Toshiba 32RL958 review

The ultimate trickle-down TV?

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

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For less than £400 (around AU$615/US$648) our hopes of seeing something genuinely impressive were pretty small, but the Toshiba 32RL958 pulls a rabbit out of the hat; nicely upscaled standard definition pictures are the highlight on a 32-inch TV with living room-friendly features galore.

We liked

It's great to see smart TV apps - especially the BBC iPlayer - on a TV this affordable, while having it all fuelled by Wi-Fi is great news, too. Add Full HD, Freeview HD and a trio of HDMI inputs and the hardware - including the gloss black styling and streamlined remote control - is impressive.

However, what we liked most about the Toshiba 32RL958 was its ability to upscale digital TV programmes, and its skill with digital video files from a USB flash drive. All SD sources look immaculate - and HD doesn't look bad, either.

We disliked

Motion blur is a definite problem with the Toshiba 32RL958. Panning shots in particular are poorly displayed, while the Toshiba 32RL958 has a lack of contrast and black level, too.

We're also not convinced by Toshiba Places, which lacks apps and isn't as polished a user interface as it could be, while it would be nice to see more than AVI video files handled over a network.

Final verdict

As versatile a TV as we've seen, Toshiba's diminutive 32RL958 is one of the best value 32-inch televisions around. Freeview HD channels are handled exquisitely, with the relatively small Edge LED-backlit LCD panel offering clean standard definition and HD images that have plenty of detail.

It's also great to see Wi-Fi and some semblance of smart TV apps - including BBC iPlayer and YouTube - on a TV of this low price. It won't do much of a job in a home cinema, where its size and lack of black level and contrast will soon become apparent, but as a living room TV there are few better options for such little spend.

Also consider

If you're after a more polished-looking - and even unique - design, then the Sony KDL-32HX753 is worth a look, and comes with a slight upgrade in terms of both picture quality and smart TV apps, too - as well as adding 3D.

Something from Samsung is probably worth considering too - try the 32ES6300, which adds 3D, too - as does the Panasonic TX-L32E5B. The latter has a wider viewing angle, a better smart TV platform and supports lossless FLAC music files over a network, but lacks Wi-Fi.

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),