Some TVs – especially mid-rangers like this – have a tendency to load-up on flagship TV features while forgetting about processing power. By stripping the user interface and picture engine down to the essentials, the 42PFL5008 remains a quick TV that's fun to use. And that's a crucial part of its appeal.
Great-sounding and great-looking, Philips' budget-busting 42-incher is primed for life in a living room. Ambilight adds an awesome touch of class, but the 42PFL5008 is already half-way there. Cracking HD detail, a good remote control, impressive all-round images and a super-fast, simple user interface encompassing comprehensive digital file support and creative file-swap apps seal the deal. The build quality, too, is excellent for the money.
Smart TV on the 42PFL5008 is take-it-or-leave-it, while the appearance of motion blur and judder are a predictable side-effect of a relatively weak Pixel Plus HD processing engine and basic 100Hz panel. Standard definition TV upscaling is fairly unsuccessful, while the EPG is poor.
With Ambilight, smart TV, great sound, a fine outward appearance and heaps of HD detail, the 42PFL5008 is a tempting proposition. However, there are some cracks in the performance – most notably motion blur and judder along with some weak upscaling. But the lack of powerful picture processing and a fairly lightweight smart TV platform has its flip-side in a super-fast, responsive user interface. That helps to make this mid-ranger a highly usable and highly likeable TV.
Of slightly lower grade picture quality, but still a sterling choice is the Finlux 40F8030-T (we've reviewed the 32-inch version, though it's a couple of inches smaller. For major brand competition, have a look at the broadly similar Panasonic TX-L42E6B and Samsung UE40F6400, the latter of which adds voice control to some features, as well as a 200Hz panel. If you want something with Ambilight, but with better pictures, there's only one competitor – the step-up version of this TV, the Philips 42PFL6008.