Toshiba has recently been focusing most of its energies on the budget end of the market, which means many of the sets we've looked at of late have been rather chubby, due to their reliance on traditional CCFL backlighting. With the higher end Toshiba Regza 32SL753B, however, the company has used LED technology instead, giving this £600 TV a much more slender and stylish look.
Cheap and less chunky
The 32SL753B is certainly not the slimmest LED set we've seen. With a depth of around 50mm, it is, however, much thinner than other recent 32-inchers from Toshiba, such as the cheaper 32LV713B, which is almost twice as deep. The styling is also significantly different -- this model has an attractive transparent edge framing the screen. It all adds up to a much more alluring look than the plain finish of Toshiba's budget models. It has to be said, however, the design still doesn't look as classy as mid-range sets from the likes of Samsung and LG.
Take a quick peek around the back of the TV and you'll find the set has a pretty decent line-up of ports and sockets. There are three HDMI ports on the rear, as well as one side-mounted for easy access. These are joined by a set of component inputs, a pair of Scart sockets and a VGA input. There's also a an optical-digital-audio output for feeding sound from the on-board Freeview HD tuner to an external surround-sound amp.
As you would expect, setting up the TV is very straightforward. The first time you turn it on, on-screen instructions guide you through the initial configuration and channel-tuning. Since the TV has a Freeview HD tuner, the HD services from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 appear in the electronic programme guide (EPG) alongside the usual line-up of standard-definition channels. Toshiba's menu system is also pretty snappy to use and, although the menus aren't as bright and colourful as LG's current range, they're still easy to find your way around. We've had issues with the EPG on some of Toshiba's previous sets, but the one used here is in a different class. Its horizontal layout, clean graphics and speedy performance make it a pleasure to use.
Slow surfing and networking niggles
There are some annoying quirks that creep in here and there. Firstly, like many of Toshiba's recent TVs, the channel changes are noticeably sluggish. For example, it can take as long as six seconds to switch from one channel to another, and even longer if the channel happens to be HD. Also, when you press the 'info' button, the info menu covers the entire screen, completely obscuring the current channel, whereas most other sets just display it in a box at the bottom of the screen.
The set does have both a USB port and an Ethernet jack on the rear for digital-media playback. You can only play photos from USB devices, but Toshiba says it should stream photos, music and videos over a home network from DLNA-certified devices. Although we could successfully connect it to our network, it refused to play any files from a PC running Vista or a Linksys network-attached-storage (NAS) drive. It did play DivX and Xvid files from a Windows 7 laptop, so it seems to be quite fussy about the devices it will work with.
On the bright side...
Nevertheless, things start to get back on track when it comes to picture quality. The TV is able to produce impressively deep black levels that, thankfully, don't come at the expense of shadow detail. Although the TV's movie preset initially looked a little yellowy for our tastes, this was relatively easy to fix thanks to the comprehensive picture controls. Once we'd adjusted the preset and fed the TV with a good-quality Blu-ray disc, it was impressive just how rich its colours managed to appear.
HD material was also rendered with stunning sharpness, although on a screen of this size that's not exactly difficult to achieve. In saying that, even standard-definition channels tended to look quite crisp and detailed, especially if you call into play the set's Resolution+ image-processing system. This does a good job of sharpening up standard-definition pictures without introducing much in the way of extra noise.
As is often the case on slimmer LED TVs, sound is one of the weakest aspects of the telly. Despite the inclusion of a bass-boost feature as well as a multi-band graphic equaliser tucked away in the sound menu, the set just never manages to deliver audio with any real punch. As a result, action movies and music channels tend to sound overly weedy, so this is definitely a TV you'd be better off twinning with a decent surround-sound set-up.
The Toshiba Regza 32SL753 is an attractive set that's capable of producing some great-looking pictures thanks to its impressive SD and HD performance. It's also relatively cheap for the range of features on offer. On the other hand, its fussy media-streaming behaviour and slow channel transitions mean we can't quite give it a full thumbs-up.
Edited by Emma Bayly