Philips 32PFL9603D review

This TV takes some tweaking to get it performing well, but once you do, it’s capable of producing pictures to rival even the most stellar of TVs in it Tested at £800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This TV takes some tweaking to get it performing well, but once you do, it’s stunning


  • +

    Stylish design

  • +

    good build

  • +

    excellent performance – eventually


  • -

    Remote control isn’t the best

  • -

    takes longer than other sets to get it performing well

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Some flatscreen TVs try to blend into the background, lurking quietly in your lounge ready to spring to entertaining life. Others – like this Philips – reason that if a television can't be invisible then it should at least be very, very stylish.

The 32PFL9603D, then, is something of a looker, but it's much more than that if Philips is to be believed. It comes boasting a veritable smorgasbord of processing technologies and picture-enhancement facilities.

‘Perfect Pixel HD' technology is complemented by Philips' latest Ambilight Spectra 2 ambient light design. A claimed contrast of 55,000:1, four HDMI inputs and a DLNA PC network connection also contribute to a pretty impressive specification sheet.

Getting it into action, the Philips tells its own story. And it is a long story, so be warned – this is not the most delightful set to use, nor is it the quickest to optimise.

It could have been a three-star verdict
In fact, our first impressions of this set were not great, and at one point it looked like it would limp towards a three-star review.

But after an inordinate amount of time spent tweaking the picture settings, the 'PFL9603D began to display a picture to rival even the most stellar of TVs in its class.

Fierce contrast, excellent detail and truly rich and vivid colours all contribute to a stunning picture. Sound quality, too, is well-rounded and above average.

Philips tends to load its TVs with picture processing technologies, so we repeat: spend time experimenting to get the best results. If you do, you'll find this stylish Philips set to be a match for the class leaders

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, Reading 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.

Read more about how we test