Phones, toasters and smoke alarms. No, we’re not expanding our review remit into the world of household appliances. These are just some of the devices given a makeover by designer Jacob Jensen in recent years.
And now, you can add Toshiba TVs to that list. In the flesh, it’s difficult not to swoon over the 40VL758. The luxurious black frame looks the business and would command attention in any front room.
Some tweaking requiredThe packaged remote control has a very deliberate, symmetrical layout with rows of regimented rectangular and square buttons.
They respond well to a firm push, but the D-pad has an annoying habit of letting out a clicky-squeak every time it’s pressed. Still, nothing a pair of ear-plugs can’t solve…
The TV’s on-screen menus aren’t quite as easy on the eye; they’re positively plain in comparison to the cartoonish, colourful offerings from some rivals.
More after the break
The TV’s smart functionality is limited too, and even though you can hook the TV up to the web via its ethernet socket (to go wireless, you’ll need Toshiba’s extra-cost WLM-10U2 dongle), your only avenues to online content are BBC’s iPlayer and You Tube.
While some TVs look decent out of the box, you’ll have to spend a bit of time with the Toshiba. All the basic picture settings are present and correct, but there are also ‘Advanced’ and ‘Expert’ settings lurking deeper in the system.
After a good half hour of adjustment, fire up the Freeview HD tuner and both standard- and high-definition pictures don’t look out of place, especially where the TV’s colour balance and resolution are concerned. Picture nosie is apparentYou do have to contend with more picture noise compared to rival TVs, though, and the overall image doesn’t appear as robust and stable as it can on other sets.
Switch to a streamed episode of Have I Got News For You on iPlayer and the picture shows similar instabilities – and the high-definition versions of certain programmes only seem to exacerbate the noisy, unsteady image.
The Gulliver’s Travels Blu-ray improves matters (in visual if not artistic terms, anyway) as the Full HD resolution of the disc matches that of the TV.
Edges appear more resolute, although there’s still the odd twitch when it comes to difficult-to-render patterns such as pinstripes.
The Toshiba also has trouble displaying blacks: they appear more greyish in appearance, robbing low-light scenes of detail and solidity.
Performance not up to the looksThe internal speakers favour a hard, forward approach, with little sense of refinement. The TV also has an annoying habit of cranking up the volume of its own accord when you jump from terrestrial TV to BBC iPlayer.
The 40VL758’s flashy exterior could easily seduce you on the shop floor, but unfortunately when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it just doesn’t have the picture performance to match.