In recent times we've become used to seeing Toshiba TVs appearing as the cheapest in a Group Test.
From this position, a simply solid performance has often been enough to warrant a decent score. In this case, though, the 52XV555DB finds itself similarly priced to TVs that offer significant performance improvements.
If you were to let first impressions influence your decision, you might dismiss the Toshiba before watching anything.
Abundant cheap-looking plasticThe fascia's abundance of cheap-looking plastic does nothing to excite, the remote is the same functional-but-dull design Toshiba's been packaging with its TVs for what feels like an eternity, and the setup menus are a mess of low-resolution icons and text.
It also doesn't offer a home setting, so it has particularly unpleasant and unrealistic picture settings out of the box.
More after the break
Thankfully it's quick to calibrate (and these setup menus are a big improvement over the earlier ones), and once that's done, the Toshiba is a decent performer.
The forest scenes in the Defiance Blu-ray prove that this LCD doesn't have the detail or edge definition of leading rivals, but it's not disgraced, and the dark scenes demonstrate that, although black levels aren't market-leading, they are at least free from blotching, thanks to a near-perfectly uniform backlight.
Warm colours avoid being overblownColours throughout have a nice warmth to them, and they avoid looking overblown, but they do lack the kind of organic gradation that makes skin-tones look truly life-like.
Our main concern is with motion. Fast action scenes and slow panning shots are marred by more smear and judder (smudder, if you will), than many other sets we've tested.
Standard-definition is similarly compromised. There's reasonable detail and colour balance to The Reader DVD, but there's also a degree of shimmer to edges and noise to backgrounds, and this control extends to the Freeview tuner, making even well-produced programmes look a little unstable next to the best.
All-in-all the Toshiba performs like a big-screen from a couple of years ago. It's far from awful, but some serious catching-up needs to be done.