A good value proposition from Toshiba
What is the Toshiba 50L4353?
The Toshiba 50-inch L4353 is a budget entrant to the LED TV market but still boasts access to Toshiba’s range of Smart TV features and active shutter 3D technology.We’ve seen pretty much all of Toshiba’s range for 2013-14 including their flagship L9363, Ultra HD TVs, their mid-range L7365 and slightly under-performing L6353 and in all honesty, we’re never 100% sure what to expect from them as the company uses a range of differing LCD panels.
You can currently pick up the 50L4353DB for around £500 so it’s potentially a very good buy if you’re on a budget but only, of course, if it performs as we expect. So let’s see if Toshiba’s L4 Series can cut the mustard.
Design & ConnectionsThe L4353 is an understandably basic looking set with a more or less completely black exterior, save for the white Toshiba logo on the bottom left and the indicator light, to the right, which illuminates green when on and red whilst the TV is in standby.
We have to say the build quality isn’t the best and the panel doesn’t sit very steadily on the matching black base stand. In fact, unless you take great care, it might not even rest straight and can become a bit like hanging a picture. We assembled and reassembled the 50L4353 twice, just to check it wasn’t an issue on our behalf but it seems just to be the way it is. We did eventually get it sitting true and there’s no safety risk but it is too wobbly!
There are a good set of connections for a budget TV including 4 HDMI ports (3 side, 1 at the back), 2 USB, a LAN port and an optical audio out. There are also legacy Scart and Component video inputs and a VGA PC connection. There is a slight anomaly with the optical audio output in that that it comes back to life a minute, or so, after switching the TV into standby which can make you jump when you’re not expecting it. We’ve reported this (slight) issue to Toshiba and we fully expect that they will get it sorted.
We’re not huge fans of Toshiba’s large-form remote controls, they are a tad unwieldy but we suppose the two bonuses that come with the size are the fact that it’s difficult to misplace and the buttons are easy to read. It’s certainly responsive enough but we’d prefer something a little more streamlined.
The stand is a bit on the wobbly side
MenusWe had complained that Toshiba’s latest User Interface(UI) could be quite sluggish to respond to commands but they seem to have made some under-the-hood tweaks to improve things. The cloud-based internet features are still a bit that way but the actual settings menus are definitely better than of late.
Like the rest of the range, the 50L4353 has a number of picture modes with the three ‘Hollywood’ alternatives providing the most accurate out-of-box viewing experience. There are also 2 and 10 point White Balance controls to fine-tune further and a notoriously glitchy colour management system is also present.
Being a budget TV, the L4353 doesn’t have any fancy motion compensation interpolating settings but they generally aren’t worth the bother anyhow. It does have a Film Mode under the Advanced Picture Settings banner and Toshiba’s Resolution+ processing, which can sometimes be quite appealing.
UI is a little snappier than before but still a bit tardy sometimes
FeaturesToshiba’s smart TV platform is by no means bad but it’s nowhere near as expansive as some. The understandable concentration is on Video on Demand apps, of which most of the key services are present. There is BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix and Blinkbox for the steamers out there and access to Skype (camera/mic attachment sold separately), Facebook and Twitter plus there’s a nice control app for Apple iDevice users. You can read a far more comprehensive review of the features on offer in our dedicated review, here.
We used the Hollywood Day preset with the 50L4353 but could just as easily have used Hollywood Night as the only real difference is a lower backlight setting for the night time mode. With Brightness, Backlight and Contrast settings adjusted for our environment the L4353DB displayed good accuracy in its pre-calibrated greyscale and excellent colour performance. Delta Errors for greyscale hovered mostly below 5 but with white (or close to white patterns) it was easy enough to see the bluey-green cast. Errors in the colour department were already below the tolerable level of 3, across the board, which is a bonus considering the downright awkwardness of Toshiba’s ‘Colour Master’ controls.
Whilst we could have delivered totally pristine graphs and charts using Toshiba’s calibration controls, since the 10 point controls introduced some strange chromatic and blocking aberrations, we’ll show you the watchable versions. Greyscale tracking was definitely improved but we had to settle for a general – and slight – over emphasis of blue. Delta Errors were all below 3, and in most cases 2, so it’s a more than satisfactory performance in any event.
The already excellent out-of-box colour performance was improved further following the greyscale calibration with the secondary colours all now perfectly in position, at least at full saturation levels, and as we can see from the chart underneath, the excellent fidelity was maintained at lower stimulus levels. We guess if you are using panels with such excellent native colour performance then it doesn’t matter so much that the controls used to adjust them aren’t very good but we still wish Toshiba would sort out this long standing issue.
Contrast, Black Levels and Screen Uniformity
We were pretty heartened when we discovered the L4353 was equipped with Active Shutter 3D technology as it meant there would be no - probably slightly aging - IPS panel fitted, which aren’t the best when it comes to outright black levels and contrast performance. In fact, whatever panel is inside, it provided a watchable average black level of 0.117 cd/m2 from a checkerboard pattern, giving the L4353 an ANSI contrast of 1030:1. The Toshiba also copes well in high levels of ambient light – not that this is unusual for the technology – so it’s a good candidate for a brighter room, with little visible degradation of contrast performance in more challenging environments.
Whilst the contrast performance is reasonably impressive for LED/LCD technology and better than most IPS-panel equipped TVs, probably more importantly we’re also very pleased to report an almost complete absence of screen uniformity issues to spoil those black levels. So that means no clouding or light-bleed from corners and, another common complaint with the technology, the review sample was also almost completely free of panel array banding issues. The one thing we did pick up on was some dirty screen effect when panning over grass, and other uniformly coloured screens, although we’d expect most would be unaware.
Some slightly iffy video processing
The 50L4353 has somewhat patchy video processing circuitry. It scales standard definition content quite crisply without undue ringing and is also able to detect a 2:2 film cadence, meaning your old DVDs will be treated with reverence – if you’re not already using an ‘upscaling’ or Blu-ray player to watch them. We could see a little bit of stutter with 1080p24 Blu-ray disc using test patterns but nothing over-troubling with real world content. Video deinterlacing could be better and we could see evidence of fine lines showing jaggedness under movement but, again, this was most easily observable with a series of specialised tests rather than with broadcast 1080i50.
We measured input latency at a fairly lowly 33.5 milliseconds with the L4353 DB in its nominated Game viewing mode, which should be more than adequate for the majority of gamers out there. We did see a little bit of ghosting with white on dark backgrounds when moving around but the overall experience was still very enjoyable. It's definitely a decent contender for a dedicated gaming room.
The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 75W
Calibrated – Calibrated Hollywood Mode: 69W
Calibrated – Calibrated Hollywood 3D Mode: 105W
Toshiba 50L4353 Picture Quality - 2DEven in the default Hollywood Day factory settings, the L4353 produced very watchable images. The main reason for is the decent contrast performance and imprerssively accurate colour reproduction that are two of the key factors in defining picture performance. Once we’d tickled up the greyscale using the White Balance controls, things improved yet further and we have to say that, price considered, the L4353 is an excellent performer and in fact better than some of the costlier TVs that Toshiba (and other manufacturers) have sent us.
The 50L4353DB has a very sharp and detailed looking picture, with HD sources, which will appeal to many but some might find it a little too digitised for their tastes. For those that do like the ultra-clear look, Toshiba’s Resolution+ processing will be of interest. You have to give the company credit here as most of the other manufacturers have copied their pixel-level gamma manipulation processing since and the results can be very impressive. We wouldn’t advise its use with the highest quality sources, i.e. Blu-ray, but it can be very effective with the likes of HD streaming services such as Netflix or LOVEFiLM.
Excellent screen uniformity, like this, makes such a difference
To pick out the weak spots – cos that’s the kind of guys we are – viewing angles aren’t particularly great and both colours and contrast performance wash out from anything more than 30-40 degrees off-centre. The fact that the stand doesn’t swivel is a bit of a nuisance, in that respect, so care over room placement will be needed. We also noted a dirty screen effect, in the Test Results section above, which was most noticeable with sports broadcasts but sometimes visible on any pale background with panning shots. We’re not too sure of the reason behind this but we’d class the 50 inch L4353 has having a mild dose of DSE, in any case, so we’ll not ponder it too long.
To conclude the negative points, motion handling isn’t the cleanest and the most observant viewers will notice a blur with fast moving content but, overall, we have to say that the good easily outweighed the bad in this instance and it’s good to see Toshiba showing a return to form.
Toshiba 50L4353 Picture Quality - 3DIt would be fair to say the L4353 isn't the greatest 3D TV we've ever seen but at this price, who's really complaining and it's certainly adequate if you're just a third-dimensional dabbler.
Pictures were certainly bright enough, despite the natural dimming effect of the active shutter 3D glasses and colours, even without adjustment, were very believable in the Hollywood 3D modes.
We could definitely see fairly frequent instances of crosstalk whilst running through a selection of our test Blu-rays - The Hobbit, Oz the Great and Powerful & Hugo 3D - and there was some little hiccups in motion but, as we said above, if you're just a causal 3D-er, we doubt it will trouble you.
Toshiba 50L4353 Video Review
- Excellent colour accuracy
- Impressive screen uniformity
- Decent contrast performance
- Good range of Smart TV features
- Patchy video processing
- Smart interface can be a bit sluggish
Toshiba 50L4353 3D LED LCD TV ReviewThe build quality of the Toshiba 50L4353DB leaves a little to be desired and you may find it takes you some time to get it sitting straight on its rather wobbly base-stand. The L4353 is quite a plain looking TV but we don't have any issues with an all-black appearance but we're not big fans of the chunky remote that comes with it.
There are plenty of connectivity options for a budget TV, including 4 HDMI ports, 2 USB and both wired and wireless options for internet and network connectivity. Getting your 50L4353 networked will enable you access to Toshiba's decent line-up of Smart TV services that includes Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Twitter and Facebook amongst its ranks.
The Cloud TV interface can be a bit slow to respond but it's evident that Toshiba has made some tweaks to the operating software since last time we checked as general Menu responsiveness has improved.
These Menus include quite a generous suite of calibration options but they mostly don't work as they should. However, thanks to the superb out of box colour accuracy, the most troubling controls of them all weren't really required and the final results were very good indeed for an entry-level TV. Video processing capabilities were also a bit hit and miss but with real world content most of the issues we uncovered using patterns were rarely evident.
Whilst the L4353 isn't stellar, in terms of native blacks and dynamic range, it does show most passive 3D TVs a clean pair of heels in that department and the TVs excellent screen uniformity and natural resilience to ambient light means it will look pretty impressive most of the time. The panel Toshiba uses has a very sharp and detailed looking character that many will love, although viewing angles and motion handling aren't two of its strong suits.
But the Toshiba 50L4353 certainly does more right than it gets wrong so we're happy to give it a Recommendation when the sub five hundred price-tag is taken into due consideration. It's not the absolute best but it is a very good budget bet.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level7
2D Picture Quality7
3D Picture Quality6
Ease Of Use7
Value for Money7
Our Review Ethos
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