Philips 15PF4410D review

Do we need hi-def on a screen this small?

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Our Verdict

Excellent features and performance at a highly competitive price

For

  • Picture

    digital HD capable

    price

Against

  • Sound is fairly mundane

High definition, it would appear, is not just for big TVs. The Philips 15PF4410D is a 15in LCD TV that amazingly can play hi-def sources. But is such a talent really worth having on a small screen?

First things first, the 15PF4410D looks exactly like practically every other small Philips TV we've seen. Which is to say, it's slightly chunky, but attractively curved.

Connectivity is where things get interesting, as alongside one RGB Scart, RF input, and composite and S-video options, there's a DVI-D socket able to take genuine hi-def signals from the digital output of an upscaling DVD player or upcoming Sky HD box. The only pity is that it can't take analogue component hi-def sources, like an Xbox 360.

Aside from its HD compatibility the set's most unusual features include Virtual Dolby processing, horizontal and vertical position adjustments for PC images, and a 16:9 widescreen mode.

The 15PF4410D's specifications show a high native resolution of 1,024 x 768, and respectable contrast ratio and brightness measurements of 500:1 and 450cd/m2.

Thankfully, adding HD playback to its specification doesn't seem to have caused any serious performance compromises. In fact, the 15PF4410's pictures are among the best we've seen on such a small TV.

Two things make the 15PF4410 stand out: its black level response and its brightness. Dark portions of the picture are less flattened and obscured by greyness than we usually see on sub-20in LCD TVs. As for the brightness, it ensures that colours radiate forth with real dynamism, as well as delivering some unusually pure whites. The colours are as natural in tone as they are vibrant, even during troublesome dark scenes.

The 15PF4410 also suffers little of the motion smearing so common to small LCD TVs, as well as remaining largely free of moiring noise, grain or dot crawl.

Standard-definition pictures enjoy a sharp, textured appearance with uncommon amounts of fine detail. And when it comes to HD, the Philips' pictures deliver some of the format's extra sharpness although inevitably the impact isn't as potent as on a large TV.

If we had to find fault with this TV, it would be that while dark areas enjoy decent black levels, they can also look slightly hollow thanks to a lack of greyscaling finesse.

The 15PF4410's sound is par for the small LCD course, meaning it's painfully short of frequency range and can distort at high volumes. But the soundstage is wide, and voices sound realistic if you avoid the 'optimistic' Dolby Virtual system.

Philips has long been a star with affordable small LCD TVs, and the 15PF4410 continues the trend. Its pictures are among the very best and while its HD functionality is arguably of only minimal value on a 15in screen, we'd still sooner have it than not. This is a worthy winner in its class and well worth your £500.