Some time ago I looked at and was reasonably happy with Toshiba’s budget 37in model, the 37AV635. So when I found I could now get the brand’s step-up 37 incher, the 37XV635, for under £600, I thought I’d give it a look to see if it’s actually even more of a bargain.
Aesthetically, I have to say I’m a little sad that Toshiba hasn’t made seemingly any design improvements for the 37XV635 over the 37AV635. It still sports the same glossy, stark, rather straightforward rectangular shape, given a little light relief by an illuminated Toshiba logo along the bottom edge. The good news is that while not particularly stylish, nor is the 37XV635 ugly. And it feels surprisingly well built for such a relatively cheap TV, too.
The 37XV635 is also strikingly well connected for its money. There are four HDMIs, for instance, as well as a surprising amount of multimedia support: an SD card slot for playing back JPEG photos, a USB port able to handle photo, DivX film and music files, and a dedicated D-Sub PC jack.
What’s more, these multimedia jacks are apparently no mere last minute ‘bolt on’, since they’re supported by a nicely presented Media Player application contained within the TV’s onscreen menus. The cheaper 37AV635 actually has a USB port too. But it doesn’t have the SD card slot, and nor does its USB support the DivX and music files of the 37XV635’s USB input.
The 37XV635’s improvements over its entry-level sibling become potentially more dramatic when you get into its key specifications. For instance, while the 37AV635 only had an HD Ready, 1,366 x 768 resolution, the 37XV635 goes the whole Full HD hog. This will be enough in itself for many of today’s TV buyers to justify the 37XV635’s extra few tenners over its cheaper sibling.
Also potentially very significant is the way the 37XV635 more than doubles the claimed contrast ratio of the 37AV635, to a respectable - though hardly breathtaking - 50,000:1.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the 37XV635 introduces 100Hz to the table. This motion sharpening trick forms an additional part of Toshiba’s trademark Meta Brain processing engine, which also incorporates the brand’s Active Vision all-purpose processing, together with its rather more interesting Resolution+ system.
Regular readers of this site will already be familiar with Resolution+, but briefly, for those new to Toshiba’s current TV range, Resolution+ is one of the most effective processing systems we’ve seen - at an affordable price, anyway - for remapping standard definition pictures to the screen’s Full HD resolution.
The only odd things about the 37XV635’s specifications as quoted by Toshiba are that it’s actually not quite as bright as its cheaper sibling - 450cd/m2 versus 500cd/m2 - and the fact that its quoted response time of 8ms is higher than the 5ms of the 37AV635. If these latter numbers are true rather than just a mistake on Toshiba’s specifications sheet, then we can but hope that the 100Hz engine will more than nullify the response time difference, otherwise we may have some motion blur on our hands.
The last thing to cover before getting into the 37XV635’s picture quality is the surprising setup flexibility carried within the TV’s onscreen menus. Gamma controls, black/white balance shifting, options to adjust the strength of or even deactivate entirely the 100Hz and Resolution+ systems... there’s even a colour management facility that enables you to manipulate all six of the primary video signal colours, right down to fine-tuning their individual hue, brightness and saturation levels.