Toshiba's first real stab at introducing some of its CEVO processing power into its UK TVs isn't without its flaws, but it's still a very nice TV overall.
The attraction begins with its design. For while the 55WL863 doesn't look particularly glamorous from a distance, get up close and you can really appreciate both its exceptional slimness and its terrific metallic build quality.
It's also got all the connections most people will need, including an extensive suite of multimedia tools such as video/photo/music playback from DLNA PCs, USB multimedia playback (including DivX HD), recording from the HD tuners to USB drives, and Toshiba's Places online service.
'Places' is a little content-light right now, but it's a cloud-based service, so content levels will surely increase over time. At which point you will likely really start to appreciate its pretty interface and clever attempts to offer personalised experiences for all the members of your household.
Toshiba has had a fair stab at appealing to the high-end 'installation' market by offering a solid set of picture adjustments and even an auto calibration system, and best of all the 55WL863 produces far and away the best picture quality Toshiba has yet delivered from a flat-panel TV. The addition of Resolution+ to the 3D environment delivers some particularly mesmerising results.
Some minor red saturation and some more troubling 3D crosstalk issues take a little of the sheen off, but overall the 55WL863 remains well worth at least a trial run.
The 55WL863's build quality is gorgeous, and its connections leave no stone unturned in catering for these modern multimedia times.
The presentation of its Places online service is superb too, and its attempts to personalise the TV for different users are worthy. There's a satisfying degree of calibration flexibility as well, and best of all the TV's picture quality is mostly excellent.
The remote supplied with the 55WL863 isn't as helpful as it thinks it is. Also, the Places service needs to have more content added to get closer to the online services offered by rival brands, and it's a shame the otherwise exemplary 3D pictures are let down by noticeable crosstalk.
There's some minor light bleed in the picture's corners during dark scenes too, but this isn't nearly as bad a problem as it is on some of Toshiba's other TVs this year.
While there's a nagging sense that Toshiba could perhaps have used its CEVO Engine processing a bit more overtly in the 55WL863, it's still the case that the system has helped Toshiba deliver a really good TV that deserves a place at the top table of TV quality this year.
The set's multimedia support is good, and its 2D pictures are sharp, colourful, bright and natural for the most part. What's more, 3D pictures are in some ways the best we've seen, with just the existence of crosstalk noise letting them down.
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