Philips 40pfl9705

The battle between edge and full LED arrays is not yet settled, but the 40PFL9705's performance suggests that the former is for those after a slim TV with decent contrast, whereas the latter is for anyone after a TV with exceptional all-round skills – and the 40PFL9705 is certainly that.

We liked

Rich in contrast and colour, this set's 2D pictures – with hardly a trace of motion blur – are among the finest around. A user-friendly interface, peerless remote control, adaptable Ambilight features and luscious build quality make for a TV that exudes class.

We disliked

Perfect Pixel HD is a wide and powerful suite of enhancements, but it is rather hidden from view and it would be no surprise if many customers never experiment with it. That's a shame, because they'll miss out on the 40PFL9705's top-draw 2D pics.

For now, 3D on the 40PFL9705 rates as merely average, but it's a slightly less uncomfortable experience than on other 3D LCD TVs. It's also probably 10 or so inches too small to provide fully immersive 3D action. The lack of Freeview HD is also a massive ommission.

Final verdict

With flatscreen TVs now such a common commodity it's becoming almost impossible to find something unique. Almost, but not quite; Philips has long been a brand you might expect to find selling TVs for peanuts in the high street – and that hasn't changed – but it's also the only mainstream brand whose high-end TVs have retained both their high price and delectable mix of style and brilliance.

The highly capable 40PFL9705's combination of fine 2D with half-decent 3D, brilliant build quality, Ambilight and some of the best speakers around – together with a thoroughly high-end feel – carry on that tradition.