Pros: Price ($800) Great image quality 2 component inputs DVI input VGA input Easy to use
Cons: Manual is useless Speakers are weak
I picked up the Polaroid FLM-2601 on Monday (11/7/05) from Circuit City. I gave myself a budget of $1000 to buy a LCD HDTV for the office/game room. While there I compared the Polaroid FLM-2601 to other LCD TV's in it's price range. When it came to features and specs it was the "best bang for your buck". But that's not all. The picture quality was amazing, even when compared to others that were $300 more that the Polaroid FLM-2601. I specifically compared it to 2 other TVs. The Magnavox 26" LCD HDTV (26MF605W) that came in at just around $1000 and the Sharp AQUOS 26" LCD HDTV (LC26GA5U) that was over $1000.
When compared to the Magnavox, the Polaroid FLM-2601 had better color representation, was sharper and didn't have this weird green tint that the Magnavox had. (I could not adjust the Magnavox enough to get the green tint off). The Magnavox also only had 1 component input while the Polaroid had 2. And I needed at least 2 component inputs. (one for my HD receiver and one for my Xbox). They both had the same contrast ratio, but the Polaroid handled the "blacks" on the screen better. The Magnavox is a good TV but for $200 more than the Polaroid, I feel the Polaroid had the Magnavox beat.
When compared to the Sharp, Polaroid loses on all counts except for price. The Sharp was an all around better TV. Cleaner picture, awesome color representation, 800:1 contrast ratio (compared to 600:1 on the Polaroid). But with the price almost $400 more that the Polaroid, I didn't feel it was worth the extra cost.
After taking the Polaroid FLM-2601 home, I hooked it up and realized that the speakers are weak. I didn't care to much since I know I am not going to be using them. But for the mean time, I hooked up a subwoofer to the "headphone" jack in the back of the TV so I can get a little bit of bass, and it sounds pretty damn good. Setup was easy and so was learning how to configure the TV. I like the cable management they employed on the back of the TV. It allows you to hide all the cables so when you are watching TV you see no cables at all. I know that might be a minor detail, but it just makes it look so much cleaner. The manual is useless at best. You don't really need it to learn the TV (navigating through the on screen menus is easy) and the instructions on how to program the programmable remote was a joke. It outlines steps on how to do it by indicating to push buttons on the remote which didn't exist on that remote. Maybe they changed remote control designs and failed to update the manual, who knows. Anyways, if you just go to Polaroid's website, there is another manual with the correct instructions. So now everything is perfect.
Bottom line, the Polaroid FLM-2601 is a great buy with a lot "bang for your buck" features. I have it hooked up to my Samsung HDTV receiver and the quality is unreal. I played a few HDTV games on my Xbox and it is a whole new experience. If you are looking for a second TV in the bedroom or office, and you are looking for a LCD HDTV at a relatively low price packed with the features of more expensive TV's, check out the Polaroid FLM-2601.