Buying Guide
best tv
Best TV 2012

For less than £400 (around AU$615/US$648) our hopes of seeing something genuinely impressive were pretty small, but the Toshiba 32RL958 pulls a rabbit out of the hat; nicely upscaled standard definition pictures are the highlight on a 32-inch TV with living room-friendly features galore.

We liked

It's great to see smart TV apps - especially the BBC iPlayer - on a TV this affordable, while having it all fuelled by Wi-Fi is great news, too. Add Full HD, Freeview HD and a trio of HDMI inputs and the hardware - including the gloss black styling and streamlined remote control - is impressive.

However, what we liked most about the Toshiba 32RL958 was its ability to upscale digital TV programmes, and its skill with digital video files from a USB flash drive. All SD sources look immaculate - and HD doesn't look bad, either.

We disliked

Motion blur is a definite problem with the Toshiba 32RL958. Panning shots in particular are poorly displayed, while the Toshiba 32RL958 has a lack of contrast and black level, too.

We're also not convinced by Toshiba Places, which lacks apps and isn't as polished a user interface as it could be, while it would be nice to see more than AVI video files handled over a network.

Final verdict

As versatile a TV as we've seen, Toshiba's diminutive 32RL958 is one of the best value 32-inch televisions around. Freeview HD channels are handled exquisitely, with the relatively small Edge LED-backlit LCD panel offering clean standard definition and HD images that have plenty of detail.

It's also great to see Wi-Fi and some semblance of smart TV apps - including BBC iPlayer and YouTube - on a TV of this low price. It won't do much of a job in a home cinema, where its size and lack of black level and contrast will soon become apparent, but as a living room TV there are few better options for such little spend.

Also consider

If you're after a more polished-looking - and even unique - design, then the Sony KDL-32HX753 is worth a look, and comes with a slight upgrade in terms of both picture quality and smart TV apps, too - as well as adding 3D.

Something from Samsung is probably worth considering too - try the 32ES6300, which adds 3D, too - as does the Panasonic TX-L32E5B. The latter has a wider viewing angle, a better smart TV platform and supports lossless FLAC music files over a network, but lacks Wi-Fi.