Philips 32PFL9705 review

This Philips backlit LCD certainly falls into the 'desirable' category, but a lack of HD tuner and its high price work against it Tested at £1100

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It’s a good set, but the 9705 should be both a better deal and a better performer


  • +

    Great styling, finish and features

  • +

    impressive Blu-ray performance


  • -

    No HD tuner

  • -

    issues with standard-def content

  • -

    high price

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A high-end 32in TV might seem a frippery, yet there's an appeal to the 32PFL9705's elegant styling and extensive spec.

The Philips might not be a telly that you really need, but it's definitely one you'll want.

Unless, of course, you want Freeview HD. Over the years Philips has excelled at the unique – think of another manufacturer that produces a 21:9 TV, for example – but even so, we'd imagine it rues the decision to omit free-to-air high-definition TV from its current range.

It's especially germane when you consider that rivals such as the Award-winning Panasonic TX-L32D25, have both Freeview HD and Freesat tuners.

Picture-enhancing tech abounds

Still, the 9705's other attractions are many. It's a local-dimming LED-backlit set armed with every picture-enhancing feature in the company's arsenal, from 200Hz Clear LCD and Perfect Natural Motion to Ambilight Spectra 3, the three-sided variant of Philips' system designed to make viewing comfier and more enjoyable.

There's no 3D, but that's no criticism: it's a matter of debate as to whether it matters in screens of this size.

So, to performance. At first glance, the 32PFL9705 impresses hugely: it's got all the colour vitality and sharpness we've come to expect from the company's range, and for all its standard-definition limitations, the Freeview tuner's respectable enough, barring a hint of noise.

Blu-ray pictures have dense blacks and pristine whites too – but peer closer, and you'll find that the darkest points suffer from a lack of insight.

Tweak the set's menus – and this being a Philips, there are plenty of options to play with – and you can improve things to a degree, but all the same, some rivals offer more variety.

Online wi-fi works well
The rest? The wi-fi-enabled online services work well, but are currently limited by a lack of useful content: again, others offer you more, at least for now.

Upscaling is a mixed bag with DVD – noise can be intrude on some discs – while sound is excellent: few firms can rival Philips in that regard.

That's not enough to redeem the 32PFL9705, though. It's a decent set and, as we said, a very desirable one – but that price, the lack of HD tuning and some other niggles conspire to undermine it.

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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, 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.

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