Philips 42PFL7603D review

A stylish, feature-packed set that looks the part and performs to an exceptionally high standard – few TVs at this size deliver a better picture Tested at £900.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A stylish, feature-packed set that looks the part and performs to an exceptionally high standard


  • +

    Elegant styling

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    clean, detailed images

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    excellent Freeview picture

  • +

    natural colours

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    sounds decent


  • -

    Unintuitive, fiddly remote control

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.

Recently we've come across some very good Philips TVs, only for them to fall at the final hurdle, struggling to justify their price premium over cheaper sets that boast similar picture quality.

Not so the 42PFL7603D. It's marginally more expensive than the Toshiba 42XV505D and equal to the LG 42LG6100, but the picture quality is so good that it's very easy to justify the extra.

For starters, the Freeview picture quality is among best in class. There's minimal noise to the picture – stability and definition are excellent. Feed it the wondrous programming of BBC HD, and it serves up a clean, polished picture that's packed with detail.

This Full HD set welcomes a 1080p/ 24fps Blu-ray video signal with open arms. Its ability to handle motion is especially impressive. It's rock solid with virtually no judder, even through some of Cars' tougher panning scenes.

Turn on Philips' HD Natural Motion picture enhancing technology for even more stability. But, while it looks superb with animation, it can make live action films with natural surroundings appear, well, unnatural. Turn it off and this set still proves it's a dab hand with motion.

Can you see the light?
And what about Philips' Ambilight system which affords the frame a low level glow? Well, it can take time to get used to, but it can add something to the overall viewing experience.

Sound quality is impressive for a TV. Dialogue is clear and open, and there's decent weight added to low frequencies.

Our admiration for this set, though, doesn't extend to the remote control, which can be a pain to use, with unresponsive, soft-rubber buttons.

Remote aside, this Philips set is a revelation; there are few TVs at this size capable of delivering a better picture.

Listen to our March 2009 TV Supertest podcast to find out more about this TV.

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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