Finally, a 2014 Philips TV that does standard-definition well! The company’s Full HD line-up has struggled to win our good word when it comes to upscaling DVD-quality content, but this 32in LED from the 4000 Series bucks the trend.
Does that have something to do with its HD Ready-only panel (its 1366 x 768 resolution being much nearer to standard definition’s than Full HD screens are)? Possibly. But while resolution may be lower than on some rivals, the set’s wallet friendly £280 gets you an awful lot when it comes to features and performance.
Functionality over aesthetics
Design is not much of a talking point, mind. Its light, super-slim build is practical, yet very basic. The remote – in-line with the range – is cheap-looking, has rubbery buttons and a flat body that’s not particularly nice to hold. The buttons are well spread out, though.
With essentials such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube and Facebook joining Spotify, Blinkbox and more, the Philips certainly isn’t shy on apps. Skype is also installed, though you’ll need to purchase Philips’ TV camera to benefit. An internet connection is necessary and that’s where an Ethernet cable comes in handy – the TV is only ‘wi-fi ready’ so Philips’ USB Wireless Adapter (£27) is essential to make going online a wire-free affair. The adapter will take up one of the TV’s two USB slots, which accompany two HDMI, a scart and component inputs, as well as one digital and headphone output apiece.
The interface isn’t flashy and customizable like some, but the screen-wide home menu does the trick. Menus could be more user-friendly; it’s often a long journey to get from A to Z. And be warned that the TV picture is completely replaced by the screenhogging EPG when loaded.
Sci-fi drama Transcendence on Blu-ray reveals the TV’s downscaler as capable. The sharp, clear picture is instantly watchable and detail is abundant. Properly adjusted, colours are punchy and full-bodied, the futuristic computer’s fashy lights appearing accurately intense.
That said, the Philips lacks the subtlety of the best screens. The Sony KDL-32W706B burrows further into the film’s picture, taking more care to uncover the finer details and tonal variations of lab machinery.
Load up Star Trek Into Darkness on DVD and it seems only a little less sharp than the high-definition picture. Detail remains sky-high, and colours are true and deep. And as the camera jumps around to keep up with Spock and Khan’s fight, the picture remains stable.
The Freeview tuner keeps its end up, too. Flick between the standard and HD BBC Two channels as they air the European Athletics Championships and it’s a punchy picture on both. It’s not the subtlest, but enough detail shines through to keep you watching. Apart from its shortage of subtlety and a few gripes with sound (it’s a bit on the shrill side), the Philips has a lot going for it. For a mere ฃ280, an insightful, refined picture and selection of smarts aren’t qualities to be ignored.
FOR Sharp picture, bursting with detail; natural, punchy colours; impressive SD and HD scaling
AgAinst Design and remote are bland; need to buy a separate dongle for wi-fi; harsh sound
VeRdict Philips delivers another good, well priced TV with the accent on picture quality
Credit : What HiFi Magazine