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Coby TFTV4028 LED TV Review

40 in.

Not a great showing from Coby.

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Introduction

At this CES 2012, Coby had an enormous sign and a nice booth right in the center of the show floor—and we thought to ourselves, "Maybe this company is stepping it up this year. Maybe we should give them a shot, and see how they compare against the leading television brands, because they obviously want to position themselves in that category."

We picked up the TFTV4028 ($600 MSRP, found for less online), a 1080p display. We were hoping this Coby would open our minds, make our hearts grow three-sizes larger, and make us more appreciative of the capabilities of this underdog brand. We ran our tests and… many of our cynical doubts were confirmed.

Design

It’s not an ugly television, but we’d be better off as just friends.

Picture your average television, a clip art rendition come to life. This Coby looks like the television that you hold within your mind’s eye. There is nothing really special to note about the design because it does not take any steps away from average. The bezel is a thick black plastic frame and the stand is thick black plastic as well.

A clip art rendition come to life. Tweet It

The connectivity on the TFTV4028 is extensive, but located in such a hard to reach area. There are three HDMI ports, and two full composite ports, connections that are beginning to be phased out as HDMI takes precedence. With three HDMI ports you can connect almost anything you have planned for your home theater. There are also connections for VGA, an RF cable plug, and an S/PDIF digital audio output. Unfortunately, they are all located facing downwards—which, when you think about it is just about the worst place for them to be—meaning that accessing these ports is seriously frustrating.

Smart TV Features

The menu lacks much in the way of control.

The Coby menu interface offers only four options: Picture Menu, Audio Menu, System Menu, and Channel Menu. We had no access to the Channel Menu while in the HDMI input—it was totally unavailable. The Picture Menu had very few calibration settings, three of which we could not control manually.

The user manual is the rare combination of large and uninformative. There is a table of contents that lacks enough specificity to be helpful. The pictures are often just graphics without any labels, so it is hard to discern exactly what they are showing you. Many of the functions are merely listed without explanation, and the ones that do have explanations are listed like, “Contrast: Adjust the display contrast.” Well, thanks Coby.

Picture Quality

The motion was pretty good, but the viewing angle is horrendous.

The Coby actually performed better than advertised in our contrast ratio test. But the rest of our tests showed some really poor detail distinction, in both color and the grayscale. The viewing angle we recorded is one of the worst we’ve ever seen. At the most, only two people could watch a strong picture from a reasonable viewing distance.

This Coby did pretty well in our motion tests. Tweet It

There were no motion processing overdrive functions that we had access to on the Coby TFTV4028, so we had to test it as is. Even without these helpful features, this Coby did pretty well in our motion tests—providing you're sitting directly in the center of the television.

Moving objects retained great detail. We saw some jagged edges, but no more than usual, and there was very little shape distortion. Our biggest gripe was with the color trailing: Colors left behind negative images of the previous frame, which proved to be distracting with bright colors on the screen.

Conclusion

There are much better TVs that can be found for a bit more money.

There are definitely things to like about the Coby TFTV4028. The port selection allows three HD devices and two analog devices to be connected all at the same time. The contrast ratio is average and the range of colors that this Coby can produce is surprisingly accurate.

Still, even these advantages come with significant drawbacks. Though the contrast ratio was OK, this Coby could not display a really deep black level, which is important for showing a detailed picture. You want your black value to be super dark, or else everything looks a bit hazy. Also, the grayscale lacks a significant amount of detail. We mentioned the accuracy of the color gamut, but the color temperature was wholly erratic, and the color detail was poor. The biggest drawback we found was the viewing angle: move more than 7.5º off center and quality takes a steep nosedive.

If you're reading this review, it's probably because you saw the alluring price. And yes, while you can find this 40-incher for about $400 online, the quality is low enough that we do not think this is a deal. Buying a 40-inch television is an investment and for just a little bit more money, you can definitely get a much better television.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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