Toshiba Regza 40RL858 40in LED TV
Smart, but no mortarboard
Review Toshiba is a bit of a wild card when it comes to TVs. While some of its screens are genuinely exciting, others are merely bargain bin fillers. Buying a cheaper Tosh is a classic case of caveat emptor.
Media savvy: Toshiba's Regza 40RL858
But while this 40in slimline LED LCD sits at the affordable end of the brand’s current range, it’s not anonymous range fodder. It includes access to an online smart portal, has a Freeview HD tuner and knows what to do with a USB stick. So the 40RL858 should be a solid buy, right?
The TV certainly looks tidy. Rather unusually it’s finished in gunmetal grey rather than gloss black – although Toshiba describes this optimistically as ‘brushed silver’ – and has a really thin bezel which could hit the right note with designer types.
The interfacing on show round the back is complemented by side panel ports
Backside connections include a pair of HDMIs, Scart, component video and stereo audio, Ethernet, optical digital audio out and a PC D-Sub. These are bolstered by additional side-facing ports, comprising a third HDMI, USB, CI slot, headphone jack and some basic on-body controls.
The set’s user interface consists of unfussy tabular text; it’s easy enough to manage, but some of the more common controls are grouped under a self-explanatory Quick Menu too. While Toshiba has developed some super sophisticated picture processing, it isn’t resident in the 40RL858. Still, the panel is intrinsically clear, with a native motion picture resolution of around 800 lines. Motion artefacts are not an issue, making for a pleasingly, filmic presentation.
The Media Player accommodates a broad range of formats and works well with USB content
The set definitely benefits from calibration. Out of the box, colours have a luminosity that needs temperance and sharpness should be dialled back with a vengeance. Images are dynamic, at the expense of shadow detail. Still, low noise makes night scenes an enjoyable noir-ish watch.
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Only 2 HDMI sockets?
Why, in these days of multiple entertainment sources, do manufacturers still only put two real input connectors on a TV?
It was just about understandable in the early SCART days, when there wasn't much to connect beyond a VCR and maybe a satellite receiver, and the sockets were physically bulky. Today even a fairly modest setup is likely to have Satellite, Blu-ray and a games console. Adding a PVR and a networked streaming media client to that isn't unusual. Plus the spare socket for the digital camera.
HDMI connectors are tiny and cheap, like USB, so why not put 4 or even 6 on the TV, and avoid the need for an ugly external switchbox which means traipsing across the room to change sources?
You are falling for the hype now. LED backlit, not LED pixels!
How's this set for videogaming on? Does it have a game mode to reduce latency? Does it make any difference?
It's a budget option, they want to keep the features down to encourage people to buy more expensive models. People who can/will only spend this much will make do. I would.
2 HDMI ports?
Nope, it's 3 HDMI ports...
"Backside connections include a pair of HDMIs, Scart, component video and stereo audio, Ethernet, optical digital audio out and a PC D-Sub. These are bolstered by additional side-facing ports, comprising a third HDMI, USB, CI slot, headphone jack and some basic on-body controls."
One HDMI port on the side.
Although generally I do agree with you about the lack of ports. Before xmas I bought a 42" Full HD Panasonic plasma TV. Just a basic model (I think it was the cheapest Full HD plasma I could get). It only has 2 HDMI ports too. No VGA input either which was a shame.
As it happens though I managed to get an auto HDMI switch box for a fiver (I think from either Aria.co.uk or eBuyer.com) so I can switch between the devices I have plugged into the TV (Tivo, Media PC, PS3, XBOX 360). I still find I have to get up though to switch audio sources as I put everything through my AV decoder and the PS3 and Media PC audio won't go over the HDMI and out of the TV's optical digital connection (but it works fine on the XBOX360!). Guess the workaround for this would be for me to buy a HDMI AV receiver.