Review: Philips 55PFL8007T

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Published: September 24, 2012 3:05 PM
By Pierre-Jean Alzieu
Translated by: Hugh Ehreth
After the excellent 40PFL5507H, Philips is back with the PFL8007T, a TV chock full of features and a direct competitor fo the Sony Bravia HX850. It boasts active 3D technology (two 3D glasses included), 800 Hz motion interpolation and online services in a thin, impeccably-finished, minimalist body.

The PFL8007T series comes in three sizes: 40" (40PFL8007T), 46" (46PFL8007T) and 55" (55PFL8007K, tested here).

Design4/5

As the latest high-end model in the Philips catalogue, extra attention was put to the PFL8007T's design, and it shows. Philips' use of Edge LED lighting, in which the diodes are distributed along the edges of the screen panel, has allowed for an ultra-thin (3 cm) aluminium body; this TV is a real gem of design.

Philips 55PFL8007T stand
The bottom of the stand

Philips integrated its 40 W RMS audio system into the metal stand instead of the body (more about that under Audio...), and the stand also works as a VESA wall mount. Highly practical!

Naturally, as a specialist in all things lighting, Philips included its Ambilight Spectra system along the edges of the screen to give off ambiance lighting that changes colours to complement the images shown onscreen.

It has a web browser, recognises USB keyboards and mice and has Wi-Fi connectivity for Philips' Net TV platform. The interface has been reworked since last year: it's simpler and cleaner, with the dual-core processor providing smooth sailing throughout. There isn't much in the way of worthwhile apps, the only stand-out being VOD. The PFL8007T is also HbbTV- and DLNA-compatible.

Philips 55PFL8007T remote

As a first for Philips, the remote that comes with the TV has a keyboard on the back and a pointer to facilitate web browsing. And just like its competitors, the brand has developed an iOS (iPhone) and Android app that allows you to control your TV with your smartphone or tablet.

Philips 55PFL8007T connectivity

On the connectivity front you get five HDMI ports, a triple-tuner (digital TV / satellite / cable) and three USB ports, which means you can plug in an external hard drive to watch content from. It reads all sorts of files perfectly, but the model we were sent to review was full of bugs, freezing every time we'd activate the subtitles. A firmware update could go a long way here.

Philips 55PFL8007T Skype webcam

Three accessories come in the box: a Skype USB videocam and two pairs of active 3D glasses compatible with two-player full screen gaming.

2D Image Quality4/5

Philips 55PFL8007T panel

After a look at the subpixels through a microscope, we can tell you that the 55PFL8007T is incontrovertibly a PSA panel.

Philips 55PFL8007T colours
Colours in cinema mode: average Delta E of 1.6
Philips 55PFL8007T glossy screen Glossy screen


After configuring the settings to be optimal for movies (see inset), it was hard to find any fault with the image. The colours are perfect with an average Delta E of 1.6, the gamma is balanced at an average 2.2 and the colour temperature stays in check despite very subtle overtones of blue.

For the contrast we got 2,300:1, which is good, but nothing earth-shattering. The black looks dark in a well-lit room, but once you turn out the lights it looks grey to the trained eye. In the same conditions the 40PFL5507H far surpasses this model with a 5,000:1 contrast ratio.

The PFL8007K has motion interpolation overclocked at 800 Hz (actual frequency: 200 Hz). When set as low as possible, this feature is very effective and in no way degrades the image.

Responsiveness
Philips 55PFL8007T ghosting
                                       Light Background     Black Background         Average
 
This graph shows the ghosting time, which is measured in ms and indicates the time it takes for a frame to disappear. The shorter the ghosting time, the smoother the continuous motion image will appear.


With an average ghosting time of 10 ms, this isn't the most responsive panel on the market, but the motion interpolation helps mask the ghosting. Plus, we measured the input lag at 33 ms in expert ISF mode via HDMI. That means a delay of just two frames, which should certainly please gamers.

Where the panel fails is in the viewing angles. At a 45 degree angle we found that black turns just under 300% lighter and white goes about 50% darker. The Sony Bravia HX850 gave us much better results, with 2.8/5, compared to the Philips' 1.6/5.

Clouding4/5

Philips 55PFL8007T clouding

This screen disappoints when it comes to clouding. They may be slight (they're emphasised here in the photo), but bright splotches are visible in the corners and  centre of the image.

Plus, you get the Dirty Screen Effect in lighter-coloured areas, creating dark, vertical patches—but all this is visible only when looking at the screen from the side.

3D Image Quality4/5

Every high-end 3D TV set on the market uses active 3D, with the exception of LG products, which use passive. And the PFL8007T doesn't stray from the rule. Two pairs of 3D glasses are included, but to watch with the whole family or more than one friend you have to buy the extra pairs for around £30 a pop. They're light and comfortable and charge via USB.

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This isn't the best active 3D we've seen, but it's good enough. There's a slight bit of crosstalk in scenes with high contrast (like the 3D planet in Monsters vs. Aliens). Other than that, we found no major faults. But Panasonic's plasmas are still a nose ahead.

Here's what it looks like as seen through the 3D glasses (Philips 55PFL8007T above and Samsung UE55ES8000 below):

Philips 55PFL8007T
Philips 55PFL8007T
 If the results were perfect, we wouldn't see any trace of the 'R' frame on the left, and, vice versa, none of the 'L' frame on the right.
 

Audio2/5

Philips 55PFL8007T audio
Green = good, orange = tolerable, white = too heavily altered

The integrated stand speaker system gives good sound... as long as you keep the volume low.


Philips 55PFL8007T audio
Green = good, orange = tolerable, white = too heavily altered

Above 70 dB the sound clearly deteriorates; 85 dB would have been more reasonable for a comfortable listening experience. The highs saturate and the bass just disappears—we were expecting a lot better out of this TV. If you want to watch movies in the best possible conditions, an all-in-one home cinema speaker kit would be worth considering.

Power Use4/5

We detected less than 1 W of energy when on standby. While running, the PFL8007T consumes 131 W, which would be 157 W/m² over its 55-inch screen. That's good, but there are competing models that go easily below 120 W/m². For this section Philips doesn't fall too short of all five stars.
4/5 Philips 55PFL8007T DigitalVersus 2012-09-24 16:05:00

Pros

  • Accurate colours in expert ISF mode: average Delta E of 1.6
  • Good contrast: 2,300:1
  • Good 3D rendering with little crosstalk
  • Effective motion interpolation
  • Remote control has a pointer and a keyboard on the back

Cons

  • Glossy screen reflections
  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Clouding on our model
  • Disappointing audio

Conclusion

After having reviewed the 40PFL5507H, we had great expectations for Philips' new line of high-end TVs—and it met most of them. But with narrow viewing angles, just-adequate contrast, traces of clouding and disappointing sound quality, it falls just short of a five-star rating. In the same price range, we feel the Sony HX850 is a better choice.

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