Toshiba 32RL958 review

The ultimate trickle-down TV?

Toshiba 32RL958
The Toshiba 32RL958 has Wi-Fi and a good price

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The Toshiba 32RL958 puts in a very respectable performance considering the TV's low price. For kick-off it's armed with some excellent picture presets. Hollywood Day is the most contrast-heavy, though Hollywood Pro and Hollywood Night also impress.

Steer clear of AutoView, which senses ambient light conditions then appears to brighten the picture beyond what's needed, with noticeable jumps in brightness.

There is a QuickView menu from which it's possible to choose between these presets, but sadly not change the parameters within them; to do that you'll have to dive into the full-blown picture settings menu.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Toshiba 32RL958 is the television's handling of Freeview channels. We engaged Superman 2 on Five, and were blown away at how clean this ageing 1980s classic appeared.

It's true that there are plenty of TVs more adept with detail, but perhaps this is the Toshiba 32RL958's main weapon against digital blocking, low bittrate broadcasts, and poorly defined edges, because all are conspicuous by their absence.

Colour, too, is solid and reasonably nuanced, though we did notice a slight lack of black and almost no shadow detail. No surprise about that on a LCD TV of this price, but nor is it a huge issue on a TV of this small size.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

When switching to BBC HD for a showing of Coast, detail jumps considerably, though not as much as on rival 32-inch TVs with Full HD resolutions.

It's here that we start to see evidence of what we suspected would be the Toshiba 32RL958's main picture foible; motion blur. As the presenter stands on a fishing boat, her bright blue hat bristles and shudders against a white sky as the boat rocks.

Worse is to come; a panning shot across a wooden fence sees every single slat pulse and expand - it's really quite nasty, though some extreme examples of motion issues are rare.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

And despite all that, during normal TV watching the Toshiba 32RL958 remains hugely enjoyable. With a Blu-ray disc of Hugo playing, we noticed a general lack of contrast and a low-ish black level, as well as some light leakage from the LEDs along the top of the screen.

Some sequences in Hugo look a little flat, with wisps of smoke lacking depth and the cogs of the clocks turning with noticeable judder, but elsewhere the image is always precise, colourful and has just about enough contrast.

It's not the ultimate flatscreen TV, but you'll have a job finding a 32-inch television this versatile that offers such a clean picture from disparate sources.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),