Ease of use
It's a little disappointing, if not really surprising, to find that the Toshiba 46TL868B's on-screen menus aren't the slick new 'radial wheel' affairs sported by Toshiba's latest flagship TV sets. Especially since the ones you get instead are rather drab and a little long-winded to negotiate your way around.
They are, though, perfectly legible, and once you've calibrated the TV for the first time, there's not that much need to delve back into them again very often.
Other frustrations include difficulties playing back some kinds of files from PCs that don't use Windows 7, and the fact that stupidly, neither the BBC iPlayer nor YouTube apps can be accessed directly from the Places menus. Instead, if you choose iPlayer or YouTube from there, you just get a message telling you to quit Places and access the apps via a different route.
The Places system is otherwise a great addition to the weird and occasionally wonderful array of smart TV interfaces that have emerged in recent times.
As well as looking colourful and inviting, and organising content in a logical way, there are also admirable attempts at personalising the Places system so that it can be adapted to suit different members of your household.
It's going to be really interesting to see where Toshiba takes this impressive start as 2012 plays out.
Turning to the remote control, we like the new design Toshiba has provided for the Toshiba 46TL868B. It's stylish and exceptionally weighty and robust for something that's partnering a budget set. Not all of the buttons have been given the appropriate level of prominence, perhaps, and there's a slight top-heaviness to its design that led us to nearly drop it a couple of times. But overall, it's a winner.
While very slim bodies like the one encasing the Toshiba 46TL868B might be easy on the eye, they don't tend to be compatible with great sound quality. There simply isn't enough room to squeeze in a good quality pair of speakers.
And the Toshiba 46TL868B does not, sadly, prove to be the exception to this rule.
While its audio is perfectly adequate - maybe even slightly better than that - for typical, undemanding TV shows, a good Hollywood action scene or two soon exposes a serious lack of deep bass, as well as an inability to expand the soundstage anywhere near wide enough to avoid sounding flat and thin.
The Toshiba 46TL868B's size and price could potentially make it a very popular gaming monitor. So it was pleasing to only measure an average input lag figure of around 38ms when using the TV's Game preset. This is by no means the best figure around, but it shouldn't be enough to be responsible for many of your gaming failings.
The Toshiba 46TL868B's features and design alone would more than justify its cost. So by the time you've added in its hugely engaging 2D and 3D pictures, you've got a set that's such great value for money it's almost silly.