Finlux had a shaky start to this year, but the online-only brand famed for its great-value TVs is back on form with the 42FME242S-T – a Full HD smart TV that’s good enough to challenge the big brands.
We switch the screen on and are met with pin-sharp detail and vivid colour delivered with convincing black levels. It’s the Finlux picture we know and love. Standard-definition material is well treated, but this screen is at its best when fed a high-definition picture.
Whether it’s the Commonwealth Games on BBC One HD (there’s a Freeview HD tuner on board) or Star Trek: Into Darkness on Blu-ray, the crisp edges and punchy highlights are easy on the eyes. Gymnasts’ routines and galactic action scenes are delivered smoothly.
Twinkling stars glow against the deep blacks of space, although finer detail can get swallowed up in shadowy scenes.
It’s an arresting picture, but we’d like a touch more subtlety with edge definition. Standard-definition channels and DVD films take the inevitable step down in sharpness and detail, but the Finlux remains a comfortable watch.
The Finlux’s colour balance ever-so-slightly veers into the overexcited, but toning down the colour settings only makes the picture look bleached. We prefer to live with the punch.
There’s a hint of a yellow-green tinge to the colour, but setting the colour temperature to ‘Cool’ evens things out. Skin-tones are decent, even if subtleties in shading aren’t quite as good as we’d hope for.
We’re less enthused when it comes to the Finlux’s sound. It’s a little muffled and lacks weight. We’d invest in a soundbar or soundbase if you want to fully enjoy your films and shows.
Build and design
Finlux has had a design overhaul this year, and the 42FME242S-T looks so nice we put it on the cover of this issue.
A thin black bezel surrounds the 42in screen, and the sturdy set is propped upon a shiny metal quad stand à la Samsung. It’s well-finished and looks smart.
The remote is big and chunky, with a concave dip that makes button-pressing a little awkward. Oft-used buttons are spread out all over the place, so you’ll need to employ some hand gymnastics when using it.
Finlux’s black-and-gold interface isn’t a patch on the slick, ultra-modern design you get with LG’s webOS or Samsung’s Smart Hub, but it’s a simple layout, easy to get around and it works smoothly.
This TV isn’t wanting on features either: three HDMI inputs, two USB ports (one of which supports HD recording), and the essential trio of apps: BBC iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube. Streaming a Guardians Of The Galaxy trailer over YouTube is fast and seamless, as is other online content.
There’s also a web browser, social media apps and DLNA compatibility.
Finlux is back on form. The brand is pricing its products more confidently now, and that means the 42FME242S-T is more expensive than the Sony KDL-40W605B, the Panasonic 42AS500B and the Toshiba 42L6453DB for example.
Nevertheless, the picture quality here is still worth a recommendation.