With the TV world teetering on the edge of a huge burst of innovation as we hurtle through 2010, the current crop of ‘vanilla’ TVs are having to work harder and harder to still look appealing - where working harder usually means slashing prices, as has happened with Toshiba’s now phenomenally cheap 32RV635DB.
You can get this 32in LCD TV for just 349 quid - a pretty remarkable feat for a TV with an established and respected brand name attached to it. But that feat becomes even more remarkable when you consider that the 32RV635DB doesn’t even sit at the bottom of Toshiba’s current TV range.
Its step-up status from Toshiba’s entry-level AV635 series means, for instance, that it offers a Full HD resolution - far from a given at the budget end of the 32in market. Also, the 32RV635DB uses an ‘eco panel’ for reduced power consumption while the 32AV635D does not; and the 32RV635DB’s claimed contrast ratio of 50,000:1 looks far healthier than the 18,000:1 quoted for the 32AV635DB.
The 32AV635D actually outscores the 32RV635DB in one area, with a brightness of 500cd/m2 versus its sibling’s 450cd/m2. But this could merely reflect the 32RV635DB’s eco panel and enhanced focus on contrast rather than revealing a relative weakness in its performance.
The 32RV635DB is quite cute to look at (as long as you don’t get close enough to notice the slightly plasticky build quality), even boasting that now trademark Toshiba touch of an illuminated brand logo.
AV purists will, of course, hate this logo with a passion. But as well as having to point out that a £349 TV is hardly being aimed at AV purists, I’m happy to say that you can turn the illumination off if you want to. When I tried to do this, mind you, it simply ended in my three-year-old daughter getting so upset about me 'hurting the TV' that I had to put the illumination back on again pronto. Parents, you have been warned!
Getting back into less controversial waters, the 32RV635DB is exceptionally well-connected for such a stupidly cheap TV. My eye was particularly caught by four HDMIs where I would only have expected three for this money, and a USB input through which the TV can play JPEG photos.