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Toshiba 50L4353DB review

Katharine Byrne
8 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
649
inc VAT

This budget TV is incredible value for such a large display, but if quality and features are more important there are better models

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Specifications

50in, Freeview HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: no, 4x HDMI

For this review we tested the 50in model in the L4353 range, but it's also available in 32in (32L4353D) and 39in (39L4353DB) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.

Toshiba proves that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a large TV, as the low-cost 50in 50L4353DB proves. It is one of the chunkier LCD TVs we’ve seen recently, with its matt black plastic bezel measuring 84mm at its thickest point. Its huge flat plastic stand is also quite sizeable, but while its outer shell may have all the makings of a budget TV, the 50L4355DB has several handy features.

Toshiba 50L4353DB

SMART TV, NETWORK AND PORTS

You’ll need to connect it to your home network to get the most out of the 50L4353DB, but its integrated Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet port makes it very easy to get online. Once this is complete, you’ll have access to Toshiba’s Cloud TV Home screen. Here you’ll find a live feed of whatever’s on TV, a Twitter feed related to currently airing TV shows, an events calendar, a recommendation tool and an inbox.

It’s a shame you can’t customise it with your own apps and widgets, but its snappy menu system makes it relatively painless to scroll through its various home screens to find the apps you want. Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BlinkBox and YouTube are all present along with Facebook, Skype and a web browser, but sadly the 50L4353DB doesn’t have an online store to expand its default selection of apps. This makes it a little more limited than other smart TVs. Its Intel WiDi support goes some way to make up for this. If you have a compatible PC or laptop, you can stream your apps and media content straight to the TV.

Another alternative is to play your own media files by connecting a flash drive to one of its two USB ports. It played all of our video test files without any problem, including DIVX HD, H.264, MKV, MP4, WMV HD, XVID HD and MOV clips. Audio support was a little more mixed, as it recognised M4a, MP3 and WMA files but it couldn’t play FLAC, OGG of WAV files. Images were also a little more selective, as it was able to display BMP, JGP and PNG files, but not GIFs or TIFF files. You can also use DLNA to stream files from a media server over your home network.

Toshiba 50L4353DB

The 50L4353DB has a good range of inputs, including four HDMI inputs, SCART, component and composite inputs and a Common Interface card slot. There’s also digital optical audio and a 3.5mm headphone jack. One of its HDMI inputs supports MHL, which lets you connect a compatible smartphone or tablet to the TV so you can view your media files on a big screen while simultaneously charging your device. Of course, one HDMI port supports ARC, so you can send audio from the TV back down the cable to a connected amp.

Toshiba 50L4353DB

IMAGE QUALITY

Standard definition content upscaled very well on the 50L4353DB. There was an inevitable loss of detail on lower-quality Freeview HD channels like BBC News, but noise and artefacts were kept to a minimum elsewhere, especially when we increased the noise reduction setting. Increasing the resolution using the Resolution+ setting also helped to an extent, but its effect was only very slight.

High definition channels were much more impressive thanks to sharp, vivid colours, but it wasn’t without its flaws. Contrast levels in particular were fairly average, and we were only able to pick out the finer detail in dark night scenes when we turned the lights off and set the picture mode to Standard. All of the Hollywood movie modes made the screen far too dark regardless of whether we had the lights on or off, and lost even more detail.

Blacks aren’t very deep either, and this wasn’t helped by a noticeable amount of backlight bleeding coming through from the top and left hand side of the TV. This made moodier film scenes look even hazier at times, particularly when there was a lot of black space on show. Lowering the backlight level and setting the Black/White Level to High does help to alleviate this problem somewhat, but you lose a lot of detail in the process.

Toshiba 50L4353DB

The 50L4353DB doesn’t have Toshiba’s ClearScan image smoothing technology either, so we had to put up with the odd stuttering camera pan during fast action sequences, but Toshiba’s integrated AMR 100 image processing handled it very well. It certainly wasn’t bad enough to spoil the picture and we were pleased to see that ClearScan was the only feature missing from the rest of the advanced picture settings. These include an active backlight control, auto brightness sensor, colour temperature, Black/White Level, noise reduction, and a resolution enhancer. There are even expert picture settings for tweaking the picture further, including an RGB filter where you can adjust individual colour values, white balance and colour decoding settings.

Sound quality was also good. There was a pleasing amount of bass available and speech and sound effects weren’t too overwhelming. It won’t replace a proper sound bar or dedicated sound system, but they’re perfectly acceptable for films and everyday use.

CONCLUSION

The Toshiba 50L4353DB is a decent TV and it's amazing value for a 50in set. In fact, if you want a big TV at a low price, you're going to struggle to do better than this. However, if quality is more important, the 42in version of the Panasonic TX-L32E6B is the model to buy for around £100 less; spend around £100 more and you get the excellent LG 42LA690V.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Physical

Viewable size50in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
3D capableno
Contrast ratio1,200:1
Brightness300cd/m²
Speakers2x 14w

Connections

D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART0
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out
Otherheadphone output, CI slot, RJ45 LAN (DLNA), 2x USB, Wi-Fi

Tuner

Tuner typeFreeview HD
EPG8 day

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on74W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£649
Supplierhttp://www.currys.co.uk
Detailswww.toshiba.co.uk

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