So here it is at last: Toshiba’s first stab at an active 3D TV. Better late than never, we guess.
And to be fair, this first stab is no half-hearted, toe-dipping exercise. For the 55WL768 weighs in at a mighty 55in across, suggesting healthy confidence on Tosh’s part in its new 3D talents. After all, on a screen this size there will be no hiding place for any performance flaws.
The 55WL768’s confidence isn’t just apparent in its size, either. For it’s the second TV we’ve seen from Toshiba recently to have been styled by the internationally renowned Jacob Jensen Design studio.
Actually, we weren’t quite as compelled by the design when we first saw it as we’d expected to be. For while it was certainly sumptuous in the build quality department, its looks weren’t all that different to other TVs out there in the marketplace. However, the extra size of the 55WL768 makes Mr Jensen’s efforts look more worthwhile, for it emphasises the impressive slenderness (just 28.9mm) of the set’s profile; the smoothness of the single-layer fascia; the crispness of the pleasingly small bezel; and the rather pleasant chrome-like trim around the set’s outer edge. Even the metallic build quality seems more obvious at such a large size.
We’re not suggesting here that the 55WL768’s size makes its design look more original or cutting edge, mind; just that it makes it look more classy, for want of a better word.
The 55WL768’s connections are just about up to spec for a £1,600 TV. The increasingly de rigueur four HDMIs are joined by highlights of two USB inputs, an Ethernet port, and rather surprisingly given Toshiba’s slightly half-baked (so far) approach to online TV functionality, built-in Wi-Fi.
Sadly, though, this integrated Wi-Fi doesn’t actually coincide with Toshiba really getting its online act together. In fact, trying to get a handle on many of the 55WL768’s features proves a confusing, complicated and ultimately frustrating business.
For instance, we were rather startled to spot among the 55WL768’s connections a satellite connection, and naturally presumed this meant the TV had a Freesat HD tuner as well as a Freeview HD one. But no.
Instead, it’s just a ‘general’ satellite tuner. You have to tell the TV what satellite you’re pointed at (19.2E for most of us, we suspect), and then, after a monstrously long tuning process, you’re left with a list of every channel found at that satellite location, regardless of what language it might be in, and with no Freesat ‘wrapper’ whatsoever. The amount of pointless stuff you have to pick your way through is thus nothing short of depressing.
Next on Toshiba’s fudge list are its online capabilities. For despite the Wi-Fi showboating, the only online services on offer are the BBC iPlayer and YouTube. Obviously these are both desirable enough in their own right, especially the iPlayer. But with so many brands offering so much more on the 'smart TV' front, the 55WL768’s online offering isn’t nearly substantial enough for such an ostensibly premium TV.