I am not really a fan of the Philips brand and I personally prefer other TV brands. However, each year they managed to come up with new models for all tastes and pockets keeping the quality they are known for and their reputation. Today we will talk about a Smart TV that makes its presence felt with a low price, a diagonal which is large enough for your living room and extra features (such as USB recording or Skype) – the Philips 42PFL3208 Smart TV .
Design and connectivity
There’s nothing out of the ordinary here. It is the same line adopted by Philips for the led illuminated TV’s from the 3xxx and 4xxx series. The frame is quite narrow and at the bottom we have a geometric form and a shiny insert which frames the Philips logo. The TV can be wall mounted using a separately purchased holder or we can mount it on the stand which comes with it.
If we’re talking about thickness, Philips 42PFL3208 is quite slim at its 6,5 cm but it still is a long way from a Samsung 40F5000 which is only 4,9 cm thick.
As for connectivity we have an antenna slot, CI card slot + (only for RDS subscribers for now), jack component, Scart plug and headphones input.
For video connection we only have two HDMI connections although maybe 3 or 4 would have been necessary (to connect a smartphone/laptop/DVD) but in this aspect each customer will have to take into account the devices they own.
Last but not least we have two USB ports used to render video, audio or photo files from USB flash drives or external hard-disks (one of the USB connections can adequately supply a 1-2 TB HDD).
For Internet we have a RJ42 (LAN Cable Connection) plug and we can also purchase a Wi-Fi adapter separately.
The image is overall acceptable on the classic SD signal as well as on running HD material. The colors are accurately rendered but the contrast is mediocre. Of course we must take into account the price of this TV and we shouldn’t exaggerate in our quality demands.
The black level is a good one even on very bright pictures, and the hues are best represented in Cinema or Sport mode. As a downside we need to mention that the blue tone is too intense and affects the white tones (for example the white tends to have a bluish tint) needing extra fine adjustments in order to combat this problem.
Although the TV comes with Perfect Motion 100 HZ the rapid flow of images or zooming in and out on objects on the screen have a slight flicker effect (a barely perceptible tremor). Most TVs which boast with 100 HZ have these issues and only by purchasing a superior model with 200 HZ or more can solve this problem.
Smart TV: apps, features and media player
As I have already mentioned at the beginning Philips 42PFL3208 is a Smart TV.
This means that it can connect to the Internet via cable or WI-FI ( if we buy a WI-FI adapter separately for this model). Access to the Smart TV’s menu is done simply through its dedicated button. We also need to mention that the loading and operating speed is mediocre so don’t expect to run a YouTube video in a couple of seconds.
We can find enough apps on the TV for the entire family: games, online movies, online news channels and much more. Popular apps like YouTube and Skype aren’t missing either (but a special Philips camera must be purchased). The operating speed of the CPU isn’t at its peak and this is obvious on usage. We can notice bottlenecks when running some apps, and on loading some we needed to wait a couple of minutes.
The good news is that the software for this Smart TV is constantly being updated and some of the errors and jams are fixed, but the overall impression is not very good. If you rarely use online apps than this TV is for you, but if you cannot detach yourself from the Internet (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) look for a top series Smart TV.
In order to access the apps you can use a remote control or in case you own a smartphone or a tablet there is also a Philips app called Myremote for complete control on the Smart TV part.
Your personal built-in video recorder
Philips 42PFL3208 can record your favorite shows on an external drive, or you can pause during the show and resume it afterwards, as it is automatically recorded. Unfortunately, the recordings made by the TV cannot be rendered on other devices.
The media-player on the 42PFL3208 is a standard one, and the TV manages to render from an external hard disk or a Flash USB drive the following formats: AVI, MKV, H264/MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and WMV9/VC1.
Unfortunately, on some devices the sound isn’t recognized and on others there are some issues with subtitle recognition, but it managed to successfully render more than 50% of the movies we had prepared for testing.
If we add up everything said above we can conclude that there are many other models of TV sets superior in function and image.
But if we refer to the price of this Smart TV which is much lower compared to a similar model from Samsung or Sony then we will understand that purchasing it won’t be a bad deal.
It is a stylish TV, energy efficient with an acceptable image that can run applications such as Skype and Facebook. We can record our favorite shows and can play videos or pictures to watch them with friends without needing another device.
Final thoughts ? Philips 42PFL3208 is worth buying, as long as we cannot find a better price than one of its direct rivals: Samsung 42F5300 or Sony KDL42W650 (which is far superior).