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Philips 32PFL7404 review

It's expensive, but this 32 inch LCD from Philips offers a lot for what you pay, and you won't be disappointed Tested at £650.00

Our Verdict

A really fine effort from Philips – premium price or no, it’s well worth it

For

  • Looks, feels and is specified like a premium product
  • tremendous facility with motion
  • great colour balance
  • half-decent sound

Against

  • Almost wilfully time-consuming to set up
  • not the last word in outright black detail

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A really fine effort from Philips – premium price or no, it’s well worth it

Pros

  • + Looks, feels and is specified like a premium product
  • + tremendous facility with motion
  • + great colour balance
  • + half-decent sound

Cons

  • - Almost wilfully time-consuming to set up
  • - not the last word in outright black detail

It's indicative of Philips' determination to move its TV range upmarket that this rather expensive LCD television is from the Dutch company's midrange ‘7'-series.

But in this instance, ‘midrange' really isn't a euphemism for ‘compromised' – your money, as the old Hollywood axiom goes, is up there on the screen.

The 32PFL7404 is a svelte, robust device. Specification is extensive (1920 x 1080 resolution, four HDMI inputs, 100Hz motion processing, ‘Pixel Precise' picture enhancement – a version of Philips' top-of-the-shop ‘Pixel Perfect' – and USB input).

Long set up – but it's worth it
Set-up is laborious. Philips seems to delight in concealing menu within set-up menu, making the process of getting the best out of the screen more involved than with any rival.

Fortunately, the menus themselves are big, bold and easy to navigate, and the effort put in is well worth it.

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Aside from indifferent levels of detail in very dark scenes, the '7404 serves up eminently watchable TV pictures.

There's a little grain and noise, but the stark contrasts, grippy motion-tracking, wide-ranging colour palette, believable skin-tones and all-round stability make for a strong performance.

Stable DVD upscaling
DVD upscaling is stable and composed too. The steady edge-definition, high levels of detail both great and small, exemplary motion tracking and subtly judged colour palette more than make up for the small amount of picture noise in the most testing scenes.

A Blu-ray of The Damned United shows the Philips to its best advantage, and it's a deeply impressive performer.

Motion (after the obligatory half-hour's menu manipulation) is beyond reproach, and '7404 offers a greater sense of depth than any rival – by a margin.

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Detail levels are sky-high, skin-tones and textures utterly credible, and blacks are deep and lustrous. Glaring contrasts are handled with aplomb, and colours are entirely convincing.

Sound is a disappointment compared to picture, but compared with competitors it's inoffensive enough: it has some weight, some scale and some sibilance.

All of which makes the Philips a product to get genuinely excited about.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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