As for colours, they’re actually quite natural in tone, even during dark scenes, and even when watching standard definition. Naturally there are richer, more vibrant, more accurate and more subtly delineated colours to be found on some higher-end LCD TVs. But again the point is that the 26AV505DB comfortably outperforms my expectations of what sort of picture quality a £300 26in LCD TV could muster.
Turning to other areas of the picture performance, while a bit more image processing power might have helped HD pictures on the 26AV505DB look better than they do, at least they look sharp and detailed enough to be easily identifiable as HD – not something you can always depend on at this sort of screen size/price level.
At the other end of the spectrum, the smallness of the screen may help explain why standard definition pictures look less rough and ready than they tend to on some of Toshiba’s bigger, more well-specified TVs.
Turning to the 26AV505DB’s audio, it doesn’t impress as much as the TV’s visuals. The 2x7W power rating kind of implies that the soundstage will sound a bit thin and poppy when the going gets tough. And that’s exactly how it comes over during a few Gears of War 2 set-pieces, with a definite lack of bass range and soundstage scale clearly in evidence. Still, on the upside the set doesn’t actually distort or drop out completely, and undemanding ‘typical’ daytime TV fodder sounds just fine.
The 26AV505DB isn’t a special TV. It doesn’t excel in any performance department, or have any cutting edge features. But at the same time it doesn’t actually do anything really badly wrong. And when you’re talking about a 26in TV that costs a mere £299, not actually doing anything badly wrong is potentially a minor miracle. At the very least, it makes the set look like a tasty main Christmas present option for any well-behaved teenager or significant others in your life.