Toshiba 32L6353DB TV Review
No fuss, no frills but no offence
What is the Toshiba 32L6353DB?The Toshiba 32L6353DB represents our first look at Toshiba’s LED TV range in 2013 and, as you would expect, ships with the emphasis on the Smart TV functions. Toshiba’s new Cloud TV portal takes centre stage, providing access to the likes of Netflix, iPlayer and YouTube as well as a range of other apps all wrapped up in a new user-friendly interface. We’ll be honest and say we never know quite what to expect from a Toshiba TV as they have ranged from excellent to ‘not quite so impressive’, in the past, so let’s see what the current line-up has in for us.
Design and ConnectionsThe L6353 is a sleek looking little TV with a very small, matte black bezel and a flash of silver at the bottom as an accent. It’s not particularly svelte, however, and at over 6cm in depth, it’s one of the stouter 32-inch TVs currently on the market. Around the back of the chassis we have 4 HDMI ports (3 side, 1 rear facing), legacy video connections, 2 USB ports, a LAN port and a S/PDIF digital audio out. There’s also Wi-Fi built-in for convenience and WiDi (WiFi Direct) for compatible devices, although that seems to be losing favour to Miracast as time goes by.
Toshiba has certainly provided some interesting remote controls, these last few years, and they’ve maintained that form here with another unconventional handset. It’s very large so some juggling is needed for one-handed operation but at least that gives room to accommodate generously sized buttons. If we’re honest, it does feel a touch cheap and the new Search, Home and Profile buttons look as though they’ve been stuck on as an afterthought so we’ll consign this one to the status of ‘could do better’.
MenusToshiba has been busy prettying up its user interfaces over the last few months and the results are certainly more pleasing on the eye if, at times, they can be a bit sluggish. We’ll look at the new Home page in the Features section but it’s very polished and easy to navigate. The refreshed look to the menus is mirrored with some new areas in the Settings Menu but they’re well thought out with most of the options are where you would expect them to be. For quicker access to important functions there’s always the QUICK button on the remote, but if you want to get at detailed Picture Settings, the conventional route is required.
The Picture Menu has 3 accurate Modes with a trio of Hollywood’s – Day, Night, Pro – where the latter supports Toshiba’s auto-calibration device which now seems to have disappeared from the UK. The Hollywood Modes have a CMS and both 2 and 10 Point White Balance controls which we’ll investigate on the Test Results page as well as all the usual ‘front panel’ controls in Brightness, Colour and Contrast and there’s some more exotic controls in the Advanced and Expert Picture Settings which we will, again, have a look at later on.
FeaturesThe Toshiba L6353 has a very respectable set of features and the new Home Page is a huge improvement on what went before. The Home Page is further sub-divided in to three additional cards with each having a modern, tiled appearance. The Home Page has a large area for trending Twitter TV shows as well as a general Search facility, local weather info and an area for up to four personalised accounts. We discovered that trying to select any of these caused the Home Page to crash so we presume they are reliant on having a USB camera attached to trigger facial recognition.
The TV and Video area, as one would expect, is from where you get at the various VoD and Catch Up services, including Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube and Blinkbox as well as access to the Woomi portal. Woomi is a smart platform within a smart platform with its own selection of VoD content and apps some of which is a tad more risqué than you would expect from a TV manufacturers’ own smart offerings. It’s certainly not all ‘adult’ based, however, and there’s an eclectic mix of ‘art house’ cinema, sport and cartoons too.
It’s from the TV & Video area, also, where one can utilise the DLNA functionality of the L6353 but we had problems getting even mp4 video to play from our Windows 7 PC. The media player was much better over USB and we had no problems with most ‘conventional’ MKV and divX formats but Toshiba needs to work on the DLNA integration. During set up you will be asked if you want to use the enhanced Media Guide instead of the conventional EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) and whilst it can take a while to load, it’s certainly much prettier than the stock version.
There are a number apps for mobile devices, which is good in a way but we’d prefer that all the functions were under one roof. You’ll need to download the Toshiba Apps Database, as a starting point, to make sure the Toshiba Remote app works and then it’s just a simple case of entering a pairing code once the devices discover one another. The app has configurations for Tablet and Smartphone which have a landscape and portrait screen orientation, respectively. Both are little bit on the cluttered side and it might have been better to spread the controls over the buttons over a couple of screens but they are responsive enough. The button to take you to the Cloud portal could have done with being a bit bigger too but, all in all, it’s quite good.
Whilst the Toshiba Remote App is available for both iOS and Android, the new Cloud TV app is on Apple devices only. It’s much more the ticket for Toshiba’s new interface; offering the Cloud TV Menu service on an iThing and allowing access to the Calendar and Message Services. It will also upload your photos to the Cloud TV Album Service as well as acting as a full remote control for Toshiba TVs. As we suggested above, Toshiba has implemented a multi-screen approach for the controls, with this app, and it’s all the better for it. It just needs porting to Android now but Toshiba have yet to announce any plans.
Test ResultsWe selected Hollywood Day as our starting point for calibration but could just have easily used the ‘Night’ version as once we’d set Brightness, Contrast, Gamma and Backlight to our surroundings, they were like for like. The L653 actually put up a reasonable representation of the industry standards, although there was too much green in the greyscale, which was certainly visible with pale colours and in white. Gamma tracking was fairly erratic, however, although in truth, most images didn’t appear overly affected. Delta Errors averaging around 4, not too much work for the 2 point White Balance controls to have to take care of. Colours were generally undersaturated but, by and large, of near correct luminance so errors weren’t too visible.
The Toshiba 32L653 has both 2 and 10 point White Balancecontrols but using the more expansive set led to good charts but poor on-screen results, with lot of posterisation visible in certain conditions. Fortunately no such issues exist with the two point version and we were able to get a satisfyingly flat response. There was not much we could do with the gamma response but things were certainly much improved post calibration.
Toshiba’s CMS has long been a minefield for calibrators so it was with great care with which we trod as we attempted to traverse the ‘Colour Master’ controls. With a nudge here and a slide there, we were able to improve the base performance but it was necessary to leave green a little undersaturated to avoid nasty blocking artefacts but overall colour performance, across all the saturation levels was very impressive indeed. As we can see from the graph above, not only is the panel inside the L6553 more or less achieving targets at full saturation, it’s hitting everything else in between. Good work Toshiba.
Contrast, Black Level & Screen Uniformity
The colour performance shown above, gave us some clues that this might be an IPS panel as the better examples usually have great accuracy and the black level readings confirmed it. On a full black screen, the Toshiba L6353 managed a deepest black of 0.118 cd/m2 against a peak white of 119.7, giving an on/off Contrast Ratio of just over 1014:1, which is decent for this technology but not fulfilling for those that like to watch with the lights down. Creditably, the L6353 was able to maintain that kind of performance with mixed content, and registered an average black of 0.125 cd/m2 on a checkerboard pattern for an ANSI contrast of 764:1, which is mediocre, whichever way you look at it. Fortunately screen uniformity was good, so at least the blacks (dark greys) weren’t overly polluted with light spillage but the screen is noticeably paler at the edges, although it wasn’t usually noticeable with normal content.
Despite the presence of the Cinema Mode in the Picture Menu, the L6353 was unable to pick up on the PAL-centric 2:2 film cadence, so you’ll be best using ‘upscaling’ players and set-to-boxes to perform the task for standard definition film content sent through an interlaced signal. For those with collections of NTSC DVD’s, the news is better as the Toshiba was able to detect the 2:3 cadence. Scaling performance was good, however, so other forms of SD looked impressive, especially so on a 32-inch screen. We’ve seen a few Toshiba’s struggle with 1080p24 material – probably those that have some Vestel engineering in them – and the RL958B showed some of the same weaknesses with a certain ‘flutteryness’ displayed on the unforgiving Spears and Munsil evaluation disc wedge pattern. With real world Blu-rays it was hard to spot, in all truth, but we’ve seen and expect better handling of the medium.
Video deinterlacing was also a touch sub-par, with some break-up of detail evident under movement and some quite unusual artefacting displayed on a couple of ‘jaggies’ tests involving rotating bars. Again, when watching actual content it’s not hugely obvious but it’s another area of video processing where Toshiba should be looking to improve.
The Toshiba L6353 does have a Game mode available and you will need to use it – or the PC Mode – for ultimate responsiveness. We measured input lag at around the 30 millisecond mark, which is very impressive and means most current gen console games will lag by less than a frame. We’d actually recommend using PC rather than Game as it has a more pleasing – read less garish – default picture with less forced sharpening.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 42W
- Calibrated – Calibrated Hollywood Mode: 51W
Toshiba 32L6353DB Picture QualityDespite the fact that Toshiba has eschewed 3D for the L6353 – and we can’t say that we blame them – the panel being used is typical of most of the ones found in passive 3D TVs, meaning it’s not going to wow you with its dynamic range but the accuracy of the colours almost makes up for it. We actually are quite fond of the look of IPS panels, they somehow look less digitised than a lot of other LCD/LED’s and in a reasonably bright living room they are ideal, where the lack of native contrast isn’t really such an issue. The L6353 is also fairly competent at dealing with ambient light so, again, it lends itself to non-ideal viewing environments.
The motion handling of the L6 is also quite reasonable; to be fair, unless you get up close, it’s difficult to notice any smearing, at all, so it’s quite a decent TV for sports and action movies. In fact, there’s not all that much to fall out with and it’s certainly priced about right for the performance on offer. The one thing that did bug us through the review process was a touch of dirty screen effect, that could show its face with any solid colour but we find ourselves presented with that issue on a very regular basis with LED TVs but if you want the extra brightness that the technology inherently brings, there are usually some compromises. General screen uniformity and light distribution was actually quite good, other than that, and we’d have no problem with using the L6353 as our second screen. Obviously it’s not big enough for the living room.
- Great colours post calibration
- Good performance in bright rooms
- Motion handling is decent
- New Cloud Portal is good
- iOS Cloud App is also great
- Mediocre contrast and black levels
- Some dirty screen effect
- Menus can be sluggish
Toshiba 32L6353DB TV Review
The Toshiba L6353 is an attractive enough TV and we rather like its simplicity and silver accent at the bottom of the bezel. The remote is another Toshiba curio, however, and is a bit large and cumbersome for our tastes. Connectivity options are very impressive for a 32-inch TV with the highlights including 4 HDMI, 2 USB, Wi-Fi and WiFi Direct. We also like Toshiba’s newly designed Cloud Portal, it’s clean and fresh and (usually) speedy to navigate through. The new iDevice app is also impressive and we hope it comes to Android soon. The number of services are a little more limited than other Smart TV platforms but there should be enough there for most.
Dare we say we were pleased to see that Toshiba has left 3D capability out of the L6353? But despite that, it’s still an IPS panel at the heart of things so native contrast performance isn’t the best but colours are extremely natural and images are generally pleasing. It’s not one for connoisseurs but a perfectly serviceable TV that is only really let down by a common LED trait, i.e. a dirty screen effect which is visible on most solid patches of colour. Since it's 32-inches, at common viewing distances, it’s actually quite difficult to pick out any other serious flaws and post calibration, it was actually quite impressive – not that we expect many owners will take the plunge.
Toshiba’s 32L6353 is what it is. A relatively inexpensive TV, producing competent images and a more than competent feature set. Recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £359.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level5
Ease Of Use7
Value for Money6
Our Review Ethos
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