Philips has always been firmly in the camp that believes that clever picture processing is the only way to create the best-ever picture quality, though that has sometimes meant that its TVs have been tricky to set up and have often hosted fake-looking images.

Happily, that's not the case with the Philips 46PFL8008S, which is both easy to configure and right up there among the best edge LED-backlit LCD TVs on sale.

We liked

The close-up detail, the profound black levels, skillful mixed brightness sequences, colour and fluid detail-retaining motion all impress. Ambilight is a stunning feature, while the double-sided remote and bottom-mounted built-in camera are unique.

Brilliantly though simply designed, the Philips 46PFL8008S's advanced sound system, well-judged picture presets and its dual-core processor make it a joy to listen to, to watch and to use.

We disliked

Aside from a couple of problems with its second screen apps and a user interface that frankly isn't the very best around (though certainly isn't the worst, either), the only issue we have with the Philips 46PFL8008S is some slight glare from bright white objects on jet black backgrounds. However, most TVs can't produce jet black, so we're being picky.

The lack of a Lovefilm app will put some buyers off, and it must be said that Philips Smart TV isn't the most dynamic platform around. The absence of MKV streaming is also an issue.

Final verdict

Philips' top Full HD television for 2013 - with the exception of the larger Philips 55PFL8008S, perhaps - is one of the best in the business. Detail in both moving images and close-ups is excellent, blacks are profound and its Perfect Natural Motion circuitry adds an enjoyable high frame rate-look.

Ambilight impresses once again, while the floating design is incredibly effective. Its double-sided remote makes entering text on a TV at least a possibility, while the sound quality is nothing short of stunning.

Also consider

Among the Philips 46PFL8008S's rivals at the key 46-inch size are the Sony KDL-46W905A - probably its closest challenger in terms of pure picture prowess - though it's also worth auditioning Edge LED TVs such as the Samsung UE46F8000, Samsung UE46F7000 and the Panasonic TX-L46DT65B.

If you're set on a big screen, however, it would be verging on an offence not to check out a few 50-inch plasma TVs, such as the Panasonic TX-P50VT65 and the Samsung PS51F8500, which both excel with 2D and 3D Blu-ray content.

First reviewed 28 August 2013