Philips 42pfl6805h econova

The Econova's sound is surprisingly decent, given the focus on a recycled, one-piece chassis design. There's enough power to produce satisfying volume levels without distortion and enough dynamic range to stop vocals and mid-range sounds feeling cramped or overwhelmed.

There's not nearly as much bass or treble naturalism as you get with the terrific speaker system built into Philips' 9000 series models. But compared with flatscreens in general, the Econova sounds better than most.

Value

This is arguably the Econova's weak point. After all, for around the same money you can get Samsung's P50C6900 50in 3D-capable plasma TV – with Freeview HD tuner and all sorts of multimedia tools. Or Panasonic's excellent 46-inch P46G20, with more screen size and twin Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners. The 42-inch P42G20, meanwhile, routinely costs under £700.

Of course, though, it's entirely excusable for the set to cost a premium, given how many genuinely unique factors go into its construction. Also, if you use its eco features as much as possible, the 42PFL6805H will claw a little of its price hike back in reduced running costs over its lifetime.

But the bottom line is that the Econova remains a fascinating test case of whether green-minded punters are genuinely willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Ease of use

As with all Philips TVs, the Econova is more complicated to use than many on account of you having to revisit its setting menus regularly if you want to make sure pictures always look their best with different sources and types of video content.

There's a slight extra layer of complication with the Econova, given the potential conflict of interest between the eco settings and optimum picture performance.

The remote control is a stroke of brilliance; quite aside from its unique solar powered nature, to put the whole prodigious roster of the Econova's features at your disposal via fewer buttons than you'd imagine possible.

Remarkably, this doesn't mean you have to learn lots of tricky double button presses or remember that different buttons do different things in different contexts: it just works, and very well at that. It suffered no issues with running out of power, either, despite being tested in a test lab that is considerably darker than the average living room.

The onscreen menus are a cut above most rivals, too, managing to handle the huge feature list surprisingly accessibly and logically. The opening menu's heavily icon-driven approach works particularly well, setting the template for future, more multimedia-savvy sets to follow.