The usual way of the TV world is that a brand’s cheapest, stripped-down TVs will be less attractive than its expensive, high-spec ones. But weirdly Toshiba seems to have turned this rule of thumb on its head this year. For while we’ve been advocates of its budget sets - the XV635 models in particular - its high-end models have left us feeling just a touch cold.
Not because the relatively costly sets are actually worse, per se. But because they haven’t tended to raise Toshiba’s game quite extravagantly enough to justify their extra cost. And this, sadly, is a theme continued by the relatively high-spec 42ZV635DB.
Not that you’d think this from a mere study of the 42ZV635DB’s exterior, mind you. For if there’s one way that this set really does deliver a premium edge over its cheaper siblings, it’s with its design.
Gone is the slightly plasticky feel of the cheaper Tosh ranges, and in its place you get a really sturdy body encased behind a truly swanky bezel that looks like it’s been hewn from a sheet of black glass. Or at least, it would look like that were it not for the elegant way the colour fades away gradually to grey as your eye travels towards the bezel’s outer edges.
Forcing me to suspend further the backing up of my disappointed introduction is some pretty decent connectivity. This includes the increasingly de rigueur four HDMIs, and unusually not one but two different multimedia slots: one for USB storage devices, and one for SD cards. The set features a nicely presented/well organised media player interface for these inputs too, with supported file types being JPEG photos, MP3 music files, and even DivX video files.
The main feature responsible for making the 42ZV635DB such a relatively high-end screen in Toshiba’s range, though, is 200Hz, delivered as part of the set’s uncatchily named Active Vision M200 HD Pro processing engine.
As with many supposedly 200Hz rivals, the 42ZV635DB doesn’t actually refresh its pictures 200 times a second in the way you might expect. Instead, the 200 frames a second claim is achieved by a combination of a scanning backlight and a 100Hz engine. This doesn’t necessarily preclude the system from working very well, mind you, other than meaning it’s likely there will be at least a little flicker in evidence from time to time. If I forget to come back to this point later, please remind me!!
The rest of the Active Vision processing system is one of those scattershot (not meant in derogatory way) systems now find on almost every TV around, which work on everything from colours to contrast, sharpness and, well, everything, like I said.