Finlux is the consumer brand name for Vestel, Europe's largest TV manufacturer, which makes loads of the TVs supermarkets sell under their own brand names. Finlux's TVs are only available via the Finluxdirect.com website, as the aim of the company is to cut out the middleman so it can sell direct to the public at more competitive prices. At £350, the 40F8073-T is certainly cheap for a 40-inch set, especially as it includes smart TV features. So is the set worth considering over rivals from bigger brand names?
Finlux has kept the menu system nice and basic. When you hit the menu button it calls up a banner of large icons across the middle of the screen for stuff like Picture, Sound and Settings and if you select one of these you're dropped into a more traditional list menu with various buttons and sliders for tweaking settings.
The menus are speedy to navigate around and the gold and black colour scheme is quite attractive to the eye. The picture controls are relatively basic. There's no colour management system, for example, although you can adjust the gain for the red, green and blue colour channels. Naturally there's also basic contrast, brightness, sharpness and colour sliders as well as a dynamic contrast mode that tries to help the set deliver richer black levels.
One quirk, however, is that when you power on the TV it takes quite a long time to come out of standby and there didn't seem to be any fast starting option in the menu to help speed this up.
Finlux's programming guide is very basic too. It doesn't include a video thumbnail view of the channel you're tuned to and when you call it up you also lose all background audio, so it's quite intrusive to use if you just want to quickly check what's coming up later on a different channel.
On the plus side, the EPG does use the same attractive gold and black colour scheme as the menus and it does at least scroll back and forth through programming data at a decent speed. You can also zoom in and out to adjust how many upcoming shows it displays per page at any one time.
Finlux has done some work on its smart TV system and it's all the better for it. The big difference is that it now includes a Netflix app, which will be good news if you don't want to take a subscription package from pay TV providers like Sky and Virgin Media, but want more TV shows and movies than you get on Freeview.
The iPlayer app has also been improved, so the fast-forward and rewind controls work better than they used to, although they still skip back and forth in quite large chunks of time. You also get apps for ITN, YouTube and Facebook, but it's missing the likes of Lovefilm, 4oD, ITV Player and Demand5, so it's not exactly up there in the premier league of smart TV systems.
There are still a few bugs as the Netflix app crashed on me a couple of times and I had to make multiple attempts to get the (very basic) Facebook app to work. The system feels faster than the likes of Toshiba's Cloud TV system though, as Finlux has managed to inject a much needed lick of speed into proceedings.
This model also includes a media player that can play files either from drives plugged into one of its two USB ports, or streamed across a network from a PC or Nas drive. The media player interface is relatively basic, but the file support is good. For example, it played a selection of MP4, Xvid and MKV HD files without any problems.
What's more, the fast forward and rewind controls work properly when you're streaming files -- something that many big brands TVs can't cope with.
The set can also record shows from the Freeview HD tuner to a USB drive and you can even schedule recordings via the EPG. It only has a single tuner though, so you can't record one channel while watching another.