Although the big brands like to talk about their latest flagship TVs, fancy voice control and, increasingly, Ultra HD, not many of us are looking at buying a TV costing north of £600 (around AU$904/US$929). Which makes the 42-inch Philips 42PFL6008, an Edge LED-backlit TV from the brand's step-down 6000 Series, a candidate for anyone prepared to spend a few quid more for something unique.

The most obvious add-on here is Ambilight, Philips' long-established - though never copied - device that emits coloured light from the sides of the TV. By closely matching the colours on the screen, it's supposed to create a relaxing and dynamically changing light show on the wall behind the TV.

It's really quite something, and though it's not at its most powerful on the Philips 42PFL6008, which has only a stereo, two-sided array, it's a feature that definitely puts Philips TVs in a class of their own.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

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That goes double for build quality. It's great to see the same brushed metallic design, which unlike many other brands uses solid steel, not fake plastic. A single sheet of glass covers the entire front of the Philips 42PFL6008, with a brushed metallic panel at the bottom that's 18mm (0.71 inches) wide with a mere 11mm (0.43 inches) of black screen between the edge and the beginning of the image.

The depth is just 32.5mm (1.28 inches), too, though that's not what's most impressive about the Philips 42PFL6008's design. Most of the kudos goes to a desktop stand that's hardly there at all.

Resembling some sort of heavy-duty coat hangar when unboxed, the main pillar is than attached to a C-shaped, 56cm (22 inch)-wide front that ostensibly puts the entire screen on a very slight-looking frame.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

It's a heavy duty construction, and thus rock-steady, with the Philips 42PFL6008 appearing to float; this has been said many times before in marketing blurb for high-end TVs, but it's actually true here. Below the centre of the screen is a Philips logo that, although small, is flanked by a mirrored panel that reflects a bit too much for our liking.

A Full HD television that uses passive 3D glasses - four pairs of which are in the box - the Philips 42PFL6008 has a full price of £1,000 (around AU$1,507 / US$1,548).

The TV also has some smart stuff inside, though it's limited. Unchanged from last year, it puts a live TV thumbnail on a screen pocked with apps - including YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Blinkbox - but there's precious little else to get excited about.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

However, what the Philips 42PFL6008 does have is a double-sided remote control, which can be used for entering text into its web browser. Philips TVs have had standalone web browsers for some time, but they haven't at all impressed.

The opposite is true of sound, with Philips being one of the first brands to make flatscreen TVs with capable speakers. That trend continues on the Philips 42PFL6008, which is fitted with a woofer on its rear that beefs up audio. Try finding that on a cheaper TV.

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After a few years of delivering its latest wares eons after the other brands, Philips has managed to produce most of its annual collection of LED-backlit LCD TVs in spring. It's a fairly easy lineup to understand, though there's a no-show for its usual flagship 9000 Series, which could be reserved for Ultra HD TVs, due in September.

For now the top-end is taken by the 8000 Series, above the 7000 Series, which in turn sits above the home of the Philips 42PFL6008, the 6000 Series.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

Despite it being fourth on the ladder, the 6000 Series - which also includes the 47-inch Philips 47PFL6008, 55-inch Philips 55PFL6008 and 60-inch Philips 60PFL6008 - is relatively advanced.

Next up is the 7000 Series, which comprises the 42-inch Philips 42PFL7008, 47-inch Philips 47PFL7008 and 55-inch Philips 55PFL7008, though in a slightly retro move some all-white versions are also available using the PFL7108 model number. These 7000 Series sets add three-sided Ambilight, Micro Dimming Plus, Perfect Pixel HD and a 100Hz panel.

At the pinnacle for now is the Philips 8000 Series, which stars the 40-inch Philips 40PFL8008, 46-inch Philips 46PFL8008 and 55-inch Philips 55PFL8008. All include three-sided Ambilight, Perfect Pixel HD and Micro Dimming Plus, but add 3D Max (that's active shutter 3D to most of us) and a 200Hz panel.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

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As a bonus Philips is also making two special DesignLine TVs, the 46-inch Philips 46DL8908 and 55-inch Philips 55DL8908. Based around the top tech of the 8000 Series, they use one piece of portrait-orientated smoked glass that tapers to transparent at the bottom, far below the TV screen.

Features

The Philips 42PFL6008's connectivity impresses. A lower panel on its rear has downward-facing HDMI inputs - three in total - next to an optical audio output, a Scart adaptor and connections for both free-to-air digital TV and cable.

Although there's a Freeview HD tuner inside complete with a logo, that's not the case with the satellite port, which is a leftover from the Nordic spec for the Philips 42PFL6008. It's not Freesat HD-compliant. TP Vision, owners of the Philips brand, informed us that it's having extensive discussions with Freesat in the UK, but there will not be an agreement in time for the launch of the 2013 range. Still, you'll probably get a random selection of channels if you do hook up the Philips 42PFL6008 to a satellite.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

Just above the HDMI inputs on the rear of the TV's chassis itself is an Ethernet LAN slot, though the Philips 42PFL6008 does have Wi-Fi built in. We should think so, too. Nearby are a few more oddly placed inputs that face outwards, including 3.5mm adaptor jacks for phonos, component video and composite video.

Finally, a side panel adds some much-needed extras, including a fourth HDMI input, three USB slots, a headphones jack and a CI slot for adding subscription TV channels. Three USB slots is a decent return - especially since one is needed to attach an HDD - though all three are too high up.

It's a common complaint about USB slots on TVs that they appear to be designed only for inserting USB flash drives when longer cables to HDDs are more appropriate, but we do wish at least one USB slot was situated much lower down the TV, preferably on the downward-facing lower rear panel.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

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Smart TV apps are nothing special, though the addition of new apps such as TED Talks and Tesco's Blinkbox complement the core apps such as BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Acetrax Movies (cover art from which adorns the top of the default Smart TV screen).

In fact, we'd go so far as to say it's Blinkbox's provision of one-off movie rentals that saves the platform from obscurity. Some may miss the likes of the higher-profile Lovefilm Instant and Netflix, but for anyone after the very latest movies, it's Blinkbox you want.

Payments are via an account through Philips accessed via the Smart TV Payment app, which is rather prominent on the Smart TV home page. It's also rather difficult to reverse out of once entered, a bit like Amazon web pages. In fact, we had to exit Smart TV altogether and return to live TV.

Philips 42PFL6008 review

A couple more apps such as National Rail, Picasa, iConcerts, Facebook, CNBC Real-Time, Absolute Radio and Aupeo complete the collection, with a few sideshow apps such as eBay, Tunin.FM and TomTom HD Traffic in an online App Gallery.

There are a couple of 18+ rated apps, Hustler, Private, Forno and Brazzers, though a parental lock on these can be engaged upon setup.

The carousel of settings, such as sources, includes a dedicated icon especially for Skype, though the Philips 42PFL6008 has no camera built-in - that will cost you an extra £75 or so for the Philips PTA317 camera.