Philips 46pfl9705

In what turns out to be a stroke of genius, Philips has separated the tweeters from the woofers, with the former under the bezel and the latter on the set's rear. This arrangement produces a much more dynamic, powerful, bass-rich and detailed soundstage than the vast majority of slim TVs.

In fact, you'd probably have to step up to a set from B&O or Loewe to get a sound as good as or better than that produced by the 46PFL9705H – and sets from either of those brands would, of course, cost significantly more.

Ease of use

The 46PFL9705 is a real mixed bag when it comes to accessibility. Its biggest achievement has to be its brilliant remote control, which combines sleek looks with a remarkably simple layout and, despite the extremely complex nature of the TV, manages to achieve one of the lowest button counts you'll see without resorting to lots of confusing double-function keys.

Also useful is the way the TV guides you through a simple picture preference calibration procedure when you first switch on for the first time. The onscreen menus, meanwhile, are reasonably well presented, especially the first Home screen that enables you to leap off into the TV's various functions.

The only problem is one common to all high-spec Philips sets: you need to familiarise yourself reasonably thoroughly with the intricacies of the various processing options contained within the TV's onscreen menus.

For if you don't, and don't revisit the processing menus reasonably regularly, you'll find that some of the settings – especially those related to motion and sharpness – can make some types of picture source look worse, rather than better.

Value

There is, of course, no denying that £2,300 is a pretty hefty sum for a 46-inch TV. Especially when you consider that Samsung's 50-inch P50C6900 3D plasma TV can be had for a whole £1,000 less.

But the Philips has prodigious picture processing power on its side, along with exceptional multimedia talents, superb audio, a great design boosted by Philips' Ambilight system and the small matter of 3D pictures much brighter and more colourful than those of any plasma rivals, even if they do also suffer from more crosstalk noise.

So all in all, despite the missing Freeview HD tuner, the price seems just about fair, especially now the 3D kit is included as standard.