Sometimes the TV world really is a place of extremes. No sooner have we salivated over a 65-inch monster from Panasonic than we find ourselves perched in front of a 19-inch LCD 'portable'. What's more, at around £200, the HD Ready Toshiba Regza 19AV505DB has a price tag as small as its screen.
The 19AV505DB is cheap -- remarkably cheap -- especially considering that its screen achieves an HD Ready resolution (1,440x900 pixels), in spite of its diminutive size.
It's also a better-looking set than you'd expect for the money. Its high-gloss, black bezel, with neatly rounded corners, would sit very well in any kitchen, study, children's room, bedroom or conservatory.
Not surprisingly, the 19AV505DB isn't bulging with features. But it does at least have a dynamic backlight system, via which the TV can achieve a strikingly high contrast ratio of 8,500:1. Plus there's a built-in digital tuner, and even a colour-management function that lets you fiddle around with the TV's various colour components.
We're happy to say that the single most likeable thing about the 19AV505DB is its picture performance, which surpassed our expectations in almost every department.
Its colours, for instance, are much more vivid, but also natural in tone, than we usually find at the small end of the TV market. This is true even when watching standard-definition material, with which many lesser TVs struggle.
Good colours usually owe a debt of gratitude to a good contrast range and black level response, and so it proves here. The 19AV505DB shows nowhere near as much greyness over black parts of the picture as we've become accustomed to seeing on affordable portable LCD TVs, and this helps it to give dark scenes unusual authenticity and depth.
Its images are also very sharp for such a small TV -- so much so that they clearly reveal the difference between high-definition and standard-definition sources, despite the small screen size and even though the set reproduces standard definition with more crispness than most rivals.
Helping the sharpness along is one final strong point of the 19AV505DB: less motion blurring than you get with most affordable small TVs.
The 19AV505DB isn't as well connected as we'd like, with only one HDMI and no D-Sub PC port. You can hook up a PC to the HDMI but this makes the provision of just one HDMI even harder to take.
Although the 19AV505DB's black levels are essentially good, dark scenes are plagued by thin lines of backlight seepage over the extreme edges of the screen. The image area affected by this is, thankfully, very small but we'd rather not see the phenomenon at all.
The 19AV505DB's pictures also aren't the brightest we've seen, meaning the TV's not a great option for conservatory use, and we spotted some gentle, sporadic judder when watching HD sources too. It also seemed to us that some really bright scenes looked rather bleached-out in places.
Finally, in common with many other small LCD TVs, the 19AV505DB's speakers are severely lacking in bass and power, making all but the most one-dimensional mixes sound thin and slightly harsh.
The Toshiba Regza 19AV505DB isn't without its faults, especially in the audio department, but it's still a valiant attempt at delivering genuine picture quality, a cute design and a decent feature set for very little money. That should be enough to earn it an appreciative following.
Edited by Charles Kloet