Hands on: Toshiba 84L9300 4K Ultra HD TV review

The only second-gen Ultra HD television in Las Vegas

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Slap bang in the middle of Toshiba's sizable concession at CES 2013 is an exhibit that underlines just how hard TV companies are working to convince us all that their latest invention – Ultra HD – really is worth having.

Two versions of the 84-inch 84L9300 – Toshiba's second-generation Ultra HD TVs after last year's ZL2 glasses-free 3D product – are perched along the front of the stand, one showing upscaled Blu-ray discs, and one native Ultra HD.

How the 84L9300 deals with upscaling is critical given the lack of native Ultra HD footage, and it actually does a good job thanks to its CEVO 4K Quad picture engine, something that's fuelled by a dual core processor.

Toshiba 4K TV

The upscaled film trailers from a Blu-ray disc that we were able to watch did look impressive and were notable for having well defined edges. A telltale sign of poor upscaling, it's the 84L9300's CQ Engine that's at work here as well as Resolution+, an upsacling tech that probably ranks as our favourite slab of TV processing tech around at the moment.

Toshiba 4K TV

However, switch sides and the native 4k material – playing from a RedRay 4k cinema player, them of the Red 5k cameras used in Hollywood – looks very special indeed. Unveiled to TechRadar just before CES 2013 got underway in near-blackout conditions, the 84L9300 is initially remarkable for its brightness.

Toshiba 4K TV

It may use LED-backlit LCD, the brightest panel tech of all, and which appears to be dominating the early years of Ultra HD, but all of those extra pixels enable the 4k panel to be exploited for intense detail and depth. This is in stark contrast to plasmas, which has until recently struggled to deliver enough brightness since the swap to Full HD resolutions.

The 84L9300 appears to thrive off its extra pixels – all eight million of them – and some footage of a car driving away into the horizon along a lonely desert highway really is window-like.

Toshiba 4K TV

The 84L9300, along with its siblings in the L9300 Series, the almost conservatively-sized 58-inch 58L9300 and 65-inch 65L9300, also get Cloud TV. Toshiba has gone for a Zeitgeist-grabbing name, but this latest tweak to smart TV has little to do with remote servers.

Wireless P2P tech MiraCast, an Apple AirPlay-type of idea that creates a direct link between a TV and a phone or tablet, is here, but while Cloud TV does offer a cloud-based service for the uploading of photos for displaying on the TV, it's limited to 50 per customer.

Toshiba 4K TV

Nor is the calendar in Cloud TV got much to do with the cloud. It's specific to the TV, and it can't be synced with schedules on iCal, Google Calendar or any other you might already use.

A Toshiba spokesman informed us that plans are afoot to quickly expand Cloud TV by adding a second dedicated server to handle messages and video up to a total of 5GB, though no timetable has been confirmed. Files can't be monitored by Toshiba, so users will be free to upload absolutely any video they choose.

Toshiba 4K TV

The EPG, however, is a big improvement. The web-generated MediaGuide supplied by Rovi (as opposed to EPGs sent over-the-air by broadcasters) was already the star of Toshiba's 2012 smart TVs. Here it gets a few more colours and an overall more nuanced look.

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.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Video Signal Standard4K UHDTV
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyL9300
3D Type3D
Smart TVYes
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size213.4 cm (84")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Backlight TechnologyLED
VESA Mount Standard600 x 400
RMS Output Power40 W
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand1193.80 mm
Width with Stand1915.16 mm
Depth with Stand447.04 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports2
3D ConversionYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyClearScan 240Hz
Height1117.6 mm
Width1915.2 mm
Depth78.7 mm
Sound SystemAudyssey EQ, Audyssey ABX, Audyssey Dynamic Volume
Product SeriesL9300
Maximum Resolution3840 x 2160
FeaturesWeb Browser
Product Model84L9300U
Product Name84L9300U LED-LCD TV
Manufacturer Part Number84L9300U
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk