Backlight inconsistencies are by no means rare in the edge LED world. But seldom have we seen any as distracting as the main one on the 32BL702. Except on the aforementioned Finlux TV. In fact, you can even make out a trace of the lighting inconsistency when watching reasonably bright footage, and that’s pretty much unheard of.
Good in other ways
The 32BL702’s backlight problem is made even more annoying, if that were possible, by the screen’s quite credible performance in other ways. For instance, its black level response generally is quite strong by budget TV standards, suffering with much less grey ‘overwash’ than you customarily get with cheap LCD TVs. Ironically the backlight consistency flaws would probably have been less distracting if the screen’s black levels had been less impressive!
Colours aren’t bad either. They’re bright and dynamic at least, and don’t suffer with excessive video noise problems. Tones are a little basic, leaving video looking rather cartoony at times, and a lack of subtlety when presenting skin tones can leave people looking a touch mannequin-like, especially when watching standard definition. But the fact that colours at least look punchy is achievement enough for the 32BL702’s money.
Motion isn’t badly handled either by the 32BL702 considering it doesn’t appear to have any serious motion processing. There’s a touch of both blur and judder when watching fast-moving motion, but we wouldn’t say it runs beyond what we would expect to see - and can comfortably tolerate - from TVs costing considerably more.
While the 32BL702 is understandably happiest with HD sources, it’s by no means out of its depth with standard definition pictures, upscaling them to the full HD panel without introducing significant amounts of extra noise or leaving them looking soft. Even colour tones hold up quite well, avoiding the tonal ‘slide’ sometimes seen with standard definition on affordable LCD TVs.
Many people might be considering using the 32BL702 as a gaming monitor. And in one way it succeeds quite well in this respect thanks to a respectably low input lag figure of around 35ms. However, that backlight cloud doesn't half upset your concentration if you're playing something dark.
The 32BL702’s audio, however, is uninspiring. Even straightforward TV programmes sound compressed with occasional vocal distortions, so you can imagine how unpleasantly harsh, thin and unconvincing a loud action scene sounds.
With a fair wind and the right - as in, very bright - footage, the 32BL702 can look quite compelling for its money. But the moment any dark footage comes on, the whole house of cards comes crashing unceremoniously down thanks to a backlight consistency flaw so severe that it really shouldn’t have got through Toshiba’s quality control department.