Usability

If it's easy to pick out this television's budget heritage from its so-so images, it's much harder when judged on its unexpectedly polished user interface.

Instead of a clunky home screen, when you hit the Menu button on the remote a simple carousel of yellow-on-black icons appears. It's then easy to access the Picture, Sound, Settings and Media Browser menus.

Finlux 40S8070-T review

Where the Finlux 40S8070-T's operation is disappointingly basic is with its EPG, which has no programme synopsis, no live TV thumbnail and no sound, which makes scrolling through its nine channels a lonely experience.

That's a shame because its functionality is otherwise excellent, with two-touch recordings to USB and several different filters and views possible.

Finlux 40S8070-T review

The smart TV user interface is very basic, and reminds us of first-time attempts by bigger brands a couple of years ago. But it's not difficult to use, and firing up the platform is quick thanks to a shortcut on the remote.

Still, we're not sure why YouTube has its own direct access button but BBC iPlayer doesn't. Even then, the labelling is far from clear - YouTube is accessed by one of two buttons sporting a graphic of a star and labelled My Button.

Finlux 40S8070-T review

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Elsewhere the remote control is a letdown - unlike some other Finlux remotes we've used - principally because it's overly long and rattles. Feeling cheap in the hand, some of the buttons are simply too big, with small writing and/or positioned at the extremities.

The smart TV key, for example, is out of reach in the top-left corner, while the EPG button is hidden among less important controls to change language and aspect ratios.

Finlux 40S8070-T review

Digital media is a tad manual in how it's handled - you must select what type of media you want to access before locating the drive, then the folder - but the core video codecs are all here.

In our tests we managed to get the key AVI, MKV and MP4 file formats to play, the latter two in HD, though other files such as WMV are also supported. Music comes in MP3, WAV and WMA formats only.

Sound

Finlux 40S8070-T review

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The Finlux 40S8070-T's 8W speakers are not good, producing a rather muffled sound that lacks any kind of width. There are a few preset user modes, including Music, Classic, Flat and Movie, but only the latter has any semblance of low frequency sound - and it's slight indeed.

Seeing as the Finlux 40S8070-T has an optical digital audio output - something that's not common on budget TVs in general - we would recommend adding a soundbar, a home cinema system or indeed any kind of hi-fi speakers, which would enormously improve on the all-round perception of the Finlux 40S8070-T.

Value

Finlux 40S8070-T review

Finlux claims that the Finlux 40S8070-T has been reduced from an initial price of £649.99 (around US$990 / AU$950), though it's been on sale for £499 (around US$760 / AU$730) for some time. Either way, the current selling price of £419.99 (around US$640 / AU$614) is hard to argue with, since TVs of this size don't come much cheaper.

However, the 40-inch size is pushing the upper limits of what can be achieved with a relatively basic LED-backlit LCD panel and no fancy picture-boosting processing tech. What works on a 32-inch TV doesn't usually come across anywhere near as well on a 40-inch version.