Toshiba 52XV555DB review

This Toshiba does nothing to disgrace itself, but needs to behave more like a new big-screen than one from a few years ago Tested at £1145.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Toshiba is far from disgraceful, but neither is it up to the standard of rival sets in this class


  • +

    Very pleasant and controlled HD images

  • +

    decent detail and colours all-round


  • -

    Upscaled images could be more refined

  • -

    less-than impressive motion

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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 plastic
The 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.

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.

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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 overblown
Colours 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.

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What Hi-Fi?

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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