Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

Despite costing a pretty aggressive £353 and five pence, Toshiba's 26AV615DB doesn't look like your typical bargain bucket TV. For starters, its black bezel is both glossier and more robust than the stuff you usually find wrapped around cheap and cheerful screens.

What's more, below the bezel sits a distinctive and fetching angled-in wedge effect, with a small Toshiba logo emblazoned across the bottom half of this sharp ‘dint'. This logo isn't illuminated like it is on Toshiba's AV635 and higher models, but this doesn't stop the set from being one of the more attractive 26in models in town.

The 26AV615DB's connections outperform expectations too, by including three HDMIs - one on the side, two on the rear - when you might reasonably only have expected to find two. Also pleasing is a D-SUB PC port, allowing you to double up the screen as a computer monitor.

The sight of a USB port, meanwhile, immediately raised hopes of being able to watch JPEGs from USB storage devices. But upon closer investigation it turns out that this port is only there to enable Service updates. Darn.

Turning the 26AV615DB on alarmingly generates a message asking me to ‘please scan in the channels'. In other words, auto-tuning doesn't kick in itself as soon as the TV is first turned on, leaving you having to access the auto-tuning function manually. I honestly can't remember the last time I came across such an antiquated approach to set up - and obviously it doesn't set a particularly promising tone with regard to the performance we might uncover.

Hopes start to grow again, though, with the discovery of a surprisingly long list of features within the tidy if slightly small onscreen menus. These kick off with some genuinely useful picture presets, but other handy stuff includes a Cinema Mode; digital noise reduction processing; optional, multi-level colour transient improvement (CTI); a dedicated flesh tone adjustment; Adaptive Luma Control; and the option to turn the TV's Active Backlight on or off.

If some of these features sound a bit technical, I feel your pain. But Toshiba does at least cover most of them - albeit in a very brief fashion - in the TV's instruction manual. CTI, for instance, ‘involves the detection and sharpening of edges around coloured objects on the screen'. And the Adaptive Luma Control ‘automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast after analysing the input signal… {to enrich} … the colours and the depth of the picture.' So now you know.

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