Finlux is owned by Vestel, which makes a lot of the TVs that supermarkets and electrical retailers re-badge and sell under their own names. The Finlux brand cuts out the middle man and sells directly to you via the Finluxdirect.com website.
Most of its TVs are budget models that lack style and sophistication, but the 46S8070-T is a different beast. It's a slim 46-inch LED set with a stylish design that's similar to some of LG's and Sony's TVs. It also includes online features and 100Hz processing, but remains relatively affordable at £680.
User interface and EPG
The menu system lacks the flashy graphics that you find on TVs from the likes of Samsung and LG. They're relatively basic and mostly comprise of simple text and sliders to adjust stuff like the picture and sound settings. The black and gold colour scheme that Finlux has used is appealing, however, and the menus are pretty zippy to navigate.
The picture controls are relatively basic. The set lacks a full colour management system, so picture tweaking is limited to the usual contrast, brightness, sharpness and colour sliders. There's also an option called Movie Sense that you can switch between off, low, medium and high modes. This is Finlux's term for motion processing, although the explanation in the manual is a tad bizarre.
The set uses the same electronic programme guide (EPG) that was found on the company's 32F6030-T, which is a shame as it's annoying to use. The big problem is that when you hit the EPG button on the remote, it only displays 'now and next' information across all the channels, rather than the full line-up of the day's programming.
To see the full listings, you have to first open the EPG and then press the yellow button, which is a faff. There's also an annoying issue with the mini 'now and next' banner that you can open via the Info button. It only displays programme names and doesn't list any information about the shows.
Digital media and Internet features
This is the first set I've seen from Finlux with smart TV features on board. It's fair to say that they're not on a par with what you get from the likes of Sony and Samsung, simply due to the fact that the smart menu doesn't house that many apps. Thankfully, BBC iPlayer is included and there are also apps for YouTube, Viewster, ITN, Facebook, Twitter and TuneIn.
You get 23 apps but no movie-on-demand services. That means it lacks not just Lovefilm and Netflix, but also Acetrax and Blinkbox, which is a shame.
There are also some usability and stability issues with the apps. I couldn't get the Facebook one to work when I tried it and the BBC iPlayer app has no fast-forward or rewind controls. You can only jump to a specific place in a programme by typing in the minutes into the show. Apps also crashed often and the only way to get a picture back on the set was to turn it off and on again.
As you'd expect at this price, the TV also has a built-in media player for photos, music and video files. These can either be played back locally from USB drives or streamed across a network from a PC. The media player looks very basic, though, and is little more than a file browser with a simple preview mode.
Format support isn't bad, although it can be a little flaky. It wouldn't stream MKV files, although it would play them from USB memory keys. Nevertheless, standard-definition DivX and Xvid files played fine and it also supports MP3 music tracks and JPEG pictures.
Like most of Finlux's other models, this one also has rudimentary PVR features. Plug a USB drive into one of its two USB ports and you can record shows from the Freeview HD tuner to disc. There's only one tuner, however, so you can only record the channel you're tuned to.
Design and connections
One of the key selling points of the 46S8070-T is its design, and rightly so, as it's a very good-looking set, especially for one in this price bracket. Interestingly, there's no Finlux logo on the front, which for many people will be a bonus.
The TV has a one-piece design, where a single sheet of glass runs from edge to edge and overhangs the sides of the TV to create a semi-transparent lip. The bezel isn't super-narrow, but it's not especially thick either, measuring around 35mm deep. On the left-hand side of the bottom edge of the TV is a number of touch controls for channel and volume changes. The whole thing is perched on a pedestal stand that echoes the transparent-edge design of the TV.
The set comes with a chunky remote that feels comfortable to hold and the surface is scooped slightly in the middle, which is a smart effect. The buttons are large and the rubberised finish on the back is quite grippy.
The set's ports are split between a side-mounted panel that contains one of the four HDMI ports, along with two USB ports and a rear-mounted panel that has two full-sized Scart sockets, a further three HDMI inputs, a VGA connector and a set of component inputs. There's also an aerial input to feed the Freeview HD tuner and a LAN port for use with the smart TV apps. Wi-Fi isn't built into the set, but Finlux does provide a Wi-Fi USB dongle that plugs into one of the TV's USB ports.
This model has two down-firing speakers mounted on the bottom edge of the chassis. These are rated at just 8W and given the sliminess of the chassis -- it's only 40mm deep -- it's not much of a surprise to find it's pretty lacking in bass. It's hardly the first LED model to suffer from this issue, but at least Finlux has had the sense to add a subwoofer output on the rear, so you can add an external sub to beef up the bass.
On its own, the set's audio is distinctly average. The lack of bass means action movies and music channels sound gutless. On the positive side, dialogue in movies and speech on soap operas or news broadcasts avoids sounding muffled in the way it does on some budget models.
The 46S8070-T, for the most part, produces quite punchy pictures, thanks in part to its high brightness levels. The brightness really does help to add zing to colours. The primary hues used on Formula 1 cars looked ace, for example. Colours do sometimes lack subtlety, however, something that's especially noticeable on skin tones, as they can tend towards waxiness. This is more apparent on standard-definition material than HD footage though.
Its handling of motion isn't too bad. It's not quite as good as the latest higher-end models from Samsung and Sony in this regard, but its motion processing does a pretty good job when dealing with lots of fast movement in sports broadcasts.
Cheaper screens generally aren't all that impressive at delivering deep black levels, but this model bucks the trend. Flick to the Cinema preset and you'll find it's quite capable of delivering convincing blacks. What's more, it doesn't crush shadow detail to an alarming degree while doing it.
There are downsides though. It's not as convincing at handling standard-definition TV as it is when it's working with HD pictures. Colours tend to look slightly flatter and its picture processing engine is weak at upscaling, leaving video looking either noisy, or alternatively, a bit too soft if you call the noise reduction feature into play.
Also the backlighting does tend to look a little patchy when you've got the lights turned down in your room for movie watching, with the result that certain areas of the picture can look misty during darker scenes.
The 46S8070-T is, on the whole, a likeable set. The price is attractive, the design is eye-catching and it boasts a good line-up of features. General picture quality isn't half bad either, especially when working with HD feeds. It doesn't handle standard-definition broadcasts quite as well as it should, however, and its backlight is more blotchy than I would have liked.