Although hanging a flatpanel TV on the wall of your living room is a mouthwatering prospect, the number of buyers doing just that is low. However, Toshiba’s latest supermodel – the 40XF355D – is dead set on redressing the balance thanks to its record-breaking diet.
The sumptuous 40XF355D boasts the world’s slimmest bezel, making it look like something to hang in an art gallery – perhaps why Toshiba has resurrected the ‘Picture Frame’ moniker made famous by its popular slim-frame CRT sets.The result is a roaring success: the 40XF355D looks unlike any other LCD out there.
The connections roster is equally impressive. There are three HDMI 1.3 inputs, all supporting 1080/24p signals and advanced functionality outlined in the v1.3 specification. They’re joined by component and PC inputs, two RGB Scarts, plus optical digital and subwoofer audio outputs to inject some oomph into the proceedings.
More fantastic features await you elsewhere. The screen resolution is a Full HD 1920 x 1080, and picture processing comes courtesy of Active Vision LCD – but sadly not the 100Hz variety. A Freeview tuner, SRS WOW audio and an obscene amount of picture adjustments completean impressive package.
Despite the amount of features on board, Toshiba keeps it simple to use with clever menu architecture and a well-designed, ergonomic remote. Our only moan is theon-screen text, which is too small to read comfortably.
But pump some hi-def through its guts and such gripes melt from the memory. The 40XF355D produces blistering pictures with material from a Sky HD box or HD DVD player, up there with the best Toshiba has produced. The most striking aspect of the picture is its intense brightness, which gives images more kick than Wilkinson’s left boot and heightens the impact of the set’s dazzling colour reproduction.
Detail levels are astonishing, making a great case for picking a Full HD set over an HD-ready one. Our test HD DVD of 300 looks frighteningly crisp and three-dimensional, with the set bringing the movie’s CG-heavy visuals to life in a flurry of dust, blood and beautifully defined abs.
The movie’s crushed comic-book colour palette also provides a great showcase for the 40XF355D’s impressive black levels. It’s so often the Achilles Heel of a lesser LCD set, but not here – the depth of these dark tones makes the pictures look solid and cinematic.
It laps up hi-def pictures like a thirsty cat, but the set’s processing is versatile enough to keep the quality high when the resolution drops. Standard definition pictures look clean and crisp, particularly from thebuilt-in Freeview tuner. The loud, flamboyant colour schemes of studio-based daytime programmes look rich and noise-free, and the stable, responsive Freeview tuner ensures that watching TV is a glitch free experience.
Teaming up with Onkyo for the set’s speakers pays dividends, as the 40XF355D musters a rich, meaty sound that you don’t expect to hear from an LCD TV, and SRS WOW adds a dash of sonic sparkle.
The 40XF355D isn’t exactly cheap, but it more than justifies its price tag with an eye-catching design, exquisite performance and plentiful features. Hang it high.