 3D rendering is patchy at best, with peripheral objects remaining as blurry and layered as if you were watching 3D without the glasses on.
It’s worth noting you get a very generous eight pairs of lightweight 3D glasses - the same Finlux offers with its pricier and larger-screened sets.
Main characters and certain objects get the full 3D treatment in Dredd, but background scenery is largely ignored – for instance, the multi-storeyed buildings in Mega City One have double edges throughout the film.
The blurred lines and occasional motion judder are uncomfortable to watch for any length of time, and moreover, you’re hardly going to get an immersive 3D experience on a 32in screen.
You’ll have to buy a larger and pricier set if you want a comfortable 3D experience. The offer of 3D at such a bargain price might catch your eye, but it’s not the Finlux’s best quality by far – stick to 2D picture and it’s a much more enjoyable TV.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: sound
While its 2D picture quality impressed, we didn’t manage to get quite as effusive about the sound quality. While most manufacturers have made significant leaps in delivering more solid and enjoyable sound, the 32F7020-T harks back to the days of tinny, thin sound - it isn’t too pleasant to listen to.
Finlux does give you scope for adjusting the sound. Delve into the sound settings, and you can enable the Dynamic Bass to give some more oomph to action scenes. While the resulting sound is weightier, we’d keep it turned off if you want clearer dialogue.
It is worth toggling the Music option in the Sound Equaliser section – while we prefer not to add on any extra processing to keep the clarity and cohesion intact, Music can give the sound a bit of a boost and rounded quality that takes away the brightness just a bit.
Still, we would strongly advise investing in a pair of speakers, or a budget soundbar, if you want to get a decent sound to go with the very good picture.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: features
A quick examination at the back panel shows an ethernet port, but it’s a redundant feature as the 32F7020-T has no networking functions. With no internet, there’s no smart TV, no online content or streaming services, and no DLNA capabilities – a firm tick in the against column, then.
There are bound to be some features missing to make way for that sub-£300 price tag, but it’s a glaring omission considering many similarly-priced 32in TVs include internet and smart features.
Finlux says the ethernet port comes fitted with all Finlux Freeview HD models – but on this particular set, it’s little more than a decorative feature. It goes without saying that there’s no built-in wi-fi or dongle available, either.
However, you can easily give the Finlux networking abilities by adding a budget Blu-ray player such as the Sony BDP-S490. For about £80, you get BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm and the excellent Sony Entertainment Network alongside great picture quality with high definition and 3D - not a bad deal at all.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: connectivity
Aside from the lack of internet, connectivity is pretty thorough on the Finlux, with a generous four HDMI inputs being the highlight. There are also composite, component and two RGB scart inputs, optical audio, subwoofer and headphone outputs, and a VGA input to connect your laptop or PC to the TV.
Two USB ports means you can play media files stored on flash or hard drives – though it’s worth bearing in mind that the Finlux won’t play WMV music files.
The Finlux’s PVR functionality supports USB recording. Simply plug in a USB flash or hard drive so you can pause or rewind live TV and watch it back at your convenience.
Four HDMI inputs is a strong point in the Finlux’s favour, with rival 32in TVs such as the Panasonic TX-L32E6B and the Sony KDL-32W653A offering only three and two HDMI inputs respectively – and for higher prices, too.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: remote
The flat buttoned remote control that comes with the Finlux 32F7020-T may be a tad too large, but it’s instinctive and responsive to use.
There are quick access buttons apiece for the TV programme guide and the Media Browser (for USB-stored content), and changing the channels and volume is a breeze. Using the TV on the whole is an easy and pleasant experience, too.
Not all the buttons on the remote are functional though – for example, the one to access smart TV or internet content (available on other Finlux models) is unnecessary here. It’s also worth mentioning that the lack of network means there’s no control app available – so you won’t be able to navigate around the Finlux TV with your smartphone.
Finlux 32F7020-T review: verdict
If you ignore the poor 3D quality , and don’t mind the lack of any internet content, this Finlux is starting to look like one of the better bargains of the year.
As a second screen that delivers the goods for TV and watching films on discs , the 32F7020-T is well worth a look. The £280 price tag is no doubt tempting if you’re on a tight budget (it’s nearly half the price of its rivals), but even more so is the great picture quality it offers for the price.
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