No big-name TV brand is as adept at breaking price barriers right now as Toshiba. A fact underlined in bold, red marker pen today by the arrival of the brand’s 32BL702: a 32in LCD TV with LED lighting and multimedia playback support that can be yours for under £300.
This is the sort of price most rival mainstream brands would attach to their 20-24in TVs rather than anything as large as 32in.
We guess the 32BL702’s budget pricing is to some extent visible in its design. Certainly there’s nothing particularly distinctive about its slightly wide black bezel and chunky stand. However, a little grey ‘flourish’ along the bottom edge is a welcome touch, and the set is fairly slim round the back by budget TV standards - a result, no doubt, of its use of edge LED lighting.
The use of edge LED lighting is potentially significant in performance terms too, since it has the potential to deliver enhanced colour, contrast and running economy versus the simple CCFL lighting often still found in cheap LCD TVs. Regarding the efficiency, the set bags an A grade on the new EnerG rating system, whereas many budget LCD TVs reside firmly in the B, C or even D categories.
The 32BL702’s connectivity is average. You get two HDMIs when in an ideal world there would be three, and there’s no LAN or Wi-Fi support. As well as immediately showing that the TV doesn’t carry any online or DLNA PC functionality, the lack of any network options alerts us to the fact that the 32BL702 doesn’t have a Freeview HD tuner. Instead you just get a standard definition one.
We’re increasingly feeling that HD tuners should be standard issue on TVs of 32in or more these days. But we guess we can just about make an exception when that 32in TV costs under £300.
One ‘bonus’ on the connectivity side is the appearance of a single USB port, through which you can play video, photo and music files from USB storage devices.
Not for walls
Please note, by the way, that most of the 32BL702’s connections stick straight out of the TV’s rear, rather than being accessed from the edge. This makes the set a potentially tricky wall-mounting option. Which is probably why, unlike the majority of TVs we review these days, it ships already mounted onto its desktop stand.