TODO alt text

Philips 46PFL8007 review

Philips TVs are back and looking very good

Jump to Section:

Usability

The Philips 46PFL8007's remote control is superb. It's fabulously weighty but comfortable to hold, with a mostly excellent button layout on one side and, rather brilliantly, a full QWERTY keyboard on the other.

The QWERTY keyboard is well thought through too, in that it's divided in half so that users can access all the keys via their thumb while holding the remote horizontally in both hands. The remote even knows which way up you're holding it, so that you can't accidentally press the buttons on the side you're not using.

Philips claims that it did lots of user research into the sort of alternative control systems introduced by some other brands this year - touchpad remotes, voice control, gesture control - but found that most users found such systems more frustrating than helpful.

Philips 46PFL8007 review

And based on the impressively fluid experience of using the Philips 46PFL8007 with the remote and its integrated keyboard, it's hard to disagree with Philips' findings.

There's another great touch when using the Twitter app too - where possible the app uses the metadata sent with whatever TV programme you're watching (if metadata is available) to search Twitter for related hashtag feeds. This is ideal for people wanting to follow Twitter's thinking about popular shows such as The X-Factor.

The main Smart Menu is easy to read and navigate too, and you can adjust the order of the app icons to make sure your favourites sit at the top.

Philips 46PFL8007 review

However, while the current layout of the Smart screen is pretty straightforward, it will likely start to seem pretty unwieldy should Philips get its service's content levels as high as we'd like them to be.

The Philips 46PFL8007's main set up and feature menus, meanwhile, are scary.

We generally applaud Philips' decision to give you a degree of control over pretty much every element of its processing and picture presentation, but it sure does lead to some seriously heavy duty text-only feature lists.

Philips 46PFL8007 review

It's not always clear what some of these features do, either, and your experience of navigating the menus isn't improved by the fact that they tend to react rather sluggishly.

If you're a bit of a technophobe, it's going to be tempting not to bother delving into the deepest, darkest corners of the picture adjustments. But unfortunately you really need to if you're to consistently get the best out of the Philips 46PFL8007's pictures, since different aspects of its processing have different benefits and negative side effects on different types of source.

Just as well, then, that the TV rewards all your efforts with such scintillating pictures.

Sound

While we've already seen Sony reap great audio benefits from building some of its TVs' speakers into their stands, we weren't sure that the speaker-bearing stand/mount Philips provides with the Philips 46PFL8007 was big enough to deliver any serious oomph.

But thankfully it works rather well, presenting a warm, immersive, surprisingly bass-rich soundstage that also somehow delivers harshness-free treble details and even a fair amount of soundstage width. Very clever.

And needless to say, the results are miles better than the flimsy efforts usually heard from super-thin TVs.

Value

The new TP Vision joint venture for Philips TVs is intended to help make the brand more price competitive. All the same, the Philips 46PFL8007's £1,700 (about AU$2,676/US$2,744) price tag looks quite high for a 46-inch TV.

Philips 46PFL8007 review

After all, Sony's 46HX853 can be yours for just £1,250 (around AU$1,969/US$2,013).

However, the Philips set does have more picture processing power and options, Ambilight, a much slinkier design, and pictures that are, in some ways at least, even punchier than those of Sony's mighty flagship models.