A big slice of value from Toshiba
What is the Toshiba 58L7365D?Let’s get this out there from the off, the Toshiba 58L7365 is a lot of screen, packing in a host of features for not a great deal of money. With the Ultra HD TV market already seeing a price-war before it’s even really got off the ground, we’ll no doubt see the costs of 1080p panels falling even further but, as things stand, the L7365 still potentially represents excellent value for money. We find Toshiba TVs can be a bit hit or miss, let’s see which way the pendulum swings this time.
Design & ConnectionsWhat immediately struck us about the Toshiba L7365 is its visual similarity to the Philips PFL6008. Primarily that’s because it has a base-stand bearing a striking resemblance to the Philips, which is a cut-out, skeletal number and actually very attractive in the flesh. It swivels, too, although not especially generously but we’ll take whatever we can get. The 58L7365 has a very narrow black bezel, to the top and sides, with a complimentary strip of silver running across the bottom. All in all, it’s a great looking TV that would look at home in virtually any living room.
To the rear of that slender 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. We don’t like the current crop of Toshiba remote controls, there we’ve said it, they're far too big and unwieldy so not easy to use with one hand. It feels lightweight, despite the size, and the new Search, Home and Profile buttons look as though they’ve been stuck on as an afterthought. Just keep it clean and simple Toshiba and produce something more usable next time around.
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 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 and 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 L4353 has a very respectable set of features and the new Home Page is a huge improvement on what went before; it’s much prettier and better organised, too. As we said above, it can be very sluggish to move around and the fact that there’s not much besides VoD services, means the various pages look almost identical. Toshiba’s new Cloud TV app is impressive and basically recreates the portal experience on a secondary screen. It’s only available on Apple devices at present, however, and there are no announced plans for Android, or other platforms. All 2013 Toshiba TVs now feature built-in Wi-Fi, as well as WiDi support to compatible laptops. There’s also the mandatory Web browser and Skype support but the former was very sluggish, on the TV we tested it on, and the latter requires the purchase of an expensive USB camera to function.The concentration on Video-on-Demand services through the portal is understandable and most of the big players are present including YouTube and iPlayer but we couldn’t get the Netflix app to work, despite going through a complicated setup procedure. The overall app support is certainly limited compared to the likes of Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony but provided a few more key services can be added and the interface is made more responsive, Toshiba’s 2013 Smart TV platform should keep most users happy. For a more in-depth look at Toshiba’s 2013 Smart TV platform, please see here
CalibrationThe most accurate modes on recent Toshiba’s have been labelled ‘Hollywood’ and so it proved again with the TL963. Simply by switching to that mode and optimising the Contrast and Brightness controls yielded far more pleasing results than the out-of-box Standard mode which, to be honest, isn’t such a difficult feat. There’s still an excess of blue in the greyscae but Delta E’s are now hovering around the 5 mark, which is a very good performane. Colour performance (at 100%) saturation was also very good, with just a generally slightly washed out palette, which wasn’t bright enough.
Whilst the 10 point white balance controls were enough to bring the mixture of red, green and blue into relative harmony, they didn’t prove powerful enough near black to fully flatten the Gamma response and lower stimulus levels were erring on the too dark side and thus we wouldn’t quite be seeing all the details of the picture in the darker elements of images. It’s still an excellent result however.
We did manage to make adjustments to ColourMaster that resulted in absolutely reference graphs and charts but real world viewing demonstrated that the dreaded demons of banding and blocking, incurred by its use, were back. In the end we settled for small over-saturations in green, red and yellow and as Delta Errors were, overall, below 3 across the board it’s a good result. Of course the chart above only shows the story at full saturation at three quarter of potential full brightness and the multi-saturation graph below demonstrates the decoding at lower levels isn’t as faithful, particularly in red and green. Without comparing it to a display with better colour tracking, one is unlikely to spot anything is amiss but, since we can, it was fairly easy to see that certain grasses and foliage looked quite different.Contrast, Black Level & Screen Uniformity
It was immediately apparent that Toshiba had gone with a VA, rather than IPS, type panel for the L7365 as blacks actually looked black when watching normal content. There’s no substitute for a TV that can produce great dynamic range in a darkened room and the Toshiba was impressive here. In fact, it held itself well in brighter conditions too but there was some disappointing light pooling at the top left of the screen. There is an Active Backlight Control in the Advanced Picture Menu which does help with uniformity issues but it dims the picture globally and can be pretty distracting in action, causing on-screen luminance to fluctuate up and down too often, and too rapidly, in certain conditions. The L7365 was by no means the worst we’ve seen in this regard, however, so it probably falls in to the category of forgivable, especially when the price is considered. For the number crunchers amongst you, set at a capped light output of 120 cd/m2, the L7365 recorded an ANSI contrast of 2416:1, which is good for LED/LCD and especially compared to IPS panels but nowhere near the better plasma TVs we’ve seen this year.
Despite the presence of the Cinema Mode in the Picture Menu, the L7365 was unable to pick up on the PALcentric 2:2 film cadence, so you’ll be best using ‘upscaling’ players and set-top boxes to perform the task for standard definition film content sent through an interlaced signal. The 58L7563 had no problems correctly displaying Blu-ray discs and proved to have a decent scaling engine for SD material and the 32-inch screen size certainly helps. The L7365 also had no problems in showing a mixture of film and video mixed content and was (almost) able to show a signal all the way up to peak white. Both film and video were shown at full resolution, provided Native was selected as the Picture Size.
It’s all very well having a great big screen to game on – and there is nothing quite like it – but if the experience is marred by unresponsive controllers, then it loses a lot of the appeal. Fortunately, the Game mode available in the Toshiba 58L7365 does the trick very nicely, bringing input lag down to around 34 milliseconds. This figure should be more than acceptable to most and ranks it among the best we’ve tested in the last 12 months.
The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 68W
Calibrated – Calibrated Hollywood Mode: 71W
Calibrated – Calibrated Hollywood Mode - 3D: 108 W
58L7365D Picture Quality 2DWe’ll admit that sometimes it’s difficult to construct a review to reflect the correct balance of negative and positive points. This is particularly true of LED TVs and all their (almost) inherent flaws. So, we might as well get the bad news out of the way first. The biggest issue, without doubt, evident in the review sample supplied is a familiar ‘friend’ of the technology – uneven distribution of light from the edge-mounted LEDs. This was only a problem with very dark scenes, where cloudy patches could be seen in the top left corner of the screen but if you watch lots of ‘edgy’ content, it will be an issue; especially if you like to do your viewing late at night, lights down low.
The only other notable distraction was another common problem of LED but in an unusual guise. We could occasionally see a ‘dirty screen effect’ which manifested in a very fine, dark mesh on panning scenes involving lots of one colour – think skies or grass - but it wasn’t frequent nor as offensive as some of the muddy messes we’ve seen with other displays. One must consider that we’ve seen much worse examples in TVs costing far greater sums so, if it has to be LED, the L7365 is one of the better examples.
One of the fundamentals of good picture quality is contrast performance. A TV with great dynamic range will deliver images with punch and this affordable Toshiba is certainly capable of that. What’s more, in the Hollywood picture modes, it did so ably abetted by a realistic colour palette and neutral whites. The 58L7365 also delivered high definition pictures dripping with detail, although when things started to move a little faster, there was some noticeable degradation of detail in motion. Nothing show-stopping, nor unusual, and it can be alleviated, to some extent, with the motion processing set to low. This worked well for sports but we’d avoid it for Blu-rays, and that goes for all the added processing options in the menus.
Where we did find the L7365’s video processing trickery impressive was with content of lesser pedigree. If you like your Netflix, for instance, a spot of Resolution + can give that compression a little helping hand, to great effect. It seems to work by dynamically adjusting pixel brightness to give pictures a touch more impact and perceived detail. It’s mostly subtle enough not to make things look in any way unnatural and there’s a degree of experimentation needed to evaluate what content it works best with but we were happy to leave it on for the majority of our internet delivered viewing. Scaling of standard definition signals was also very impressive and given the screen size, the better SD channels and DVDs, especially, actually looked rather good. Obviously you really want to be feeding the L7365 with a diet of HD but it won’t let you down where the source isn’t irretrievably rubbish.
58L7365D Picture Quality 3DAs we’d expect from a 3D LED TV, 3D pictures are nice and bright although there was a touch of crosstalk in high contrast scenes. We ran through a few of our ‘favourite’ 3D Blu-rays – OK we’re getting a bit tired of them now – and did notice some judder with 1080p24 Blu-ray. The 58L7365 is certainly a good size for watching 3D in the home and the impressive native black levels helped bring out the depth in 3D content. It would be fair to say it’s far from the best 3D TV out there but we’d consider it absolutely fine for a casual 3D watcher and there’s a couple of pairs of active shutter glasses in the box; so should you fancy diving in, there's no price premium involved.
- Good black levels
- Decent viewing angles
- Accurate colours
- Excellent scaling
- Responsive for gamers
- Resolution+ can work really well
- Nice new interface
- 4 HDMI connections
- Nice styling
- Some clouding
- Mesh type dirty screen effect, occasionally
- Sluggish menus
- Some software glitches
Toshiba 58L7365D TV ReviewWe think the 58L7365 is a very nicely designed TV. The cut-out effect of the base-stand, in particular, is very contemporary and the super-slim black bezel is offset nicely by a swish of silver at the bottom. We can’t really say the same about the remote but at least its hulking size means it’s difficult to misplace. Menu systems are pretty, if pretty slow to respond, and the Cloud TV portal can be summed up largely the same way; although we have to add that Toshiba’s Smart TV act is much improved and there’s a good range of VoD services to get your teeth in to.
Out of box performance, in the Hollywood picture modes, was quite accurate and with some gentle manipulation of the glitchy calibration controls, we were able to help the L7365 produce some, at times, superb pictures. Colours, in particular, looked very natural and black levels weren’t half bad either. The caveat to the impressive contrast was that very dark content could suffer with some light pollution and there was an unusual – and subtle – dirty screen effect with panning shots but, overall, the Toshiba 58L7365 gave over and above what the fairly modest price-tag might suggest.
The Toshiba 58L7365 represents very good value, even at list price, so if you can bag yourself an internet bargain, all the merrier. It’s not perfect, by any means, and those intolerant of the flaws of LED will be better served moving on to plasma (or even waiting for OLED) but it delivers bright, natural pictures at a price that’s right. Not one for the aficionados, perhaps, but still worthy of putting on your demo list.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level7
2D Picture Quality7
3D Picture Quality7
Ease Of Use6
Value for Money7
Our Review Ethos
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