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Good: Picture quality, aesthetic design
Bad: VARIOUS FAULTS - see below...
Comment: ** REVIEW UPDATE **
Last week I posted the first user review of this TV and I was generally impressed by it. Having now had more time with it I feel obligated to update my review since, unfortunately, the set is riddled with small but very problematic faults.
I've now had 2 separate brand new 47WL968b's, the second a replacement for the first. Both have had the same faults and I've now returned it for a refund. The seller has confirmed that the same issues have been reported by other customers too. These faults include:
- Wireless disconnections. The TV disconnects, typically after being turned off, and then cannot see my router. More specifically, I have a dual band router and had it connected to a 5Ghz signal. When it disconnects it will usually still see the 2.4ghz signal. But then later it sometimes loses this too, and then might see the 5Ghz signal again. None of the other four wireless devices in the house have had this issue. Three of those use the 5Ghz signal.
- HDMI 'static'. I use a Panasonic BD 5.1 cinema system connected via HDMI. On both TVs, on all 3 of the HDMI ports on the reverse, there is constant visual 'static' in the form of a snowy, speckly effect and frequent flashes which cross the screen. there's also freuent audio pops and high pitched squeels. This only seems to happen before putting a BD disc in. Though it continues if you put a CD in (I use the system as my hifi too, so it's no good). The BD player is absolutely fine connected to another TV I have with the same HDMI cable.
- System crashes. The TV has turned itself off a few times. It's also locked up a few times when turned on, becoming unresposnvie to either the remote or the buttons on the set. Only physically unplugging it at the mains had an effect.
The retailer suggested it might be a bad batch, but that to me would mean a specific piece of hardware in it is faulty, e.g. the wireless card, and these faults are too varied. I suspect it's a firmware problem. That in itself is really good news - it means that TV could well be updated at any time. But equally, that update might never come, or might not fix all the faults. For the cost of the TV, that's a risk I'm just not willing to take, and based on the current issues I just can't recommend buying it.
It's a shame, since fundamentally my original review stands, IF these issues can be fixed. It really does have a great picture, and the design is gorgeous. I would say that the smart features and media browsing are quite ugly and basic, having seen others. But overall it's a good TV. Toshiba just need to get the mutliple faults with it fixed in order to justify a purchase.
Good: Aesthetic design, picture quality and processing features, ease of setup, network compatibility, 2D-to-3D conversion,
Bad: Slightly clunky remote, menus a bit fiddly, printed manual not very detailed.
Comment: I'll start by saying that I'm by no means a home cinema aficionado, although I'm no technophobe either - I'm an IT professional, a gadget fan, movie fan, and an avid console gamer. So, I guess you could say this review is written from the point of view of a knowledgeable hobbyist.
This TV replaced a 5 year old 42" LG LCD model which I've given to my parents. The LG was always great, but this new Toshiba is in a class above. First off, out of the box, it looks amazing. It's single sheet face of edge-to-edge glass is gorgeous, and the rest of the set is just as sleek. Once hooked up, the initial set up process is smooth and a breeze to get through. The picture quality is, as the pro reviews have stated, fantastic - HD pictures are striking and lifelike, and the TVs various features allow the image to be toned to a level of brightness, contrast, and definition that's just right for you. Standard definition pictures are however a little grainy at times, but are far from terrible. I've got a Blu Ray 5.1 surround system (Panasonic SA-BT200) hooked up to it along with a NAS box too - the images displayed from full 1080p .mkv movie files on the NAS box are incredible, with the TV's picture moulding features losing none of their effect on the format. Although it's Blu-Ray where the TV really comes into it's own. Many scenes, such as the scene in Star Trek where young Kirk steals a car and races it through the midwest's contryside, look like you're actually there. Of the various picture settings available, it's 'Resolution+' and 'Clearscan' that will really blow you away. Some pro reviews have stated that Clearscan (a frame interpolation feature) can cause some blurry artefacts in scenes with lots of motion if set to 'High', although I haven't noticed it. But then, there are 'low' and 'mid' settings for Clearscan too. Resolution+ makes an immediate, vast improvement to edge detail and sharpness without causing grainyness that simply racking the 'sharpness' setting up can do. I use an XBox 360, which again looks amazing on this TV, although I've only had a quick go. Strangely, the 'Game' display mode has Clearscan blanked out, although you can choose to use any other display mode where Clearscan is available if you want to.
Pro reviews have made point of the 3D performance being blurry. I haven't got a 3D Sky box or BD player, so it's hard for me to comment. Although with that said, the '2D to 3D' feature, which I expected to be pretty lame, impressed both me, my girlfriend, and a group of friends when we tried it out yesterday. You can also adjust elements like the 3D depth of the conversion.
Also, Wireless connectivity is capable of anything up to 802.11 a/n (300mbps), which is fantastic before you even consider that it's dual-band and connects to 5Ghz signals if you have a dual band router (basically the latest networking tech - 5Ghz = less interference, faster speeds). BUT... I have, in the 3 days I've had the TV, had it disconnect and then be unable to see the network for no apparent reason twice. If this keeps up it could be the biggest flaw for me and will result in me cabling it into my router instead - something that might not be possible for everyone (e.g. if your router is nowhere near the TV.) But this might have just been a fluke event.
That said, the negatives are the admittedly limited smart TV functions (although they're not terrible and may grow via firmware updates), and the remote, which has fiddly buttons and isn't very well laid out. Also, the TV is laiden with menus which can be navigated if you're savvy enough, but they're not the most intuitive, and the manual is prety limited. For example, I found how to add TV channels to a favourites list completely by accident, and then had to re-discover how I did it and what some other nearby features did via trial and error.
So, overall, I'd say this TV is excellent if you're like me - a tech and cinema fan, but not a total control freak who concerns themselves with the exact depth of black-to-white ratios, white balance standards and pro colour settings. To my meagre human eyes the TV looks astounding, and definitely a level above a 'typical' LED/LCD TV. But what might really top it off, perhaps the best thing of all... is that I got this for £699 via a Groupon deal (on 30/4/13). Even at full price it's a great set, but if you can catch the Groupon deal again (and they typically appear more than once), then it's an absolute steal.
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