Finlux 55S9100-T review

Unbeatably priced but under-powered 3D TV

TODO alt text
Great Value

3D picture quality

The reason for buying a TV this big is for the on-screen action to be extra involving, and on the Finlux 55S9100-T that means 3D. However, that's not where this budget big screen excels.

In fact, with our passive 3D specs donned, the opening sequence of our test 3D Blu-ray disc Hugo is disappointing, with the horizontal lines of the picture very visible. This is the effect of the polarising filter, but there are other weaknesses to the 3D image.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

We didn't notice any crosstalk, which is a bonus, but this is clearly a rather dated panel. Camera pans are imbued with blur and judder, so much so that the hi-definition detail is completely lost and any sense of realism is instantly suppressed.

Virtual 3D, which is easily engaged from the remote control's Quick Menu - and works on both DVDs and live TV, though not digital video files - adds a slight depth effect, though only in the middle of the image.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

2D and HD picture quality

Those same weaknesses affect 2D playback, too, but here they're less irritating. A play of Hugo in 2D reveals excellent detail in still images - as good as any high-end television - but again, as the camera moves there's a definite judder.

The Finlux 55S9100-T's 100Hz panel has just about enough processing power - at this huge size - to prevent distracting amounts of motion blur from popping up, but it is detectable. One example was on the film's closing credits, where the bottom-to-top progress was ghosted by image lag.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

However, HD on the TV is much more impressive than 3D, since it's smoother and includes a lot more detail. Brightness is impressive and colours, though slightly overcooked on skin tones (we'd recommend cooling the picture a tad), are overall impressively rich and well saturated.

Elsewhere the image is average, with black areas of images featuring little detail within. There's a rather 'black hole'-like look to black coats, cars and corners in Hugo, while engaging anything other than a tweaked version of the Cinema preset creates an even less convincing greyness to these sectors.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

Talking of tweaking, the Finlux 55S9100-T's advanced settings are anything but, with just an ineffective Film Mode and HDMI True Black setting, which doesn't appear to make any noticeable difference. Rather oddly, all picture parameters, such as contrast, brightness and colour, are counted from 0-63.

Standard definition pictures are watchable, but there's clearly not much upscaling going on here. At 55-inches it's a big miss; it might be wise to stick to HD fare as much as possible.


Finlux 55S9100 T review

The Finlux 55S9100-T's audio certainly isn't a highlight of the television. By default the sound on offer is very poor, and although an AVL mode for levelling audio successfully expands and widens music fairly well, it lacks the capability to handle big movie soundtracks.

Whatever you're watching we'd recommend activating the Dynamic Bass option - otherwise there is none - and avoiding the Surround Sound option, which is nothing of the sort.

Finlux 55S9100 T review

In fact, all that that feature appears to do is suppress detail in the centre of the audio mix.

Still, at least there's an optical digital output to route everything to an external sound system or soundbar.