It's not a reference-level TV set, but the Philips 46PFL7007 is edge LED backlighting at its finest. Now loaded with enough apps to get by, awesome audio and plenty of core AV quality, this 46-inch television is versatile and impressive.

However, it does take a bit of getting used to, and it's not the most user-friendly TV available.

We liked

Aside from the unique Ambilight feature, the most obvious strength here is the intensity of black, which at times approaches some of the best plasmas. We also liked the colour, and while Perfect Natural Motion does take some experimenting with, it certainly adds to the 3D performance.

Having five HDMI inputs lends this TV a slight advantage, and the build quality? You won't find many better - either in terms of its materials, or its sleek metallic look.

Add audio twice as good as most flat televisions, comprehensive digital file support and a tempting metallic design, and this is a mighty package with few weaknesses.

We disliked

Many of the major features of this TV are hidden away in the menus; using the Philips 46PFL7007 as it is intended should be painless, and it's not.

Shadow detail isn't reference-quality, the single pair of 3D glasses in the box seems stingy, and crosstalk is evident during 3D playback. The smart TV platform has improved, but isn't on a par with the best.

Final verdict

LCD panels still have a lot of minor issues when compared to the very best plasmas, but this Philips TV manages to banish some of them.

While the Philips 46PFL7007's picture does need some attention paid to it via some often long-winded on-screen menus, the reward is a fabulous image from almost all sources, with crisp pictures and convincing contrast.

The best-sounding TV we've heard in yonks, the Philips 46PFL7007 might not have the ultimate smart TV apps or usability, but in terms of core quality and sheer versatility, it's an edge LED-backlit TV that's hard to beat.

Also consider

Philips' main competitor at this relatively high-end of LED-backit LCD TV market has to be Sony, whose great value 46-inch KDL-46HX853 impressed us with its deep black levels and all-round awesome 2D picture quality. It's smart TV hub is slicker than on this Philips, too.

Black levels and the consistency of backlighting takes a slight dive on other brands at this size, the dual core-powered, 47-inch Panasonic TX-L47WT50B is hard to resist; it's a 2D and 3D all-rounder boasting a 2mm bezel.

Also worth a look are the sumptuously designed 46-inch Samsung UE46ES8000 and 46-inch Samsung UE46ES7000.

And the 47-inch LG 47LM860V remains the only choice for anyone interested in home networking; its SmartShare software is streets ahead of the competition.