Toshiba 46SV685DB review

This Toshiba might do many things right, but at this price you'd be better looking elsewhere Tested at £2700.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

There’s no denying that the Toshiba’s a very good TV, but £2700-worth? Not on your nelly


  • +

    Deeper than deep blacks

  • +

    pleasant richness to colours

  • +

    excellent DVD upscaling

  • +

    great sound


  • -

    There are vastly cheaper sets available with slightly greater detail, punch and motion

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Toshiba is hugely confident in its new 46SV685DB. Well, we assume it must be. After all, how else could it justify a £2700 price-tag?

The headline news with this set is that it's the first Toshiba TV with direct LED backlighting and local dimming.

This should mean enhanced contrast levels. It also has 200Hz motion processing and a DLNA-compatible Ethernet connection.

Flat fascia on a beefy unit
Toshiba's also keen to draw attention to the ‘Deep Lagoon' design theme, which refers to the fact that there's a ‘full crystal panel' over the front of the screen and bezel, creating an entirely flat fascia.

It's a nice effect, but the TV as a whole is a real heifer – certainly one of the deepest, bulkiest sets we've seen in a long while.

Still, we're more than happy with some extra bulk if the performance is strong, and in this regard the Toshiba makes a very good start. Playing The Dark Knight Blu-ray, it's clear the 46SV685DB has the deepest blacks of its peers.

It reproduces the night scenes in ultra-deep, foreboding fashion. Although the colour palette isn't entirely neutral, its richness is far from unpleasant, adding a degree of warmth that doesn't look unnatural.

It's not all good news, though: the '685DB, though detailed in its own right, fails to dig up the last iota that the very best sets find.

Struggles with motion
It struggles with fast motion, too: horizontal pans suffer from too much smear, and there's occasional shimmer to patterns and edges that the other premium sets here keep sharp.

Finally, despite the many claims made about local dimming, the Toshiba's picture doesn't have the strongest punch.

Nevertheless, turn Resolution+ up to maximum and DVD performance is very impressive. Detail and edge definition is similar to that of the Samsung UE46B8000, while the rich colour balance and deep blacks work to create a realistically organic picture.

Oddly, the same can't be said of the Freeview tuner, which looks overblown and smeary compared to the best. Still, at least all sources are accompanied by impressively weighty, balanced sound.

This isn't a bad TV by any stretch, but at this price it should comfortably be the best in the field. The fact that its performance falls just behind other TVs costing £1000 less simply isn't good enough.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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