Aside from the features we’ve already covered, the most notable things about the 32BL702 are that it enjoys a full HD resolution, and claims a contrast ratio of 100,000:1 courtesy of a dynamic contrast engine. While common in the LCD TV world at large, such engines can’t be considered a given at the budget end of the TV market.
Within the onscreen menus, meanwhile, you get a series of fairly straightforward but decently useful picture presets, a multi-level noise reduction processing system, the option to boost the black level of sources delivered via the HDMI port, and a simple sliding bar system for adjusting the image’s red and green colour balance.
While searching through the 32BL702‘s rather basic onscreen menu system, we got a strong sense of deja vu. And a couple of minutes of investigation revealed why. For the onscreen menus – and the options available – are exactly the same as those sported by some recent Finlux TVs we’ve tested.
This suggests that the panels inside the BL702 TVs are sourced from Turkish brand Vestel (which owns Finlux). And it also throws a slightly less kind light on the previously impressive-looking £298 price point. For Finlux has a 32in edge-LED LCD TV now, the 32F6030-T, that adds USB recording and a Freeview HD tuner to the 32BL702’s spec despite costing just £250.
It’s entirely possible, of course, that the 32BL702 is more than just a rebadged Vestel/Finlux TV. Toshiba could be applying its own processing systems to the core panel. But then to be honest, with the TV only having a 50Hz refresh rate and apparently not boasting Toshiba’s Active Vision processing system, there’s not much scope for the Japanese brand to have introduced much of its own ‘magic’ to the 32BL702.
Having made a Finlux connection, we couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous lest Toshiba’s set suffer the same egregious backlight consistency problems that so ‘undid’ the Finlux 32F6030-T. And sadly, our nervousness quickly proves to be justified, as a severe backlight ‘cloud’ appears across a large expanse of the picture’s bottom right corner.
During dark scenes this problem is so obvious it’s truly painful, polluting your viewing with a rough triangle of extra brightness that extends many inches across the picture. Within seconds this cloud becomes pretty much all you find yourself looking at when dark scenes are playing, and tragically there’s precious little you can do about it.
Brightness reduction doesn’t help
The brightness setting has absolutely zero impact; instead all reducing the brightness does is remove shadow detail from the picture. Setting the Backlight to Low from its default ‘Auto’ mode reduces the cloud’s brightness a little, but it’s still very much in your face. And in the process of reducing the brightness you’ve also lost lots of shadow detail.