Hands on: Toshiba 40L2436 LED TV review

No smart TV, but a solid-looking full HD set with lots of options and inputs

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Our Early Verdict

It may 'only' be 1080p, but the 40L2436 is a solid performer and looks like a bargain.

For

  • Super slim
  • PVR
  • Good viewing angle

Against

  • No smart TV features
  • Basic spec
  • Only two HDMI inputs

Among the diamond-encrusted screens, the 85-inch behemoths and the curved TVs at IFA 2014, there are at least some affordable tellies aimed at your average punter after a bargain. Toshiba has long been a company that prefers to stick to what people want, and this 40-incher in its new L24 Series is nothing if not back-to-basics – but with extras. A Full HD slim LED TV with a 200Hz scanning mode, the £379 40L2436 adds PVR functionality, but it's no smart TV.

The way the 40L2436 looks is everything. It doesn't break any boundaries, but it's certainly a more refined look than the 40-incher in the L2 Series that it replaces. There's some different tooling going on, with the bezel much slimmer (at barely 9mm on all sides), while the bottom section – which previously stretched right across the entire TV – is now slimmer, and centred. There's now a few inches to spare either side, which lends the 40L2436 a slender look indeed. Even more so with the new desktop stand design, which has been holed-out.

Toshiba 40L2436
With a new stand, the range has a more refined look

"The design is lighter, it's much slimmer and more aesthetically pleasing," Allen Pestell, senior product manager for European TV and B2B at Toshiba told TechRadar. "It's basically got a different chassis to the previous L2 Series sets – this one has a reduced depth, a reduced deco section, and an overall lighter, more airy feel to the desktop stand section. We've made a 40-inch TV with much smaller footprint than the previous 40-inch in the L2 Series."

It's actually reminiscent of the design gracing three prototype U Series 4K Ultra HD 4K TVs elsewhere on Toshiba's IFA 2014 stand, so it's perhaps a sign of things to come.

However, the most noticeable change to the L2 chassis is that all of the 40L2436's electronics have been stored in the lower half of the TV, which gives the top half of the TV a super-slim depth. For a basic LED TV, it's quite an achievement; the fat-boy flat TV is officially dead.

Features

A Full HD telly with a slim LED-backlit panel, the 40L2436 isn't a smart TV. Its key new feature is that it now offers personal video recording, though that does mean buying a separate HDD. Toshiba is showing-off many of those very close to the 40L2436, with one innovation in particular catching our eye. Toshiba's PX3002E-1HJ0 Stor-E Alu TV kit (which is out now and sells on Amazon) for £60) is a machined aluminium bracket with a holster for holding a HDD (1TB HDD with USB 3.0 included).

Toshiba 40L2436
Ooooooh, look at that bracket

It screws into the VESA wall-mounting holes on TVs, four of which feature on the 40L2436. Do that and you've got a stable solution not only for making recordings from its integrated Freeview HD tuner, but also for pausing live TV straight from the rather short remote control.

Elsewhere on the 40L2436 is a raft of ins and outs comprising a side-panel of a USB slot, HDMI input and headphones socket ranged above a hard-button standby switch, volume up and down, and an input toggler. Nearby on the rear is a RGB Scart, a set of component video inputs, an RF input to fuel the Freeview HD tuner, and a RGB PC input – the latter analogue connection increasingly rare on TVs. The on-sale version will have a second HDMI slot.

Toshiba 40L2436
Inputs live at the side and on the back

It also includes media player software that support playback of digital music, video and photo files. Meanwhile, for audio, the 40L2436 offers a virtual surround sound mode and compatibility with Dolby Digital Plus.

Performance

The 40L2436's picture is largely influenced by Toshiba's Active Motion & Resolution+ 200 tech, an algorithm that attempts to banish blur from fast motion. It was hard to judge on the show floor at IFA, but the brightness and the colour impressed, as did the viewing angle.

Recordings can be scheduled straight from the 40L2436's electronic programme guide.

Early verdict

The 40L2436 – which is accompanied by the 50-inch 50L2436 also showing at IFA 2014 – will go on sale in the UK shortly. The spec is pretty basic, but the price is low, and with the addition of PVR recording and a new, slimmer look and smaller chassis, the 40L2436 ought to sell a whole lot more than the top-end TVs dominating most other stands at IFA 2014.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.