Toshiba 55wl863b

Sound quality

It is, of course, always difficult for super-slim TVs to deliver an even half decent soundstage. But the 55WL863's audio track isn't just half-decent - it's actually fully decent!

The built-in speakers can go impressively loud for a start, and they do so without distorting, even during action scenes. Voices sound really clean, clear and believable too, proving just how open and expansive the set's midrange is.

Treble information is handled really well as well, adding lots of detail to the soundstage without sounding harsh.

Bass is the inevitable weakness, but there's at least a sense of low frequency information - and because the mid-range is so open, the soundstage seldom sounds unbalanced.

Value

At £1800 the 55WL863 isn't a bad price at all for such a large, beautifully constructed and mostly very talented screen. It's not quite as well featured as one or two other brands' flagship TVs, for sure, and its Places online service needs more content to join its well-designed interface.

But then Panasonic's equivalent P55VT30, LG's equivalent 55LW980T and Samsung's equivalent UE55D7000 all cost significantly more, so it's easy to imagine many people thinking the Toshiba does more than enough given its relative cheapness.

Ease of use

Considering what a potentially complicated TV the 55WL863 is, it's actually quite easy to use. Toshiba's latest concentric circle main menu arrangement is well thought through and excellently presented, and while the reversion to a standard 'list' format once you've found your preferred 'submenu' is a touch disappointing, these lists are still easy to read and reasonably well organised.

Also sensible is the way Toshiba has divvied up its options so that the more sophisticated calibration features only come up if you really go looking for them, ensuring that mainstream, more casual users don't have to be faced with reams of features they have no intention of using.

The remote control is a bit of an oddity. It's buttons are adequately laid out and very responsive, and Toshiba has attempted to continue the theme of segregating different levels of functionality by using a sliding silver cover that can be positioned over different button groupings.

While clever, though, it's hard to imagine many people using the slide in the way it was meant to be used, and as a result it will likely just feel like an unnecessary contrivance to most people.