The good news is that despite the lack of 100Hz processing, the 40XF355D isn’t plagued by motion smearing. OK, so there is a distinct loss of resolution when objects move across the screen, but it’s no worse than the majority of current LCD TVs on the market.
As you’d expect, the 40XF355D sports both digital and analogue tuners, although you’re unlikely to use the latter. There’s also a CI slot so you can add subscription services like Setanta Sports, although you’ll probably want to be watching your footie in HD if you buy this screen. Like all the recent Toshiba LCD TVs I’ve looked at, the 40XF355D does a good job of scaling standard definition images, even from low bit rate Freeview channels. There’s very good handling of compression artefacts and pictures look generally smooth and noise free.
Unfortunately, the slightly dull overall look remains when watching standard definition content. If you’ve got the patience to manually tweak this TV you can produce a brighter picture that doesn’t make everyone look ill, but it’s a tricky balance to achieve. To be fair, the standard Movie setting works well enough as long as the room is dark, but with an LCD you shouldn’t have to dim the lights too much to get the best results.
The speakers on 40XF355D are mounted below the screen in a chrome surrounded recess – design wise this looks great, just like the rest of the TV, but unfortunately the resulting sound isn’t quite as attractive. Despite sporting the same Onkyo sound system as other Regza TVs, the sound stage on the 40XF355D is worryingly narrow, while action scenes lose all sense of drama. The obvious answer is to make use of the subwoofer output, but I can’t help but think that the kind of buyer who wants a space saving TV isn’t going to want a big subwoofer in their living room.
When it comes to price it’s clear that Toshiba feels that the 40XF355D is a premium product in its range and should therefore carry a premium price, which is understandable. However, with a street price of around £1,140, it’s actually more expensive than the 42in Z series model that sits at the top of the range. Add to this the fact that the 42in Toshiba 42X3030D TV can be had for under £800, and the XF series really does start to look pricey.
Ultimately though, the XF series is a targeted product. Toshiba has created a TV with a viewable screen size that belies its physical dimensions, and if you want to squeeze the largest possible screen into a limited space the 40XF355D is definitely worth considering.
Toshiba should be congratulated for creating a TV with such small physical dimensions relative to the viewable screen. For anyone who thought that they could only fit a 37in or smaller TV into their living room, the 40XF355D is a compelling proposition. However, if you can accommodate a 42in TV, you could buy the superior 42Z3030D for a little less, or the 42X3030D for considerably less.