TODO alt text
Great Value

Finlux 55S9100-T review

Unbeatably priced but under-powered 3D TV

Our Verdict

Underpriced but also underpowered, this attempt at a big screen TV bargain would best suit someone who is desperate for as big a TV as possible to pair with a smart HD source such as a Sky+

For

  • Low price
  • 2D Blu-ray detail
  • Plentiful inputs
  • Freeview HD and BBC iPlayer
  • Wi-Fi

Against

  • Slow user interface
  • Poor audio
  • Unconvincing 3D
  • Blur and judder

A 55-inch 3D TV currently reduced to £999.99 - say what? The born-again budget TV brand may have impressed us with the cheap 32-inch Finlux 32F8030-T and 40-inch Finlux 40S8070-T, but we weren't prepared for this humungous slice of home cinema real estate arriving from Finlux for such a low price.

The Finlux 55S9100-T is actually slightly dearer than 2012's Finlux 55S9090-T, an even more budget-orientated attempt at a 55-inch LED-backlit TV, but the brand new version we have here features an updated smart TV platform. Even its full price of £1,299.99 is very competitive.

The Finlux 55S9100-T is also a 3D TV arriving with a stunning eight pairs of passive 3D glasses. And you've probably got a few more pairs at home from that trip down the multiplex to see Avatar in 3D a few years ago.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

Buying Guide
best tv
Best TV

If 3D is waning on most TV buyers' shopping lists, design and slimness certainly are not. The Finlux 55S9100-T ticks all the right boxes here, with a depth of just 36mm (1.4 inches) and a mirrored chrome bezel that's a mere 5mm (0.2 inches) in width.

However, the finished look isn't nearly as impressive, slender or as eye-catching as the bigger brands' premium efforts, being rather bulgy. This is because the Finlux 55S9100-T's 5mm curved chrome bezel is added to by a strip of black plastic that measures 10mm, with a further 5mm of empty space to where the image actually begins.

It's certainly not a 'frameless' design, but instead it's an attempt at creating an illusion, and it doesn't really work. A Finlux logo juts out from the bottom of the screen, while a mirrored, chunky spider desktop stand further adds to a slightly industrial look.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

Arguably much more important is what's inside the Finlux 55S9100-T. There's a Freeview HD tuner, catch-up TV and social media access via a smart TV platform, and the inclusion of Wi-Fi connectivity. We're just thankful that the days of the dongle have all but disappeared.

Built around an LED-backlit LCD panel, the Finlux 55S9100-T has a Full HD resolution and 100Hz processing, too.

Also available

Finlux has developed a vast pantheon of affordable TVs over the last year or so. It takes a slightly different approach to the bigger brands, in that though it regularly updates and upgrades its lineup, the previous models remain available - and often receive regular and drastic price cuts.

It makes getting hold of last year's fine-at-the-time TV - such as the 32-inch Finlux 32F8030-T with Freeview HD and BBC iPlayer, which is now reduced to a paltry £270 (around AU$429 / US$410) - uniquely possible.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

You might also like...
6 best Smart TV platforms in the world today
Best Smart TV platforms

The 55-inch Finlux 55S9100-T isn't alone in the brand's S9100-T Series, either. It's accompanied by the 42-inch Finlux 42S9100-T and 47-inch Finlux 47S9100-T, which currently sell for £600 (AU$953 / US$912) and £750 (AU$1,191 / US$1,140) respectively.

Other 55-inch competitors from inside the brand's stable include the Finlux 55S9090-T, which is broadly similar in terms of 3D compatibility, but requires using a Wi-Fi dongle for smart TV antics. It's available for £100 less than our Finlux 55S9100-T sample, but more savings can be had for plumping for either the Finlux 55S8090-T or Finlux 55S7090-T, neither of which offer 3D. Both cost less than £800 (AU$1,270 / US$1,217).

Features

With 3D, Full HD, Freeview HD and PVR recording, the Finlux 55S9100-T looks hard to beat if judged on pure features alone.

The rear panel of the Finlux 55S9100-T is equally generous, with video ins and outs including three HDMI inputs, two Scarts - increasingly a real rarity on HD TVs - a set of component video inputs, a VGA input for a hooking up an older PC or laptop and a wired Ethernet LAN slot.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

Also back there is an optical audio output for attaching to a home cinema system, a dedicated subwoofer output, an RF aerial port for powering that Freeview HD tuner, and a pair of phono inputs.

Then there's also a side panel, which adds a fourth HDMI input alongside composite video, a headphones jack and two USB slots.

Those last two power the Finlux 55S9100-T's PVR recording feature, as well as its ability to play back digital media files. Recording live TV is a rather limited experience when the TV only has a single Freeview HD tuner. And though it can be useful to hit pause or record if you suddenly have to stop watching something - perhaps for a phone call - we're not convinced many people use it that much.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

It's a tad manual, and demands some preparation (buying a USB flash drive of the correct size, formatting it, inserting it into the TV's side... what a drag).

Whenever you buy a TV with such a feature on its website, there is an option to buy a SanDisk 16GB USB flash drive. We like that everything is made simple and the size of stick mooted is spot-on (each gigabyte equates to around an hour of live TV recording or pausing), but the cost is rather high, at £29.99. Dig around online and you'll quickly find that a 16GB USB stick can be had for under a tenner. It's also worth considering buying a standalone USB flash drive if recording from Freeview HD becomes a habit.

Though many a brand has experimented with smartphone apps, we hadn't expected the budget end of the market to get involved quite yet. We're proved wrong once again by Finlux, which has developed its free Smart Remote app that enables gesture control, but not file interaction with the TV. It only works on iPhones, iPads and iPod touches though, so if you have an Android or Windows Phone device it can't help you.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces2
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelA
Smart TVYes
Brand NameFinlux
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")
Aspect Ratio16:9
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
VESA Mount Standard400 x 400
Operating Power Consumption112 W
Standby Power Consumption500 mW
RMS Output Power24 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand804 mm
Width with Stand1249 mm
Depth with Stand300 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports2
3D TechnologyPolarized
3D ConversionYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Enhanced Refresh Rate100 Hz
Height731 mm
Width1249 mm
Depth36 mm
ColourBlack
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesPVR (Personal Video Recorder)
ManufacturerFinlux
Product Model55S9100-T
Product Name55'' 3D/Smart LED TV, Full HD 1080p, 100Hz, Freeview HD & PVR (55S9100-T)
Manufacturer Part Number55S9100T
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.finluxdirect.com
Marketing InformationThe Flagship Finlux 55S9100-T LED TV offers breath-taking 3D action, hours of entertainment though catch-up TV services like BBC iPlayer and YouTube whilst you'll also get to enjoy stunning HD programming thanks to its Freeview HD tuner. Along with its sleek cross-stand design and ultra-slim bezel - did we mention it also boasts 100Hz technology to allow for smooth fast-moving action scenes and comes with 8 pairs of 3D glassesand a free Wi-Fi dongle too? It's not hard to see why we're so proud of the stunning 42S9100-T - our most complete TV to date.
Package Contents
  • 55'' 3D/Smart LED TV, Full HD 1080p, 100Hz, Freeview HD & PVR (55S9100-T)
  • 8 Pair of 3D Glasses
  • Wi-Fi Dongle
  • Remote Control
  • Batteries
  • Product Manual
Response Time8 ms
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)20 kg