The 40XF355D is a Full HD TV with a 1,920 x 1,080 panel that accepts 1080p signals in 24, 50 and 60Hz flavours. It’s also good to see Toshiba’s Exact Scan mode in evidence, which offers 1:1 pixel mapping when viewing 1080 sources. Toshiba quotes a 10000:1 contrast ratio, but as with most LCD TVs, this refers to dynamic contrast, where the backlight automatically dims down during dark scenes. Toshiba also claims a brightness level of 500cd/m2, which is par for the course with the current crop of LCD TVs.
Toshiba’s Active Vision picture processing engine makes an appearance, but the 100Hz version is conspicuous by its absence. Active Vision M100 is currently only available in the top of the range Z series, like the 42Z3030D that I reviewed recently. This is a shame, because there are bound to be buyers out there who want the slim design of the XF series coupled with the full feature set of the Z series. Thankfully Toshiba has realised this, and I have been told that Active Vision M100 will be making an appearance on the XF series next year.
So, Toshiba has the aesthetic design nailed with the 40XF355D, but can the pictures make as big an impression? The short answer is, not quite. That’s not to say that there’s much that’s intrinsically wrong with the images that this TV throws up, but they’re by no means perfect.
The biggest problem with this TV is black levels, which never quite manage to look convincingly black. The superb Blade Runner: The Final Cut on HD DVD really hammered this point home, since the whole film is pretty much as dark as it gets. Somehow the constant night in Ridley Scott’s masterpiece looks more like constant dusk, which consequently means that it’s harder to pick out detail than it should be. It’s not all bad news though, the innumerable neon billboards look frighteningly vivid, and the level of detail resolution that this Toshiba achieves is very impressive – the rain drops while Deckard shelters in the street and the wisps of smoke surrounding Bryant’s face are two standout examples.
The 40XF355D’s penchant for bright colours is even more evident when playing games, with the band animations really setting the scene in Guitar Hero III on the Xbox 360. Mass Effect looked similarly impressive, with its ground breaking character models rendered beautifully and the colourful landscapes looking rich and vibrant. But despite this impressive handling of colours, the overall picture has an oddly dull look to it. Switching to the Dynamic picture mode definitely brightens things up, but then everything just looks unnatural and plastic.
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