And so to the million dollar question: do the 37XV635’s extra feature flourishes over the 37AV635 make their presence felt in its performance?
Happily, I’d say they do. But sadly I’d say their impact is not quite potent enough to make the 37XV635 the budget classic I’d hoped it might be.
For me the single most significant improvement comes with the 37XV635’s black level response, which definitely looks more convincing than that of its cheaper sibling. Post calibration, there’s less greyness in dark areas, giving dark scenes a better sense of depth and believability.
The 100Hz engine, meanwhile, does make moving objects look slightly crisper than they do on the 37AV635. The level of improvement isn’t as startling as I might have hoped for, and there’s still a bit of judder. But any improvement is better than none, I guess.
I found myself even more impressed than usual by Toshiba’s Resolution+ system too, since far from collapsing under the strain of converting standard definition to a full HD rather than HD Ready TV, the extra pixel count in the 37XV635 actually merely reinforces how clever Toshiba’s engine is at adding detail to standard def pictures without making them look more noisy. Provided, at least, that you only leave the Resolution+ engine set to around three.
With this upscaling ability in mind, it’s rather puzzling to discover that the 37XV635 certainly isn’t the sharpest TV we’ve seen when showing HD sources. Don’t get me wrong; HD pictures are clearly sharper and cleaner than standard def ones, despite the TV’s talents at upscaling standard definition sources. But there’s also no denying that some rival brands – Samsung, Philips and Sony in particular – have competitive TVs that make HD images look markedly sharper and more detailed.
Another problem common to most of Toshiba’s TVs this generation is that the 37XV635 doesn’t look as bright as I’d like it to, once its settings have been modified to deliver a good black level performance. This can lead to one or two colours during dark scenes looking slightly restrained or muted – or at any rate, not quite in the same tonal plane as the set’s brighter colours.
The 37XV635’s sound gets us back on the improvement trail, as there’s slightly more power and dynamic range to its soundstage than you get with the 37AV635. These improvements aren’t quite enough to stop the speakers from sounding rather muffled in the mid-range when pushed hard by an action scene, but as I stated once before, any improvement is better than none!
On balance, I would argue that the 37XV635 does improve on the 37AV635 sufficiently to justify you spending more to get it. However, hopes that the improvements might be strong enough to make the 37XV635 a budget classic aren’t quite realised.