Finlux has already impressed with a budget 32-inch set, the 32F703, thanks to good picture performance and pleasing 3D images. But one drawback was a chunky chassis due to its use of older CCFL backlighting technology.
The 32F6030-T that I'm reviewing here is built with LED backlighting instead, which makes it a much slimmer proposition. It lacks 3D support, but priced at just £250, it's £70 cheaper than the 32F703. Is it as much of a bargain as it seems?
User interface and EPG
This model's user interface is quite basic, but Finlux has done a good job with its design. The main menu presents you with a row of gold icons running across the centre of the screen. As you scroll over and back through the menu, an outline box highlights the option you've selected. Enter the menus and you'll find that although they're pretty flat, the gold text does stand out.
You're given plenty of control of the picture too. Naturally, you can play with stuff like the colour, contrast and brightness settings. There's also an advanced menu that lets you tweak the gain values of the red, green and blue colours, as well as adjust the skin tone.
The electronic programme guide (EPG), is pretty much identical to that used on other Finlux models, which isn't necessarily a good thing. The main problem is that pressing the EPG button on the remote only shows you 'now and next' information, not the whole line-up of programmes for an evening. If you want to see the full listings, you have to press the yellow button on the remote from within the EPG, which is long winded.
Also, If you call up the smaller 'now and next' banner using the Info button on the remote, it only shows you the programme names. There's no way to see a description of the current show -- something you can view by pressing the Info button twice on most other TVs. Worse, the EPG doesn't maintain pictures or sound of the show you're watching when you call it up, which is annoying.
Video playback and Internet features
Despite the presence of an Ethernet port on the rear and an Internet button on the remote, this model doesn't actually have any smart TV features. The Ethernet port only seems to be present because it's a mandatory part of the Freeview HD specification, so any TV sold with the Freeview HD branding has to have one. Given the extremely low price, it's not surprising that it lacks smart features.
The TV does have two USB ports, which it makes good use of. If you call up the media player, either via the dedicated button on the remote or by selecting it form the main menu, you can use it to playback a pretty broad range of files. Most of the media players on cheap TVs only support DivX and Xvid files. The one here goes further as it also supports HD MKV files and can even downmix AC3 files to stereo. The media player does have the odd bug here and there and it crashed on a couple of occasions playing MKV files.
The media player interface is basic. Once you actually enter the playback screens, you'll find it's little more than a file browser. But it's fairly easy to use and is a very handy addition, especially on a budget set such as this. You can also use it to play JPEG pictures as well as MP3 music tracks.
The set also has personal video recorder (PVR) features. If you attach a drive or memory key to one of its USB ports, you can record shows or movies from its Freeview HD tuner directly to disc. Recordings can either be scheduled by simply selecting a show in the EPG or by hitting the record button while you're watching a channel. You can also pause live TV.
Unlike the other two Finlux models I've tested, this one doesn't support chase play, so you can't begin watching the start of a programme while the end is still recording. Also, as the set only has a single tuner, you can't watch one channel while recording another.