Remember the puzzle about the farmer who needs to get a fox, a chicken and a bag of grain across the river?
Well, television manufacturers have much the same task with price, features and high-quality image – trying to get all the qualities across the proverbial threshold without one eating into the other.
Finlux has attempted this with a £500/$750 4K TV, the UXE304B-P. The 8.3 million-pixel question, however, is whether it has managed to solve the riddle.
The Finlux UXE304B-P (a particularly catchy model number) has a number of bells and whistles, but by far the one that has the loudest toot is its 4K compatibility.
With four times the number of pixels as Full HD, this should mean that you get a lot more detail provided the source material is good enough.
Finlux has also equipped the 48UXE304B-P with its Finlux Smart hub, which can be connected via wi-fi or a wired ethernet cable.
This features in-built access to social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, internet radio, a browser, and various streaming services.
Their order on screen is customisable, barring those in the Key Apps section. Inside the Freeview Play app, you’ll find the various On Demand services from the BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Channel 5.
There are also dedicated apps for Netflix and YouTube in the Key Apps section of the hub, which also support 4K content, although Amazon Prime is absent from its screen.
The lack of HDR – which increases the range of colours that can be displayed – is unfortunate. Despite the welcome addition of 4K support, the absence of HDR video means that this television is not quite future-proof.
However, if you’d rather watch your shows and films through hard-wired sources like Blu-ray players or Sky Q, then Finlux of course has you covered.
There are four HDMI 2.0 inputs and three USB ports, so you shouldn’t have any trouble connecting up your existing sources.
On the remote, the dedicated buttons for streaming services are a nice touch and prove much faster than going through the various menus you have to on other televisions.
However, the directional buttons aren’t particularly pleasant to use, and they feel a bit tacky when clicking them. The remote is big and difficult to use one-handed, even for those with a larger span.
And even adjusting the most basic brightness and contrast settings on this television is a difficult feat, because Finlux displays different menus for different sources.
For broadcast television, there is an easy-to-use UI that has options for brightness and contrast in 100 increments. However, change to the Panasonic DMP-UB900 Blu-ray player and you get an entirely different menu with brightness in 10 increments.
Swapping to the Samsung UBD-K8500 and you can only change between picture presets.
After sorting through the menus, we load up Netflix and jump into the action-heavy season finale of Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
A superhero series that doesn’t skim on action sequences, the fight scene between Jones and an army of brainwashed, gun-toting police officers in the final episode is kept taut without any motion blur.
As Jones takes down man after man, the UXE304B-P doesn’t shy away from the action. Play The Martian on 4K Blu-ray disc, and this television reveals the detail of the red planet in our copy of with impressive insight.
When the camera pulls back to show off the scale of Mars (or, more accurately, the Jordanian desert) each crevice is visible with surprising sharpness.
For HD broadcasts, this 48in Finlux TV’s upscaler is enjoyably smooth. There are few signs that the processor is creating 75 per cent of the picture, with only more demanding, fast motion scenes, causing the picture performance to slip.
The picture occasionally looks over-processed, unnaturally highlighting the difference between the foreground and the background, but not too regularly as to spoil our enjoyment.
Colours can be a little brash too, making blue skies in an English summer look overly rich and saturated. Dark scenes also suffer from a noticeable loss of detail, even playing 4K content.
On the whole, the sound quality from the Finlux 48UXE304B-P is perfectly adequate. Its dynamics are fine, managing to convey small conversations just as well as big explosions. There’s a solid amount of detail from this set.
Its organisation could be better, though, as quiet background sound effects like the burning of bark as Kylo Ren slashes through trees to fight Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens are lost in the fray rather quickly.
But there’s only so much one can expect from a £500 television, and it seems Finlux has decided to place most of its resources behind the picture rather than the sound.
We’d recommend hooking it up to a speaker system or investing in a solid TV speaker, such as the Cambridge Audio TV5 or the Philips HTL5140.
The Finlux 48UXE304B-P ticks a lot of boxes. It has a nice 4K picture on a 48in screen, with fair sound to match and a decent selection of streaming services.
However, a few picture issues, a cheap-feeling remote, the lack of HDR and those confusing menus mean it doesn’t quite achieve that fifth star.