Finlux has made a name for itself by producing good-to-great TV screens for those on a strict budget.
The Finlux 48FT3E242S-T is yet another tantalising offer: a 48in screen, Full HD resolution, Netflix and more – all for just £400.
We dive straight in with 1080p streams of Daredevil and Sense8 on Netflix. The picture is clear, with the edges of characters and objects well defined without appearing overly sharp.
The Finlux’s contrast isn’t the subtlest we’ve seen, but there’s an admirable amount of depth and solidity to dark clothing and black corners of rooms. There’s texture and detail to shadows, too.
For its price and screen size, there’s plenty of detail definition displayed to keep us engaged and interested in what we’re watching.
It’s not the brightest screen, though. Even with the backlight turned up high, patches of white, yellow lamps or bursts of dazzling CGI don’t quite have the intensity we’d expect.
Whites could be starker, and the subdued tones make the crisp daylight scenes in Sense8 look overcast and muted.
Colours are bold and vividly displayed, with the multi-hued world of Jupiter Ascending on Blu-ray bursting with lush greens and intense purples and reds.
The Finlux isn’t as skilled with varying shades of blue, however, and it tends to leave a distinct green tint over the screen’s colour palette.
Watching the live tennis broadcasts from Wimbledon on Freeview HD makes this even more apparent. The bluish-grey tint of the court walls is greener than rival 48in screen Samsung UE48J6300 (£700). What’s more, a quick glance at the crowd also shows the Finlux’s reluctance to display turquoise.
Adjusting the tint and colour settings in the menus can temper this bias, but it doesn’t entirely go away. Happily, the noise levels are kept to a minimum when watching either high or standard definition, with the hazy edges of daytime TV shows remaining solid enough to be comfortable to watch.
These characteristics persist when watching a 3D film such as The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. The 48FT3E242S-T is an active set, with two pairs of glasses included in the box.
Even if you’re not a fan of 3D, it’s yet another bonus bundled in with this £400 set.
We’re not expecting a richly layered surround sound experience from a TV at this price, but we do expect a sound that’s decent enough to live with.
The Finlux is just that: it’s a touch muffled and weedy, but there aren’t any undue sharp edges that make you wince when listening. It’s got some warmth and weight to it, and works fine when watching TV shows.
If you are planning to watch a lot of movies – either on Freeview HD or Blu-ray – we would consider adding a soundbar. The jump up in solidity, detail and punch will make watching films and TV shows on the Finlux so much more enjoyable.
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Build and connectivity
The 48in Finlux is a smart looking screen. It’s well built, sitting on a sturdy metal stand that will fit comfortably on top of most AV racks. The slim bezel ensures the focus is all on that large screen too.
Around the back you’ll find three HDMI inputs, two USB ports and, surprisingly, a coaxial input instead of the usual optical connector. It’s a decent helping of connections for a television at this price.
To connect the Finlux to the internet, you can use either the ethernet port or the built in wi-fi.
Once connected, you can access a smattering of smart features. Unlike the brand new 4K model we tested earlier this year (the Finlux 55UT3E242S-T), this 48in screen is still using the old gold-and-black interface.
It’s not as slick as LG's WebOS or Panasonic’s Firefox OS, but it has the basic on demand video apps, including Netflix, YouTube and BBC iPlayer.
The TV is easy to navigate with the standard remote, although the concave-shaped controller feels a little too long and bulky to hold in the hand.
The icons for smart features, programme guide and others take a while to decipher too, so we wouldn’t mind a smarter, more logical version of the remote in future.
The Finlux 48FT3E242S-T isn’t a perfect screen, but its shortcomings aren’t strong enough to distract us from enjoying its vibrant and crisp picture quality.
However, what’s most impressive is just how much you’re getting for a budget price.
Last year, we marvelled at a 48in screen costing less than a grand, which goes to show just how quickly standards change. This 48in screen with the most important smart apps will now cost you less than £500.
If you’re on a strict budget but have always wanted a large screen, this Finlux is a dream come true.
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