The two most important points about the Toshiba 50L4353 are that it’s a 50-inch TV you can buy for just £600. With a price that low you might imagine the 50L4353 to be a feature-free zone, but surprisingly Toshiba’s set still sports the brand’s latest Smart TV interface and 100Hz processing. Is there a catch somewhere here, though?
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Well, it's not a looker. The Toshiba 50L4353 looks and feels like a budget TV. Its black bezel is wider than most and bland in the extreme, while the set’s rear end feels very cheaply built and lightweight. It also sticks out round the back more than most TVs.
This means it’s hardly an ideal wall-mounting option, a feeling that’s underlined by the way some of its connections – including the LAN port, the RF tuner port and one of the HDMIs – face straight out of the TV’s rear, meaning you’ll have to dig out a section of your wall to accommodate these jacks.
The good news is that three HDMIs and two USBs are accessible from the TV’s sides, so if you’ll be attaching an external receiver – a Sky, Virgin or Youview box, say – then wall-mounting becomes a more straightforward option. Especially as the Toshiba 50L4353 carries built-in Wi-Fi so you can avoid the LAN port.
Why do you need network options on the 50L4353? Partly because, as indicated earlier, despite the set’s value proposition it’s equipped with a full version of Toshiba’s new Cloud TV online platform. But also it can stream multimedia files from networked DLNA PCs.
You can read our full Toshiba Cloud TV review for an in-depth look at this system, but in summation it’s a rather hit and miss system distinguished by some good ideas (an avatar-based programme recommendations system and a calendar that can sync with an iOS app) but let down by some odd ideas (a live and, crucially, uncensored Twitter feed on the Smart Hub home page); a very limited number of useful video streaming services; and an infuriatingly sluggish operating system.
The 50L4353’s panel spec seems respectable enough for its lowly price. It offers a full HD pixel count, driven by a 100Hz picture processing system to increase image stability and, hopefully, motion reproduction.
Also worth noting is Resolution . Once arguably the best picture enhancement engine in the TV world, this feature hasn’t advanced much over recent years. But we still hope that its inclusion on the 50L4353 will at least improve its handling of standard definition material.
The Toshiba 50L4353 carries a startlingly long list of set up aids, including a base colour management system, multiple settings for the set’s active backlight control (dynamic contrast) engine, two types of noise reduction system, plus white balance and gamma calibration menus.
You can even filter out the red, green and blue colour content individually to help you tune colours, or call up an HD Toshiba Test Card to make it easier to see the results of your tuning efforts.
This set of set up tools is almost absurdly comprehensive for such a cheap 50-inch TV – though we’d always rather have too many calibration aids than too few, of course.
For people too intimidated by the 50L4353’s most in-depth calibration tools, Toshiba has provided an unusually expansive suite of picture presets, including Game, PC, Hollywood Day, Hollywood Night and Hollywood Pro.
However, we didn’t feel that any of the provided themed presets delivered a particularly enjoyable picture, for reasons we’ll get into later. The best option if you just want a quick start is to choose the Autoview picture preset.
If you’re brave enough to tinker and like watching films, probably your best starting point is the Hollywood Pro preset, as this tends to give the most natural default colours. But you’ll still want to tone down the set’s yellow influence a bit, as well as increasing the image’s contrast to give it a slightly more dynamic look.