Sitting at around £600, the Toshiba Regza 40SL753 is a pretty well-priced TV. It has an LED backlight system, which will help reduce both energy consumption and the amount of space needed to house it. Cheap is always good for us, and getting a 40-inch screen for around £600 seems very appealing.
The SL range isn't designed to be the most exciting of the Toshiba family, but it does offer a slim styling, with a reasonably smart design. The bezel is quite chunky, which gives the TV a sort of cheap look. It's by no means unpleasant, but it's not going to impress in the same way a more slender set would. Compare this TV to models from Samsung and LG and you get the impression the Koreans have better understood modern TV design than the Japanese.
You do get four HDMI sockets on the set, though, three of which are at the back. A further side-mounted connection adorns the right-hand side of the TV. Two USB sockets and an SD card reader give you access to photo slideshows.
Most new mid-range TVs are fitted with 200Hz picture technology. The TV manufacturers claim this adds a silky smooth look to the way a TV reproduces movies. In fact, our testing with Blu-ray films didn't leave us with much concern about the way the TV handled motion. Toshiba continues to include the picture modes that aim to eliminate film judder, but we still refuse to use them, as they destroy the picture.
Cut out the annoying advert noise
Like us, you're probably annoyed by and have arguments with your significant other about the volume of the TV. Even though it's not our fault, we sometimes get flack for not being quick enough at turning the sound off when idiotic people start trying to sell you things by shouting. Dolby Volume addresses this by watching the sound that comes in to the TV and moderating it. This means quiet scenes are boosted and loud noise is reduced.
Now, normally we wouldn't endorse mucking about with the audio in this way, but Dolby has proved that it is capable of processing sound well, and without destroying the original audio. Our tests of Dolby Volume show it's a subtle difference, and one you probably won't notice unless your hearing is really fine-tuned.
It sounds daft, but having an easily accessible power switch on the side of the TV does make us more inclined to turn the TV off overnight, rather than leaving it on standby. To reduce consumption to nothing, just flick this switch off before bed, and you'll save meaningful amounts of money each year.
The Toshiba also scores high on the eco-friendly index because it has both an LED backlight and the ability to dim the lights if it detects you're in a darkened room. When it comes to watching movies, we prefer to avoid this mode because it can cause the brightness to change while we're watching. As with most LED TVs, though, the backlight can easily be knocked down to nearly the minimum level without a detrimental effect on the picture quality.
Sound isn't terrific
With Dolby Volume and a technology Toshiba calls SoundNavi -- for reasons we'll never understand -- we hoped the audio quality of the TV would be quite good. Sadly, that's not entirely true. We found the sound a little hollow and, while dialogue was clear enough, it didn't have a very pleasing tone. This is okay for watching the news, but we'd try to avoid the TV's built-in speakers for anything more ambitious. It's by no means a disaster, and TV speakers mostly aren't up to much, but it still upsets us that such little emphasis is placed on built-in speakers.
When we tested Freeview in HD, SD and Blu-ray, we were quite impressed with this Tosh overall. The backlight is reasonably even, which means no bright spots. Standard-definition Freeview was passable, but we could certainly tell the bit rate was lower than desirable.
HD from the built-in Freeview HD tuner was decent, too, although there wasn't a massive amount of fine detail in the pictures, and they weren't always as sharp as we felt they could be. Some of this might be down to the quality of the broadcast, but we also noticed the same with HD material from media streamers and Blu-ray.
While Blu-ray was better than Freeview HD, we still weren't stunned by the picture. With the TV set to its 'cinema' picture mode, colours seemed natural and there was enough detail to make the investment in a Blu-ray player worthwhile. Avoid the 'standard' picture mode -- it's far too bright for accurate picture reproduction.
Media and DLNA
An optional Wi-Fi dongle allows this TV to use wireless DLNA. There's also the option for wired Ethernet, too. When coupled with some powerline network adaptors, this could be quite an easy way of getting your media from your PC to the TV.
DLNA is a mixed bag, though, and doesn't always deliver great results -- it certainly can be a nightmare to set up. That said, it's good to see it on this TV, even if we don't think the intended audience for this set will ever make use of it.
The USB sockets built into the TV don't offer much support for anything other than photos. This is slightly disappointing, because a lot of the competition is doing full DivX and DivX HD media streaming on their screens now. It's not a deal-breaker, but it made us pout a little.
We found the Toshiba Regza 40SL753 to be a pretty decent set all round. It's a reasonable price for a 40-inch TV, but it's not a complete bargain, and you might find an LG set that offers more features for less money. Still, there's nothing here that would cause us to warn you off buying this TV. It offers fairly average performance, but for some people it will fit the bill nicely.
Edited by Emma Bayly