Philips 42pfl7666

Just 37.8 mm in depth and clad in brushed aluminium brilliance, the light show emanating from this 42-inch TV's sides makes the Philips 42PFL7666 appear a high-end choice indeed. Whether that impression lasts when the TV is switched on depends on what you're after, but we'd judge this a thoroughly advanced hi def and competent 3D performer that's ideal for a living room where a gloss black mass-market TV just won't do.

We liked

As an idea we find Ambilight almost irresistible, though it's the Philips 42PFL7666's competent combination of colourful, punchy and highly detailed Full HD and Easy 3D that are likely to appeal to most.

The build quality is stunning, as are the integrated speakers, and it's also great to see a Freeview HD tuner, the BBC iPlayer, an effective home networking dimension, a well thought-out remote control, and Apple TV-like streaming of photos from smartphones and tablets.

We disliked

Freeview HD is spoiled by a grid-like, mono channel grid and drab EPG that are indicative of the Philips 42PFL7666's rather staid user interface. Net TV isn't a patch on the competitors' online hubs, and as well as some horizontal judder the other major picture foible is a lack of ultimate contrast and a loss of detail and edge definition during 3D playback that's obvious immediately through an often visible pixel grid.

Final verdict

Ideal for a living room after both something a little bit special and the low maintenance passive 3D system, this sculpted aluminium effort is as good value as it is good looking.

Equipped with Ambilight and other goodies including Freeview HD and a 'passive' Easy 3D mode that justifies its introduction by Philips, this Edge LED effort is a competent performer across-the-board whose lack of star quality pictures are explained in its low price.