Toshiba 32SL738 review

Extremely cheap 32in edge LED TV with no Freeview HD and some frustrating picture issues

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Toshiba 32sl738

The 32SL738's picture quality has its moments, but ultimately feels a bit average by edge LED standards.

It's at its best with bright, colourful footage, as most LCD TVs are. With such footage – animation Blu-rays, studio news footage, chatshows and so on – your eye is treated to some appealingly richly saturated colours, decent, if hardly explosive, levels of sharpness and clarity, notwithstanding a little motion blur with standard-def and a little judder with Blu-rays, thanks to the lack of any 100Hz processing.

The motion issues aren't as continually distracting as they are on many other high-value 32in TVs, though.

Other strong points include a solid degree of subtlety when showing colour blends and tricky tonal shifts, even with skin tones and respectable upscaling of standard-definition that leaves programmes from the Freeview tuner looking at least a little sharper without drawing undue attention to any MPEG noise they might contain.

Anyone averse to overt video processing might enjoy the very natural look to the 32SL738's pictures, though a good image engine might have reduced judder and enhanced sharpness.

From here on in, though, the news is mostly bad. The worst flaw is inconsistent backlighting. The sample used in this test betrayed two obvious patches during dark scenes where the light level on show was notably higher than elsewhere on the screen.

One portion along around a third of the top right edge was really extremely noticeable, to the extent that it suggested a possible fault with this particular sample, but then these sorts of problems have been common with Toshiba's recent edge LED TVs.

Another issue is the 32SL738's black levels. While the set is capable of deep black hues the dynamic backlight is very clumsy and overbearing, reacting slowly to extreme changes in content, then often too strongly.

The result is that you often get distracted, especially during movies, by shifts in overall brightness as the screen tries to figure out how best to adjust its images to the changing content it's showing.

The active backlight problems will likely tempt many people to turn the feature off. Yet if you do, the general black level response takes a discernible hit – unless you're fortunate enough to be able to run the screen in a darkened room, where the picture can still look good with a very reduced brightness/backlight level.

Further issues find the set's backlight consistency problems being exaggerated if you start to move sideways from directly opposite the screen, and some slightly uncomfortable colour balances using the TV's out of the box settings. Reds look rather forced, for instance, and skin tones can look unnatural. The set does provide the colour management tools to address these problems, however.

Sound

During even a half-hearted action sequence the 32SL738 sounds woefully underpowered, with no bass at all and a very cramped mid-range that doesn't even have enough breathing room to allow treble details to emerge with any clarity or ease. At times some sound effects and vocals go more or less entirely AWOL, due to the speakers' inability to cope with anything but the most basic audio mix.

Value

The 32SL738 is a very attractive edge LED TV on paper, but its performance is underwhelming and some significant feature compromises have been made.

Ultimately, the 32SL738's £500 tag looks fair, rather than remarkable.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG2), DVB-T (MPEG2)
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Number of HDMI Ports3
Product FamilyREGZA SL738
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size81.3 cm (32")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Analog TunerNTSC, PAL, SECAM
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)10.90 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
VESA Mount Standard200 x 200
Operating Power Consumption73 W
Standby Power Consumption500 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio1,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
HDMI VersionHDMI 1.4
VGAYes
S-VideoYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand508 mm
Width with Stand775 mm
Depth with Stand208.20 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Height478.9 mm
Width775 mm
Depth36.7 mm
Brightness400 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Virtual Surround
Product SeriesSL738
Maximum Resolution1366 x 768
FeaturesAuto Program, Favorite Channel Selection, Teletext
ManufacturerToshiba
Product Model32SL738
Product NameREGZA 32SL738 LED-LCD TV
Product LineREGZA
Manufacturer Part Number32SL738B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

The SL738 series televisions, with their streamlined design and energy-saving LED technology, are a welcome addition to any part of the house - whether in the living room, bedroom, workroom or summer house.

Package Contents
  • REGZA 32SL738 LED-LCD TV
  • Remote Control
  • Remote Control Battery
  • TV Stand
  • Instruction Manual
Response Time5 ms
SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)9.30 kg