What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 11:00am

Philips 42PFL7603D

Tested at £900
100100
5

A stylish, feature-packed set that looks the part and performs to an exceptionally high standard

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For

  • Elegant styling
  • clean, detailed images
  • excellent Freeview picture
  • natural colours
  • sounds decent

Against

  • Unintuitive, fiddly remote control

Recently we've come across some very good Philips TVs, only for them to fall at the final hurdle, struggling to justify their price premium over cheaper sets that boast similar picture quality.

Not so the 42PFL7603D. It's marginally more expensive than the Toshiba 42XV505D and equal to the LG 42LG6100, but the picture quality is so good that it's very easy to justify the extra.

For starters, the Freeview picture quality is among best in class. There's minimal noise to the picture – stability and definition are excellent. Feed it the wondrous programming of BBC HD, and it serves up a clean, polished picture that's packed with detail.

This Full HD set welcomes a 1080p/ 24fps Blu-ray video signal with open arms. Its ability to handle motion is especially impressive. It's rock solid with virtually no judder, even through some of Cars' tougher panning scenes.

Turn on Philips' HD Natural Motion picture enhancing technology for even more stability. But, while it looks superb with animation, it can make live action films with natural surroundings appear, well, unnatural. Turn it off and this set still proves it's a dab hand with motion.

Can you see the light?
And what about Philips' Ambilight system which affords the frame a low level glow? Well, it can take time to get used to, but it can add something to the overall viewing experience.

Sound quality is impressive for a TV. Dialogue is clear and open, and there's decent weight added to low frequencies.

Our admiration for this set, though, doesn't extend to the remote control, which can be a pain to use, with unresponsive, soft-rubber buttons.

Remote aside, this Philips set is a revelation; there are few TVs at this size capable of delivering a better picture.

Listen to our March 2009 TV Supertest podcast to find out more about this TV. 

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