EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Brand new 32in Toshiba LCD
Toshiba is launching the new Regza range, a huge series of LCD TVs, of which this is the first we've seen. The 32XV505 is a full HD screen and the price is very reasonable, but can it beat its rivals in this fiercely competitive market?
STAR RATING: 4
For: Good looking; well made; easy to use; fine spec; deals with picture motion particularly well
Against: Rather unnatural colour balance; full-HD pictures aren't as detailed as we expected
Verdict: It's never less than competent - in some ways it's very accomplished - but the Tosh isn't as special as its spec suggests it should be
'Assembled in Plymouth'. Not a statement you see often - least of all in the world of consumer electronics, where China rules the construction roost. Toshiba's new full HD 32XV505 proudly carries the declaration on its packaging, though, which is a small comfort to a beleaguered UK economy. There's much that's comforting in the TV itself, too.
It's tidily compact, the 32XV505, and looks handsome and quite covetable in a line-up of its peers. The plastics of the cabinet are pleasant to the touch, as is the comprehensive remote control. Set-up, long a Toshiba strong suit, is simple - and there's plenty of adjustability in the menus to allow for endless fine-tuning. Specification is extensive at the price: 1920 x 1080 resolution with a claimed contrast ratio of 30000:1, three HDMI inputs heading up plenty of socketry, and twin tuners are among the highlights.
Using either the digital or the analogue tuner, the Toshiba delivers pictures long on colour strength but fractionally short of believable colour balance. It generates passable black tones and details them well, and it has a better facility with movement than many rivals. There's a little noise in busy scenes, and complex edges get coarse quickly, but the 'XV505 is a competent television.
Switching to DVD via HDMI sharpens up the edges a little, but can't eradicate the noise in challenging scenes nor offer a more natural colour balance. Only when displaying top-of-the-shop 1080p/24fps images via a Blu-ray player does the Tosh manage to keep images free of picture noise. But there's a trade-off: fine detail goes astray, and there's an unwelcome softness to skin tones and textures. In any and all circumstances, the Toshiba sounds as dismally thin and weedy as most competing screens.
The market being what it is, this Tosh will no doubt soon be considerably cheaper than the already-reasonable £700 we're quoting. If it drops into your budget, definitely give it an audition: if nothing else, it's made well enough to make the people of Plymouth proud.