Finlux 55UT3E242S-T review

Beware of being seduced by the budget pricetag, this Finlux is not quite the full 4K ticket... Tested at £1000

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Our Verdict

Not quite the 4K fulfilment, but a reasonable picture for the money

For

  • Upscales HD content well
  • Improved operating system
  • Nice remote

Against

  • No 4K streaming
  • Struggles with SD channels
  • Not particularly good value for money

See a 55in 4K TV for £1000 and you’d be forgiven for jumping at the chance. Most on the market are double that price. But then, eye-popping prices are Finlux’s forte – and often pleasing for the performance the tellies offer.

Sadly, the same can’t be said here, for the troubles and tribulations of 4K and the knotty standards and specs that go with it are personified in the Finlux 55UT3E242S-T.

MORE: 7 of the best 4K TVs for 2015

Features

The Finlux has the HDMI 2.0 spec to support 4K, but lacks the decoding required for 4K streaming services

The Finlux has the HDMI 2.0 spec to support 4K, but lacks the decoding required for 4K streaming services

While the TV is indeed the 3840 x 2160 resolution, 8.3 million pixel-packing affair it promises to be, it lacks the technology to play most of the 4K material available today.

Although the Netflix app sits at the centre of its smart portal – and a search for ‘4K’ and ‘Ultra HD’ brings up plenty of results – the Finlux doesn’t have the necessary coder-decoder hardware to stream the material in 4K.

Nor does it have Google’s VP9 decoder, so that’s YouTube’s 4K content out of the window too. However, both apps can play regular HD and SD content, joining BBC iPlayer in the set’s smart offering.

And though three USB inputs enable media playback and live TV recording (programmes can be momentarily paused when one is attached), none can support video formats over 1920 x 1080.

The Finlux does have the HDMI 2.0 spec needed to support 4K though, so feeding it content from a 4K source via HDMI connection should work.

Performance

Finlux is a valid budget option, but if you want full 4K you'll have to dig deeper

Finlux is a valid budget option, but if you want full 4K you'll have to dig deeper

Clearly this TV isn’t going to be your best bet for 4K playback, but for high-def content – by far the biggest slice of the content cake – it’s actually pretty good.

Thanks to the Finlux’s decent upscaler, you get a good quality HD picture. It has no problem filling the 55in screen with sharp outlines and good detail levels. Plunge into Fury Blu-ray, and there’s texture to the torn-up fields as the soldiers trudge through them and good insight into scars etched onto faces. There’s subtlety in shading and detail in the soldiers’ muddied, wounded faces.

The film is rife with earthy colours – khaki uniforms, dreary landscapes and jaded faces – but the Finlux proves shrewd enough for you to tell them apart. The picture could easily look dull and lifeless, but the bold and (a little overly) rich hues make even the bleakness of war look interesting.

Contrast is reasonably strong: fires burn brightly against the dark night skies, and white paint on the black tanks has punch.

With ‘Film Mode’ activated in the picture settings, motion is largely well handled as the camera pans across fields and tanks bump along uneven ground. But in faster motion scenes, just a hint of judder is present.

Try the Finlux’s hand with standard definition – Exodus: Gods and Kings on DVD – and as much as the upscaler tries, it can’t hide the resolution drop. There are traces of picture noise, and you can detect a slight blur around galloping horses.

But clarity levels are reasonable enough for you to happily tuck into action scenes. Colours are bright and punchy, the golds and reds of the ornate armoury and chariots bright and vivid, but again rather overdone.

The Finlux struggles to keep a lid on is its exuberant colour palette with standard-definition TV channels, though: colours are pretty ‘out there’ with little sign of nuance, and the picture loses its cleanliness. High-def channels fare better, though neither look as good as on some of last year’s cheaper Full HD-only sets.

The set supports passive 3D, with eight pairs of glasses supplied. Hugo 3D on Blu-ray is bright and clear, although it’s not the most stable picture we’ve seen. As the camera circles the train station, objects become noticeably blurry.

Smart features

The new remote is an improvement with flatter build and logical button layout

The new remote is an improvement with flatter build and logical button layout

Finlux’s interface has gone in a different direction (literally). Gone is the horizontal gold-on-black menu and in its place a vertical sidebar, which trails down to the left of the screen.

It’s a far cry from the lavish affair on big brand TVs, but the more attractive graphics and less intrusive menus are an improvement. There is direct access to settings, live TV, media browser and full-page smart portal, though a separate tab for installation seems superfluous when it’s often a one-off process.

The new 2015 remote control is another improvement. Its flatter build and ridged back help with ergonomics and the button layout is logical. While more brands ditch app remotes, Finlux has finally come onboard.

Its Smart Centre App is a convenient, intuitive way to perform basic functions and share smartphone content with the TV. The highlight, though, is its comprehensive EPG.

Verdict

The moral to the story: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Without broad 4K playback compatibility it’s barely worth buying this telly.

If you are bothered about watching 4K, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets. And if you aren’t, you can still pick up a better Full HD TV for the money.

MORE: Best TVs 2015

Specifications

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Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
CI+Yes
VGAYes
USBYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports4

Energy and Performance

Energy Efficiency ClassA
Energy Consumption per Year163 kWh
Maximum Resolution3840 x 2160
Operating Power Consumption112 W

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand29.2 cm
Width with Stand124 cm
Weight Approximate24.20 kg
Height with Stand78.9 cm
Width124 cm
VESA Mount Standard400 x 400
Depth4.7 cm
Height71.6 cm
ColourSilver
Dimensions71.6 cm (H): 124 cm (W): 4.7 cm (D)

Technical Information

FeaturesProgressive Scan, Web Browser, Film Mode, Media Player, Pause Record Function, Wall Mountable, PVR Ready
Streaming ServiceNetflix, YouTube, BlockBuster on Demand, BBC iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4, BBC HD
Aspect Ratio16:9
3D Type3D
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Internet AccessYes
Smart TVYes
3D TechnologyPolarized
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal Standard4K UHDTV
Scan Format2160p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz

General Information

Product NameFinlux 55UT3E242S-T
Product Model55UT3E242S-T
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.finluxdirect.com
Brand NameFinlux
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerFinlux
Manufacturer Part Number55UT3E242S-T

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedNo
Package Contents
  • 55" 4K UHD 3D Smart FreeView HD ELED TV (55UT3E242S-T)
  • 3D Glasses

Audio

Sound SystemDolby Digital

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year