In some ways the LE42K0D7D's pictures are pleasantly surprising, but the set does also struggle in a couple of key areas, leaving it looking pretty average overall.
The surprising thing is how much brightness and colour intensity the screen is capable of pumping out. This is, of course, a fairly common strength of edge LED technology, but the LE42K0D7D's images still stand out from the crowd.
What's particularly striking about this is that the dynamism and brightness doesn't only apply to hyper-aggressive settings (Vivid, for example) that are clearly aimed at catching potential customers' eyes in a shop. Even after a bit of calibration to try to get the best contrast from the set, pictures are still extremely punchy.
This immediately runs counter to the situation encountered with a number of budget brands over the years and sets hopes high that there's plenty more good stuff to come.
And in some ways, there is. The screen is capable of producing a better black level response than anticipated, for instance, providing a great foundation to the rich colours and bright whites noted already, and further contributing to the image's fairly spectacular first impressions.
HD pictures are reasonably sharp and detailed, moreover, with such fine elements as grain and pore detailing clearly visible. However, before you start to get too carried away, this sense of clarity does take a fairly significant hit when there's lots of motion in a picture. This is due, presumably, to a fairly uninspiring native response time from the LE42K0D7D's edge LED panel.
You can reduce this blurring a touch using the 100Hz options. But although the lowest power setting for the set's 100Hz mode doesn't fully get rid of the blur by any means, it's impossible to recommend a higher 100Hz setting, as these can cause some fairly obvious processing problems (shimmering and flickering around moving objects in particular).
The single most annoying thing about the LE42K0D7D's pictures, though, is the increasingly common problem of an inconsistent backlight. The four corners of the picture are noticeably brighter than the rest of the image during dark scenes, especially if you've got a quite bright, central picture element against an otherwise dark background.
You can't see this problem, to be fair, with predominantly bright content, but how many films or even TV dramas have you seen that don't have any dark scenes in them?
Even turning the backlight down to near zero doesn't remove the consistency flaws, and whenever they crop up, they invariably make you feel distanced from what you're watching.
A smaller issue concerns the LE42K0D7D's colours, which are certainly punchy, but rarely entirely natural. Skin tones look rather over-saturated, and oranges and reds tend to look too dominant. You eventually acclimatise to this, but there are still moments where a tone or two really jumps out at you, adding further to the potential for this TV to suddenly leave you distracted from what you're watching.
One final niggle is that the LE42K0D7D is no expert at upscaling standard-definition material. Unless a standard-def source is of a particularly high standard – such as a very good DVD – the upscaled pictures tend to look rather noisy and patchy.
This is partly down, most likely, to both some fairly unsophisticated rescaling processing and the screen's ultra-aggressive approach drawing attention to any mess that might be inherent to a source.