Toshiba’s latest largescreen LCD sets are currently earning rave reviews, so we’re hoping some of that quality has filtered down to the £450 20W330D.

This cute 20in TV features the same black and silver styling common to the Regza range, and would grace any kitchen or bedroom in which it’s placed.

The 20W330D’s sockets are standard, though the novelty of finding an HDMI on a 20in set still hasn’t worn off. Even more novel is the electrical digital audio output on the side. These are joined by a pair of Scarts (both RGB-capable), component video inputs and a welcome PC input.

Also on board is a digital TV tuner, which explains the presence of a common interface slot for pay TV channels on the rear. Further Freeview functionality comes in the form of a seven-day EPG, speedy digital text and interactive services.

Elsewhere there are three picture presets, MPEG noise reduction and a Film mode designed to improve reproduction of fast-moving action. The picture-in-picture mode could have been useful, but it only allows you to view the PC input and one other input. Meanwhile the set’s vital statistics make for good reading – contrast ratio is 700:1 with brightness of 450cd/m2.

The remote and onscreen displays and superbly designed and work in perfect harmony. Particularly impressive are the digital TV now-and-next information banners, which allow you to browse every channel without leaving the programme you’re watching. They’re packed with loads of programme details, even down to the programme genre and how long is left.

Tiny perfection

Overall the 20W330D is a decent performer. Much of this is down to the brightness of the picture, which makes outdoor scenes look vibrant and dynamic, but the set has enough contrast to stop pictures looking washed out.

A standard-def broadcast of Brokeback Mountain provides a great test, but reveals the set’s mixed colour handling capabilities. Heath Ledger’s skin tones have a slight green tinge compared with our reference plasma that no amount of tweaking can remove, but on the flip side the colours of Montana’s mountains are richly saturated without looking garish.

Things improve with hi-def material. Colours seem more natural and the extra lines of detail are reproduced with great precision. The presentation of Wimbledon on BBC HD is crisp and well defined, even down to the texture of Roger Federer’s misguided white jacket.

However, the Toshiba’s reproduction of blacks isn’t the most accomplished, and there’s a touch of backlight seepage at the bottom of the screen. Noise is also more prevalent than the Sony 20in on test in this LCD Special Edition.

Sonically the set’s 9W speakers deliver a reasonably clean and direct sound, though like many small screen LCDs there’s a distinct lack of bass that makes powerful noises seem thin and excessively sibilantat loud volumes.

Almost top dog

There are many things to admire about the 20W330D, such as its user-friendly digital TV interface, hi-def pictures, generous connectivity and competitive price tag. Just a few performance foibles allow its rivals to edge in.