Toshiba 37rl853b

Don't expect to get calls from angry neighbours complaining about the sound coming from the 37RL853's speakers. They're ok for regular daytime telly but are seriously underpowered for watching more involving material such as TV dramas and movies.

The presence of Surround settings in the menu should be taken with a rock of salt; according to the manual "Stereo Extension and Voice Enhancement help to create an enhanced surround sound experience. Your TV's audio will sound fuller, richer, and wider." Voice Enhancement does give dialogue a small lift but it's bordering on egregious to claim the 37RL853 can generate a surround soundfield.

Value

Priced at only £50 more than its 32-inch 32RL853 stablemate the 37-inch 37RL853 looks like something of a bargain.

It may lack a few niceties such as USB recording, 100Hz processing and a broader Smart TV selection but it gives other 37-inch screens a good run for their money. Samsung's UE37D5000 for example doesn't have a Freeview HD tuner.

Ease of use

Setting up the screen is no more taxing than making tea and toast. The operating system is substance over style, the latter of which it really doesn't have a lot of. But it is easy and uncomplicated to navigate the menus and the remote control has the right number of important command buttons on it.

The Quick button is especially useful for accessing features such as Picture mode, Picture size, connected TV and channel options (adding to favourites, locking, etc). Some of the buttons on the remote are fiddly, which seems odd when there's a fair bit of unused real estate that would have allowed for a more user-friendly layout. But overall it's a decent effort.

It's annoying that the full instruction manual is only available as a PDF that you have to download, and a bit cheeky of Toshiba to shift the printing cost to its customers. And surprising as it may seem, not everyone has access to a computer.

The Freeview EPG is one of the best around in that it displays 13 channels over 2.5 or 1.25 hours and uses black text on a white background. It also has a handy genre guide and search facility but it can be slow to load sometimes.

The networking and online features are mercifully simple to set-up but the file handling is clunky and laboured. Loading photos and videos on a Toshiba netbook took ages and the folders are displayed in a boring grid structure with no visual information. Unsurprisingly, file compatibility is far from comprehensive and certainly not consistent.