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Like the last generation of Toshiba TVs, the 40ZF355D has 1:1 pixel mapping, which Toshiba calls ExactScan. The ExactScan setting isn't under the main menu OSD though, instead you'll find it under the aspect ratio menu, which is fine once you get used to it being there. Selecting ExactScan means that all your lovely 1080p sources will be displayed crisp and clear with no hint of overscanning, and although this feature is by no means unusual these days, it's still always good to see it employed.
Standard definition sources are handled well too, with the DVD of The Bourne Identity holding up well, and looking clean and crisp despite being upscaled to Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. Likewise, results from the built-in Freeview tuner are also above average, even considering that some channels use woefully low bit rates. Even ropey old episodes of Minder were eminently watchable, and if you don't want to watch in a 4:3 box, the zoom functions produce little in the way of artefacts. There's no doubt that the 100Hz processing is weaving its magic on standard definition sources, with the news ticker running across the bottom of Sky Sports News retaining its resolution from edge to edge.
Sound is also surprisingly good on this TV, despite the fact that Toshiba has had to squeeze the speakers into such a slim chassis. Obviously the built-in sound can't compete with a dedicated sound system, but the speakers do a good job of recreating the drama of a scene, even when the action kicks off. And, if you want to add a bit more oomph to proceedings, you can always hook up an active sub via the dedicated output.
So, the 40ZF355D is as slim as the 40XF355D allowing it to fit into rooms that otherwise wouldn't be able to accommodate a 40in TV, while the aesthetic design is as stylish and attractive as it always was. But importantly Toshiba has improved the picture quality by an appreciable margin making this latest thin bezel model attractive in more ways than one. Add to that the inclusion of the high end features that were missing from the previous model like 100Hz processing and 5:5 pulldown for 1080p 24Hz sources, and the 40ZF355D makes a very good case for itself.
But if there's one thing that still holds the 40ZF355D back, it's the price. At around £1,200 on the street, this is a very expensive television, considering that 42in models can be had for considerably less. Given, those 42in models probably won't have all the features offered by the 40ZF355D, and they certainly won't have the svelte dimensions and stylish design. And ultimately, that's the point - if you want a 40in TV that's smaller than most 37in models and has pretty much every feature you could ask for, you're going to have to pay a little extra for it.
The Toshiba 40ZF355D is everything that I'd wished the original 40XF355D was. The picture quality is greatly improved, with far deeper blacks than I expected and consequently more vivid colours. The 100Hz processing and especially the 5:5 pulldown 1080p 24Hz processing are great features to have, making the 40ZF355D a far more accomplished movie display than its predecessor. But the high asking price can't be ignored, and you're going to have to seriously want a small form factor, good looking, fully featured LCD TV to stump up the cash for the 40ZF355D. If you do buy one though, you're unlikely to be disappointed.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality
- Sound Quality