The Toshiba UK4D offers decent features at an affordable price but is let down by its picture quality
- Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
- Effective smart platform
- Low input lag
- Overly processed image
- Poor HDR10 tone mapping
- Limited gaming options
The Toshiba UK4D is an undeniably cheap TV, offering a host of features at a very low price. The design and build quality are what you’d expect from a budget television, but the inclusion of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, plus built-in Amazon Alexa, makes it a tempting option for those with limited resources.
Unfortunately, while the image retains detail, there’s an excess of processing and the HDR10 tone mapping has a tendency to clip highlights. On the plus side, the smart platform is effective and the input lag is low, but there are limited features for next-gen gamers.
Toshiba UK4D: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||43in 43UK4D|
|Resolution:||4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)|
|HDR formats:||HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision|
|Audio enhancement:||Dolby Atmos|
|HDMI inputs:||3 x HDMI 2.0|
|Freeview Play compatibility:||Yes|
|Gaming features:||Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)|
|Wireless connectivity:||Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), Bluetooth 5.2|
|Smart assistants:||Alexa built in, works with Google Assistant|
|Smart platform:||Toshiba Smart Portal|
Toshiba UK4D review: What you need to know
The Toshiba UK4D is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart LED LCD TV that comes in 43in, 50in, 55in and 65in screen sizes. The model reviewed here is the 50in option, and while Toshiba is somewhat vague when it comes to detailed specifications, the TV appears to use a 60Hz VA panel with a direct LED backlight.
The UK4D runs the latest version of the Toshiba Smart Portal and supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. There’s also Dolby Atmos and built-in Alexa, along with a decent selection of streaming apps and Freeview Play, with the latter ensuring a full complement of TV catch-up services.
Toshiba UK4D review: Price and competition
The Toshiba UK4D’s big selling point is its affordability, with the 50in model currently retailing for £329. The other size options are equally keenly priced, with the 43in costing just £259, the 55in priced at £369, and the 65in model setting you back a very reasonable £450.
These prices are not dissimilar to the competition, especially Hisense and TCL, although there are also options from more established brands such as LG and Samsung.
As a result, the obvious alternatives are our current favourite cheap TV, the TCL RC630K, and the Hisense A6, which cost £349 and £299 for their 50in versions respectively. If you’d prefer a more familiar brand, there’s the 2021 Samsung AU7100 at £379, and the LG UQ75, which is the 2022 follow-up to the UP75 and will set you back £349.
Toshiba UK4D review: Design, connections and control
The Toshiba UK4D has a straightforward design and a construction that’s dominated by plastic. There’s a combination of matte and gloss black in the finish, and a protruding strip along the bottom where an Onkyo sound system is housed. The level of build quality is about what you’d expect at this price, but the overall feeling is fairly solid.
The TV sits on a pair of blade-style feet that provide good support and are pleasingly discreet when viewed from the front. However, they are quite widely spaced apart, so bear that in mind when choosing a stand for one of the larger screen sizes. Alternatively, you can wall-mount the set using a 200 x 200 VESA bracket.
Connectivity is good but not exceptional, with three HDMI 2.0 inputs, a USB-A port, an aerial socket and a CI (common interface) slot. There’s also an optical digital output, an Ethernet port, a satellite connector and a headphone jack. Wireless connectivity is available via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
All three HDMI 2.0 inputs support 4K at 60Hz, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, ALLM (auto low latency mode), HDCP 2.2 and CEC. One of the HDMI inputs also supports ARC (audio return channel). However, this TV doesn’t support 4K at 120Hz, VRR (variable refresh rate) or HDR10+.
The remote control is large and well made, with prominent, clearly labelled and intuitively laid-out buttons. Along with all the usual operation controls, there are direct access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video and Freeview Play.
Toshiba UK4D review: Smart TV platform
The Toshiba UK4D runs an operating system called the Toshiba Smart Portal, and in general it’s good, with an intuitive user interface and effective navigation. Thanks to quad-core processing, it’s fairly responsive, and there’s Amazon Alexa built in – although the TV also works with Google Assistant. Whichever you choose, the UK4D offers smart interactivity and voice control.
The smart system is based around a launcher bar that appears along the bottom of the screen when the home key is pressed on the remote control. You can then use the up and down buttons to move through a series of options: Home, Search, TV, Settings and Sources. Most of these are fairly self-explanatory, although TV and Home offer additional features.
The TV option provides access to Freeview Play, the EPG (electronic programme guide), channels, timers and recordings (with an attached storage device). Freeview Play also includes all the UK TV catch-up services, which are integrated into the EPG, enabling you to go backwards in the timeline and watch programmes you may have missed.
The Home page itself offers a good selection of streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Britbox, Rakuten TV and Twitch. However, there are a few key services missing, such as Disney+, Apple TV+ and Now. The available services are quick to load, easy to navigate and offer 4K, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos where appropriate.
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Toshiba UK4D review: Image quality
The Toshiba UK4D uses a VA LCD panel, which results in limited viewing angles but a better native contrast ratio than its IPS rivals. The former means you need to be sat in front of the TV for the best image, while the latter measures a decent 6,000:1. This TV uses a direct LED backlight, and while there’s no form of localised dimming, the screen uniformity is actually quite good.
The UK4D ships in Natural mode for SDR, although that should really be the unnatural mode given there’s too much blue in the whites and the colours are oversaturated. Thankfully, the Cinema Night mode is more accurate, and while blue still dominates the greyscale, the gamma tracks around 2.2, and there’s an average Delta E (error) of four for all the colours.
The SDR picture performance is generally good, but to avoid clipping whites turn the contrast setting down to 80, and also turn the sharpness down to zero or the picture will look even more processed than it already is. Unfortunately, despite all the picture-processing controls being turned off, you can still see backdoor processing applied to the image.
Aside from not being able to completely turn them off, the Tru Picture Engine and Tru Resolution processing do a decent job of upscaling lower-resolution content to match the 4K panel. The Tru Contour feature minimises banding with heavily compressed content, and Tru Micro Dimming improves contrast levels, but with no independent dimming zones, the blacks are a dark grey.
Motion handling is generally good, given the inherent limitations of the panel’s 60Hz refresh rate, but there’s some blurring on fast motion such as sport. The Tru Flow low setting helps by applying frame interpolation, but you’ll want to avoid higher settings, which add unwanted artefacts. The UK4D handles 24p content without introducing noticeable judder, allowing movies to retain a film-like quality.
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Toshiba UK4D review: HDR performance
The Toshiba UK4D supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, but unsurprisingly for a TV at this price point, the peak luminance is fairly limited. The UK4D hits around 373cd/m² on both a 10% window and a full-field pattern, regardless of which mode you select – so you may as well choose the more accurate Cinema mode.
The colour gamut coverage is also limited, with the UK4D struggling to cover BT.709, let alone the larger DCI-P3 standard used for HDR. In the more accurate Cinema mode, this TV is only able to generate 82% of DCI-P3, but to be fair, Toshiba makes no claims to high brightness or wide colour gamuts. On the plus side, the TV renders fine details in native 4K content with precision.
Given the limitations in the UK4D’s brightness and gamut coverage, its HDR prowess will largely depend on the effectiveness of the tone mapping. Using the demo footage on the Spears & Munsil 4K Blu-ray, it was clear the Toshiba loses detail in peak highlights with HDR10 content, whether graded at 1,000, 4,000 or 10,000 nits.
This is where Dolby Vision adds value, and its dynamic metadata precisely maps the HDR to the display’s capabilities, producing images free of any clipping, but saturated and natural-looking colours. There’s no support for the similar HDR10+ format, but given the dominance of Dolby Vision on 4K Blu-rays and streaming, it’s the preferable option.
To test the Toshiba UK4D we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.
Toshiba UK4D review: Gaming
The Toshiba UK4D is a solid gaming TV, thanks to a very low input lag of 10.2ms in Game mode and the fact there’s no danger of image retention or screen burn with an LCD panel. While this TV does support ALLM, there’s no 4K at 120Hz or VRR, which means you can’t enjoy all of the latest features offered by today’s gaming consoles.
Overall, the gaming performance is enjoyable and responsive thanks to the low input lag, combined with nicely detailed 4K images. The 60Hz motion is pleasingly smooth, while the limited colour gamut still looks suitably punchy. However, due to the mediocre tone-mapping, HDR10 games do tend to lose detail in the highlights.
Toshiba UK4D review: Sound quality
The Toshiba UK4D sounds surprisingly good, primarily thanks to an Onkyo sound system based around a pair of down-firing speakers, each of which has 10W of built-in amplification. The TV includes a number of dedicated sound modes: Music, Movie, Speech, Classic, Flat and User.
The audio is clearly limited by the size and location of the speakers but is still very listenable. Understandably, there’s minimal bass extension, and as a result, the treble can sometimes feel exposed, but there’s some decent stereo separation, and dialogue always remains clear.
While the inclusion of Dolby Atmos can’t work miracles, the psychoacoustic processing does at least give the audio a greater feeling of presence with supporting soundtracks. However, if you want the best audio, you should probably consider investing in a moderately priced soundbar.
Toshiba UK4D review: Verdict
The Toshiba UK4D isn’t a bad TV and has plenty going for it, including an effective smart platform with built-in Alexa and a good selection of streaming services, a decent sound system that supports Dolby Atmos, and low input lag for gaming. The 4K panel also delivers a pleasingly detailed image, and the inclusion of Dolby Vision is a welcome addition.
However, the picture often looks too processed, even with everything turned off, and the HDR10 tone mapping loses detail in the highlights due to the panel’s brightness and colour limitations. Dolby Vision helps in this regard, but the panel is restricted to 60Hz, which rules out 4K/120 and VRR gaming. Ultimately, this is a competitive segment of the market and there are better options out there, with the TCL RC630K leading the budget pack.